Processing data sets to identify patterns and trends to draw meaningful conclusions is called data analytics. It helps enterprises use real-time and historical data to derive insights that help in decision-making. Data analytics requires the use of modern technology and tools.
Business intelligence, reporting, and data visualization are components of data analytics. These together help organizations adopt the data-driven model and streamline the business processes. One of the notable business intelligence tools in the market is Power BI by Microsoft.
Several SMEs and large enterprises worldwide use Power BI to connect, model, visualize and share data across the business. You can either hire Power BI professionals or rely on offshore Power BI services provided by consulting companies/
Microsoft calls Power BI a powerful to bridge the gap between data and decision-making. It has several features that help you extract the true value of data and understand it to make the apt decisions for your business.
Types of Power BI
Power BI is a package of several products and services. These can be used individually and together to attain the expected results for the organization. You can understand how Power BI works by reading the beginner guides.
- Power BI Desktop: This is a free self-servicing tool that can connect to 70+ in-house and cloud data sources. It helps analyze data and generate reports.
- Power BI Service: This service is a cloud-based service hosted on Microsoft’s cloud platform to allow employees access dashboards and reports through different devices (browser, mobile, etc.).
- Power BI Pro: This is a paid cloud-based service with additional features that facilitate collaboration between teams. It allows easy sharing of data reports and can embed the data visuals into Power BI apps.
- Power BI Premium: This is not an application. In fact, it is a service that allows you to share the reports in the cloud with people from outside the enterprise. It brings flexibility and scalability to the app, making it possible for an organization of any volume to adopt Power BI with ease.
- Power BI Mobile: This can be used on smartphones with Android, iOS, and Windows 10 operating systems.
- Power BI Report Server: This is used to access the reports created using the desktop or the Pro version. It is an on-premises report server that allows your employees to access reports from any device and location. It is beneficial if you have limited storage capacity on the cloud or external data centers.
- Power BI Embedded: This is for developers to embed Power BI to other software and application used within the enterprise.
Advantages of Using Power BI
Power BI is undoubtedly one of the best tools to make the most of your business intelligence capabilities and gain an edge over competitors in the industry. The following are some of the advantages of using Power BI-
Power BI has rich and user-friendly features that help the process, analyze, and present data in attractive and easy-to-understand formats. Data visuals can be generated independently or in collaborative environments.
Power BI can be integrated into different apps to produce and share reports throughout the enterprise. The features can be customized to suit the varying needs of each business.
Since Microsoft Power BI can be used on multiple operating systems and devices, it increases accessibility to data and data analytics. The apps are user-friendly and can be used by employees with little or no training in Power BI. That said, this aspect is limited only to the end-user features.
Regular updates from Microsoft
Microsoft doesn’t just release products into the market and leave them. The company constantly improves the features, adds new ones, and makes Power BI even more powerful.
Multiple Data Sources
Collecting real-time data is now easy with Power BI. Whether it is IoT sensors, social media, media, or any other source, collecting raw data in real-time and using it for analytics is a quick and easy task. The changes in data will be automatically reflected in the reports and on the dashboard.
Power BI consultants can integrate the tool into your business environment with apparent ease. Whether you want to use it through cloud services or on-premises servers, experts will ensure that the process is streamlined and simplified. This allows end-users (employees from different departments) to use Power BI for data and report sharing with any team member.
The dashboard is one of the greatest features of Power BI. Apart from allowing employees to get real-time reports and edit them using several features like drag-and-drop, the dashboard can be personalized by each employee. The sales team will need reports of one kind while the accounts team needs another. The elements in the dashboard can be customized (added and removed) to suit the team’s requirements.
Secure Data Processing and Reporting
Microsoft knows the importance of data security and has provided enough options to set up security levels for data analytics and sharing reports. Employees who generate the reports can set up Row-Level Access filters that allow only certain teams to edit or modify a section of the report. This brings a balance between data sharing and data security. Employees can view the reports, but only those with permission can edit them.
Ease of Setup and Use
Setting up Power BI is as easy as it can get. There is no need to put the team under extensive training to use the tool. Experts from Power BI consulting companies will handle the initial process, and employees can use the dashboards to use the reports in their day-to-day work.
Customization of Power BI App
The app can also be customized to make navigation simple, fast, and effective. If your employee has to spend precious time searching for the required data, it doesn’t make sense to use such a powerful tool, right? By customizing the navigation, employees can find data and reports in less time and complete their work.
