If you want both you and your team, or anyone in your organization, to be able to view key metrics of your business in real-time, from anywhere, at any time, easily and clearly through customized reports and dashboards, Power BI is likely what you’re looking for.
This Microsoft Business Intelligence platform has become a major reference in the Analytics market, and it’s one that we’ve been endorsing with numerous clients at Bimex Analytics.
In this post, we’ll briefly explain what Microsoft Power BI entails, its features, its purposes, and the type of business profile it’s targeted towards.
What is Microsoft Power BI?
A Business Intelligence (BI) and data visualization tool for businesses that enables users to add, analyze, visualize, unify, and share data is how we can best define Microsoft Power BI. This solution allows for data modeling and analysis, subsequently presenting it through panels and reports that are easily, simply, attractively, and intuitively accessible.
Simultaneously, this volume of data transformed into reports, dashboards, insights, and panels can be shared among numerous users and departments, providing real-time organizational and business information. Thus, in many companies, it is used as a self-service tool, as it is very user-friendly, allowing any user with basic BI and Office tool knowledge to create their own reports.
Features of Power BI
Your entire business on a single dashboard. That (and much more) is what Power BI offers.
This BI tool, as mentioned, helps monitor a business’s health through a live dashboard, creating interactive reports and accessing data anywhere via smartphone apps.
Therefore, with a quick glance, we can access the necessary information to enhance our business’s efficiency and make better decisions. This is due to Power BI’s intrinsic features, such as:
- Security and Data Confidentiality: We will control how and who accesses the data and what use is made of it, regardless of the device.
- User-Friendliness: You don’t need to be a web analytics expert to use Power BI. In fact, it’s more oriented towards non-technical users within the data analysis sector.
- Custom and Personalized Reports: Sharing transformed and analyzed data within seconds with the rest of the organization at any time. Users can divide complex data models by thematic area into separate diagrams, select objects, and establish common properties.
- Consistent Analysis: Solid and reusable models can be combined through data to give consistency to business reports and analyses.
- Integration into Any Application: Interactive and customizable reports can be viewed in any application, whether internal or external.
- Detailed, Real-Time Information: We can cross-reference data and create detailed reports with multiple features in real time as data is sent or transmitted.
- Cortana Integration: Users can verbally query data using natural language and access results through Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant.
- Guaranteed Mobility: Reports and dashboards are accessible from anywhere.
- Data Sources: Power BI consolidates various information sources such as databases (SAP HANA, SQL Server, etc.), spreadsheets (Excel), online platform data (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Analytics, LinkedIn, YouTube, Vimeo, etc.), or automation tools (MailChimp, Marketo, etc.).
- Q&A (Questions and Answers): It enables the option to make any query and get a solution or instant response in natural language (Q&A).
- Cost and Investment Savings: Economically, compared to other tools like Tableau, QlikView, and SAP Analytics Cloud, Power BI licenses are more cost-effective.
How does Microsoft Power BI really work?
The simplicity of its process is the great virtue of its operation. Power BI is a tool with a Microsoft Office-style interface, highly intuitive for users familiar with database programs and the Microsoft Suite. Therefore, its basic operation would be:
- We provide all the information available to us, both internally through tools and externally to Power BI Desktop. There, the data is crossed and data visualizations and reports are generated.
- We select relevant company information that we want to analyze quickly and succinctly, identifying our SWOT in a specific element.
- The reports and information panels are published and presented in a highly visual manner for all types of users through the Power BI service.
- Different users can access these reports through apps on their devices.
The platform, as we see it, assists businesses in finding useful information within an organization’s data by connecting disparate data sets, transforming and cleaning them, and creating tables or charts to provide visual images or graphics.
The generated data models are used to create stories through graphs and data visualizations, simultaneously examining potential scenarios within the data. Additionally, these reports can answer real-time questions and aid in forecasting to ensure that each department meets the projected metrics.
Moreover, a notable aspect of its operation is that it has been developed with Machine Learning. What does this mean? It implies that it can identify patterns from the data and utilize them to make predictions and enhance future decision-making.
The parts of Power BI
Power BI is made up of several elements that work together, such as:
- Power BI Desktop: Windows desktop application. FREE!
- Power View: It is the fundamental data visualization component of Power BI.
- Power Query: Removes data from different sources and extracts it from a wide range of different databases.
- Power BI Service: Online Software as a Service (SaaS) service.
- Power BI Report Builder: Creates paginated reports to share in the Power BI Service.
- Gateway: Tool for synchronizing data sources between local and server.
- Power BI Report Server: A local report server where Power BI reports can be published after creating them in Power BI Desktop.
- Power Pivot: Used to model simple and complex data.
- Power BI mobile apps for Windows, iOS, and Android.
What is it for and what can we use Power BI for?
Business Intelligence is the ability to transform data into information and knowledge, which leads us to optimize the decision-making process in businesses.
In this sense, Power BI allows us to visualize a myriad of elements that are of interest to virtually any company, such as:
- The state of our cash flows, and in general, the measurement, tracking, and prediction of sales and financial performance.
- Business opportunities, orders and their invoices, and overall financial planning.
- Customer relationship management: understanding where they are, where they most frequently purchase our products and use our services. This includes analyzing customer behavior, purchase patterns, and sales trends.
- Analyzing the performance of marketing campaigns.
- Optimizing processes and operational performance.
- Risk analysis.
Ultimately, Power BI is a very interesting tool because it offers a wide variety of information sources, is ideal for companies with different sales channels, doesn’t require high technical training, and is sustained by the people within the business. It also doesn’t need a large special infrastructure as it is a cloud service and seamlessly shares information among departments.
Power BI by BIMEX
At Bimex Analytics, we have been working with this tool integrated into our portfolio for some time, assisting our clients in getting the most out of it.
Power BI is a tool that gathers data, processes it, and converts it into visually appealing and easily accessible, understandable information. With this, users can generate and share useful snapshots of what’s happening in the company. Moreover, it can connect to a wide range of data sources and other Microsoft products, from basic Excel spreadsheets to databases and cloud applications, making it a highly practical self-service tool that requires minimal initial training.
Thanks to our experience utilizing this tool, we can assist all types of companies in implementing and exploring its practical potential. If you need or want to integrate Microsoft Power BI into your company, or if you have any inquiries about its functionality, feel free to contact us.