Power BI is a free business intelligence cloud service provided by Microsoft mainly used as a data visualization tool and is much more instrumental and powerful than the traditional excel spreadsheets. Its user-friendly applications and features have made it a favorite tool especially among non-technical business people as it requires minimal upfront training to use. However, Power BI certification training comes in handy not just to master business intelligence and be able to draw insights from data but also for one to have an edge in the marketplace.
According to Microsoft, during the Microsoft Data Insight Summit in March 2016, Power BI had crossed the 5 million subscribers mark. This was attributed to several new features and an “explosion” of data which was forecasted to reach at least 50 zettabytes by the year 2020.
Some of the features delivered by power BI that are unique and handy include:
- A hybrid deployment support
- Ability to draw insights quickly and easily
- Its integration with Cortana i.e. natural Q&A language
- APIs for integration.
Power BI has some very pivotal tools under various categories that cement its position as an industry leader. These include:
It is very possible in the business world to have excellent data but fall short in the analysis part, hence still end up with dismal results. Analysis and interpretation of data, therefore, are quite critical in making informed decisions.
Power BI has various analytical tools and capabilities that can ensure excellent and accurate analysis. They include:
- Data modeling feature
Power BI is designed to automate or simplify the procedures followed for data modeling which are:
- Identifying all possible relationships between datasets
- Manage these relationships
- Data calculation
- Developing a suitable visualization for analysis presentation
- Real-time Analytics
This is a Power BI-enabled feature that ensures that the company or business is up to date with any significant changes or arrival of data. It also allows the user to update dashboards in real-time. Basically, its two core functions are streaming and real-time updating. It is essential to note that there are three types of datasets displayable in the dashboard which are:
- Push dataset
- Streaming dataset
- PubNub streaming dataset
- Predictive Analytics
Power BI does not only have the capabilities of data modeling and real-time analytics but also of enabling users to create predictive models that adopt advanced analytics. This feature enables businesses to smooth operations since they can, for instance, make forecasts for inventory, focus on potential customers, and foresee opportunities and threats to address them in time.
- R language Support
Atop the pyramid of BI’s most valuable features is its ability to integrate with the R language. This compatibility with R language not only eases the work required to perform tasks but also harnesses R language’s powerful ability to transform and filter data as well as create models and reports.
- Power BI Desktop
Power BI also contains a feature known as the desktop which is a form of a workspace or area which has been equipped to easily perform some essential tasks. The Power BI desktop has the ability to:
- Create charts and graphs
- Create reports and dashboards
- Assess and evaluate data
- Collaborate with other Power BI users on data and reports
- DAX Studio
DAX (Data Analysis Expressions) is a programming language that encompasses a library of functions used in power BI. It can be integrated to form formulas and expressions that are used for communication and problem solving through calculations of values. DAX functions are very similar to Microsoft Excel functions.
Publishing and Reporting Tools
Power BI also has excellent tools for publishing and reporting. This is a crucial stage for any business since stakeholders are often keen on the reports to read and analyze the reports and know how well the business is performing. Data analysis findings should therefore be well-reported and published in a way that a non-technical person can easily understand. Some important publishing and reporting tools are:
- Enterprise Power BI
Since most enterprises have numerous analytics tools and solutions, Microsoft has created an enterprise-oriented platform that extends capabilities to large businesses with advanced AI, self-service data prep for big data, and enhanced data management to enhance access to insights from data.
- Scheduled Refresh
This is a power BI feature that allows the user to refresh the datasets by defining the time and frequency slots. It is set by putting the ‘Keep your data up to date’ slider on. The target refresh time is normally 15 minutes.
- Ad hoc Reporting
This is a power report BI feature that enables report sharing with other users, allowing them to go through as they personalize the visuals. It helps mostly non-technical business persons who may be in need of inputs and insights from seasoned professionals.
- Paginated Reporting
This is simply a page configured report. It neatly displays data in a way that the page layout can be controlled. This is advantageous in that it is pixel-perfect.
- Mobile Reporting
Power BI also allows for the visualization of reports in mobile apps. In your mobile, they can either be found in Apps, Shared with me, workspaces, or on the report server.
- Embedded reporting
This feature enables companies to use power BI to integrate with their own customized applications.
- Power BI Report Builder
The Power BI report builder is a tool that enables the preparation of paginated reports.
- Power BI Report Server
It is a flexible database that hosts a web portal that displays and manages reports.
Power BI is renowned for its powerful visualization features that are also user-friendly especially to non-technical users. These features include:
- Pre-built visuals
These are free downloadable default visuals that have been prebuilt making it easy for users to create visuals by simply selecting a preferred visual and using it on an open report or dashboard. Pre-built visuals save users the time it would have taken to create a visual for their reports. These include slicer, area chart, waterfall chart, and tables.
- Custom visuals
Businesses may not entirely rely on default visuals. Custom visuals include customizable elements that users can use to create visuals that meet their specific data needs. The *** is a very useful tool available to Power BI users for creating customized visualizations.
- Interactive Dashboards
Power BI dashboards refer to all the critical information from various reports represented in a single-page view that tells a story. This tool is available to the Power BI service users but not for the Power BI desktop. They are also sharable on mobile devices. The dashboards are interactive with the tiles updating automatically with changes in the datasets.
- Power View
This is a visualization and one of the three data analysis tools available in Microsoft Excel, SharePoint, and SQL servers, is now also available in Power BI. Power View allows you to create interactive charts, maps, graphs, and other visuals.
- Power Map
This is a 3D geo-spatial data visualization tool that allows users to visualize locational data in maps in a way that their audience can discover and understand the insights represented in the maps from the data.
Power BI is a truly unrivaled tool that has gained traction within the business community mainly because it possesses benefits that are of utmost importance to a business. These benefits streamline and smoothen operations thereby boosting the overall performance of business operations. They include:
- Automation of Key Performance Indicators
- Real-time access to a business’s financial performance
- Excellent data visualization
- General Efficiency
- Uniformity in reports formats hence easy to understand
Thanks to these benefits, businesses – large and small, now have a level playing field in terms of quick access to intelligence. Whatever they do with this intelligence is therefore what will create their competitive edge.