Simple Transaction Analytics with Google Data Studio

The 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics was released earlier this year and for the second time in a row we have seen a strong presence of the visualization tools at the top of the leader board. It’s quite evident that the traditional BI approach based on enterprise reporting is slowly making its way towards a more business oriented analytics approach. Whilst, the enterprise reporting primarily focussed on metadata, automating reports, scheduling and its distribution, the modern BI also takes the analytics approach into consideration to look at customer insights, predictive analytics, prescriptive analytics and data mining.

Google Data Studio is one of the latest data analytics visualization and reporting tool to join this league. Currently in its beta version, the tool offers some of the advanced features to build dashboards and reports for the businesses to analyse their data and facilitate decision making. If you are a seasoned data analytics professional or a beginner this reporting and visualization platform has a lot to offer to build stunning dashboards in no time. We tested some of the features and compared it with the other leading visualization tools available in the market. Let’s look at some of them:


Google Data Studio is available at no licence cost to the users with the ability to create unlimited number of reports in your account. It’s a web based tool accessible through the portal with no installation required. The reports can be shared by sending a link to the users email address by providing them with view or edit access.

To get started, login to your google account and go to

The data studio home page offers easy navigation to the sample templates, tutorials and blank sheet to start building a new report.

Data Sources:

Google Data Studio in its current version offers connectivity to Google BigQuery, YouTube Analytics, Cloud SQL, Google Sheets, AdWords, MySQL, PostgreSQL or a sample file on your local system. If your enterprise data resides on other platforms such as SAP ECC, HANA , AWS, SQL Server, Oracle, IBM DB2 or any RDBMS then it could be a challenge connecting these sources as there is no direct connector available at this time. Also, you are required to transform the data outside the Data Studio platform and export it to BigQuery or Google Datasheets.

The first step before you start building your new report is to define a data source. Click on the Data Sources and select the (+) option to add a new connection. The list of available connectors populates on the left hand side.

Alternatively, you can choose the sample data sources available list for reporting.

In this example we are connecting to a transaction table on Google BigQuery with close to 3 million records.

Craig Cauchi