Breakdown of Information
The main aim of using Power BI is to understand data. If the data visuals are complex and confusing, how can employees know what the report says? First, raw data is the cleaning and structured for analytics. Then, the reports are dynamic and can be broken down into sections.
For example, the sales team can take one look at the graph for leads vs. conversions and know whether their strategy has worked or not.
Key Features of Power Bi that Extract the True Value of Data
We’ve seen the advantages of using Power BI in an organization. Now it’s time to see how this BI tool by Microsoft helps enterprises to extract the true value of data and make better decisions to boost the business.
- Cortana Integration
Cortana is an AI-based personal voice assistant that is a part of Microsoft 365. It is used in Teams and Windows to assist employees in their daily work. Cortana helps employees be more productive while also increasing the overall quality of the project. So how does Cortana help with Power BI analytics through integration?
Your employees can talk to the tool and ask to analyze the reports and graphs for them. Instead of writing complex code or giving a series of written/ clickable instructions, employees talk to the app. The NLP (Natural Language Processing) engine of Cortana will understand what they want and deliver the reports in the Power BI app.
- M Functions
M is a functional programming language that is used by Power BI experts to analyze raw data. The primary task of Power BI is to transform data from several sources and apply M expressions. When data is cleaned and structured, these M expressions are copied to M documents and used as queries to find the required data.
- Quick Insights
Quick Insights is a wonderful feature of Power BI that allows end-users (employees) to search for information in data sets and reports. From trends to correlations to major influencing factors, the Quick Insights feature can help you find anything you want in very little time. There’s no need to spend the entire day searching for data to complete your project.
- Ask a Question
Power BI lets you add a button to the reports that allows end-users to ask questions. This empowers them to run further analytics to crosscheck the report or get to advanced insights and comparisons. Cortana integration will allow them to verbally ask a question and give feedback to the team.
- Azure Machine Learning Integration
Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing service that offers countless products and services to build, deploy, and test software applications. By integrating Azure Machine Learning with Power BI, you can generate better data visuals and customize them. You just require dragging and dropping the necessary elements and connect the data modules.
- Source Query Building
By designing Direct Query models in Power BI, you can successfully avoid the limitations in scalability and flexibility. Microsoft Power BI’s data modeling engine has the latest SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) features, one of which is the Direct Query Mode. It allows you to directly access the data sets in real-time and see how the business processes are being handled.
- Multiple Query Integration
Data from different sources require to be brought together in one place to understand the patterns and trends. The multiple query feature allows you to retrieve and consolidate data files from various sources. It can be achieved using the M language. Using Power BI services in the USA, UK, India, or any country will help you use this feature. This is best done when left to experienced Power BI consultants.
- Multiple Filters
Filters are a great feature and one of the best offered by Power BI. You can use filters for query components, data models, and data visualization components. M functions and Query editor are two major filters used to find the required data at the Query level. This saves time from downloading and importing data models.
- Data Analysis Expression (DAX)
DAX is pretty much like MS Excel but is simpler and easy to use. It is a set of functions that are used to calculate multiple data with current data. It is used to support Many-to-Many relationships in data sets. It also contains a relationship filter that makes it easy to access data that is related to your project.
- Data Segmentation and Analytics
Clustering, Grouping, Binning is Power BI tools that facilitate data segmentation to establish meaningful relationships between different data sets. It helps in developing a theory or a hypothesis to analyze data and derive insights from it.
- Integration and Data Shaping with R
R is a programming language used for environmental statistical computing and graphics. It is free software used by data analysts. R connector can be used to integrate and run R on Power BI. This allows you to use Power Query editor for data cleansing, data shaping, and advanced analytics with just a few clicks.
Data Visualization: Data Visualization is one of the highlights of Power BI. It has numerous pre-built visualizations and allows you to add more custom visualizations to present real-time data reports in an attractive format. Be it graphs, charts, pies, or heat maps, you can use any format to present the derived insights.
- Multiple Data Source Consolidation
As we mentioned earlier, Power BI makes it an easy job of consolidating data from different sources and storing it in a central location (in-house or cloud) for advanced analytics. These data sets are used to develop interactive visual reports that can be changed in real-time.
Power BI provides you with an end-to-end view of your business KPIs. It helps you effectively address data challenges in the enterprise and adopt the data-driven model to become an industry leader. Hire Power BI consulting services from reputed business intelligence companies to unlock the potential of Microsoft Power BI and transform your organization.