Why Power BI? Microsoft’s Power BI is one of the top BI platforms, and over the last 13 years has been recognized by Gartner as Magic Quadrant Leader for analytics and business intelligence platforms. If you’ve heard the buzz around Power BI and you’re looking to learn more, you’ve come to the right place.
- What is Power BI?
- Why businesses need Power BI
- Five ways businesses user Power BI
What is Power BI?
Microsoft describes Power BI as allowing users to “connect to and visualize any data using the unified, scalable platform for self-service and enterprise business intelligence (BI) that’s easy to use and helps you gain deeper data insight.”
Power BI is a platform for business intelligence that allows businesses to clean and completely transform data into meaningful information by fully analyzing data and sharing important insights.
Essentially, Power BI is Microsoft’s interactive data visualization and analytics tool for business intelligence (BI). You can use Power BI to draw data from a broad array of systems in the cloud and on-premise and create dashboards to track the most important metrics. Power BI also allows users to generate rich reports and embed reports into reporting portals already in use.
Why do businesses need Power BI?
Whether it’s using interactive dashboards to consolidate key metrics, or rich reports to connect datasets from workloads, Power BI is a crucial mechanism to engage with business data, pull the data from a wide variety of different sources, and allow smarter data-driven choices. Power BI provides data preparation and discovery, interactive dashboards, rich visualizations in one solution, as well as self-service capabilities. It makes it an intuitive tool to communicate with data and converts it into insights faster.
Simple: Power BI makes it astonishingly simple to bring your data collectively into one place for more exceptional accessibility, organization, and visibility in your reporting efforts. Power BI has a very simplistic and straightforward to use interface.
You don’t need programming training or experience to use Power BI. It has built-in intelligence to help users select their reports’ attributes by recommending the most suitable reporting element. For example, after choosing the right data source, when you opt for sales and category, the program will automatically identify the map chart if you select sales and location. Beginners and experts can use the Power BI desktop for quick explanations of increases or decreases in your data charts by right-clicking at a data point and choosing the analyze button.
Mighty: It’s called Power BI for a reason – it is mighty. Power BI also executes automated, incremental refreshes to assure data is continuously up-to-date, a priceless asset that streamlines visual reporting for end-users. In short, Power BI efficiently merges and loads millions of records into memory for a faster and more agile data analysis experience for end-users.
Governance: Power BI brings together data governance and security. Power BI allows users to manage security and user access within the same interface, eliminating the need to use other tools to guarantee you meet rigorous compliance and regulatory standards.
Powerful Answers to Deeper Level Questions: Power BI allows you to ask questions about your data and get them answered. Power BI combines natural language search interfaces to enable users to create visualizations and uncover insights using search terms in plain English, without requiring code or syntax.
When you use the Q&A feature, you can easily explore particular insights by double-clicking an empty part of your report canvas and using the ‘Ask a Question’ box to ask data-specific questions like “what were the sales for my region last quarter?” As you type, Power BI automatically lists associated meaningful queries and a preview of a chart or table visualization that best represents the data you’re looking for. Voice recognition is even supported with Power BI, allowing you to ask for information on-the-go.
If your company is not leveraging these power data analytics tools, contact us to discover how easy it is to start. ZAACT is a Microsoft Gold Partner and has provided customized dashboards, platform integrations and end user training for over ten years.
Five ways businesses use Power BI
1. Better Storytelling
Use Power BI to tell stories with your data. Charts are great for numbers, but if you want to show information that changes over time in a way that’s clear to understand, try the new Timeline Storyteller custom visual for Power BI.
This tool allows you to produce a linear list of dates or times or lay them out in circles, spirals, grids, or custom shapes. You can also show a chronological list, a sequence that shows events’ duration or pick relative or logarithmic scales. Pick how to best stage, scale, and lay out your data, and Power BI will create a timeline from it; use that to tell the history of your company, show how demand is growing, or explain anything else in the sequence of events that matters.
2. AI Powered Real Time Answers
Instead of devising charts and reports, use the natural language features of Power BI to ask questions and get visualizations in response.
You can specify how the program presents the data to you: you can ask for total sales by region, by month, or as a line or let Power BI pick a layout that suits the data with a more generic question like “what were the sales numbers for last year?” If there are tiles pinned to the dashboard, Q&A will recommend those as questions, and as you type a question, it will propose terms you could add based on the tables in the data set. If the question turns out to be remarkably helpful, you can pin the visualization to the dashboard, making it easy to create visualizations for a data set.
Power BI includes an excellent variety of visualizations beyond your typical pie or Gantt charts, to powerful KPI scorecards, dial gauges for a quick indicator, and more complex radar and Sankey charts. The customization and integration applications are endless. Options to customize visual data include downloading them from the Office Store, creating your own with the open-source Power BI Custom Visual Tool (which uses CSS, TypeScript and NodeJS), or contact us for a dashboard needs assessment.
4. Use Power BI for Azure IT Data
It isn’t only business users who have vast quantities of information they need to compress down for insights; you can use Power BI to visualize data for IT monitoring tools as well.
The Power BI solution template for Azure Activity Logs uses an Azure SQL database and Stream Analytics to accumulate logs and present them using pre-built Power BI Desktop reports so that you can look at trends in usage and problems. There are templates for an assortment of other tools, and you can build your own dashboards and reports for other devices as long as you can get the data into a SQL Server or Azure SQL database.
Different BI users need different levels of data in their visualizations. Managers and business analysts want a lot of details without the clutter. Power BI provides the best of both worlds.
Suppose your executives are tracking 20 or 30 key metrics, maybe for multiple regions around the world. In that case, it’s more helpful to exhibit that at a glance with a plain view that displays the target and the actual number instead of more complex visualizations. With Power BI, supporting data and details are just a click away.
Business intelligence applications like Power BI empower companies to analyze their data, keep their company productive, and access the tools for better strategic analysis of how they can merge their data streams, improve accessibility and gain smarter insights.
Contact us and discover why ZAACT Consulting is a trusted Microsoft Gold Partner. Start your path toward smarter insights.