Data Connection, Data Source, Data Set, blah blah blah in the context of Self-Service Analytics & BI – Bringing clarity to chaos.


If you are that analyst, having worked on one or more of the Self-service Analytics & BI tools like Qlik, Tableau, Power BI, Excel, Oracle Analytics, Sisense, Alteryx, etc., you must have come cross certain jargon related to data consumed in performing analytics but with variations specific to the vendor/tool.

For example, Sheets in Tableau are called as Pages in Power BI and Canvas in Oracle Analytics; Data connections and Data Sources in Tableau are together called as Queries in Power BI whereas the same are called as External data connections and Data Sources respectively in Excel and so on.

Here is an attempt to bring clarity to that chaos.

If you understand the general concept of the terms depicted in the figure below, it becomes easier for you to correlate and understand any vendor specific jargon of these terms.

Imortant Jargon of Self-Service Analytics and BI
Imortant Jargon of Self-Service Analytics and BI

Here are the high level definitions of each of these terms:

Data Connection: Source Name, Login credentials to connect to the source, optionally a query statement like SQL SELECT statement to extract actual data, put together makes up a data connection.

Data Source: A named Data Connection that can be reused is called Data Source.

Data Flows: Orchestrated self-service ETL or data preparation flows.

Data Set: The result of execution of data flows (optionally parameterized) ultimately resulting in a tabular form of data.

Visualizations: One of the many poosbile ways of visual representation of the Data Set.

Dashboard: A free-form canvas that allows logically organizing the visuals.

Vendors of the tools adopt a slightly different approach of packaging the product/tool that leads to these variations in the jargon but the central theme/idea remains the same.

Happy Learning..!!

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