Plotly targets BI users with new dashboard emphasis

Sample Plotly dashboard

Sample Plotly dashboard

Credit: Plotly

Dataviz cloud service Plotly wants to put its dashboard capabilities front and center -- and start competing in the business intelligence (BI) space.

The company began life focusing on creating stand-alone visualizations with a focus on offering serious statistical analyses as well as basic visuals. More recently it has been testing out dashboards with its users and plans to launch a site devoted to dashboards at dashboards.ly. Plotly has also open-sourced the code behind its dashboard creator.

A drag-and-drop interface lets users add and arrange Plotly charts in dashboards, which allow end users see multiple visualizations on a single grid instead of having to flip through a report or click through HTML pages. However, the dashboards currently lack more sophisticated options such as linking multiple plots on a dashboard, which would allow a click on one to also show specific data on another. That is coming in Plotly 2.0, expected to debut to Pro users in March, company co-founder Chris Palmer said in an email,. And, connectors to SQL and Google Analytics are slated for release this summer.

Plotly cites Google and Netflix among its current dashboard customers. While I haven't been able to contact either directly (yet), Palmer said that engineers at both companies share internal analytics created with Python or R on Plotly dashboards.

Plotly recently outsourced its Python and R libraries, making them free to use locally without needing a Plotly account or sending data to the cloud. For now, though, dashboards require a Plotly account and only work in the cloud.

Users with free accounts can create a password-protected dashboard, while a paid account is necessary for multiple non-public plots and dashboards.

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