/ How to use a BI tool to combine Excel files and enhance your business analysis

How to use a BI tool to combine Excel files and enhance your business analysis

Business analysts spend quite a bit of time in Excel, manipulating data and creating reports. But what if you have to combine data from different sources? And what if those sources are in different formats?

Imagine having to combine data from an Access database, a CSV file, and an Excel spreadsheet. If you’re using formulas like VLOOKUPs, this can be a time-consuming and error-prone process. While you could certainly do it manually, wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to automate the process?

Enter business intelligence (BI) tools. BI tools can take several disparate reports and merge them into a single view via automated workflow that includes data cleansing, deduplication, and validation. This gives you a single version of the truth that can be used to make better business decisions.

In this article, we’ll show you how to use a BI tool to combine Excel files and enhance your business analysis.

In this article we will talk about:

  • What is a BI tool?
  • How can a BI tool help you combine data from different sources?
  • Why use a BI tool instead of formulas like VLOOKUP?
  • What are the benefits of using a BI tool to combine data?
  • How to use a BI tool to combine Excel files

Let’s dive in by taking a look at what a BI tool is and how it can help you combine data from different sources.

 

What is a BI tool, and why would you use one?

Our modern marketplace operates at breakneck speed and produces data at an unprecedented volume and velocity. Businesses must make sense of this data quickly and accurately in order to stay competitive.

This is where business intelligence (BI) comes in.

BI is the process of turning data into insights that can be used to make better business decisions. The tools that business analysts use to perform BI are called business intelligence tools.

BI tools help businesses collect, store, and analyze data so that they can make better decisions. There are many different types of BI tools available, each with its own set of features. Some BI tools are designed for specific tasks, such as reporting or data visualization, while others are more general-purpose.

In short, BI allows businesses to take their data and turn it into actionable insights.

 
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How can a BI tool help you combine data from different sources?

As we mentioned earlier, one of the benefits of using a BI tool is that it can help you combine data from different sources. This is because BI tools typically come with built-in ETL (extract, transform, load) capabilities.

ETL is the process of extracting data from one or more sources, transforming it into a format that can be used by the BI tool, and loading it into the tool’s database. This allows businesses to combine data from multiple sources into a single system for analysis.
The reasons for combining data from multiple sources vary.

Maybe you want to combine data from different departments in order to get a complete picture of your business. Or maybe you want to combine data from different time periods in order to see how your business has changed over time.

Regardless of the reason, BI tools make it easy to combine data from different sources. The goal is to have all of your data in one place so that you can get a complete picture of your business.

Why use a BI tool instead of formulas like VLOOKUP?

You might be wondering why you should use a BI tool to combine data instead of formulas like VLOOKUP. After all, VLOOKUP is a perfectly viable option for combining data from different sources.

So, why use a BI tool?

There are several reasons:

1. BI tools are designed for data analysis. This means that they have features that make it easy to combine data from different sources and perform complex analyses.

2. BI tools come with built-in ETL capabilities, which makes it easy to combine data from multiple sources.

3. BI tools typically have a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to perform complex tasks.

4. BI tools can be used to create reports and dashboards that allow you to visualize your data in a way that is easy to understand.

5. BI tools can be used to automate repetitive tasks, such as generating reports. This saves you time and allows you to focus on more important tasks.

In short, BI tools are a more powerful and user-friendly option for combining data from different sources. They are designed for data analysis and come with features that make it easy to perform complex tasks.

Excel offers plenty of features for data analysis. However, it falls short when it comes to combining data from multiple sources. This is where a BI tool can be helpful.

 

How to use a BI tool to combine data from multiple sources

Now that we’ve looked at some of the reasons why you would use a BI tool to combine data, let’s take a look at how to actually do it.

Step 1: Choose a BI tool

There are many different BI tools available on the market, each with its own set of features. So, how do you choose the right tool for your needs?

The first step is to identify your needs. What type of data do you want to analyze? What type of analyses do you want to perform? What types of reports and dashboards do you want to create?

Once you’ve identified your needs, you can start looking at different BI tools. Make sure to compare the features of each tool to see if it meets your needs.

You should also look at reviews of the different BI tools to see what other users have to say about them.

Step 2: Extract the data

Once you’ve chosen a BI tool, the next step is to extract the data from your different sources.

This can be done manually or automatically. If you have a small amount of data, you can probably do it manually. However, if you have a large amount of data, it’s best to automate the process.

Most BI tools come with built-in ETL capabilities that make it easy to extract data from multiple sources.

 
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Step 3: Transform the data

After the data has been extracted, the next step is to transform it. This involves cleansing the data and converting it into a format that can be used by the BI tool.

Most BI tools come with built-in data cleansing and transformation capabilities. This makes it easy to transform the data into a format that can be used by the tool.

Step 4: Load the data into the BI tool

Once the data has been transformed, the next step is to load it into the BI tool. This can be done manually or automatically.

If you have a small amount of data, you can probably do it manually. However, if you have a large amount of data, it’s best to automate the process.

Automation is the name of the game when it comes to data loading. Most BI tools come with built-in ETL capabilities that make it easy to load data into the tool.

Step 5: Create and combine data sets

After the data has been loaded into the BI tool, the next step is to create and combine data sets.

This is where BI tools make it easy to combine data from multiple sources. You can create and combine data sets with just a few clicks of the mouse. When combining data, make sure to use the same fields so that the data can be merged correctly.

This is critical for creating a single view of your data.

Step 6: Create reports and dashboards

Once you combine the files, the next step is to use that data to create reports and dashboards.

Most BI tools come with built-in reporting and dashboard capabilities. This makes it easy to create reports and dashboards that can be used to make better business decisions.

But your work isn’t done yet. Remember, a BI tool is only as good as the data you put into it. So, make sure to keep your data up-to-date and accurate. Only then will you be able to get the most out of your BI tool.

 

Bringing Excel files together faster with a BI tool

Excel is a great tool for analyzing data. But it has its limitations. When it comes to combining data from multiple sources, a BI tool is the way to go.

A BI tool can take several disparate reports and merge them into a single view via an automated workflow that includes data cleansing, de-duplication, and validation. This gives you a single version of the truth that can be used to make better business decisions.

So, if you’re looking for a way to improve your business analysis, consider using a BI tool to combine your Excel files. It’s a fast and easy way to make sure that you can combine and analyze your data quickly and easily. Once you have the capability to combine files in a BI tool, you’ll wonder how you ever did business without it.

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