I recently attended an iDashboard informational webinar that included a demo of the tool. The following is my review of that webinar. For clarity, I have not tried a hands on demo, nor have I had a one-on-one demo. My review is strictly based on their webinar.
Looks Like All the Rest
iDashboard’s informational webinar reinforced my opinion that most of the marketing messages from most of the budgeting, data visualization and business intelligence software companies all sound the same. We can connect to any data source, our dashboards are the best you can find and our interface is so simple anyone can learn to use it in a flash. That’s pretty much what they all sound like.
It’s NOT a BI Tool
One of the first, and most important things to understand about iDashboard’s tool is that it is strictly a data visualization tool. It is NOT a business intelligence tool. Most versions of their product simply import data from Excel files and allow you to do some visualizations and dashboards you can’t do in Excel, at least not easily.
iDashboard has four versions of its product:
- Traditional/Enterprise – sits on your server
- Cloud – it uses excel as the data source. No IT resources required
- Private Cloud
- Display Solution – stand-alone that ties to multiple data sources. Ships with a big monitor (32” or 46”)
I asked about price points for the various versions and, of course, they were not very interested in sharing that without setting up an appointment, but I did manage to get out of them that the Cloud version ranges from $7K-$10K for the application, plus about $59 per month per user. They didn’t share pricing information for any of the other versions.
Typical Basic Functionality
Some of the functionality they reviewed is the same as all the other tools I’ve seen demonstrated. It allows user-level access control so you can control what users can do: view, edit, etc. They have three access levels:
- Users – view only
- Analysts – can create new dashboards
- Admin – can do everything and also create users and set permissions, etc.
One of the obvious limitations I noticed is that the software does not have geocoding capabilities. Interestingly, their demo included several color coded maps showing states with different colors based on sales volume. But, when I asked about the geocoding data they said the tool does not have geocoding, but they never clarified what level of mapping is possible with it. I can only assume that showing data by state is as good as it gets with their mapping, but they never clarified this in the demo. I see this as a big negative, as several other data visualization and BI tools I have tried have detailed geocoding capabilities, some right down to a street address. Tableau, for example has built-in geocoding and it is a very reasonably priced tool. They even have a free public version if you don’t mind your data being accessible by everyone in the world (it’ mostly been used by people who only work with publicly available data).
Nothing Unique Demonstrated
While it is entirely possible that iDashboards has a great unique selling proposition, what they demonstrated in their webinar showed absolutely nothing unique. I would think they would choose the tools best features to demonstrate, so if that is the case I can only conclude that this tool is an also ran with no strong selling points. I could be wrong, but I am only commenting on what I saw on their demonstration webinar.