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Former Member

New BI Brainz Academy Course "How to Build a Beautiful Data Visualization in SAP Cloud Analytics" Available Now!

Click here to access the course + free ebook!


After sharing my first data visualization in my blog "10 Tips on How I Executed my first SAP Cloud for Analytics Dashboard", a few readers asked how I built and designed my data visualization quickly so quickly.

The answer is simple.

I use The BI Dashboard Formula (BIDF) Methodology to develop my data visualizations. It has hacks that dramatically reduces the amount of time it takes me to go from a blank canvas to a great visualization.

In this post, we will look at my top three hacks that you can use to save time creating your data visualization in SAP Cloud Analytics.

Design Hack #1 - Stick to the Black and White Mockup

Let me explain.

Starting with a black and white mockup allows you to focus on the layout of your data visualization. It’s easy to get distracted trying to focus on other details such as the color that are not yet relevant to the design at this stage. Creating your first mockup should focus on the data, function, and layout of your data visualization. Once the layout is confirmed, then you.request your company’s branding guidelines. These guidelines will outline the way that elements such as the logo and charts should be treated, such as the exact colors and sizes.

Hack: Beginning your design in black and white, allows you to stay focused on the data, layout, and functionality. You’ll save hours of design time.

Design Hack #2 - Don't Deviate from the Story!

This is a very common mistake.

The heart of your data visualization is the charts, therefore, it is important you select the right ones to display your data correctly. The BI Dashboard Formula breaks the data visualization down into a simple four-part story: 1) Current, 2) Trends, 3) Forecast, and 4) What-if. Knowing what data (KPIs) will go into these four sections will save time in deciding which charts to use and ensure the user can easily digest the data being presented to them. To help with this, Cloud Analytics has integrated Hichert. The charts are also divided into clear sections such as "Trends" and "Comparison". A diversity of charts allows the user to find the answers to their questions.

Hack: First tell a story with your KPIs, and then choose your charts.You’ll save tons of time!

Design Hack #3 - Stick to the Template

No more design changes once you get into the tool!

You've already saved a lot of time in the mockup phase due to the previous two tips, now translate these skills into the development phase. Since youve identified the correct layout and branding of your data visualization, you have the exact blueprint to quickly build your visualization in Cloud Analytics. Putting in the ground work your mockup will significantly cut down the development process, removing the guesswork while developing.

For a more detailed breakdown on how to translate your mockup into a Cloud Analytics data visualization, read my first blog post. 

Hack: Once the mock up is finalized, do not change it! Build it exactly that way in the tool (see screenshot above). This is why my development is less than 6 hours on most models.

If you want a step by step guide on the full process of creating an SAP Cloud Analytics data visualization, the #BIBAcademy has a course coming soon to teach you the full process. Click here to be first to be notified!

I'd love to hear about tips and tricks you have discovered to make SAP Cloud Analytics development easier. If this was helpful, let me know what else you’d like me to cover in future blog posts.

You may also follow my live journey on Twitter @dariusknott using the #BIBAcademy hashtag!

Other Posts you May Find Interesting:

-        10 Tips on How I Executed my first SAP Cloud for Analytics Dashboard.

-        My First Impressions of SAP Cloud Analytics.

-        Look out for my next blog post "My first month with SAP Cloud Analytics - 5 Takeaways".

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