Running a 21st century modern business in the face of fierce industry competition and rapidly evolving consumer demands means having to juggle a few or all of these tasks: oversee smooth day to day operations; optimize internal functions or processes; facilitate growth of employees and customers; and get updates on market conditions, latest trends, and trade statistics.
If you’re having difficulties managing all these things, it is crucial to have a great business intelligence tool such as Microsoft Power BI to help you make sense of mountains of digital data and convert them into actionable insights which in turn will help you make smarter business decisions.
What is Microsoft Power BI?
Power BI is Microsoft’s technology-driven, cloud-based Business Intelligence and Data Visualization tool that collate, manage, and analyze data from a variety of sources and convert them to cohesive, coherent, and dynamic insights. Power BI enables you to collect massive data from a wide range of systems, organize them in a fast, accurate, and efficient manner, turn them to visually compelling and easy-to-process charts, graphs, and diagrams so you can get clear, intelligible, and relevant business information to make smart, profitable decisions.
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 connects to a range of data sources, from basic Excel spreadsheets to databases, and both cloud-based and on-premises apps. 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.
What are the major components of Power BI?
- Power Query: Search, access, and transform public and/ or private data resources
- Power Pivot: Data modeling for in-memory analytics
- Power View: Observe, assess, and present data
- Power Map: Use interactive geographical visualization
- Power BI Solution: Share data sights and workbooks from on-premises and cloud-based data sources
- Power BI Q&A: Ask queries and get instant answers using a natural language query
- Data Management Portal: Use regular data refreshers, view data feeds, and expose tables
- Data Catalog: Discover and reuse queries using the Data Catalog
What versions of Power BI are available?
There are a handful of versions of Power BI to choose from, depending on your budget, your needs, and how you want to deploy it. These versions range from light use to comprehensive features, free to premium, so users can select the one that best meets their requirements. Here’s a quick overview of the different versions:
- Power BI Desktop: Free version; recommended for startups and small to midsize businesses (SMBs)
- Power BI Service (Power BI Pro): Paid per-user license; for those who need access to advanced features and reports sharing capabilities
- Power BI Service (Power BI Premium): Licenses by scale; intended for large businesses and enterprises
- Power BI Mobile: Device-based app for phones and tables
- Power BI Embedded: A white-label version of Power BI which Independent Software Vendors can embed in their own apps, rather than build their own analytical features
- Power BI Report Server: An on-premises version of the Power BI Desktop app for businesses that need to keep their data and reports on their own servers
What are Power BI’s main competitors?
- Amazon QuickSight
- Google Data Studio
- IBM Cognos
- Jet Reports
- MicroStrategy Analytics
- Qlik Sense
- SAS Visual Analytics
- TIBCO Spotfire
What are the key benefits of using Power BI?
- Businesses can input huge quantities of data into Power BI that many other platforms would struggle to analyze.
- Power BI utilizes cloud technology to enable users to take advantage of cutting-edge intelligence capabilities and powerful algorithms that are updated regularly.
- Power BI has superb data protection capabilities built on Microsoft’s strengths in security, ensures data is safe, offering granular controls on accessibility both internally and externally.
- Robust personalization capabilities allow users to create dashboards so they can access the data they need quickly.
- Built-in machine learning features can analyze data, spot valuable trends, and make educated predictions.
- Alerts can be set up on KPIs to provide regular updates on important metrics and measurements.
- Information can be visualized using powerful templates to allow businesses to better make sense of their data.
- The platform integrates with other popular business management tools like SharePoint, Office 365, and Dynamics 365, as well as other non-Microsoft products like Google Analytics, Hadoop, MailChimp, SAP, Salesforce, and Spark.
Power BI lets you envision data your way, making business analytics a pretty simple task. With help from Microsoft’s Power BI, companies of any size and type from any industry can now conduct their own data consolidation and analysis with ease, efficiency, and accuracy – an invaluable tool that can revolutionize business success over time.
Curious to learn more? You’re in the right place. ClinkIT Solutions is a 6X Gold Microsoft Partner that offer mentor-led self-paced online training programs on Microsoft Power BI.