About Magento BI
Magento business intelligence is a cloud-based analytical reporting tool and a platform for merchants selling online.
Our writing piece will be devoted to Magento BI as an option for analytical purposes. Magento BI business reporting solution will be compared to Microsoft Power BI tools.
Here we will discuss user profiles & their restrictions, what features a Magento BI Administrator has and what they are for, pricing, what is required to install both and integrate your sales data there and many more.
There distinguish top 6 features of Magento BI reporting solution, namely:
- Magento BI has fully automated process of data updates;
- Maintenance and constant monitoring with frequent upgrades often packed with fully operational set of additional features;
- A user can create a calculated table or join other tables available;
- Business metrics can be customized;
- Nice visual report builder with the option of using up to 5 dashboards and over 100 sample data analysis reports free of charge (a user is required to pass the registration process successfully first);
- Magento BI enables the user to query the whole data warehouse for achieving concrete results.
Magento BI has 3 user profiles. Assigning roles to your counterparts or employees adds value in a smart administration of your business enterprise. The profiles are a data user profile, administrator of Magento BI and a data analyst. See the features for each below.
Features for Data User
Data User profile is for those who mainly receive tasks from the Data Analyst. As a rule, these tasks contain big datasets to be pre-filtered, segmented and then analyzed. There are 3 main features for the Data User profile in Magento BI.
Data User can:
- Build reports;
- Build dashboards;
- Share the data.
If you have this role in the Magento 2 business intelligence reporting tool, it means that all you should do is to complete all mechanical work e.g. segmenting, prefiltering, transforming, etc. After that you may be asked to share your vision and opinion on the reporting subject matter.
But, even having this restricted user profile, you are able to create reports and learn the peculiarities of Magento BI reporting solution.
Features for Magento BI Administrator
Administrator is a user role with a more technical angle. Administrator manages accounts of Magento BI and other user roles. He or she is responsible for subscription payments, adding or removing licenses, editing or adding user profiles and for all administrative tasks within the platform as well.
Features for Data Analyst
A person who creates visual BI interactive reports and can present the data in a comprehensive manner to the audience is a Data Analyst. The Data Analyst knows perfectly every stage of the visual data analysis report creation process. In addition, the Data Analyst needs to know SQL (Structured Query Language) and be skilled enough in programming as well.
To conduct data analysis research means to use all BI tools and pass all steps for data analysis including preparation steps as well. One of these processes is the process of pre-filtering your Magento BI data.
Most of the data analysis procedures include Customer Analysis - where the focus of the research is concentrated more on the consumer. The utmost attention is paid to the behavioral tendencies, demographic situations, income, location and overall economic situation of that region and other buying influencers. However, then, Campaign Analysis is required to exactly define where the ROI % is the highest.
SQL Report Builder - is a tool that gives Magento BI users a way to directly run queries digging deeper in the BI analytical research reporting processes.
Data Integrations - As Magento's database is based on MySQL, a user can connect it to Magento BI through a direct connection, cPanel, or via an SSH tunnel.
We care about your data, so we recommend using the SSH method of encryption, as it's considered the most secure one for today.
Building Blocks of Magento BI
Visual Report Builder
Integrated in Magento BI Visual report builder enabling the data to be visually explored and analyzed more precisely taking into account colorful eye-catching charts and diagrams.
Building reports powered by Visual Report Builder. Here the user can create, personalize and share the reports. Using Visual Report Builder as well as backing up your thoughts by relevant data presented in an interactive and comprehensive manner (diagrams, pie-charts, graphics, etc.), will make you sound more professional. It will add extra credits to your reputation in the firm or organization you work for. Building trustworthy relations among your team and heads is a must for any business to flourish.
Building dashboards. When a Magento BI user enters his or her personal account for the first time, Magento BI grants access to 5 Magento BI analytics dashboards for your consideration and usage.
Using Time Options in the Visual Report Builder
Time Options in the Visual Report Builder include three main features to use in your reporting analysis:
Analyzing Metrics without Timestamps. Use this option when the data were not gathered and stored with a timestamp initially. For example, your shop’s inventory chart has only one row for each SKU; thus, it is appropriate using the metric without any timestamp mentioning.
