This topic describes the key workflow and basic concepts of Quick BI. Understanding these concepts allows you to better use Quick BI.

Key workflow

Key workflow

Basic concepts

  • Data source
  • Dataset
  • Workbook (available in Quick BI Pro and Quick BI Enterprise Standard)
  • Dashboard
  • BI portal
Note The following figure shows function differences between Quick BI editions.Function differences on the international site

Data source

Before you use Quick BI to analyze data, you must specify the data source of the raw data. A data source stores your raw data. You can add data sources by using one of the following methods:
  • Connect to a cloud database.
  • Connect to a user-created database.
  • Upload a local file. This method can be used only in personal workspaces.

For more information, see Overview.


You can create datasets by using tables from different data sources. You can edit, move, or delete a dataset in the dataset list.


For more information, see Overview of dataset management.


Workbooks are available in group workspaces. You can analyze and process a dataset to obtain a workbook. You can select a dataset and analyze data in the dataset.Workbook

For more information, see Create a workbook.


Dashboards employ a dynamic tile layout. This layout allows you to create interactive reports. Dashboards support data filtering and data query, and adopt various charts to display data.

Dashboards support two display modes:

  • Standard mode (available in Quick BI Pro and Quick BI Enterprise Standard)
  • Full screen mode (available in Quick BI Enterprise Standard)

In the standard mode, multiple types of charts and five widgets are provided.


In the full screen mode, multiple types of charts and three widgets are provided.

For more information, see Dashboard overview.

BI portal

A BI portal is also known as a data product. You can use a BI portal to build an application such as a sales analysis system. A BI portal references analyzed data from Quick BI and supports external links.

For more information, see BI portal overview.


The following figure shows the architecture of Quick BI.Architecture

The following sections describe major Quick BI modules and related features:

  • Data connection module

    Quick BI accesses data from multiple cloud data sources, including MaxCompute, ApsaraDB for RDS (MySQL, PostgreSQL, and SQL Server), Analytic DB, and HybridDB (MySQL and PostgreSQL). Quick BI encapsulates standard APIs that are used to query the schema and data of these data sources.

  • Data processing module
    • Query engine: queries data from data sources.
    • Data pre-processing: provides lightweight solutions to extract, transform, and load data (ETL processing). Only the custom MaxCompute SQL queries are supported. More data sources will be supported in the future.
    • Data modeling: controls OLAP modeling of data sources and transforms data sources into multidimensional analysis models. This feature supports standard semantics such as dimensions (date-type and geo-type dimensions), measures, and galaxy schemas. It also provides calculated fields. These fields allow you to process dimensions and measures by using SQL syntax for existing data sources.
  • Data visualization module
    • Workbook: allows you to perform operations on web excel files with ease. These operations include row filtering, column filtering, advanced filtering, subtotals, AutoSum, conditional formatting, data export, text processing, and table processing.
    • Dashboard: allows you to drag and drop charts and widgets to build dashboards. Quick BI provides more than 40 types of charts, including line chart, pie chart, vertical bar chart, funnel chart, treemap, bubble map, colored map, and kanban. Quick BI provides five widgets: Query Control, Tab, iFrame, Image, and Text Area. Also, Quick BI supports filter interactions that allow you to filter data across multiple charts.
    • BI portal: allows you to drag and drop dashboards to build BI portals. BI portals support embedded links (linked dashboards) and basic settings of the template and the menu bar.
    • Share/Publish: allows you to share workbooks, dashboards, and BI portals with other logged-on users, and publish dashboards on the Internet for non-logged-on users to access.
  • Permission management module
    • Organization permission management: allows you to manage permissions at the workspace and organization levels. This feature also supports role-based permissions in a workspace. You can authorize different users to view different reports.
    • Row-level permission management: allows you to control access to individual rows in a table. You can authorize users to view different parts of a report.