In the past seven years or so, websites and online applications have shifted from static to extremely interactive and beautiful and the bar is continually being raised. We can attribute much of this shift to Web 2.0 and the design paradigm that followed that phenomenon. As people were contributing more to the Internet, they were able to make things better by creating input and feedback, and expected others to do the same.
Though many sites applications have gone to interactive and highly visual formats, one area of the Internet has lagged a bit: rich database application development. Sure many software applications have gone the way of SaaS (which are highly-tested, very usable and often slick-looking), but what about the custom software applications that your company uses from day-to-day? Does your database interface look like its still partying in 1999? An announcement by Microsoft® earlier this month might help bring that interface into 2010/2011.
Project Crescent™ is a business intelligence tool built by the Microsoft SQL™ team that was developed entirely on the Silverlight™ platform. This speaks to something we have discussed often, the need for infographics and meaningful ways of representing large amounts of data. Specifically, “Crescent” will allow business users to display and interact with data through the use of interactive visualizations, animations and smart querying. The best part about this new project is that because it is a Microsoft product, it should be easy to integrate into other Microsoft products and existing databases.
Databases, database development and visualization have a reputation for being somewhat boring. There are many great data visualization tools like Dundas or Crystal Reports, but none that are developed on a rich Internet Application platform. What Project Crescent allows for is data to be more than a housing and reporting structure; users can interact with the data in many more ways.
How can this benefit your business?
Make things easier! By updating your business intelligence tools you can leverage the knowledge of Microsoft SQL developers who know the best ways to manage and represent large amounts of data and make your data less overwhelming and more informational.
Make things more interesting. Who isn’t tired of sad bar charts and normal representations of data? After a while people just tune those sorts of things out. Give them a new and interactive way to look at data, to re-engage interest in critical data.
Update your identity. Updated user interface design goes a long way in providing credibility to tools, businesses and processes that people use every day.
Our team of custom software developers is continually working on data visualization applications, databases, and business intelligence tools for our clients. Project Crescent, that will be released as a feature in the next release of Microsoft SQL (unknown at this point, but likely within the next year), is a great next step for us to create meaningful, interesting and more interactive data visualization for business intelligence tools. Our software application developers are looking forward to this feature because it will bring rich Internet application development-feel to database development.
About Lisa Calkins
Lisa Calkins, Amadeus Consulting’s CEO and Co-Founder, is also the Director of Creative Services. Lisa is dedicated to the infusion of creativity into every aspect of Amadeus Consulting, including our custom software application design.