What Is BI Connector: Functions, Benefits and Top BI Connectors You Can Use

Published: September 13, 2022
Last Updated: September 13, 2022
Chief Strategy Officer at Alpha Serve
Business Intelligence (BI) is a collection of technological infrastructure, processes and architecture to understand raw data and gain insights. Rather than making decisions using raw or minimal data, BI enables decision-makers to make data-driven decisions. It gives companies powerful insights to capitalize on new opportunities, resulting in increased profitability.

BI is a big ecosystem consisting of a Source/Input Layer, Aggregation/Transformation Layer, and Visualization/Reporting Layer. All layers are important. However, most users focus only on the visualization layer offering access to modern BI visualization tools such as Tableau and Power BI. Even though companies invest billions of dollars in creating, managing and developing other BI infrastructure aspects, users focus mainly on the visual analytics tools.
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To facilitate easy data transfer, you need BI connector - a custom-built solution for integrating popular data sources/services/solutions such as Zendesk, Shopify, ServiceNow, Jira, etc. to modern BI visualization tools such as Tableau and Power BI. It solves repetitive and cumbersome data import/export across solutions.

BI tools offer data-summarization options where you can create reports, graphs, charts, summaries and a dashboard for quick data summaries. Overall, BI tools improve how teams can shift to using data visualization tools without the need to learn new skill sets or implement expensive technology.

In this article, we’ll focus on BI connectors. Here, we’ll learn “What is BI connector?,” its benefits, key features and the best BI Connectors you can use to simplify data understanding. So, keep reading if you’re an IT user, a professional data analyst, or a CEO/CXO.

BI Connector: What Is It and Why You May Need It

BI Connector is a custom-built solution that connects data sources to visualization tools, enabling companies with robust analytics and business intelligence requirements to take a more flexible, hands-on approach to analyzing their data. As BI connectors are custom-built, it gives companies the freedom to connect any data source to their software/tool. This can also include data sources that contain business-critical data.

For example, if you want to fetch data from your excel sheet into a data visualization tool such as Power BI, you need a connector to transfer data seamlessly. Another example is connecting Jira to Power BI, where Jira is the data source, and Power BI is the data visualization tool. There’re hundreds of possibilities as you can choose from tons of available BI connectors that connect your choice of data source and visualization software/tool. Ultimately, the BI connector builds the path for seamless data transfer and analysis, giving businesses valuable insights to make successful decisions.

Overview of BI Connectors Key Features and Benefits

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There’re hundreds of BI connectors in the market. The wide availability gives you excellent flexibility to connect any data source type. However, you need to make sure that you pick the “right” BI connector for your needs, as it can save you a lot of time and effort. This section will focus on the key features you should look for in a BI connector. We’ll cover BI connectors benefits as well.

BI Connector Features

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Before picking the BI connector, look for the features mentioned below:

  • It should be able to provide convenient data export.

  • A BI connector should give you the flexibility to play with your data. This means you can create unlimited data sets/data sources and then include as many tables and fields to the data source.

  • Easily export any custom fields without complicated steps.

  • No limitations in exported data.

  • The exported data should be ready for analysis and converted to target types.

  • You should be able to configure BI Connector to schedule refreshes for actual reporting.

  • The user interface should be easy to use.

  • It should also offer good filtering options. This way, you can easily select relevant information and export it using proper data selection, reducing data extraction time.

  • You can do secure data sharing with permission settings and access management.

BI Connector Benefits

BI connectors are beneficial to your business. It not only creates a seamless data connection between data source and software but also provides benefits, including normalizing data, automating repetitive tasks and offering data quality improvement so that you can make better decisions.

Businesses generate data both internally and externally. CRM and ERP generate known data internally but still lack the data consistency required to get insights. And that’s where Business Intelligence comes in. It solves data consistency and provides clarity in variable calculations across datasets. The goal is to have accurate and consistent datasets so businesses can use them to make effective decisions.
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In all of these, BI connector plays a crucial role and provides the following benefits:

  • BI connectors lets you connect data from multiple sources and normalize them, taking out any variations that can cause redundancies or improper segmentation.

  • BI connectors save time by automating repetitive tasks. Once set up, you can forget about data import/export. You can set up BI connectors to automate routine tasks such as user input, data entry, validation and data field and mismatch updates. This way, you don’t have to worry about small mistakes that can creep in if you don’t use BI connector’s automation.

  • With BI connector, you’re bound to get good data. It negates any risks with poor data quality, which can hamper decision-making. Here, you translate data into information. The BI tools then let you visualize the data, giving you the necessary means to make proper decisions or plan future business strategies.

