In the last article I wrote about how you can easily Backup your Podio App data into a MySQL Databse. Like I mentioned in that article, there are advantages to having your data in a MySQL Database. One of those huge advantages is reporting. We all know Podio's reporting capabilities are limited at best, so now we have options!
I haven't explored all the options out there just yet but I have found one that is good and simple to use...Cluvio. Cluvio is a hosted reporting platform that allows you to hook up to any MySQL (and other) databases, create reports and saved them to dashboards. Take a look at an example dashboard. (click to see larger image)
What is Great About Cluvio?
As I go through what Cluvio has to offer I'm finding a lot to like. It didn't take long to get a few reports, graphs and a map created and added to a new dashboard. Here is a list of some of the features that I have found pretty cool so far..
Different Chart Types: Different sets of data are best presented in certain types of charts. There are 8 different chart types offered by cluvio.
You can quickly change between what chart type portrays your data. This is great because we don't always know what works best until we see it.
The Map chart is cool, but you need Longitude and Latitude coordinates to display anything on it. Here is a Podio Tutorial on how to pull Longitude and Latitude info from Google.
Below is a list of some of the things you can do with Cluvio. Many of these features are behind a paywall, but if you have a need it might be worth it.
Emailing Dashboard: While Cluvio has the ability to add users to your account, you'll need a paid version to do so. This gets expensive though. The Free version only allows 1 user. However you can email the Dashboard to anyone for a static view of it.
Scheduled Emails: If you do want to share your daily dashboard with other members of your team you can setup a Daily email that will send out the Dashboard to them. You email the entire dashboard or a specific report. It's very handy.
Alerts: You can setup email alerts for when specific things happen in your data. For example if you want to be alerted if a sellers asking price falls below a certain threshold and you want to call that person back ASAP!
Filters: You can interact with your dashboard by setting filter parameter values to see the data a different way. Say you want to see All Properties or just New Properties. You can setup a filter that you can change on the fly.
Joining Data from Multiple Tables: This one is huge! Say if you have Reference fields in your Podio Apps that link items from different Apps, you can use this feature to Link the records between multiple MySQL Tables. You would use the item_id of one table and match it to the value in the reference field in the other table. VERY USEFUL! You can't do this in Podio.
SQL Snippets: Use this feature to save commonly used data views. For example if you store the address in separate fields (street, city,state and zip) like I do, you can create an SQL Snippet that joins them all together.
Multiple Datasources: Say you have other applications or even a wordpress site that use MySQL you can pull any data from those sites into these reports as well.
As you can see there is plenty to like about Cluvio. Below I'll go over the stuff I don't like as well and show you a video of me creating a dashboard for REIFLOW.
What I don't Like about Cluvio
As I experiment with Cluvio and other reporting tools I'm learning more and more about what we need as Real Estate Investors. Each person's needs are different as well, so this list is what I find to be a negative when it comes to Cluvio.
Can't bring into Podio. What I mean is that you have to go to the Cluvio website to see your dashboard. In a perfect world I'd be able to import it into the Podio Workspace Dashboard. Cluvio allows you to embed dashboards on websites, but it uses iFrames which Podio doesn't support. I don't think at least. There still might be a way to do this and I'll continue to look into it.
Need to learn some SQL: To truly get the most out of Cluvio, you'll need to learn some basic SQL coding. It's not that hard, but there is a learning curve involved. They do have a very good editor that helps you with syntax and coding.
Need Multiple Users it Gets Expensive! The free plan allows for 1 user and 3 dashboards. Which is great for a one man shop. However if you need more, then the next plan is $99/mo. This includes 3 users that can create reports and unlimited viewer users.
Free Plan is Limited: Not shocking that the free plan is limited to a single user and 3 dashboards. Most of the cool extra tools like the schedular and user sharing are behind the expensive paywall.
What are the Costs?
As with any software, the most important consideration is how much does it cost. There is good news and bad news when it comes to Cluvio. The good news is there is a Free plan, but it's limited. The bad news is the price jumps to $99/mo if you want to add in the scheduling and alerts. Want to add additional users and it's $250/mo.
Here is the pricing and feature breakdown. Click here for further details: Cluvio Pricing
Let's Create a Dashboard
In this video I'm going to create a Cluvio Dashboard based off of 2 Podio Apps that I have backed up to my Bluehost MySQL Database. The video is 30 minutes long so sorry about that. I just wanted to take you through the creation of the 6 reports one by one.
It's funny how much more you learn about a product by just writing a How To/Review of it. In the beginning I was fully convinced this was the reporting tool we should all use. It's easy to use, fast to produce reports and dashboards and offers other valuable tools.
I can definitely see value in the Free plan. There are some major limitations, but being able to create reports and a dashboard for yourself has some real value. Being used as a quick analysis tool to get a quick 10,000 foot view of your business on a daily, weekly or monthly basis is very useful to any one for sure.
So if you take out the financial commitment, Cluvio is a spectacular tool! For a small business with multiple user requirements it is just too expensive. Solo entrepreneurs I think this would be a very useful tool for sure! Glad I took it for a test spin.
There is a 14 day trial period so have at it and let me know what you think.