In the contemporary era, data is the lifeblood of businesses. And we are generating that more than ever. Today, our best estimates suggest that at least 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is produced every day (that’s 2.5 followed by a staggering 18 zeros!).
But this data is all useless unless your organization makes sense of it. This is where business intelligence comes in.
Thinking about implementing a platform to help you pluck useful, actionable insight from your data? You’re in the right place. In this post, we’re going back to basics to find out exactly what Microsoft’s flagship BI software Power BI does, and what it can do for your business. Strap in.
What is Power BI?
Microsoft Power BI is a powerful business intelligence toolset that helps organizations collate, manage, and analyze data from a variety of sources, through a user-friendly interface. There is a multitude of purposes that business intelligence tools are used for.
Primarily, Power BI collects data together, processes it, and then turns it into actionable insights. This allows users to generate and share clear and useful snapshots of what’s happening in their business.
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 can be defined as an umbrella term; it can either be referred to as 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.
It is important to remember that Power BI is built on the foundation of Microsoft Excel. That is why, anyone who can use Excel can use Power BI but the latter is way more powerful than its counterpart.
Why Use Power BI?
These are the most popular reasons for using Power BI tools:
- Microsoft Power BI is used to run reports and surface insights
- Power BI enables real-time dashboard updates
- Pre-built dashboards for SaaS solutions
- Spot patterns in data and use those patterns to make informed predictions
- Power BI offers quick deployment, hybrid configuration, and a secure environment
- Offers secure and reliable connections to your data sources in the cloud
- Allow users to generate forecasts, and prepare themselves to meet future demand
- Enables data expedition using natural language query
Key components of Power BI
The major building blocks of Power BI are:
All are created on capacities and organized into workspaces.
Types of Power BI Tools
Some Important Power BI tools are:
Power BI Desktop
It is a free desktop application that works cohesively with the Power BI service to provide advanced data exploration, shaping, modeling, and report creation with highly interactive visualization. You can then share your data and reports to your Power BI site, to share with others.
Power BI, Desktop allows you to connect to data sources to Power BI, with no limits or restrictions other than the total amount of data you can feed in, and how much you can upload at a time. Most importantly, with Power BI Desktop, you can share anything with your peers.
Power BI Service
Power BI Service (usually known simply as Power BI) is the full version of Power BI. Power BI service is a secure Microsoft-hosted cloud service that lets users view dashboards, reports, and Power BI apps – a type of content that combines related dashboards and reports – using a web browser or via mobile apps for Windows, iOS, and Android.
There are two ways to license Power BI Service; Power BI Pro and Power BI Premium.
Power BI Pro
Power BI Pro and Power BI desktop have certain similarities. They have the same visualization options, the same limits on storage and file upload size, and the same report refresh allowance. The major difference between the two is that with Power BI Pro, you can share your data, reports, and dashboard with others privately.
What’s more, you can create app workspaces with Power BI Pro where you can put together related dashboards and reports.
Power BI Premium
It is an alternate way to access Power BI. Unlike with Power BI Pro, you can pay for the amount of space and processing capacity you want to carve out for your business. There are six capacity models, each one with varying amounts of memory so users can choose the amount they need to run their Power BI platform.
Premium is intended for enterprise-level businesses that generate huge amounts of data, and require extensive access to the app.
Power BI Report Server
Power BI Report Server is an on-premises report server that is used to host Power BI reports. The reports hosted on the on-premises report server are displayed to the users via a web portal. It has numerous advantages.
It is compatible with the Power BI Service and you can easily integrate it with your existing Reporting Services. Also, an on-premises report server is preferred by many organizations from a security point of view. It is safe to host important reports on a secure on-premises solution.
Power BI Mobile Apps
These are applications for your mobile and tablet devices that allow you to view your Power BI reports and dashboards. You can connect your data, make insights, collaborate, and get notified when your data is changed. Power BI mobile apps allow you to consume your data, however, you cannot create or edit reports.
You can quickly navigate from different workspaces, reports, and dashboards by using tabs. You can interact with your Power BI reports by clicking on different visuals or using slicers to filter the data.
So, What’s Next?
In a nutshell, Power BI is a powerful business intelligence toolset that helps organizations collate, manage, and analyze data from a variety of sources. Connect with Stallions Solutions if you are interested in implementing Power Platform in your business. With our knowledge across the Microsoft Stack, we build solutions that best fit your needs.