Understanding Data Blending (BI Reporting Techniques)

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Data blending is a must. The more you know about the latest business intelligence (BI) reporting techniques, the more you’ll be able to get out of your BI tools.

One of the most important techniques to understand is data blending.

Find out more about this process, how it works, and its benefits below.

What Is Data Blending?

Data blending refers to the process of combining data from multiple sources to create a unified and comprehensive dataset for analysis.

Data blending is often done when data relevant to a particular analysis or decision-making process is scattered across different databases, files, or systems. The goal is to integrate these diverse sources into a single dataset, allowing for a more thorough and accurate analysis.

JOIN Data

The JOIN operation in BI helps to integrate data from different sources and tables, providing a more comprehensive view for better decision-making.

There are various JOIN types, each serving different purposes:

  • Inner JOIN: Shows only rows with a match in both tables.
  • Left JOIN: Keeps all the rows from the left table, even if no match exists in the right table. Missing values are shown as nulls.
  • Right JOIN: This is similar to the left JOIN, but it keeps all the rows from the right table, even if there is no match.
  • Full JOIN: Includes all rows from both tables, regardless of matching.

JOIN Example

Say you have financial data in one source and customer relationship data in another. Now, imagine a common field, such as a customer ID, between both. If you wanted to pull some elements from each data source to build a report showing both customer and financial data, that would be an example of a JOIN of data.

UNION Data

The UNION operation is commonly used in BI reporting to merge data from different sources or tables, creating a unified set of records.

As with JOINs, there are a few different types of UNIONs, including the following:

  • Simple UNION: Combines both tables without removing duplicates.
  • UNION ALL: Similar to simple UNION but keeps all rows, including duplicates.
  • UNION DISTINCT: Merges tables and removes duplicate rows based on all columns.

UNION Example

Say your company merged, and you have two different help desk systems running. Now, you want to have consolidated reports across both help desk systems.

In this case, a common information set is needed (ticket number, priority, customer, etc.). The data blend could be to pull those common fields from each system and merge them into a joint report.

Benefits of Data Blending for BI Reporting

There are many reasons why you might need to use data blending as part of your BI reporting process. Here are some of the greatest benefits it offers:

Comprehensive Analysis in Data Blending

Data blending allows you to combine information from diverse sources, providing a more comprehensive view of your data. This enables you to perform in-depth analysis by considering multiple dimensions and variables.

Integrating Disparate Data Sources

Often, organizations have data stored in different systems or databases. Data blending enables the integration of disparate data sources, creating a more cohesive and holistic understanding of business operations.

Enhanced Decision-Making

With a unified view of data, decision-makers can make more informed decisions. Data blending helps to uncover correlations, trends, and patterns that may not be apparent when analyzing individual data sources separately.

Improved Data Accuracy

By combining data from multiple sources, data blending can help in cross-verification and validation. This can improve the overall accuracy of the data used in BI reporting, reducing the likelihood of errors or discrepancies.

Reporting Flexibility

Data blending provides flexibility in creating customized reports. You can choose the relevant data sources and fields for specific reporting requirements, tailoring the analysis to meet the needs of different stakeholders.

Time Savings

Instead of manually consolidating data from various sources, this automates the process. This saves time and allows you to focus on interpreting the data and deriving meaningful insights rather than spending valuable time on tasks like data preparation.

Data Blending Best Practices

Data blending practices can vary depending on the platform you’re using, but here are some general best practices you can follow:

  • Define your goal: What information are you trying to uncover? Knowing your end goal helps you choose the most suitable data sources and blending methods.
  • Choose the right data sources: Ensure the data sources are relevant, clean, and have compatible formats and structures.
  • Identify clear join keys: Use well-defined and unambiguous fields to connect matching rows between sources.
  • Filter strategically: Apply filters to each source before blending to focus on relevant data and optimize performance.

How Yurbi Can Help with Data Blending

Data blending is a key technique for BI reporting, enabling more comprehensive analysis and better decision-making. Yurbi excels in this area by making it straightforward for users to merge data from various sources into a single, clear narrative.

With Yurbi, even those without technical expertise can connect to different data sources — from databases to spreadsheets — and create a semantic layer, which we refer to as Apps. This user-friendly feature lets anyone build reports and dashboards, combining live data effortlessly.

Yurbi’s no-code builder stands out by allowing you to join or union reports to form a unified dataset. These reports can originate from the same or different data sources, providing flexibility and depth to your analysis.

After blending your data, Yurbi enables you to construct new datasets, apply formulas, set criteria, or craft visualizations. These blended reports can then be easily integrated into dashboards, scheduled for regular email distribution, or adapted with filters — all the essential features you’d expect from a sophisticated BI tool.

If you’re looking to streamline your data blending process, Yurbi offers the tools you need. We encourage you to see Yurbi in action.

Schedule a meeting with our team or join a free live demo session to discover firsthand how Yurbi can elevate your data reporting.

Experience the simplicity and power of Yurbi and transform the way you handle business intelligence.

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