Logi Analytics Review Summary
Logi Analytics provides two platforms: the operations oriented Logi Info BI platform, and the newer Logi Vision data visualization and exploration platform. The company aims to cater for the needs of three types of user – analysts and power business users who need a free format environment to visualize and explore data, business users who need BI ‘applications’ and do not have the time or inclination to build their own, and developers who need a productive environment to build BI applications. In summary, the two platforms provided by Logi cater for enterprise wide BI needs, with reporting, dashboards, charts, data visualizations, portals and other information formats all within easy reach of this very capable platform. More recently, the underlying DataHub architecture has been made common to both Logi Vision and Logi Info, providing a common data infrastructure. And ongoing integration means visualizations can be published from Info to Vision and vice versa.
Logi Analytics has been around for over a decade and is particularly well established as a production reporting environment. It also supports very sophisticated embedding, so that BI applications can be made to operate within operational systems. However the company has recently invested heavily in data visualization and exploration products – specifically Logi Vision. And new in version 12 is the DataHub, a centralized component for data connection, manipulation, enrichment and integration. It also provides a columnar database for multidimensional analysis in Logi Vision. It comes with connectors for a wide variety of data sources including databases (MySQL, SQL Server, Oracle etc.), applications (NETSUITE, SAP, QuickBooks etc.), cloud applications (salesforce, eloqua, Marketo etc.) and files (Excel, CSV). There is also a promise of data virtualization in the future, with widely differing back-end data sources made to look like homogeneous data sources.
The capability offered by Logi is very broad, and there are no reasons why a business might not use it as an enterprise BI solution. And while Logi is a bit late to the data visualization party, the company has clearly emulated the best of what is out there and improved on it. Logi Vision compares well with many other leading data visualization platforms, including Tableau and Qlik Sense. But it equally competes with IBM Cognos and Microstrategy, and offers a less monolithic environment in which to satisfy production BI needs, as well as data visualization and exploration.
Logi Analytics has not achieved the popular status of some other suppliers, but after considerable investment it now has products to compete with the best in the BI world – the rest depends on marketing – as always.
Logi Info provides a productive development environment and flexible deployment options for BI applications. It supports operational reporting, dashboards and the embedding of analytics into production applications. It also provides good interactive mobile support with HTML5 output, and Logi apps can be embedded within native mobile apps. With support for database write-back, integrated workflows, and process initiation, users can update source systems to maintain systems of record while staying within the context of the application.
End users can create their own visualizations as well as using those created by developers. The Self-service Reporting Module allows users to select from managed data to create and share their own visualizations, dashboards, and reports. Portals created with Logi Info connect to any data source and any application in order to present and distribute information to any audience. Logi Info integrates with any security model to adopt the user rights and roles already established, and access is provided on any device in a scalable, secure, and personalized way. The dashboards and reports generated by Logi Info can also be easily embedded into existing intranet or extranet portals, such as Sharepoint.
Logi Info can connect to any data source, including relational databases, big data repositories (such as NoSQL, Hadoop, and columnar data stores), cloud services, Web Services, and flat files. The platform also leverages a plug-in model that extends support for proprietary data sources or for adhering to customized security requirements. Insights from multiple databases and application sources can be displayed together by blending data into a single visualization, dashboard, or report. Unlike monolithic BI systems.
With Logi Info users can create an application just once and deploy it to many customers. The platform provides fine-grained user access control across every layer of the application − reports, charts, application functions, and data columns and rows. Single sign-on integration is supported for any security framework or application, including LDAP, Windows Active Directory, and custom databases that store user profiles. The Logi SecureKey feature supports server-side passing of credentials from custom applications for embedded use cases. Logi Info does not store user information, thus simplifying security integration and removing the overhead of continuously synchronizing user profiles. Software as a Service providers can easily configure security regardless of whether their customer data is stored in unique databases or in multi-tenant/co-mingled data sources.
