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 are 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.
PowerBI connects to a range of data sources, from basic Excel spreadsheets to databases, and both cloud-based and on-premises apps.
PowerBI 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 PowerBI?
These are the most popular reasons for using Power BI tools:
- Microsoft Power BI is used to run reports and surface insights
- It enables real-time dashboard updates
- Pre-built dashboards for SaaS solutions
- Spot patterns in data and use those patterns to make informed predictions
- It 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 PowerBI
The primary building blocks of Power BI are:
The Main Components of PowerBI Include:
The power of data is that it can be analyzed in ways no one else has been able to. This means you’re not limited by the knowledge or skillsets available within your organization, which makes for more diverse perspectives on what needs solving and how best to go about doing so! The 8 components listed below are all essential when taking advantage of this discovery process through analytics – but don’t worry; each individually serves its own purpose too:
1) Power Query allows us to access high-level insights without having accessed any down data yet (for example speeding up reporting). It also gives users immediate control over their analysis.
2) Power Pivot enables users to create advanced models that can be shared across different platforms, which will save you valuable time when working with large amounts of data.
3) Power View is a visualization tool that helps you to explore your data in new ways. It gives users the power of seeing their information as though it were alive, with geographical visualizations for both time periods and variables such as sales numbers or customer retention rates; plus charts on dependent vs independent samples – all from one page!
4) Power Map gives you a 3D view of the geo map so that no matter where in your office or home it’s being used from – all areas can be seen with just one glance.
5) With the power of natural language, PowerQ&A is able to assist you in your day-to-day work. You can ask any question and get an answer without worrying about programming or coding!
6) The PowerBI service is a companion tool of the powerful and versatile business intelligence platform. It allows users to view data in their environments more creatively through visualizations, reports, etc., making it easier for them to make informed decisions about company strategies that will help grow revenue across all aspects!
7) The Data Management Gateway is a true hybrid solution that seamlessly integrates data from all sources and formats it into the cloud for easy access. This means you can have complete control over where your information lives, making sure no important bits get lost in translation!
8) The goal of the data catalog is to make it easy for you, the user/operator, by providing an interface that allows quick and simple access to your organization’s database.
All are created on capacities and organized into workspaces.
Types of PowerBI Tools
Some Important PowerBI tools are:
1. 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 PowerBI Desktop, you can share anything with your peers.
2. Power BI Service
Power BI Service (usually known simply as PowerBI) is the full version of PowerBI. PowerBI service is a secure Microsoft-hosted cloud service that lets users view dashboards, reports, and PowerBI 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; PowerBI Pro and PowerBI Premium.
3. Power BI Pro
PowerBI Pro and PowerBI 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 Powe BI Pro where you can put together related dashboards and reports.
4. Power BI Premium
It is an alternate way to access PowerBI. 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 PowerBI platform.
Premium is intended for enterprise-level businesses that generate huge amounts of data, and require extensive access to the app.
5. 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.
6. Power BI Mobile Apps
These are applications for your mobile and tablet devices that allow you to view your PowerBI reports and dashboards. You can connect your data, make insights, collaborate, and get notified when your data is changed. PowerBI 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 PowerBI 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.