We often get asked the question, “how easy is it to change the Essential meta-model and update views?”. We’ve even been told that one of our competitors had alleged that it was nigh on impossible to change things in Essential (that’s sales people for you).
So, to dispel that myth, we thought we would provide a short explanation and a link to a video where we extend the meta model, then update and publish a view in real-time (it takes less than 5 minutes). We’ve addressed extending the meta model in a previous post, but here we look at extending the view as well.
We designed Essential from the start to be flexible, as we needed an EA tool for our consulting engagements that we could extend quickly to meet new client needs. Therefore, we provide a base meta model and then allow you to quickly apply new classes, properties (slots) and relationships. We see this speed of change as a major differentiator when compared to other products. The majority of our users find this exceptionally powerful as:
- They can do it themselves, without our help – no waiting for the next release, no downtime
- It doesn’t impact the update process – as long as you always extend (rather than change the base meta-model), future releases will all work
- As soon as a change is done it is available to users
You add or extend classes in the Class Editor and, as you’ll see in the video, it takes about 30 seconds to add a slot, which is then immediately available to the standard forms within Essential.
Once you add a slot or a class you then either extend a current view or build a new one. Our development pattern means that once you understand the 3 key queries required to get data for a view, you can pretty much build whatever view you like out of Essential. It usually only takes a few hours to get up to speed on how to build these.
In terms of examples, we’ve seen from our users:
- Adding slots to the supplier class to support an internal supplier KPI scoring requirement and then creating a radar chart to represent those, all achieved in a day or so. We did something similar in a training session recently and got a view from a blank canvas to working on production data in one hour using the below visualisation: https://www.visualcinnamon.com/2015/10/different-look-d3-radar-chart.html
- Another client has extended the meta model with new classes for financial reporting and built their own filterable tables to show applications to financial classifications. They had 5 hours of training and built 3 tables to meet their needs in 3 days, having had no prior experience of building views.
We are so confident in this capability that in product demos we sometimes offer to make a change based on whatever the client wants to see to show quick and easy it is.
Hopefully, you can see how little time it takes to make changes, perhaps if a salesperson suggests that Essential is inflexible, show them this and then ask them to demonstrate the same in real-time, with some random data, in their EA tool!