Logi Vision not only provides very capable data visualization, discovery and exploration capability, but it is also very strong on workgroup collaboration. The functionality of the platform rests on three components:
- DataSmart – Powerful tools automate the traditionally time-consuming work of preparing, modeling, and profiling data for analysis.
- ThinkSpace – Guided visual exploration and a comprehensive recommendation engine help users visually discover insights faster.
- InfoBoard – A social community enables users to see, search, and organize the most relevant analysis to leverage their team’s collective intelligence.
The platform comes with several advanced features including automatic profiling and shaping of data, and automatic binning of data (typically on numeric and date fields). It can also be made to offer individualized views based on user. Logi Vision provides users with guided data exploration, and a recommendation engine uses algorithms based on industry best practices to automatically suggest best-fit visualizations for the underlying data. Vision lets users quickly iterate through multiple visualizations to glean insights and uncover key patterns and trends.
The social and sharing features are very strong. Logi Vision’s social activity stream allows users to keep track of what their teams are working on in real time. It provides a live stream of edits as they are being made and shows the visualizations that are getting the most attention, enabling a team to easily collaborate on important analyses and insights. Logi Vision also allows users to search visuals based on specific projects, tags, users, or fields – just like they would search tags and follow people on Twitter. Users can also save searches to create a personalized view of the insights and metrics that are most important to them. With Logi Vision, users can employ notes, tags, and ratings to guide colleagues to the visualizations requiring attention. Features like pinning and favorites provide the flexibility to create personalized collections of visualizations. Built-in algorithms determine the rank and relevancy of visualizations based on user activity, so the insights people are discussing the most are displayed prominently.
As with Logi Info, Logi Vision makes it easy to connect to relevant data – wherever it resides. Users can upload spreadsheets and .csv files directly into the application or use pre-built connectors for a wide variety of business applications, including Salesforce.com, Google Analytics, Quickbooks, Twitter, Facebook, MS Dynamics, and others. Users can even connect to data from corporate SQL-compliant databases. Once connected to a data source, Logi Vision automatically profiles and prepares the data for easier analysis. Users can then blend different sources together to uncover new patterns, all without coding.
DataHub is a new feature in the Logi product architecture. It provides a central component for managing, manipulating, storing, enriching and integrating data sources. The data connectors go to all the sources previously mentioned in this review, and once connected users can author dataviews for their own needs. This includes joining objects, blending data sources and filtering data. The data repository is a columnar, disk based database. Many other suppliers opt for memory based to get high levels of performance on more modest data sets. A disk based approach will be slower for these data sets, but will generally offer superior performance for very large data sets. Logi claim that a 250 million row database can be queried with a matter of a few seconds. This data repository can be refreshed on schedule, and the database is largely self-tuning. Other functionality includes calculated columns and multi-part ext support. DataHub now provides a common data infrastructure for Logi Vision and Logi Info.
The architecture of Logi is scalable, but the DataHub can only be deployed on a single server, and as such might present a bottleneck in very large installations. The information architecture is shown below:
Unlike many BI platforms which have just a handful of equivalent competitors, Logi Analytics offers such a broad capability that vendors in both the traditional BI space, and those in the visualization space can be seen as competition. Here are the most obvious:
- Qlik is quite similar to Logi in many respects. It provides two platforms – Qlik Sense for visual analytics and the more production oriented QlikView, but does not address production reporting. However the architecture of Qlik is stronger, and it offers the best data discovery functionality of any product with its associative data engine.
- Tableau does not really compare with Logi – although I suspect many people will compare it. Tableau has no operational BI capability at all, and is a pure play data visualization and discovery platform. Logi Vision actually compares quite well with Tableau in this respect, but of course offers much broader functionality.
- IBM Cognos offers similarly broad functionality, but is monolithic and much less flexible. It does however offer TM1 for planning and forecasting applications.
- Microstrategy is perhaps the nearest match with Logi, but again it is a substantially less flexible product, and considerably more expensive. However Microstrategy does offer advanced analytics options such as predictive analytics and statistical analysis.