Most businesses struggle to make insights from multidimensional analysis available to end users. Pivot tables created by spreadsheet programs can help users get business insights by enabling data-led discovery, but pivot tables too often require users to pore over spreadsheet full of data to spot potential problems, trends, or areas in need of investigation. Making multidimensional data easier to use is where Miner3D comes into play.

Within an hour of installing Miner3D 7.1, I was impressed. Installation was a breeze. The application can use data from SQL Server as well as Microsoft Access by default; you can also configure it to use data from Oracle, IBM DB2, and MySQL databases. The program also generates 3D charts and graphics that are live—meaning you can modify them in real time.

Miner3D 7.1
PROS: Fast, robust rendering engine; mature, well designed, and intuitive interface; visualizations of large amounts of data don't degrade performance
CONS: Could use more options for placing and formatting legends for charts and graphs
RATING:5 out of 5
PRICE: Ranges from $495 for the Basic version (without OLAP connectivity) to $2,490 for the Enterprise version (with five seats), including one year of support and maintenance.
RECOMMENDATION: Miner3D is useful if you need to quickly, thoroughly, and efficiently parse large amounts of data to spot trends, problems, or areas of business that need additional attention.

CONTACT: Miner3D • 302-213-0121 • www.miner3d.com

Miner3D is surprisingly intuitive to use, partly because of the UI's intelligent use of a Microsoft Office 2007-style ribbon. The ribbon groups related operations and options in ways that make it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. The UI does a great job of showing you exactly the options you need to work with your charts and graphs when creating real-world solutions. It would be nice if there were a few additional options for placing and formatting the legend for charts and graphs, but this is more of a nitpick than an actual problem.

Miner3D shows impressive forethought in the UI, and the entire interface feels capable and mature. If you can create a pivot table in Microsoft Excel using OLAP data, you’ll have no problem quickly learning to use the application to create not only reports and graphs, but powerful graphics.

What I find especially exciting about Miner3D is how well it handles as you navigate your business data. In many ways, creating reports and visual representations of your data almost feels like playing a video game rather than working with a business tool. What really impressed me was the size of the cubes I was able to throw at Miner 3D while still enjoying snappy response time and performance. Miner3D shows its true value and usefulness in its ability to create powerful visualizations that let users derive business insights in a way that I haven’t seen elsewhere

Figure 1: Visualizing order quantities. Click to expand.

What I love most about Miner3D is that it bridges the gap between data-led discovery and the use of Key Performance Indicators by letting end users easily throw together visualizations that can give powerful business insights. For example, Figure 1 shows how I was easily able to visualize different order quantities on a scatter plot. The sizes of the boxes represent the quantities. With it, end users can painlessly change graphing options, brush colors and types, and linkages between related data in near real time, they can, with very little effort, fast track the task of deriving business insights from massive amounts of data.

Where the product really shines is in how it lets users apply dynamic filters. Users can simply drag sliders or painlessly set filtering criteria, and Miner3D applies the changes in real time. This feature, when added to Miner3D’s other functions, lets users slice and dice data along contextually relevant relationships that make the decomposition and aggregation of business data a breeze.

If you’re looking for a product that lets users quickly and easily analyze business data, Miner3D is definitely a solution that you should evaluate. For a BI solution, it’s relatively inexpensive to license, and its ease of use, versatility, and useful visualizations allow it to pay for itself in short order.