Nowadays, most businesses have to deal with huge amounts of data, and it holds true for companies belonging to any sector. Without collecting and analyzing data from multiple sources, they won’t be able to fathom market trends and evolving consumer demand well. However, to compile and interpret such massive amounts of data, businesses need to incorporate specialized software solutions. That is why data analytics and business intelligence tools have become so popular. There are plenty of BI tools, but Microsoft Power BI commands a major share of this segment.
Nuances of Power BI you should be aware of
Before you start using Power BI for your business needs, it is important that you know the basics of the platform. Microsoft offers its versatile and powerful data analytics and BI tool in many flavours. Power BI is actually an umbrella term that refers to an online SaaS service, a Windows desktop application, and a mobile app. You get free versions with a few limitations, and there are enterprise packages for which a monthly subscription is required. Of course, the high-end versions do not come for cheap.
Power BI is a platform that aids organizations collect, manage and analyze data obtained from many sources. It has a customizable and user-friendly interface. Microsoft Power Bi service turns data into useful insights through visually appealing and easily comprehensible charts and graphs. These reports can then be shared with others, including those who do not use Power BI.
Discovering the major strengths of Power BI
As many data analysts and business intelligence experts will swear by, Power BI is a tool that can be absolutely beneficial for businesses. Microsoft keeps enriching the tool with new and useful features every year. Regardless of your company profile, size or niche, you will find one of the versions suitable. Before buying or licensing a version of Power BI, you have to know how using it can benefit your organization in many ways.
Listed below are the major strengths of Power BI that make it suitable for businesses.
- It makes compiling data and utilizing it easier- When you use Power BI, dealing with gargantuan amounts of data obtained from numerous sources becomes easier. As it is, businesses gather data from many offline and web-based sources nowadays. They gather data from offline and online surveys, polls, emails, social media sites, phone calls, and also from outlets. It can be organized or unorganized both. Power BI makes the task of gathering all such data and getting it into one platform easier.
- As of now, the tool supports obtaining data from 70 connectors. It lets you fetch data from popular cloud services, including the likes of Azure, OneDrive, DropBox, and Google Analytics. It also has excellent integration with Excel and SQL Database. So, users can gather data in Power BI dashboards and generate useful reports within a short time. The drag-and-drop UI makes the process of linking and importing data smoothly.
- High on performance- If enhancing productivity at the workplace is a priority, there is hardly anything better for data analytics than Power BI. Its Power Pivot data modeling engine makes its performance top-notch. The Power BI Workbook tends to be smaller than the data sources. It offers high levels of compression to keep the file size manageable.
- The results become clearer when you compare them with tools like excel. Excel tends to slow when coping with large sets of data and tables. Power BI, however, handles tables with millions of records easily.
- Pre-loaded with customizable visual elements- Power BI was developed to give a visual representation to data to begin with. So, it comes with a huge amount of visual elements, and you can pick from these to represent your data visually. These include pie charts, bar, column, table, matrix, map, etc. The advanced users can walk an extra mile and incorporate custom visuals created by veteran Power Bi developers. So, users are able to present the data exactly the way they want using this platform.
- Robust native R integration- Power BI supports R, which is an open-source programming language. R Scripts make use of statistical computing and complex graphical techniques, statistical modeling, and ML concepts. Power BI lets the users integrate multiple types of R visualizations onto a standard dashboard, minus hiccups. To leverage this functionality well, hiring a skilled Power BI developer is prudent.
- Strong integration with Excel- Thousands of companies rely on the MS Office suite for operational needs. Power Bi integrates with MS Excel, a widely-used accounting application. The veteran Excel users will feel at home with Power Bi’s inbuilt accounting features. Special mention needs to be made of its Power Pivot and self-service Power Query tool.
- Since Power Bi’s integration with Excel is very strong, users need not even export files. The ‘Analyse in Excel’ feature can be used instead. So, if your workforce is habituated to using Excel, getting them migrated to Power BI will not be tedious.
- Q&A feature- For users who are not well-versed in coding or using complex formulas, the Q&A feature of Power BI is ideal for getting insights on key business metrics. They can use plain English-based queries to generate visualizations. Power BI is very intuitive and lists meaningful queries as you type. In fact, the mobile edition of Power Bi now supports advanced voice recognition Q&A. The tool’s natural language query engine gets better with time.
- Diversity of report creation- Power BI lets you compile gargantuan amounts of data fetched from many sources, and you can generate reports based on that data by choosing specific parameters. The amount of customization it allows in report creation leaves most rivals lagging behind. You can, for example, generate reports on past trends and statistics, on the present and also for the future. The tool helps bring a remarkable level of accuracy in predictive analysis, which can be beneficial for businesses. It has embedded ML capabilities.
- The flexibility of usage- Since Power BI is available in many versions, it is flexible to use for almost any organization. The SaaS version can be accessed at any time and anywhere. The employees can use the mobile version on the move. Sharing data and reports between users of its many editions is hassle-free. This makes it suited for companies that use a multitude of devices and platforms. It is also useful for companies where employees are working from home-owing to the ongoing pandemic situation.
- Excellent third-party tool support- One major strength of Power Bi is that it supports many Microsoft and third-party software solutions out of the box. It supports major Microsoft products like Office 365, SharePoint, and non-Microsoft products such as Google Analytics, Spark, Hadoop, MailChimp, ZenDesk, Marketo, and SAP. To facilitate better integration with such third-party tools, you can hire a certified Power BI professional.
Summing it up
Microsoft Power BI is a versatile Data analytics and BI tool that can be useful for businesses of any type and size, literally. The various editions can be customized to suit user needs as well. It is used extensively in departments like HR, marketing, sales, and finance. The platform makes data analysis a breeze with its embedded features, excellent third-party tool integration, and customizable report creation and sharing capabilities. However, hiring suitable and skilled Power Bi consultants can be ideal for leveraging all benefits offered by the platform.