  • The influx of good data also impacts an organization’s efficiency and productivity. Teams now have meaningful and insightful information that lets them make better decisions, improving their productivity and effectiveness.

  • You also get enhanced data governance and increased ROI from BI investments.

  • Lastly, organizations can use full BI software potential as teams across organizations work without any access permissions concerns.

Must-Have BI Connectors for Power BI, Tableau, and Other BI Software

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Alpha Serve has created BI Connectors for popular BI solutions, including Power BI, Tableau and other BI software on multiple Marketplaces and App Stores, including ServiceNow, Atlassian, Zendesk, Shopify. All the apps listed on Atlassian Marketplace are Cloud Fortified, meaning cloud security is participation-ready, reliable, and highly secure. You can read more about the programm here.

Let’s go through them below.

Power BI Connectors List

The Power BI Custom Connector lets you connect Power BI to your choice of the data source. As creating Custom Connectors require coding skills and technical knowledge, here is a list of ready-to-use Power BI connectors created by professionals.
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  • Power BI Connector for Jira: Power BI Connector for Jira lets you connect Jira to Power BI. With it, you can explore Jira data with Power BI. Moreover, you can also use other data sources with Jira data to create complex data models using Power Query. It is enterprise-ready and comes with excellent features, including filtering options , Power Query support, secured Jira data sharing with permissions and sharing settings, and much more.
  • Power BI Connector for ServiceNow: If you’re using ServiceNow, check out Power BI Connector for ServiceNow. It is also enterprise-ready and lets you connect ServiceNow and Microsoft Power BI. This BI Connector is also easy-to-install and works with PowerQuery. Some key features include: easy tables and fields export, permission settings, advanced filtering options, unlimited export data support, already-typed data and scalability.
  • Power BI Connector for Shopify: Power BI Connector for Shopify is great if you want to connect Shopify data to Power BI. This way, you can visualize your eCommerce data and learn about your business. The app enables you to optimize your raw data and make it understandable. You’re also free to run automated scheduled data refresh to get new data. The informative PowerBI dashboard also allows you to create reports, visualization and data dashboards.
  • Power BI Connector for Zendesk: Zendesk users can simplify data transfer and analyze data with Power BI Connector for Zendesk. Here, you can export all your Zendesk-related data such as Tickets, Agents & Users, Ticket Metrics, Comments, Ratings, and so on. With the data, you can create comprehensive reports and then use them to make data-driven decisions to improve customer relationships and make better strategic decisions.

Tableau Connectors List

If you aim to use Tableau as your solution to visualize data, then you can use the following BI connectors.
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  • Tableau Connector for Jira: Tableau Connector for Jira connects Jira data to Tableau. With it, you can create visualizations and data dashboards and use them to make actionable decision-making. Its key features include support for filtering options, easy data export, permissions and sharing settings, and high availability and performance.
  • Tableau Connector for Shopify: Tableau Connector for Shopify is for users that want to transfer their Shopify e-Commerce data to Tableau. It lets you export key Shopify data and covert raw data to meaningful information. You can also combine other key data sources with Shopify store data and get meaningful information. Apart from that, you can also automate data import.

Connectors for BigQuery and Oracle Analytics Users

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  • BigQuery Connector for Jira: For BigQuery users, we have BigQuery Connector for Jira. It lets you connect Jira to BigQuery and run easy data export for visualization. Just like other connectors, it also supports dashboard and Jira reports creation. Some other features include filtering options support, easy Jira data sharing through permissions and high performance & availability.
  • Oracle Analytics Connector for Jira: Oracle analytics is a leading analytics platform. If you want to showcase Jira data and analyze it in Oracle Analytics, then you need to use Oracle Analytics Connector for Jira. It enables you to do enterprise reporting and make data-driven decisions. You can also merge other data sources to create unified analytics. Its key features include support for Jira Core & Jira Software fields, filtering options, and scheduled refreshes.

Summing Up

BI connectors are a crucial part of the BI ecosystem. They enable businesses to connect datasets/data sources to software/tools and ensure optimal data transfer. With streamlined and clean data, your business can take a more impactful data-driven approach that brings profit. Also, teams benefit the most as they can get relevant data improving their productivity and efficiency. Moreover, BI connectors also automate data transfer and export data to target types means accurate data that is ready for analysis from the get-go. All these benefits make BI connectors indispensable for BI and the organization ecosystem. Share this article with a comment and let us know what do you think about BI connectors.

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