Giving One Metric an Independent Time Interval. Magento BI’s time-based charts can help you determine the exact day, week, month, or year that generated the most revenue during a certain period of time. Compare revenue generated year-over-year using this reporting analysis sample.
Comparing the Same Metric Across Different Time Ranges. Here the custom dimension “Day number of the month” is applied. This comparison is often used for evaluating and analyzing the growth metrics (revenue year-over-year, month-over-month, etc.). Also, you can use it to see what items were sold and when.
Creating Visualizations from SQL Queries
The SQL Report Builder can be used in two ways. Magento BI users with certain relevant permissions can start a query only with the aim of loading datasets into the BI reporting tool. Later the data retrieved in such a way also can be easily transformed into beautiful visuals.
Exporting Raw Data
By applying the Exporting Raw Data feature, a user can export records directly from the Magento BI Data Warehouse. Note that admins permissions are required here.
In business intelligence the Exporting Raw Data feature exists for more deeper examination and more profound research. Export raw data if you want to do the estimation analysis, for example.
For instance, raw data is also used when it comes to choosing the data discrepancies. Or to get a closer look at what's powering a merchant’s dashboard.
Magento 1 & 2 BI platforms have almost 100 data analysis sample reports of different purposes, datasets, as well as the data analyzation approach.
About Power BI
Power BI is a part of Microsoft platform with an angle on visualization and BI. This software is an interactive tool for data visualization taken from various data sources. However, to connect & load the data from anywhere to the Power BI app, the Sales Cube Extension powered by BIM is required to be downloaded and installed.
About BIM Extension
BIM extension is the most new business intelligence tool for connecting your Magento’s sales order data with most advanced Microsoft Power BI interactive tools for visualization. Power BI Sales Cube extension allows for the integration process of the two Magento 1 & 2 sales platform and Power BI Desktop, Service or app versions.
After installing you are all set to start using all BI analytical tools powered with quick formulas, sample reports, different filters and data working presets just to name a few.
To start using Magento Power BI Extension, the user need to complete these simple steps:
- Have a working and fully operational store on Magento 1 or 2 platform.
- Get Client ID and Client Secret by registering the app in Azure Active Directory.
- Then, having Client ID and Client Secret the API in Magento platform can be configured manually.
- After login to your account and connect your Magento online eCommerce shop with Power BI account.
Create your Sales Cube dataset, publish it and start the data loading process by clicking the Add Data tab. Upload sample reports to Power BI and assign them to the created beforehand datasets. Configure embedded content based on Sales Cube dataset and related reports. Set the time-stamping for reports’ auto refreshing.
Advantages of Magento BI
The main two advantages to consider if you want to use Magento BI as your everyday BI analytical tool, is that it is well integrated with Magento and it is more flexible in terms of sources from where the data can be retrieved.
Disadvantages of Magento BI
It is hard enough to find Magento professionals - those who know Magento’s programming code or those who can produce more extensions, updates and add-ons. There are no staff programmers who are responsible for regular Magento BI updates. As a result, no proper user community and way less useful documentation to learn from.
In terms of visualization, Magento BI has single visual report possibilities only. Magento BI report is a single visual report, meaning the data cannot be connected or integrated throughout two or three reports simultaneously.
Working with Magento BI requires more technical background and more understanding of Magento internals. Thus, the program requires more technical background from the user’s side.
To add more, Magento BI cannot be customized for different usage scenarios such as Embedded BI, Multitenant setup, etc. Also, the dependency on Magento makes it hard to develop new features for Magento BI.
To sum up, working with Magento BI requires more time and effort in order to become a true Magento BI professional.
Advantages of Power BI
Obviously, the advantages of Power BI are numerous compared to Magento BI. Power BI stores the log of documentation. Once the data is already delivered to Power BI, users require less technical knowledge. Reports in Power BI could be created by business users.
Power BI from Microsoft has a big community. Every month an article covering new features of Power BI is posted on their blog. Contributors write even more: there are plenty of user guides, tech articles and posts, news on upcoming updates and features, etc.
