We are website developers. Funnily enough, we use WordPress (amongst other CMSs) to build and manage websites and applications. But when you have a client base mixed between SMB, E-commerce and Enterprise, more often than not, the data and reporting question will arise, and what better platform to use for data visualisation and metrical reporting than Power BI? Mix the questions together and you have the challenge of how to connect Power BI to WordPress.
How many users logged on today? How many times did a post in the ‘cats doing silly things’ category get visited, and by whom? How many t-shirts did I sell? And simply put, a lot of the off the shelf reporting solutions and plugins really don’t cut the mustard. So that’s where Power BI comes in.
HUB is lucky enough to have a broad history across technology, and a team rich with a wide range of skills, not least of which is data analysis. On a day to day basis, we work on projects that connect Power BI to WordPress.
Connecting WordPress and Power BI is straightforward. Whether or not you are securely tunnelling over SSH hitting the database directly, or querying a separate database instance over a zero trust connection, the key to a strong reporting setup with WordPress is the MySQL Views that you write beforehand for Power BI to read. Alternatively, you may prefer to query directly in Power BI, but honestly, using SQL can be far quicker enabling you to then focus on visualisation and the data itself once the connection is setup.
A challenge small businesses face with connecting WordPress and Power BI can be the cost of automating the refreshing of the data. Microsoft allows for a cost effective method of report refresh through the use of a sync server perpetually connected to the database in question. This server which can then periodically query the core data set and refresh the data in the online version of the report.
Sound tricky? Well we have helped our clients by building a sync service that can connect to multiple data instances and refresh data at chosen intervals, taking the hassle out of infrastructure build and maintenance for them.
So with connectivity and modelling catered for, now it is down to visualisation, and whilst Power BI does have some generally attractive components, they all feel a little bit ‘Microsoft’. This is when we introduce the UX and UI side of the business, to customise the reports, introduce new custom components and create dashboards that clients actually want to read.