What’s Microsoft Power BI?

Power BI is a Microsoft Office 365 tool. An intelligence business insight platform that provides business users with various data representations & techniques like aggregating, analyzing, visualizing and sharing data in an easily comprehensive format. Power BI’s user interface is simplistic and familiar with Excel, its knitted integration with other Microsoft products makes it a very dynamic platform that requires little training to use.

It’s subscription is scaled at different levels wherein, a free version is intended for small to midsize businesses. An upscaled professional version than that of the free one is called Power BI Plus which is available for a monthly subscription fee. There is also a downloadable application for Windows 10, called Power BI Desktop. Furthermore, there are native mobile apps for Windows, Android and iOS devices.

Common uses of Microsoft Power BI

Power BI can connect diverse data sets, transform and organize the data into an appropriate data model and create charts or graphs to provide visuals of the data to find intuitive insights within an organization’s data. This is easily shareable with other authorised Power BI users of the organisation.

The data compilations can be used for telling logical stories through charts & visualizations and examining “What If” scenarios within the data. These reports are also dynamic in nature and can answer questions in real time and help with forecasting to help a business meet its key milestones. 

These reports can also be extended to provide executive dashboards for administrators or managers, giving them a streamlined & tailored insight into each department. 

About Power BI key users

Even though using Power BI requires little training, the platform is mostly handled by data analysts and business intelligence professionals who create logical data models upfront before distributing reports throughout the organization. However, those without an analytical background can still navigate Power BI and create reports based on their data understanding.

Some useful reports and forecasts can be created to aid sales and marketing personnel, while also providing management data on department and employee progression toward their key metrics, along with an admin portal for administrators to configure the implementation of Power BI, as well as monitor usage and licenses status.

Power BI’s key features

Microsoft has added a substantial number of data analytics features to Power BI since its discovery, and continues to do so. Some of the most important features include:

  • Artificial Intelligence – accessibility of image recognition and text analytics, creation of machine learning models via automated capabilities and integration with Azure Machine Learning.
  • Hybrid Deployment – embedded connectors that support Power BI tools to connect with a range of data sources from Microsoft, Salesforce and others.
  • Snap Insights – This feature allows users to create subsets of data and automatically apply analytics to that information.
  • Standardised Data Modelling – It supports common data modelling by easily enabling the use of a standardised and extendable collection of data schemas like entities, attributes and relationships.
  • Cortana – Cortana Micrisoft’s digital assistant. Its integration is especially popular in mobile devices allowing users to verbally query data using natural language and access results.
  • Customisation – enables developers to play around with the appearance of default visualization and reporting tools. Also, they can import new tools into the platform, as required.
  • APIs – presents developers with sample code and ‘Application Performance Interfaces’ (APIs) for embedding the Power BI dashboard in other software products.
  • Self Data Prep – Power Query enables business analysts to import, transform, integrate and optimise big data into the Power BI web service. Imported data can be shared across multiple Power BI models, reports and dashboards.
  • Modeling Visualisation – enables users to segregate complex data models by subject area into different diagrams, choose multiple data objects & denote common properties, view & modify properties in the properties pane, and set display folders for simpler accessibility of complex data models.

Key Components of Power BI 

There are some key components of Power BI that enable users to create and share business insights in a tailored manner to suit the users purpose.

These key components are:

  • Power Query- Data mashup & transformation tool
  • Power Pivot- Memory tabular data modeling tool
  • Power View- Data visualization tool
  • Power Map- 3D geospatial data visualization tool
  • Power Q&A- Natural language question & answering engine

Power BI is indeed extremely powerful but its amazing features can only give results if the tool is in the right hands. So if your business is looking for unanswered questions about your key business insights & performance then reach out to us because @Cloudploys we have data experts who can derive logical patterns for your business and provide you with a comprehensive analytical report.

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