Notifications (alerts)

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1. Overview

Data Driven notifications (alerts) are a great way to get your users engaged quickly when certain events require attention. Dundas BI can be set up to send out scheduled reports, send automatic email notifications when data reaches certain conditions or when someone responds to a comment someone added on a dashboard. That way, your users can focus on their work rather than constantly looking at dashboards and only respond when a performance issue may require their attention.

For example, you can set up a notification that generates a snapshot of a sales dashboard and emails the resulting image to you once a week.

2. Set up a notification

To create a notification for yourself or others, open an existing dashboard (or report) and then switch to View mode.

Go to the toolbar and click Notification. From the dropdown, choose the type of notification you want to create.

Click Notification and choose the type
Click Notification and choose the type

Note
Notifications cannot be set up on a metric set if its data retrieval format is set to Raw Data. You can change the data retrieval format of a metric set by following the steps here.

3. Types of notifications

3.1. Scheduled

A scheduled notification occurs on a periodic schedule which you define by selecting recurrence and other scheduling options.

Scheduled notification setup
Scheduled notification setup

Click Define Schedule to configure the scheduling options.

Select the Run Immediately option if you want to run the notification immediately upon saving (instead of waiting for the first scheduled event).

3.2. Note-based

A note-based notification lets you know when a user has added a note (annotation) to a metric set.

Note-based notification setup
Note-based notification setup

Use the dropdown to select the metric set you want to monitor for notes.

3.3. Data-driven

A data-driven notification occurs when a change in data is detected on a scheduled basis (i.e., polling).

Data-driven notification setup
Data-driven notification setup

Click Define Schedule to schedule the polling for data changes.

Then click Add Condition to define the specifics of the data changes you want to monitor (e.g. a change of state for a metric set).

Select the Run Immediately option if you want to run the notification immediately upon saving (instead of waiting for the first scheduled event).

4. Notification options

4.1. Define Schedule

The Define Schedule option is available for scheduled and data-driven notifications.

4.1.1. Enable or disable a schedule

At the top of the Schedule Rule dialog, use the Enabled checkbox to enable or disable the schedule. This is useful if you want to temporarily suspend the schedule instead of deleting the notification.

Enable or disable a schedule
Enable or disable a schedule

4.1.2. Start Options

To define a schedule, first enter the start date and time for the schedule under START OPTIONS.

Define Schedule
Define Schedule

4.1.3. Pattern

Choose between one of the following scheduling patterns:

  • A daily pattern occurs every day or every Nth day.
  • A weekly pattern occurs weekly or every Nth week. Plus, you can indicate the days of the week to include in the schedule.
  • A monthly pattern occurs once a month. You can choose which months to include and also which day of the month.

A monthly pattern that occurs on the first Monday of each month
A monthly pattern that occurs on the first Monday of each month

4.1.4. Recurrence

Select the Intra-Day Recurrence checkbox if you want to specify different times within a scheduled day to be part of the schedule. Click Add Occurrence to add a time of day to the schedule.

Intra-Day Recurrence option
Intra-Day Recurrence option

4.1.5. End Options

Finally, decide how the schedule should end. You can choose to keep the schedule going forever, indicate that it should end after a certain number of occurrences, or enter a specific date to end by.

4.2. Select Export Content

The Select Export Content option is available for all notification types.

Use this option to specify the file format for exporting the dashboard (or data visualization(s) within the dashboard). The exported file can be included as an attachment of the email notification or delivered to a folder location.

Supported export formats include:

  • CSV
  • Excel
  • Image (PNG)
  • PDF
  • PowerPoint

Depending on the format, you can choose to export the entire view (dashboard) or selected data visualization(s). For more details about export options, see Share or export your work.

Select Export Content
Select Export Content

You can choose to store the current Parameter Values in the notification. Selecting the Preserve Current Parameter Values option saves the filter parameter values that were set at the time of creating a notification. Whenever the notification runs, these stored parameter values will be applied before generating the export file. This option applies to Image, PDF and Powerpoint formats.

Preserve Current Parameter Values
Preserve Current Parameter Values

4.3. Setup Delivery Options

The Define Delivery Options dialog is available for all notification types.

The default delivery method is to send an email message with the exported file included as an attachment. In this case, click Add recipient to add another user (or email address) to receive the notification. Being included on a recipient list means you are subscribed to that notification.

Enter the subject and body text for your email message in the fields provided. Right-click in either field to insert placeholders such as the creation date or name of the user who created the notification.

Deliver notification as an email message
Deliver notification as an email message

You can also have the notification delivered as an export file that is placed in a specified folder location. To do this, set Delivery method to Create File

Specify a folder location for storing the generated files, and a file name template which is just a prefix that will be used to compose the actual filenames. Then enter a File Lifespan for generated files (in hours).

Deliver notification as a file
Deliver notification as a file

Note
During the File Lifespan, additional notifications will create additional files. When the lifespan expires, additional notifications will overwrite the file.

4.4. Data Driven Condition

The Data Driven Condition dialog is displayed when you add a new condition to a data-driven notification. A data condition specifies the criteria for detecting or evaluating changes in data.

Select a Condition Category and the Metric Set you want to monitor.

Add a data condition
Add a data condition

Under Target Cells, click Add Target Cell to select a specific cell to monitor, or Add Target Cell Manually to select a hierarchy member manually

Add a target cell to monitor
Add a target cell to monitor

Note
You can use tokens when manually selecting a hierarchy member.

Some condition categories detect a state transition in the selected metric set. For example, the figure below shows the configuration of a data condition that detects a state transition from in the selected metric set from its 'Good' state to its 'Bad' state.

Monitor for a state transition
Monitor for a state transition

If the metric set you want to monitor (poll) does not have any state groups, you can add custom states instead.

You can also monitor for continuous increase or decrease. Set the appropriate condition category and indicate the number of polls or the hourly interval.

Monitor for continuous decrease
Monitor for continuous decrease

5. View or update your notifications

From the main menu, click Profile to view and edit your user profile.

In the My Profile dialog, scroll down and click Notifications to view your list of notifications.

Manage your notifications
Manage your notifications

Click the Edit button for a notification to make updates to it.

In the case of note-based (i.e. annotation) and data-driven notifications, it is necessary for the dashboard (or scorecard/report) that the notification is based upon to be already open before you can edit certain aspects of it (e.g. data conditions). If you don't have the dashboard open already, you'll see a dialog telling you the name of the dashboard that must be opened first. Click Ok in this dialog to open the required dashboard. Afterwards, go back to My Profile and then edit the notification again.

Click Ok to open the dashboard first
Click Ok to open the dashboard first

6. SMS / Text message notifications

Dundas BI does not currently support SMS notifications. However, there are a number of third-party email-to-SMS gateway and forwarding services which you may be able to use instead. Just set up an email address with an email-to-SMS service, and then use this email address as a notification recipient in Dundas BI.

7. See also

Dundas Data Visualization, Inc.
500-250 Ferrand Drive
Toronto, ON, Canada
M3C 3G8

North America: 1.800.463.1492
International: 1.416.467.5100

Dundas Support Hours: 7am-6pm, ET, Mon-Fri