Saturday, 4 March 2017

Integration of Magento with Power BI. Part 1: First Steps

What is Power BI Online and how it could help your business?

Power BI is a set of Business Intelligence services and software provided by Microsoft.

This article will describe how to integrate Magento into Power BI Online - web version of Power BI software. This version looks similar to Power BI Desktop, but is quite different from Desktop version and gives its users less flexibility in data analysis and managing data, but gives more benefits with reports publishing, accessing them from internet and from mobile device.

By integrating Magento data into Power BI, users will be able to create Reports and Dashboards, setup notifications or scheduled emails.

For example, you may want to get notifications every time, your daily sales will increase $200K. Or getting weekly reports with data about your performance this week with information about sales, new customers, top products and different information that will help you to estimate your overall performance this week.

Interactive dashboards might become powerful tool for you to keep updated about current situation with your business with possibility to explore the data on the fly.

What would be needed?

In order to integrate Magento with Power BI, the following has to be done:
1. Register Power BI free account.
2. Create and setup free Microsoft Azure account and setup Power BI app to access data for API.
3. Purchase and install Magento extension for Power BI integration for $399.
4. Optionally you may upgrade to Power BI Pro account with $9.99 / USER / MONTH to increase boundaries of Power BI for loaded data from 1 GB to 10GB.

How does it work?

Initially extension for Magento PBI will provide possibility to connect data from Magento Reports to Power BI Online. On the pages with Magento Reports you will see export option to Power BI. You will be able to setup regular data updates such as daily, weekly or monthly updates or setup more frequent data actualization, for example, every 10 minutes.

Every time, the data will be sent to Power BI, update of latest statistical data will be triggered so that you might be able to get fresh information with configured frequency.

Delivered data will be visible in your Power BI Online account as a dataset and could be used for creation of Reports and Dashboards.

How to get more data than available in Magento Reports?

It is also possible to apply PBI extension to any other grid (table) in Magento backend. Such grid might be based on SQL query to Magento database, that allows to prepare different statistical calculations for Power BI.

How to deal with large databases?

First of all, even with large database it should be possible to extract small portion of data within the report and provide operational data. This could be the case for operational intraday data or for weekly reports.
For analysis of full range of history more advanced methods might be needed. One approach might be to use BIM extension that allows to use R language for processing data, that give possibility to write R scripts that will efficiently prepare need data for Power BI.
Another approach is to organize a Data Warehouse solution, that would require BI/DWH Consulting.







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