Logged into Techlust.
Reads Title : Helical Insight – Revolutionary BI Framework.
Either Get’s confused and curious or Does know what it is but still curious.
Is that you? Don’t worry! When we got an email from Helical IT Solutions, we were exactly like you! We didn’t exactly knew what it is but thanks to their team, it was only a few emails exchanged before Techlust understood their vision and the potential of the software. For all you people out there, we used the software ourselves, had a set of questions and luckily, the Co-Founder of Helical IT Solutions, Nikhilesh Tiwari personally answered them.
I want to mention something before jumping onto conclusions : The software is intended towards multiple applications and various segments of users instead of just BIG COMPANIES as it may look.
So, before we move on to the nutty-gritty, I would like to give you an Insight into Helical Insight.
Helical Insight (www.helicalinsight.com) is an Open Source Business Intelligence product powered by Machine Learning. Helical Insight empowers companies to use their various datasets as an asset and derive valuable actionable insights from it. These actionable insights can help companies to make conscious data driven decisions helping in efficient monitored progress.
Now, Coming on to the questions we asked..
Q) Why Helical Insight?
Helical Insight is having all the general features expected out of any Business Intelligence tool like email scheduling, exporting, user role management, mobile compatibility, caching etc. On the differentiator side, below are the biggest differentiators or the Game-Changing Features of our tool.
- BI Framework: Helical Insight is a completely API driven tool. Thus any functionality can be added and extended at the front end or backend. Use cases includes adding a new chart, adding a new exporting type, adding a new data source layer, adding a new security layer, fetching data directly from ETL, building outlook plugin of BI etc. Today with most of the tool if you want any new functionality you will have to depend on the vendor, but with us at each and every place we provide APIs which can be used to extend the functionalities. Functionalities can be added not only at the frontend layer but also at backend layer. With today’s breakneck speed at which technology is changing, it is imperative that the solution which you build should be able to adapt for future technologies and that was the entire thought process behind developing a BI framework.
- Workflow: In a BI there are various functional modules like logging in, data connection, metadata, exporting, email scheduling etc. But with other BI tools the sequence in which these functional modules are triggered is prebuilt and fixed. But with Helical Insight workflow capabilities these various functional modules can be triggered at any time and thus can help in implementing custom business process. For example, you want to create a report as soon as data touches certain value and email, second use case is as soon as new data comes into database then only a report should get created and emailed, changing database details based on who is logging in with customized pages etc. Another use case is a customer should be able to categorize dashboards and reports into his own hierarchy etc. There could be myriad number of other use cases. Basically using workflow, you can implement absolutely any kind of custom business process you wish to implement over here. We are proud to say that we are the first BI tool in the world to provide Workflow capabilities.
- Machine Learning: We are the first open source BI product to embed machine learning and NLP capabilities for end customer. This can usher users towards search driven exploratory analytics rather than merely depending on the prebuilt reports and dashboards.
Also not to mention on the costing side, Helical Insight is 90% more cost effective as compared to any of our other competitors. Helical Insight also has a version which is completely free albeit with some limited features. Though, for many customers even this version is sufficient for most of their requirements. And another thing to note is that Helical Insight is a completely browser-based tool.
Seriously, Wow! Isn’t it? Don’t tell me some of you didn’t understood the technical aspects of it? You didn’t? Actually, it’s alright. The above mentioned features, embedded inside the software is what makes it different from the other similar BI frameworks. These work behind the clean-customized User Interface, so even though the everyday user doesn’t feel a difference in using the product but he would be able to notice, that data entering and viewing isn’t hampered by the amount of data stored and added functionality makes it easier to operate the software. So, even though some of you may haven’t understood, all it means is it’s much more efficient than similar other BI Frameworks.
Q) Who do you think is appropriate to use it?
Helical insight is B2B enterprise software. Hence any organization which is generating lots of data and wants to derive valuable insights from it can use Helical Insight. Using Helical Insight, data analysis can be done on any kind of database, flat files like CSV or excel, big data databases or even APIs. Things like reports, dashboards, geographical dashboards, info-graphs, what-if analysis can be created on it.
