Good Governance: Dashboards supporting Testing and Validating your Sisense System.
Your dashboards are built and you are ready to go live. How do you know that the metrics and KPI's you are presenting are correct? I'm sure you've tested calculations and values for accuracy and are confident in your dashboards. How do you ensure that level of confidence continues as your system grows? More ElastiCubes, dashboards, data and calculations will be added over time. How do I know they are valid? Each time Sisense is updated or a new plugin is added are you able to quickly validate that your metrics are still correct and that scripts and plugins function correctly? These needs can certainly be a challenge. Fortunately Sisense provides great tools to support them, but you need to define and implement your strategy to use them effectively. Let's review an approach that has worked well for me.
In a nutshell, on my Test system I create dashboards with widgets that present the results for each calculation and metric. These must be based on data that will not change over time, so it is best to add filters (often time based) that limit the input data. I address both dashboard calculations and custom EC column calculations. I also present the correct values (often as static data entries) and compare them to the calculated results. If my comparisons match then my changes/updates are valid.
I often use Pivot Tables for this and set up a comparison column with Conditional Formatting to quickly highlight any issues. See the example screen shot below for a Pivot Table widget validating a Currency Conversion calculation using conditional formatting indicating that the calculation is correct:
I usually create a validation dashboard for each EC. If an EC has many dashboards and calculations, I may have multiple validation dashboards. I name the dashboards and widgets so that I know what each is validating. I always create a Validation folder in the navigation panel for these dashboards. Then when I need to validate after an update, I can quickly walk through the dashboards in my Validation folder to determine if I have issues. See the screen shot of my typical Test system folder structure below:
Since some plugins and scripts may not function correctly in new versions, I also create validation dashboards to demonstrate that a plugin is working correctly and that scripts continue to function correctly after a new Sisense version is installed. See the screenshot below for an example of script and plugin testing:
If I have many plugins (I have worked on systems with 25 to 30 plugins in use), I have also found it helpful to create a table in my documentation to list each plugin, its purpose, any needed notes and version of Sisense tested with. See the screenshot below of a table configured for Sisense v7.1 testing:
I hope this post has been helpful to your thinking about how to ensure your Sisense system can grow with confidence. I welcome your comments and questions.