The Yurbi App is the secret sauce of Yurbi and is what sets it apart from other business intelligence (BI) self-service solutions. We’ve mentioned the Yurbi App many times before, but we often get the question, “What exactly is a Yurbi App and what makes it so great?” So, we thought we’d lay it all out for you in this definitive guide to the Yurbi App.
The Yurbi App is leveraged throughout Yurbi, but users primarily interact with the Yurbi App in Yurbi’s report builder because it is the sole key in ensuring that Yurbi’s report building is completely codeless.
In technical terms, the Yurbi App is a meta-data layer that sits on top of a company’s database. This meta-data layer translates the raw data within a database into business terms that users can easily understand. In simpler terms, the Yurbi App is a data translator.
Yurbi customers will have separate Yurbi Apps for each data source connected to Yurbi. For example, if Yurbi is connected to a user’s helpdesk or phone system, the user would have separate Yurbi Apps for both the helpdesk and the phone system (and yes, you can build an advanced app bringing data from both systems into one app, but let’s keep it simple for now).
The Yurbi App is comprised of report types, database fields, and calculated or what we refer to as virtual fields. Unlike other BI solutions that provide a one size fits all approach with their data model, the intent of the Yurbi App is to be personalized for each audience within your organization. This allows you to tailor the Yurbi experience based on the level of detail needed from a data source, the level of technical expertise of the users, and using the terminology each user group understands.
For example, the Service Desk manager most likely needs access to every aspect of their help desk system, plus they understand the help desk application in a very detailed way. Things like activity logs, surveys, configuration items, and change request mean very specific things to them. So their Yurbi App would need to support this level of detail and they may have a very comprehensive list of App report types to chose from like the example below:
However, you may wish to provide the HR team, Sales and Marketing, Operations and other members of your organization access to help desk information. They may discuss help desk in two simple terms, tickets and people. So rather than overwhelming them with all the detail of the Service Desk managers’ Yurbi App, the concept with Yurbi is to give them a view, with report types that match their level of need. Such as:
The Yurbi App and report types work together to allow the user to connect to a data source, and then group the information within that database in a logical way that aligns with how a business user will use the data. This is a more approachable method for a business user than presenting them with a long list of all the fields that exist in a database (or expecting them to understand complex database field names and schema.)
Once the Yurbi report type has been selected, the user is presented with a tree structure of all the database field and calculations related to that report type. Again this is where the app should be personalized to the audience. The Service Desk manager’s app would list everything in the database related to a Change Request whereas the Salesperson’s app may just give 8-10 core field and calculations they need for their specific requirements.
Regardless of the Yurbi app, the process of creating a report with no coding or SQL programming is the same. Even regardless of the data source. The Yurbi App provides a seamless and common approach to data source reporting. The user would select the Yurbi App, the report type, and report fields. They can then go on to apply criteria, formulas, and visualizations as needed.
The Yurbi App simplifies and translates raw data into information that makes sense to the business user, so that the user doesn’t have to write any SQL code. Within the actual database from which the Yurbi App is pulling and translating data, the database schema, fields, and calculations are complex (not to mention Yurbi’s ability to dynamically apply multi-tenant security).
Now that we’ve explained what the Yurbi App is, what it’s made of, and why it’s valuable, it’s time to explain how to actually build a Yurbi App. We should preface this with a note that though Yurbi is a completely codeless BI solution, building the Yurbi App does require some technical expertise and coding.
The first step to creating a Yurbi App is to go into the Admin Overview section of Yurbi, and select “App Databases” in order to connect to the appropriate database.
After the user has connected to the database, including setting up passwords, the user will click on the Architect tab of Yurbi to begin building the Yurbi App. At this point, if a technical user is building the Yurbi App, it’s important to get a business user involved in the Yurbi App build because the app will cater to the needs of the business user.
Once the Yurbi App architect has consulted the end business user, the architect will put together the Yurbi App’s report types. When building report types, app architects must think about all of the database tables and views from which the business user will need to pull data, as well as the calculations they need. It’s important to note that doing this process without understanding the types of reports your end users will want to create will probably cause you to re-work report types, data fields, and virtual fields in the future. But that’s not a horrible thing, the process is really easy and designed to be tweaked and adjusted based on user feedback.
However, we do normally see that technical users who know how to write SQL code generally express frustration such as “why can’t I just write my own SQL code!” We’re working to allow a little more of this but the goal with Yurbi is to provide your users a way to write their own reports so you no longer have to be in the SQL coding business. Stick with us during this process and we promise you will love it later.
After building out the report types, in the database view section of the Architect screen, any database table or view that contains information pertaining to that report type should be added. Once added you have access to all fields in that table as well as the database defined data types. The architect process is to then create the joins between those database tables so that Yurbi understands how the database schema maps to the user defined report types.
