Real World DataMarket: Interview with Ayush Yash Shrestha, Professional Services Manager at Dundas Data Visualization

As part of the Real World DataMarket series, we talked to Ayush YashShrestha, the Professional Services Manager at Dundas Data Visualization, about how his company is taking advantage of DataMarket (a part of Windows Azure Marketplace) to enhance its flagship Dundas Dashboard business intelligence software.

MSDN: Can you tell us about Dundas Data Visualization and the services you provide?
Dundas produces data visualization and dashboard solutions that are used by some of the largest companies in the world. Dundas Dashboard is a one-stop shop for bringing in data from various systems, building business models, and finding key performance indicators (KPIs). Through a simple drag-and-drop interface, a fairly sophisticated business user—even without development experience—can turn raw data into a useful dashboard in about four steps. It’s self-service business intelligence (BI).

MSDN: What business challenges did Dundas and its customers face before it recently began using DataMarket?
We wanted to help our customers contextualize their internal BI data by comparing it with data from outside the enterprise. A KPI without proper context is meaningless. You can use your BI system to gather internal data and determine if you’re meeting your goals, but if you don’t have the ability to combine the data with outside information, then your goals may not be contextually sound. Traditionally, buying this information from multiple providers and using multiple data feeds with different formats has been cumbersome and expensive, with a lot of IT support requirements.

MSDN: How does DataMarket help you address the need to cost-effectively contextualize BI data?
We’re able to bring in reliable, trusted public domain and premium commercial data into Dashboard without a lot of development time and costs. This is possible because DataMarket takes a standardized approach, with a REST-based model for consuming services and data views that are offered in tabular form or as OData feeds. Without having a standard in place, we’d be forced to write all kinds of web services and retrieval mechanisms to get data from the right places and put it into the proper format for processing.

MSDN: What are the biggest benefits to Dundas customers by incorporating DataMarket into Dashboard?
Our customers just create a single DataMarket account, and they’re ready to get the specific data that they need. This will result in significant savings, especially for companies that would otherwise make several large business-to-business data purchases. Also, the data provided through DataMarket is vetted. Without a service such as DataMarket in place, there is a risk of businesses adding inaccurate data to their dashboards. With DataMarket being such a reliable source, we’re able to provide meaningful context that few other dashboard providers offer at this time. Finally, we can build new dashboards for a customer once, and they can be easily improved as the DataMarket data catalog continues to gain depth. We can integrate additional KPI context into existing dashboards with a few mouse clicks, versus the old approach of reengineering the system.

MSDN: And what are the biggest benefits to Dundas?
The most important are added value, competitive edge, and new business opportunities. If a customer is comparing Dundas Dashboard with a competing product that does not use DataMarket, we immediately have an edge thanks to the vast additional resources that DataMarket provides. Also, customers often expect us to offer analysis services in addition to pure data visualization, which in the past we did not have the resources to provide. With DataMarket, we’re now in a position to offer this additional level of service, which will help us expand our customer base and increase revenue.

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