Document Properties
Kbid29729B
Last Modified19-Jan-2021
Added to KB09-Dec-2020
Public AccessEveryone
StatusOnline
Doc TypeGuidelines, Concepts & Cookbooks
ProductBI Data Hub

Guide - Getting Started with BI Data Hub

1 What Is the BI Data Hub?

The BI Data Hub is your central starting point for targeted reporting and analytics of your e-commerce system. The Data Hub imports data from your source systems and prepares, transforms and stores it for evaluation with a BI system. This means that you can now access and analyze the data at any time without affecting the performance of the store. Additionally you get ready-to-use business reports shared in Power BI. These reports (templates) are implemented by Intershop and set up for you during the onboarding process.

The connected data sources, BI Data Hub's functionality and the available Power BI report templates underlay ongoing and continuous development.

Note

Power BI licenses or rights to use Power BI are not granted by Intershop.

We do not resell Microsoft Power BI. Power BI is offered by Microsoft either as a monthly subscription per seat or as a service subscription for a company-owned Power BI server. Intershop uses Power BI internally, and with the BI Data Hub offering, we leverage Power BI's sharing mechanisms to share configured report templates with our customers.

2 What Do You Get?

After the onboarding process, your data is imported from your ICM (and IOM if applicable) into the BI Data Hub. Thanks to the data transformation optimized for reporting, you can now better control your online business with targeted BI analyses. You get access credentials to your own BI Data Hub data endpoint, from where you can connect your business data to a system of your choice.

After the onboarding process you will also receive a couple of already connected Power BI business reports. With the Power BI's sharing functionality, we can share these reports to a Power BI user of your choice. You have full rights to use, edit and share these reports within your company, so you can start analyzing your business right away. 

For example, you can now analyze your business by sales channel, identify hot and slow sellers or preferred payment methods. Furthermore, depending on the report capabilities, orders and purchased products of a single customer can be identified or even broken down to a single user. You can then adapt these reports to your own needs or create your own reports based on the BI Data Hub data.

Alternatively and/or additionally, you can also connect your existing BI/reporting/analytics system or a data warehouse to the BI Data Hub by using your access credentials.

One report example: The Channel Overview Report

3 How Are Your Systems Connected?

To capture data from your source systems, BI Data Hub must be connected to your systems and the system's different data sources. Currently covered source systems are Intershop ICM and IOM. Several REST interfaces, the ICM Order Submission Service and many more serve as data sources. 

All required data sources must be connected during the onboarding process. To do so, Intershop requires the connection and access data for these data sources or systems. For some kind of data there are alternative sources, e.g., there are two ways to import product data: Either the REST interface of the ICM can be used, or (our recommendation) the interface of the Solr server's search index, which is much faster and generates less load on the e-commerce system altogether.

For every REST interface data source, it is possible to define an interval that controls how often the data is imported. For example, the import could be triggered daily at midnight. For the order data, we use the ICM's Order Submission Service that must be configured in your ICM back office. Using the Order Submission Service means that each newly placed order is sent directly to the data hub and is available for reporting in near real-time.

If you use IOM, it can also be connected to BI Data Hub. BI Data Hub then queries the current order status via the REST interface of IOM. This way, you can also keep track of the progress of reported orders.

For the future, it is planned to connect additional data sources as well as other source systems to the BI data hub.

BI Data Hub Architecture

4 How to Get Started With BI Data Hub?

If you have chosen BI Data Hub, an onboarding process is required before you can start with reporting.

Intershop will handle the technical part of the onboarding for you. To make this process as quick and smooth as possible, Intershop requests the following information in advance:

4.1 Decisions

First, the following decisions have to be made:

  • Which channel(s) of your ICM should be connected to BI Data Hub?
  • Should the Solr search index be used to import product data or the REST interface of your ICM (Solr recommended)?

    Info

    Solr is more performant. There are no differences in the scope of data imported via Solr or ICM REST. This decision is not fix and can be changed afterwards, if necessary.
  • Do you use an IOM that should also be connected to the BI Data Hub?
  • With which system(s) do you want to access the BI Data Hub on the analytics side (Microsoft Power BI, other BI system, data warehouse connection only)?

If you want to integrate additional channels or other systems later, this is no problem. This information is required for the initial onboarding only.

4.2 System Information

Once these decisions are made, Intershop requires the following information:

  • Contact persons (name, phone number, email address)
    • for ICM, IOM, technical setup
    • for Microsoft Power BI (email with the person is been registered in Power BI)
    • for contract and SLA communication
  • Channel IDs of the ICM channels you want to include
  • URL of your ICM Backend
  • (if you have chosen the SOLR Search Index) SOLR Server URL and accessibility of BI Data Hub to SOLR server
  • (in both cases, SOLR Product Service or ICM Product REST Service) product data update window or time point (best in UCT)
  • Credentials for an ICM back office user who has the rights to create services
  • (if you want to connect an IOM)
    • IOM URL
    • Shop ID
    • IOM User Credentials for a (technical) user that has access rights to call the IOM Order State REST API
    • Order state update interval (we recommend 1 hour)
  • (If you want to use Microsoft Power BI) the e-mail address of at least one of your users that is been registered in Power BI with this email address.
  • Time window in which the initial data import should be made.

Since we want to protect the BI Data Hub in the best possible way, it is important in certain scenarios that we first enable the corresponding IP address range. Therefore we need the corresponding IP addresses from you in the following scenarios:

  • Scenario 1: You want to use Microsoft's Power BI desktop app or an internal BI system in your intranet
    • your intranet's IP or IP-range
  • Scenario 2: You want to use an external BI system
    • IP of your BI system provider
  • Scenario 3: You want to use a data warehouse 
    • IP of your data warehouse (or update service that corresponds with BI Data Hub)

After Intershop has received all information, your channels will be configured in BI Data Hub and the corresponding systems are activated so the data can be accessed. 

4.3 Onboarding Process

The onboarding process includes technical steps to connect the systems. Once this is done, an initial data import of existing order and product data is performed. Depending on the data history, this process can take a few minutes up to several hours.

Intershop recommends to perform this process during the night or in a time window where mass data routines are usually performed. The exact start time will be discussed with your technical contact person.

After this step we test the initial data import, set up the Power BI reports and also test the reports. Once the onboarding is complete, we will notify your contact persons via email and provide your Power BI contact person with the pre-built Power BI reports (if you are using Power BI) and/or the data you need to access the BI data hub with your systems.

Now you can start your reports and business analysis right away.


Disclaimer

The information provided in the Knowledge Base may not be applicable to all systems and situations. Intershop Communications will not be liable to any party for any direct or indirect damages resulting from the use of the Customer Support section of the Intershop Corporate Web site, including, without limitation, any lost profits, business interruption, loss of programs or other data on your information handling system.

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