Business Intelligence software can be costly and sometimes they even require that you import your data to a third-party platform, a security risk for the most sensitive of datasets. Talented developers could spend hundreds of hours writing code to produce their own B.I. platform but would also have to maintain it and keep all of the chart types up to date. There’s a better way, you can use WordPress + WP Business Intelligence to build out your very own Business Intelligence platform and with the help of a few other plugins you can make your platform secure, branded, and add other features no off-the-shelf B.I. system could ever dream of having.
Here’s How To Build Your Own Business Intelligence Platform Solution With WordPress
Step 1. – Hosting Setup
We are going to start with a standard WordPress build. Select your hosting environment such as server OS, web panel, and of course web hosting company. Because you will be processing and displaying big data sets, we recommend at least getting a host with these minimum specs:
- 20GB storage
- SSD drives
- SSL certificate
- Unlimited databases
- 4 CPU Cores
- 8GB Memory
You can also build this solution on your own server without using a web hosting company or on a cloud service. The one thing to keep in mind is that you will need the B.I. platform to have a constant internet connection to share charts and dashboards.
Step 2. – Install WordPress
Install the latest version of WordPress and make sure it works with your server setup.
Step 3. – Install WP Business Intelligence Plugin
Next we are going to install the WP Business Intelligence Pro plugin for WordPress. This plugin is packed with powerful business intelligence capabilities and is constantly gaining new capabilities from our team of experts.
If you don’t have a license yet, make sure you get one here or login to get your license key
Currently with WP Business Intelligence you can display a variety of charts from these libraries:
Using data from your WordPress database or an external or secondary SQL database including these types:
- MS SQL
Step 4. – Install a WordPress Page Builder Plugin
Now, we are going to install a page builder plugin for WordPress. These are plugins that help you easily design page layouts. We need a plugin like this to make our own Business Intelligence platform because while WP Business Intelligence has a lot of powerful features and connection types, one thing we do not currently have is a dashboard builder.
You can select any page builder you are familiar with or want to work with. We have tested our plugin to ensure compatability with:
- Avada Builder
- Beaver Builder
- Gutenberg Block Editor
- Thrive Architect
Step 5. – Install a WordPress Security Plugin (Optional)
WordPress does not come with a lot of security features out of the box. You may want to install a security feature to help keep your site from being hacked or even attacked. Plugins like Seccuri and WordFence are highly recognized for their ability to help secure WordPress websites.
Step 6. – Connect to your database(s) in WP Business Intelligence
We will not work through the full specifics of how to do this here in this guide. Go to the WP Business Intelligence icon in the left-hand menu of your WP Admin area. Then select “Database Connections” and add a new database connection to connect to each SQL database you want to pull data from for this business intelligence platform. WP Business Intelligence can update in real-time so using live databases such as sales and other events is possible, but users will have to refresh their page to see the most to date data.
Find more help for creating database connections in our Support section.
Step 7. – Create your SQL database queries in WP Business Intelligence
Once you are connected to your database(s) you will need to write SQL queries in order to get the data into any useful charts, graphs, or tables. Only use the ‘SELECT’ command when creating this queries in order to avoid creating XSS issues. You can create queries by going to the WP Business Intelligence plugin icon on the left-hand navigation and then going to the “Queries” section of the plugin to add a new db query.
Step 8. – Create all Charts, Graphs, and Tables required for your dashaboards
Now that we have the database(s) connected to the WP Business Intelligence install and we have queries written it is time to create all of the datavisualizations that will be added to our B.I. dashboards. Currently WP Business Intelligence offers the follow types of charts and graphs:
- Bar charts
- Line charts
- Donut charts
- Grouped bar charts
- Stacked area charts
- Stacked bar charts
- Step charts
- Sparkline charts
- Horizontal bar charts
- Bubble Charts
You can also build data tables (i.e. spreadsheets) with the following features from your queries:
- Make data table searchable or not
- Allow data table to be downloaded or not
- Number of listings per page before pagination
- Dropdown selector to change number of entries per page
- Mobile responsive design
- Heading sort
- Shortcode to display on any WP page or post
Step 9. – Use shortcodes to build your dashboards
All of the charts, graphs, and tables currently available in WP Business Intelligence can be displayed using a simple shortcode. Thos means you can design out your dashboards using a page builder plug as mentioned in Step #4 and arrange the content to have optimium impact and usefulness without any coding knowledge and little effort.
Step 10. – Customize your WordPress installation
To truly make this your own business intelligence dashboard you should examine ways to customize WordPress from eliminating WordPress branding on admin pages, to changing role permission levels per acconnt. There are multiple tools and plugins available to you or you can custom build out what you need to make the perfect business intelligence solution for your needs.