Can we create a Business Intelligence Dashboard with Social Media Data for free?


With all the open source software out there, it creates a great opportunity for developers, designers, etc. to test different prototypes. In the article, Creating a Business Intelligence Dashboard with R and ASP.NET MVC: Part 1, the business intelligence dashboard uses ASP.NET , Twitter Bootstrap that uses R to get data from a SQL Server database and do transformations that are rendered on the dashboard. This type of technology helps highlight trends through visualizations that are easy to understand. How could we use this tool with multiple social media data sources?

Listed on the article, here are all the companies using R.

“The New York Times routinely uses R for interactive and print data visualization.

  • Google has more than 500 R users.
  • The FDA supports the use of R for clinical trials of new drugs.
  • John Deere uses R to forecast crop yields and optimize tractor manufacturing.
  • The National Weather Service uses R to predict the extent of flooding events.
  • Zillow uses R to model housing prices.
  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau uses R and other open source tools.
  • Twitter uses R for data science applications on the Twitter database.
  • FourSquare uses R to develop its recommendation engine.
  • Facebook uses R to model all sorts of user behavior.”

We could begin to develop all types of relationships by visualizing the data in a user friendly dashboard.

Here is the open source software recommended in the article:

Getting Started

This application uses the following tools and technologies

  1. R – a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics,
  2. ASP.NET MVC4 – a free framework for building web applications,
  3. Twitter Bootstrap – a free collection of CSS-based design templates for interface components, as well as JavaScript extensions,
  4. a well-known demo Northwind database as source of the data,
  5. Microsoft® SQL Server 2012 Express – a free database server, and
  6. Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web – a free widely used Integrated Development Environment.


Using Business Intelligence Systems


In an article in the Graziadio Business Review, Using Dashboard Based Business Intelligence Systems, it discusses challenges for current business intelligence systems (BIS), benefits of using BIS, and strategies for implementing future BIS. As we have become a more global world, BIS has been applied across many industries . A dashboard is used to make real time management decisions. The dashboard could be used to analyze a building or city project through different data sources to identify issues that are otherwise difficult to sift through in the sea of data provided.

Tools for organizing & analyzing urban data

•Traditional databases
•Data Warehouses
•Columnar databases for reporting
•Business Intelligence Systems
•Data Mining
Data Warehouse
Columnar Database
Business Intelligence Systems
Data Mining
Using data in Excel for BIS:
I created this Excel Spreadsheet from xml data exported from the Chicago Data Portal about city owned land inventory. This is a simplified example of what one can do with the data to discover relationships between data sources. I used a pivot table to calculate the number of properties within an area that had a particular zoning class. When filtering to business, one can recognize that there are a high amount of properties in Englewood zoned business. Why is this the case? These are the types of questions one can ask by layering different data sources and become better informed of what the issues within these complex data sources mean. Although I only analyzed the zoning classifications, one data dimension or measurement does not tell the whole story, its only when you compare different dimensions and classifications within the various hierarchies that you can really judge what the information means. For example, comparing property tax funds received by the government in a certain area to the population of that area, this would result in a per capita tax contribution to the fund.
Business Intelligence App (dashboards)