Now, as I said earlier, the software though focused for enterprises, it’s customers are in various domains like clinical trial, energy analytics, training and leadership, education due to it’s capability to serve multiple uses.
Q) Answer the following with Yes or No?
Q-A)The software will have frequent updates?
Yes. We plan to release a new update every quarter and a major release every year.
Q-B)The updates would be provided directly through an update dialogue box or from the website?
Updates can be directly downloaded and installed from the Website itself. All the versions and upgrades would be downward compatible.
That’s good to know, moving forward . .
Q) Can you tell us more about it’s retail procedure? For eg., is it in pre-alpha, alpha or beta stage? When it will be released tentatively? Will it be released on the website itself for sale?
Helical Insight is right now in Beta. Though despite being in beta, we are already having 6 customers who are using it in their production environment and are not facing any problem. These customers are in various domains like clinical trial, energy analytics, training and leadership, education etc. We would be coming out of Beta towards the middle of November’2016. The software will be released on the website where anybody can register and download.
Q) What are your goals for the after-sales service?
For our users, we are providing many different options which can help and aid them in seamless usage of the tool.
- Video tutorials: We are having many detailed video tutorials on our websites with transcript which can help a person to get started and use it.
- Usage and Technical Guides: On the website there are more than 100 usage and technical guides along with getting started tutorials.
- Forums: We are having a forum on which if anybody is having any technical questions or any problem, he can register and post there. We have a dedicated team which can immediately reply and help in resolving the query.
- Chat Support: We also have the chat feature integrated on our Website. Anyone can directly chat with us and get his or her query resolved.
- Training: To all of our customers, we provide a 3 days training. In which, A trainer from our side teaches the client how to use the tool right from connecting a database to end result of analytics.
- Webinars: We have weekly webinars on various topics, tips and tricks, future releases features and upgrades etc. Customers and users can register and attend these free webinars to learn more.
- Free Premium support: To our customers, we provide free 1-year premium support via email and phone. Whenever any customer faces any problem one of our technical resource helps in getting it resolved. We have a proper SLA in place for support.
- Also, We have created a few presentations which we have embedded here.
Saying from personal experience, I can assure you that they do have a great customer support. Actually, I had some issues installing the software which was due to JAVA_HOME address conflict which though isn’t their problem, they were helpful enough to not only correct these errors and install the whole software but also gave me a walkthrough of it’s basics.
Q) Where do you see Helical Insight in the coming years?
We want to see Helical Insight as the world’s most popular and widely used open source Business Intelligence tool. Though we are the most feature rich open source Business Intelligence tool as of now, being new the adoption isn’t that much. In coming few years, we want to see more and more companies turn towards our open source BI offering Helical Insight.
Now, I know the following question may look a bit over-the-top but I only wanted a honest review from an established brand (though new).
Q) Why did you chose TechLust?
Techlust is often doing review and coverage of new releases and upcoming technologies. There are a lot of people who are avid technology followers and I am quite sure Techlust must be having really good coverage. Via Techlust we want to reach out to more and more such set of users and inform them about our product. We would love to have more and more number of people join us in our beta release and give us valuable feedback about our tool.
Thanks a lot to Helical IT Solutions for their honest regards.
Q) Now, What is the last thing you want to convey to the readers?
We would like to request readers to do register and download this tool and give it a try. Being in beta users can use Helical Insight for free for 6 months. Their valuable actions will be of immense help to make the tool better.
Final Comments :
We extensively used Helical Insight despite the limited amount of data we had on our systems. Connectivity between the remote systems (Team PCs) and the data center (Chirag’s PC) wasn’t an issue especially as we aren’t an entire office full of people. However, the BI Framework did served us the purpose of data managing, filtering and sorting through their simple interface without getting into complicated coding. Though, we would really appreciate a more polished version of the UI, as it only looked functional enough. Not something like a modern UI. Though, we can’t complain about that yet, it’s still in beta.
Now, we know what a Business Intelligence Framework is and also about Helical IT Solutions, the startup with a tremendous potential displayed by their flagship product, Helical Insight.
Disclaimer : This isn’t a paid review. These are our honest comments on the software and the technical information is directly provided by Helical IT Solutions.
Written By :- Chirag Tamhane