In this article, we'll answer your key questions about the all-new Reporting and Analytics, powered by Power BI. This article will be regularly updated as we launch and continue roll out.
We'll answer your questions in these key areas:
- About the new Reporting and Analytics
- What the new tool looks like, and when you'll get it
- Access to Power BI
- Creating reports from scratch with pre-built datasets
About the new Reporting and Analytics
What is Power BI?
Power BI is a business intelligence tool powered by Microsoft. It integrates with other Microsoft ecosystem products and prioritises ease of use and modern data visualisation techniques.
What does the new reporting tool do that the current one doesn’t?
- New and improved standard reports
- More modern look and feel
- Single hub for all Kallidus suite reporting
- Cross-product reporting for the Kallidus suite, starting with Learn and Perform.
Why are we changing from Business Objects to Power BI?
Aside from the increased ease of use, allowing you to create your own reports from scratch, Power BI will also make the transfer of data easier, with future integrations giving you more flexibility to access your data in your own data visualisation tools. It will also allow for more cross-product reporting for the entire Kallidus suite.
Why did Kallidus choose to use Microsoft Power BI (embedded) as the basis for reporting?
Our reporting teams evaluated several possible options for our next generation tooling. Microsoft's Power BI product has consistently ranked as "Leader" in the business intelligence tools market (see Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence from 2023 below). The embedded version offers the same-ease-of-use as the full desktop version (without our customers needing any kind Microsoft subscription) along with several other benefits for data connectivity and analysis.
What the new tool looks like, and when you'll get it
What does the new tool look like?
The new tool is still being built but we are planning regular monthly updates, via the knowledge base, email, Academy events and via your CEM to keep you informed of our progress. Take a look at a recording of our last update presentation in The Academy, to find out more.
When will the new tool be available?
We are planning a phased roll out and will commence by adding Power BI to clients who do not use or maintain any custom reports, at the beginning of 2024. This will start with customers with no scheduled exports for their reports. You can expect communication around when you will get access to the new reporting tools near the beginning of 2024. We will be expanding to additional customers throughout 2024 and 2025.
How will we learn how to use it?
We will be offering live events and new resources to help your transition into using the new reporting tools. We've also started to add content to the Kallidus Knowledgebase, including an overview of each new Fixed report, and articles to help you get started creating reports from scratch.
Access to Power BI
Do I need a Power BI license in order to access the new reports?
No, you will not need an existing Power BI license. We are using Embedded Power BI reports, which means that all of the licensing will be taken care of on our end.
What if our organisation uses Google Workspace (fka G Suite) instead of Microsoft?
The new Kallidus Reporting through Power BI will work the same regardless of the productivity platform your organisation is using (Microsoft, Google, etc.).
As we've embedded Power BI into our own product, it's accessed from a browser making it agnostic to the productivity platform. When exporting raw data, it can be dropped out in .csv or .xlsx formats, both of which can be opened and managed in Google Sheets, Microsoft Excel, or any other mainstream spreadsheeting tool.
Creating reports from scratch with pre-built datasets
What is a dataset?
A Power BI dataset is a collection of pre-built fields, dates and measures that are designed to give you a focussed set of raw materials with which to build a report.
- A field is typically a non-numeric piece of data. For example, someone’s name, or a course title, or perhaps a ‘yes/no’ statement such as whether a lesson is enabled or not enabled.
- A date is what you’d expect – a user’s start date, an accreditation expiry date, a course completion date, and so on.
- A measure is a numeric value. For example, the number of courses for which a user is compliant, or perhaps the percentage of accreditation assignments which are expired.
Together, the fields, dates and measures form a dataset.
Is all Learn data contained in a dataset?
To make things manageable for you, and to optimise a report’s performance, it’s good practice to break datasets down where possible. By that, we mean create individual collections of fields, dates and measures which logically belong together. And that means leaving out what is unlikely to be of use when you need to report on something specific.
