Thinking about implementing a platform to help you pluck useful, actionable insight from your data?
Power BI is the collective name for an assortment of cloud-based apps and services that help organizations collate, manage, and analyze data from a variety of sources, through a user-friendly interface.
Primarily, Power BI pulls data together and processes it, turning it into intelligible insights, often using visually compelling and easy-to-process charts and graphs. This allows users to generate and share clear and useful snapshots of what’s happening in their business.
Power BI connects to a range of data sources, from basic Excel spreadsheets to databases, and both cloud-based and on-premise apps.
Power BI is something of an umbrella term and can refer to either a Windows desktop application called Power BI Desktop, an online SaaS (Software as a Service) service called Power BI Service, or mobile Power BI apps available on Windows phones and tablets, as well as for iOS and Android devices.
Power BI is built on the foundation of Microsoft Excel, and as such, the learning curve from Excel to Power BI is not that steep; anyone who can use Excel can use Power BI, but the latter is far more powerful than its spreadsheet counterpart.
key benefits of using Power BI
- Businesses can input huge quantities of data into Power BI that many other platforms would struggle to process
- Built-in machine learning features can analyze data and help users spot valuable trends and make educated predictions
- Information can be visualized using powerful templates to allow businesses to better make sense of their data
- Power BI is cloud-based, so users get cutting edge intelligence capabilities and powerful algorithms that are updated regularly
- Powerful personalization capabilities allow users to create dashboards so they can access the data they need quickly
- Alerts can be set up on KPIs to keep users up to date important metrics and measurements.
- Power BI has an intuitive interface that makes it far more user-friendly and easy to navigate then complex spreadsheets
- The platform integrates with other popular business management tools like SharePoint, Office 365, and Dynamics 365, as well as other non-Microsoft products like Spark, Hadoop, Google Analytics, SAP, Salesforce, and MailChimp
- With data security a massive talking point for modern businesses, Power BI ensures data is safe, offering granular controls on accessibility both internally and externally
Who uses Power BI?
Though business intelligence products tend to be mainly the remit of business analysts and data scientists, thanks to its user-friendly nature, Power BI can be used by a range of people within a business.
How you use it depends on what your role is; Power BI can generate custom dashboards depending on what data is relevant, and what information you need access to.
It’s primarily used by business intelligence professionals, who use it to create data models and reports which are then shared throughout their organization. Not all businesses will have the scale or the need to support a full-time data whiz, however, so Power BI is often used as a self-service tool by various branches of the business to check up on progress and turn up insight into their team’s performance.
Power BI works with whatever data you tell it to, so you can report on pretty much anything. It’s often most popular with departments like finance, marketing, sales, human resources, it, and operations.