How Does Microsoft Power BI Work?
Microsoft Power BI is a business intelligence platform that connects to any data source. With Power BI, you can model your data, then visualise it.
Power BI uses AI to answer users’ questions. Even if you use conversational language (for example, ‘Find out how our product performed in Q1’), Power BI can find the data you need.
Power BI’s Capabilities
Power BI has some specific capabilities that are important to discuss.
Specifically, you can create data visualisations and reports within the business intelligence platform. There are also weekly and monthly updates that improve Power BI’s features, based on ideas submitted by the business intelligence platform’s users.
A data visualisation is a method of displaying information through an image. Data visualisations are actually great if you want to look at advanced analytics.
Here’s why: the human brain prefers images over text. What’s more eye-catching—a paragraph of text or a bar chart?
If your answer was the bar chart, you’d be correct. The human brain is hardwired to process visuals.
What Can Data Visualisations Tell Us?
Data visualisation helps us see advanced analytics in a way that’s easy to understand.
Let’s say that you work at a marketing firm, and you’ve just concluded a campaign. You don’t just want to know how successful it was, you want a deep and clear understanding of which channels performed the best. With Power BI, you can create a graph that shows you the performance of each channel (which can, for example, show you that your LinkedIn ads did better than you expected they would).
In Power BI, a report is a multi-perspective view into a data set. Reports include visuals that present different findings and insights from a data set.
Within reports, there can be a single data visualisation, or they can feature a number of data visualisations.
What Can Reports Tell Us?
There are THREE things that are important to understand about Power BI reports:
- The data set isn’t static—the report and data visualisations change as the data set is updated
- You can customise a report
- Users can confidently filter, slice, and export data without worrying about those actions affecting the underlying data set
Why is This Important?
- When a data set is updated, you’re working with the most timely data possible
- A number of data visualisations provide you with different points of view on your data
- The ability to filter and slice, knowing that these actions will never affect the underlying data, gives users the confidence to dig deeper into a data set
Weekly and Monthly Updates
Weekly and monthly updates allow Microsoft to share new functionalities and features of Power BI.
These updates solve issues that enable users around the world to get the most out of Power BI. Microsoft’s commitment to constant improvement ensures that Power BI will always deliver value to your organisation.
What Kind of Value Can You Get out of Power BI?
Now that we’ve gone through all of Power BI’s capabilities, let’s talk about the value you get out of Power BI.
Power BI does two things really well:
- It brings together, manages, and analyses data
- It helps you figure out the next best steps you should take
How can you get actionable insights from Power BI? The answer lies in data visualisations. At a glance, you can see trends and data points that you couldn’t quickly or necessarily get out of a spreadsheet.
We’ll illustrate with an example: Let’s say you’re the sales lead for a mid-sized furniture manufacturer. You want to understand last quarter’s sales trends, but you’re not a data analyst; moreover, there’s a great deal of data to go through.
That’s where Power BI comes in. When you connect Power BI to your data sources, it can ‘clean up’ the large quantity of information and provide you with data visualisations. Power BI is more robust than other business intelligence software—it can handle more information than other products on the market, so you don’t have to worry about overwhelming it.
‘Power BI can collate, manage, and analyse larger amounts of data than other BI products on the market’
Now, let’s say you’ve analysed your data and spotted some important trends thanks to the easy-to-read data visualisations. You now want to inform other decision makers so that the company can make the right choices in a competitive market. Power BI lets you share the data visualisations you’ve created securely, so only the right people will see them. That’s quite a valuable feature—you don’t have to worry about ensuring that the right people see the visualisations (and that the wrong people don’t).
Here’s a final scenario: It’s the next quarter, and you need to run the sales numbers again. You decide to use the same data visualisations, because they were very helpful. The good news is that the visualisations are automatically updated with new information, which saves you time and money. It also means you can have confidence in your decisions because you’ve got accurate, up-to-date data.
Enlighten Designs: Helping You Get the Most out of Power BI
For over two decades, Enlighten Designs has created delightful digital experiences for its customers. We’re proud Microsoft partners, having achieved Gold status, and our expertise and experience in data allows us to guide customers through their Power BI deployments, so they get maximum ROI. To learn more, contact us.