Wark, J. D. 2022. Power up: Combining behavior monitoring software with business intelligence tools to enhance proactive animal welfare reporting. Animals 12(13), 1606.
Animal welfare is a dynamic process, and its evaluation must be similarly dynamic. The development of ongoing behavior monitoring programs in zoos and aquariums is a valuable tool for identifying meaningful changes in behavior and allows proactive animal management. However, analyzing observational behavior data in an ongoing manner introduces unique challenges compared with traditional hypothesis-driven studies of behavior over fixed time periods. Here, I introduce business intelligence software as a potential solution. Business intelligence software combines the ability to integrate multiple data streams with advanced analytics and robust data visualizations. As an example, I provide an overview of the Microsoft Power BI platform, a leading option in business intelligence software that is freely available. With Power BI, users can apply data cleaning and shaping in a stepwise fashion, then build dashboards using a library of visualizations through a drag-and-drop interface. I share two examples of data dashboards built with Power BI using data from the ZooMonitor behavior recording app: a quarterly behavior summary and an enrichment evaluation summary. I hope this introduction to business intelligence software and Microsoft Power BI empowers researchers and managers working in zoos and aquariums with new tools to enhance their evidence-based decision-making processes.