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Introducing Amazon QuickSight – Amazon Web Services Business Intelligence Tool
27 November, 2023
By Sindisiwe Jolinyathi (Data Engineer)
Shalini Padayachee (Business Intelligence Consultant)
In today’s fast-paced business landscape, data is the cornerstone of informed decision-making. Amazon QuickSight, an innovative cloud-based business intelligence and data visualisation platform, has emerged as a powerful tool in the arsenal of data-driven professionals. In this article, we will take you on a journey through the basics of Amazon QuickSight and explore how it can transform your data into actionable insights.
What is Amazon QuickSight, its benefits and how does it work?
Amazon QuickSight is a fully managed, cloud-native and serverless Business Intelligence tool developed by Amazon Web Services (AWS) that enables organisations to transform raw data into insightful visualisations and reports. It is designed to be user-friendly, scalable, and cost-effective, making it accessible to businesses of all sizes.
- Ease of use for both technical and non-technical users.
- Seamless scalability as your data needs grow.
- Unique cost-efficient pricing model known as pay-per-session.
- Integration with various data sources as well as other AWS services.
- Advanced analytics capabilities such as machine-learning and natural language generation (NLG), also known as QuickSight Q.
Below is a quick illustration of how Amazon QuickSight Works:
- Connect to Data Source: QuickSight has the capability to connect to various data sources, including databases, data warehouses, cloud storage, on-premises, third party applications and more.
- Data Preparation: QuickSight provides a data preparation interface that allows you to prepare the data before the analysis. This preparation includes filtering, renaming fields, changing data types, aggregations, joining multiple data sources and creating SQL queries.
- Analyse Data: QuickSight analyses data using a Super-fast, Parallel, In-memory Calculation Engine (SPICE). It supports various visualisation types such as bar charts, line graphs, scatter plots, heatmaps, and more. QuickSight also enhances visualisations with titles, legends, formatting, and interactivity features like drilldowns and filters for informative, visually appealing analysis.
- Sharing and collaboration: QuickSight simplifies sharing by enabling users to share analyses and dashboards, manage access permissions, establish automated email report delivery, and engage in real-time collaboration.
Intuitive Drag-and-Drop Interface
Amazon QuickSight offers a user-friendly and intuitive approach to data interaction, revolutionising how users engage with their data. With its drag-and-drop interface, users of all skill levels can effortlessly create visualisations and reports without the need for coding or complex software. By simply dragging data fields onto the canvas, QuickSight automatically generates visualisations, making data analysis a swift and accessible process, for example, dragging a date field and a sales figure instantly produces a time-series chart. Users can easily arrange, resize, and customise visualisations, ensuring that dashboards effectively convey the desired information.
Real-time feedback is provided as users make selections offering valuable guidance, suggesting appropriate visualisations, and helping users explore and refine their data promptly.
In addition to simplifying the process of data exploration, the drag-and-drop interface promotes hands-on interaction. Users can click on data points, filter data, and drill down into specific details with ease, fostering a deeper understanding of the dataset. Ultimately, QuickSight’s drag-and-drop interface allows users to focus on the narrative their data tells rather than getting bogged down by technical complexities thus empowers them to make data-driven decisions effortlessly.
One of the key benefits offered by QuickSight is the ability to seamlessly integrate with the various services available in the AWS eco-system. By leveraging services like S3, Athena, Kinesis Streams, RedShift, and DynamoDB, AWS offers flexibility to ingest data from various sources and architect your environment according to your specific use case.
Kinesis Data Streams is a service that is designed to facilitate real-time data processing and is particularly suitable for uses cases with a continuous data flow. Its ability to quickly handle large volumes of data ensures that the information is readily available for analysis. When integrated with QuickSight, businesses can visualize data streams from real-time data sources enabling them to make informed decisions promptly.
S3: Within the vast AWS eco-system, S3 continues to be a vital partner to QuickSight as a cloud storage provider enabling users to quickly delve into their data repositories. The ability to quickly create datasets using files stored on various S3 buckets advances self-service capabilities, making it easy to generate visualizations instantly and gather deeper insights.
Athena: Augmenting the QuickSight framework, Athena stands as a beacon of serverless querying. The power to analyse S3 data using SQL and channel insights directly into QuickSight, manifests in vibrant visualizations and reports. Athena’s scalable architecture and cost-effective model make it an ideal companion for QuickSight, offering businesses a fluid data analysis pipeline.
Redshift Spectrum: Redshift Spectrum elevates the prowess of Amazon Redshift. It allows users the freedom to query vast data amounts in S3. When paired with QuickSight, it unveils the combined strength of a premium data warehouse and vast data lakes, creating a cohesive data analytics ecosystem.
DynamoDB: DynamoDB, AWS’s flagship NoSQL database service, stands out for its scalability and consistent performance. Built to power applications demanding rapid response times at any scale, its integration with QuickSight underscores the database’s strength and flexibility.
QuickSight stands as a powerful and user-friendly cloud-based business intelligence tool. Its intuitive drag-and-drop interface simplifies data analysis, empowering users of all skill levels to transform raw data into actionable insights, while its seamless integration with the various AWS services, such as S3, Athena, Kinesis Streams, RedShift, and DynamoDB, further enhances its capabilities, making it a valuable asset for data-driven professionals and organizations of all sizes.
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