Advantages of Power BI Powered by BIM Extension
Making your data analysis and report creation process even more easy and smooth. After doing all the integration steps, Power BI Powered by BIM Extension becomes more business friendly. There is no need for tech knowledge in order to work with data analysis. If you want to apply filter, field, metrics, etc., to your visual report analysis - just drag and drop it and you will immediately see the changes and alterations on your visuals.
With BIM Magento Power BI Extension a user can access BI reports with web or mobile app. Create and share your analytical data sample presentations with whom you want to. Also, your Magento BI reports can be embedded into the admin pages for your site users.
Summing up, the top 4 advantages of Power BI powered by BIM extension are:
- Incremental data export - choose only the latest data from Magento BI Platform, thus boosting the data extraction efficiency with Sales Cube extension.
- Embedding to Magento BI - make sure your data is up to date by scheduling the auto data updates directly into your Power BI reporting tool.
- Customizable for your needs - modular implementation allows extending the functionality by integrating a set of custom functionality tools covering all your BI analytics needs.
- Monitor Magento data with mobile app - get updates directly on your Smartphone right away and access your reports and analytical data everywhere with no restrictions and limits.
Disadvantages of Power BI
The main disadvantages are connected with the lots of features the BI reporting application has:
- Lot of functionality, and as a result, a newbie user can simply get lost and forget what was required to do, even if the steps were simple;
- Has some limitations on amount of data and frequency of data actualization;
- Power BI Integration extension uses Push Datasets which have more limited possibilities in terms of data modeling;
- Still requires some solid experience and technical knowledge in BI in order to create more complex and visually appealing reports.
User Experience Comparison
Magento BI Reports have a single visual. For bringing them together you need to use Dashboards.
Power BI Reports have multiple visuals, linked together for cross filtering. Power BI Dashboards extend functionality of reports.
Magento BI has in its arsenal such features as BI Standard Reporting, Ad-hoc Reporting, Report Output and Scheduling, Data Discovery and Visualization, Mobile Capabilities, Application Program Interfaces (APIs) / Embedding.
The Magento BI tool may rank higher than the Power BI among Magento community but the process of integration and overall report creation and visualization itself are more appealing and user-friendly in the Power BI app.
Pricing of Power BI + BIM Sales Cube Extension
Power BI may get very expensive if you go and use all of its data processing/preparation features and you want to have it all being automated in cloud. Because you may need to purchase Premium Capacity based license at some point which starts from 4,995 USD per month.
With usage of Power BI Integration you can avoid to rely on Microsoft for data preparation and let your Magento server to prepare the data instead. In this case you do not need to pay for the expensive Premium Power Bi features, but stay with Pro licenses which cost 10 USD per month per user.
But of course, you will also need to pay for the Magento extension. The best combination of cost and functionality is offered by Sales Cube which will cost from 135 to 320 USD per month.
So, you will usually pay for Power BI + BIM Pricing option 320 USD per month + 10 USD per month per user.
Pricing of Magento BI
Magento prefers not to disclose their pricing for Magento BI tool. Subscription payments for Magento BI may depend on the overall sales of your online shop. Their pricing policy changed over the last year. Today if you have Adobe Commerce Pro license you also get access to Business Intelligence Pro (source: Explore Adobe Commerce Pricing).
For Open Source Magento BI owners a limited edition with Adobe Commerce Business Intelligence Essentials is available. Its pricing is also not clear, but, based on the information available so far, we've estimated a minimum cost to start. The Magento BI's pricing starts from 150 USD per months.
And if you want to have more advanced version of Magento BI, you may need to switch your Magento from Open Source to Enterprise version called Adobe Commerce.
Magento BI is a very powerful tool and a great addition to Magento. BI analytics and reporting analysis are useful option to consider for companies. This tool helps monitor business performance and automate reporting on important KPIs.
Receiving timely updates on what is going on with your business is a valuable option Magento BI has. It enables a user to react quickly if the event occurred requires taking immediate actions to prevent unpleasant consequences.
But, if you consider Power BI powered by BIM extension, you will get a solid alternative that may even be more acceptable choice for some requirements. With Power BI powered by BIM Sales Cube integrating extension data you can implement everything you can do in Magento BI.
Power BI is a safe choice if you consider to invest your time into learning BI tools that you can apply outside of Magento world. Power BI may even be more cost efficient for you.