One of the benefits of this process is that Yurbi is creating an application layer database schema. If your physical database has some limitations, some missing relationships, or incorrect data types, you can correct those items in Yurbi without modifying your data. For example, in the FrontRange Heat database, the date and timestamps are stored as string fields. That doesn’t help the report writer when they are trying to apply date formulas as extra conversion steps are needed. You definitely wouldn’t want to modify the FrontRange database as that would probably break your system and void your vendor maintenance. With just a click, Yurbi can treat that database field as a date type and apply all the date formulas automatically.
Lastly, the app architect can begin to build out the report fields within the app into the Yurbi report tree. The report fields are the detailed information that make up the specific report types. The architect will name the report types and fields appropriately so they make sense to a business user, and logically organize them. The calculation fields will also be built out in this section. This is where it’s important to translate complex and confusing database field names into user-friendly display names.
To get a detailed deep dive into the Yurbi App building process please view this on-demand webinar – Yurbi Architect Training.
The last step of building the Yurbi App is to set up data security constraints on each app. This will allow you to provide the same Yurbi app to multiple people and have each person see only the data they are authorized to see. You can limit access to information by any field in your Yurbi app, such as location, customer, or business unit. These limitations apply to all areas of the Yurbi platform, dashboards, reports, scheduled notifications, and embedded objects. Set in one place and protect completely.
You can also build constraints on virtual or calculated fields, so for example if you have a lot of historical or transaction data and want to prevent users from pulling 5 years worth of history (which can potentially cripple your database), you can setup a constraint to dynamically limit a user from only accessing the last 12 months worth of data. This step is optional if field level security is not needed, but to learn more about this process please see our “Definitive Guide to Yurbi App Shield.”
After the security constraints are set up, the Yurbi App is ready to be deployed and used by business users. In the sections above we have been talking about the Yurbi App in the context of building reports, but the Yurbi App is the method of granting a business user access to a data source, regardless of whether they need to view or build. So when you are ready to deploy access to a data source, our permissions section allows you to allocate the specific Yurbi Apps that a user needs to access and what role they should have with that Yurbi App.
In the example above where the Service Desk manager had a detailed Yurbi App and the Sales team had a simple one, a common use case is for the Service Desk team to create a set of core or standard reports to deliver to business users but for the Sales team to be able to create their own reports based on the Yurbi App created for them (keep in mind, App Shield security can limit them to only seeing the customers they need to see and not everything in the database).
In this scenario, the Service Desk manager would have Builder accesss to their app, and the Sales team would have Agent (or view-only) access to the Service Desk manager’s app. This means the Sales team can view and access the core reports built by the Service Desk manager, but they can’t edit or build new ones using the Service Desk managers highly detailed app. However, the Sales team in addition to having Agent access to the Service Desk manager’s app could also be given Builder access to the Yurbi app created for them. This allows them to do ad-hoc queries and get real-time access to data when they have a requirement for a quick report. They no longer have to go back to the Service Desk manager and ask them to build it, they have a very simple Yurbi App where they can do it themselves.
This sort of scenario can be repeated throughout the organization and also applies perfectly in the OEM/White Label use case as well. A software vendor can provide a complete set of standard dashboards and reports to embed into their application, but then provide a very simple Yurbi App so customers and end users can do simplified ad-hoc querying against just the database fields they are authorized to see.
You may have heard us use the term Premium Apps. We categorize our apps into two types, AnyDB and Premium. Anytime you’re using the Architect method above that is considered an AnyDB app. You can think of those as a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) app where you can connect it to any database you have and build out as many personalized Yurbi Apps as needed (with the help of our Customer Success team of course).
The Premium Apps are Yurbi Apps that we have pre-built for you. You just have to install and connect to the specific vendor’s database and you are ready to build dashboards and reports (plus we include reports by default to start with). All the architect work has been done by us and we provide a level of support so that should the vendor change their database, we’re on the hook to update the app. Today we offer Premium Apps for BMC ITSM/Remedy, CA Service Desk Manager, ServiceNow, HP Service Manager, and FrontRange Heat but the plan is to provide many more in the upcoming months.
Premium Apps also come into play with our OEM and White Label partners. If you have a database and want to deploy Yurbi as an embedded or 3rd party reporting solution, we can assist your development team in building a Yurbi Premium App, complete with canned dashboard and report content so that you can quickly deploy Yurbi to your customers.
The Yurbi App is the most powerful feature within Yurbi because it translates a company’s raw data into meaningful information while maintaining a codeless experience for the business user. It allows a growing company to have one central location to access all their database information in one powerful, personalized, self-service environment.
Between the Yurbi App, App Shield security, and role-based permissions, organizations will have the flexibility to quickly connect their two most important assets, the data they have with the business users who need access to it.
Have additional questions about the Yurbi App and how it works? Contact us!