Think of going to the shopping mall to buy a new pair of shoes. You’d visit a specialist shoe shop, or maybe a store that also stocked clothes (because shoes and clothes are often bought to compliment one another).
But you would probably have no need for the shop to sell bicycle tires, baker’s yeast or surfboards if you were interested in buying shoes!
It’s the same principle with a dataset. We’ve gathered the components we believe are required for use when you want to report on something specific in Learn – events, accreditations, course/lesson progress, etc.
Depending on what your primary reporting purpose is, you’ll choose the appropriate dataset for that job. It will not be cluttered with the things you don’t need for the task in hand – in our example above, there will be no bicycles tires, baker’s yeast or surfboards getting in your way.
Can you give me a non-technical explanation of what a dataset is?
Here’s one way that we can look at a dataset with a non-technical eye.
Let’s assume you’re in the kitchen and you’ve been asked to cook an Italian meal. But your store cupboard is empty right now, so you need to have the right ingredients delivered to you.
Think of this as the equivalent of a colleague asking you to build a report – you’ll need some data.
Just as with a report request, for our meal we need a delivery of ingredients which is in tune with what we’ve been asked to cook. No point getting a delivery of too many ingredients if we are cooking beef meatballs in Bolognese sauce with spaghetti. Why would we ask for a home delivery that contained spicy Szechuan sauce, smoked haddock or sultanas.
The delivery you get might include things which you don’t use (Parmesan cheese is not to everyone’s taste), but the delivery will include all the ingredients that are likely to be useful for you to cook the Italian meal you’ve been asked for. You’re not obliged to use them all.
And as with many recipes, some ingredients are likely to appear in them all. Salt and pepper are good examples. It’s the same with a Learn dataset. You’re likely to see user details in most of them. Users are perhaps the ‘salt’ of the Learn dataset world.
Can I modify or add to a dataset?
The datasets we have provided are not editable. We’ve put a lot of time and research into each one, and of note is the much-increased number of pre-built measures that didn’t exist in the Business Objects equivalents.
So, although the datasets are fixed, they contain what we think everyone will need.
And because we’re in charge of our datasets, we can be nimble if customer feedback suggests that we need new fields, dates or measures to be added to a dataset. Any additions will automatically be available to all customers when we add them.
Can I build my own dataset?
No. Self-build datasets are not possible when building reports through the Kallidus Reporting Hub.
We are currently exploring the possibility of customers getting direct access to their Kallidus data, either by a dedicated connector or via a cloud-based data share technology. If this is rolled out, the data that you access will become available in your own data reporting solutions (whether that is Power BI or another solution). That brings with it the ability to create your own datasets, even bringing in other organisational data if necessary.
We will keep customers updated with the outcomes of our exploration of this kind of data access and integration.
What happens if a dataset is missing something important?
Because we’re in charge of our datasets, we can be nimble if customer feedback suggests that we need new fields, dates or measures to be added to a dataset. Any additions will automatically be available to all customers when we add them.
We are likely to add new datasets as the Power BI reporting solution grows.
Can I create a report that references more than one dataset?
At the moment, a report will need to be built against a single dataset.
We monitor customer reporting requirements and have committed to exploring the best ways in which datasets will evolve. If datasets need to be broadened, or new ones built to meet customer needs, we will seek the most effective ways to meet that demand.
Are there any datasets available for products other than Learn?
Not at the moment. We are focussing on the roll-out of Learn in the first phase of our suite-wide transition to Power BI. But the construction of reports and datasets for Perform, Recruit and Sapling are firmly on the radar.
Find out more about the all-new reporting and analytics
Visit the Academy to view a recording of our recent presentations about the all-new reporting and analytics. In the presentation we previewed what's happening next, when you'll get access, and take questions from the audience.
If your organisation is among early adopters using new Reporting and Analytics, please come along to our 'Ask me Anything' events in the Academy to ask questions and share feedback about your experience so far.