In July 2020, Planview released a new OData capability for the IdeaPlace application. This represents a major enhancement to the analytics suite that comes with IdeaPlace out of the box. Along with the Insights feature, which leverages Power BI Embedded, this OData feed helps customers to unlock the value of their program and visualize it in ever more sophisticated ways.
In this article we will discuss the approaches that can be leveraged to connect your IdeaPlace application with your pre-licensed analytics software via OData.
Before we start, here are some quick definitions and comparisons of these products:
- OData, short for Open Data Protocol, defines a protocol for the querying and updating of data utilizing existing Web protocols. OData is a REST-based protocol for querying and updating data and is built on standardized technologies such as HTTP, Atom/XML, and JSON.
- Power BI is a business analytics service by Microsoft. It provides interactive visualizations and business intelligence capabilities with an interface simple enough for end users to create their own reports and dashboards. It has Desktop, Cloud, and Embedded versions (the latter is embedded in IdeaPlace.)
- Tableau is a powerful data visualization tool used in the Business Intelligence Industry. It helps simplify raw data into a very easily understandable format. Data analysis is very fast with Tableau and the visualizations created are in the form of dashboards and worksheets.
- Tableau and Power BI differ in two key capabilities in their tools, in the form of visualization and data discovery depth. Toggling data between visualizations in Tableau is much easier than in Power BI. Additionally, while Tableau offers more front-end depth of data analysis, Power BI does it more on the back-end.
What is OData?
OData provides advanced analytics capabilities through its seamless integration with enterprise analytics packages such as Microsoft Power BI and Tableau. Leveraging OData, you can work with your IdeaPlace-generated data set by connecting IdeaPlace with your desktop or cloud analytics platform.
The OData feed that we provide is a data schema which is designed to provide a data model that can be interpreted by analytics software. The data schema provides relationships between different IdeaPlace elements such as ideas, users, challenges, and communities, to name but a few. This data schema is constantly maintained and monitored by our team, which means that we are constantly reviewing relationships in order to enable a smoother analytics experience.
What Can I do with OData?
As of July 1st 2020, the IdeaPlace application delivers Power BI embedded as its analytics solution. The use of Power BI embedded is capped to usage with your IdeaPlace data only. When connecting with OData, you are able work with the IdeaPlace data but also "mashup" the IdeaPlace data with other data sets that you may have from other interesting sources. Power BI and Tableau both offer out-of-the box capabilities that assist in designing cluster type visuals. This is achieved through services within the machine learning offering, such as natural language processing and sentence encoding. Here are some examples of ways to apply this:
- IdeaPlace and Customer Feedback – Wondering how to improve your NPS score? How about combining ideas coming from your employees with data being obtained through customer feedback channels. This offers a great insight into the voice of the customer within your organization and an increased agility for decision making that can make a real impact to your business.
- IdeaPlace and Project Data – Imagine a lens that encompasses your ideas with the business cases for projects you are considering funding. This provides a great way to validate the fit of the product or project with the ideas you are receiving within your IdeaPlace instance. Using out of the box features such as natural language processing, you can identify matches between ideas and projects.
- IdeaPlace and Delivery Data – Unifying your entire innovation lifecycle within a group of combined visuals couldn’t be easier with OData. We already offer connections to OData from IdeaPlace and ProjectPlace (which allow a unified pipeline view) but this can also provide a great way to see your "up funnel" ideas with the data from your chosen delivery system. This adds tremendous weight to the innovation value measure as well as enhanced visibility and transparency for your program. These are both fundamental transformation enablers.
Accessing your IdeaPlace analytics on mobile is also now easier than ever when you combine OData with Power BI or Tableau, both of which support report viewing on mobile and tablet devices. This makes sharing your analytics and insights with co-workers and leaders even easier.
Connecting OData to Power BI Desktop
Planview IdeaPlace’s OData connector links IdeaPlace to Power BI Desktop as part of Microsoft’s October 2020 release of Power BI. You will require this release in order to connect the Planview IdeaPlace OData feed. This connector allows users to authenticate with their IdeaPlace application and then connect the data schema to their local Power BI Desktop instance.
From this point, the data can be "mashed up" with other data sets in Power BI Desktop or built into custom visualizations for sharing internally within your organization.
Connecting OData to Tableau
Planview IdeaPlace delivered a Web Data Connector that links IdeaPlace to Tableau. This allows the data schema to be connected directly to Tableau. Using Tableau will require the connector and some additional work to map the schema, but this is a one-time only requirement.
The steps to connect to Tableau are documented here.