Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft Power BI is a cloud solution designed to analyse data, create business reports and rich visualisations to help you understand and get the most out of your data.

Power BI connects with just about any data source and integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Office 365, including Excel and PowerPoint. Therefore, you can connect it to your existing spreadsheets and publish dynamic data visualisations into your PowerPoint presentations. And, because the Microsoft tools are familiar and business reports can be created with easy drag and drop functionality, you can be up and running in no time.

Furthermore, because it’s web-based means you can set up business report dashboards with all your important metrics up to date and all in one place. Therefore, your reports will be accessible from home, the office, or anywhere on a mobile device. Save paper and share your reports online for collaboration and input from colleagues or embed into your business apps, software, or website knowing the data is current and from a controlled source.

Source: Microsoft

Data source aggregator

If it’s data that you can report on and it’s located in a database somewhere, you can include it in Power BI. This means with Power BI you can connect to hundreds of internal and external data sources. With simplified and controlled data preparation you can do ad-hoc analysis without having to worry about the quality of the data. Most importantly, Power BI gives you the ability to have a single source of truth to ensure consistent analysis across your organisation.

Interactive business reports and dashboards

The visualisation engine of Power BI lets you create fantastic looking business reports and data visualisations. As a result, you can slice and dice almost everything and cross filter everything else. And, if what’s included in Power BI doesn’t suit your needs, you can build a custom one or there are lots of plug-in options for other visualisation tools.

Most noteworthy of being web-based means you can create a Power BI dashboard. This is a single page that uses visualisations of your business reports to tell a story. Because it’s limited to one page, a well-designed dashboard contains only the most important elements of that story.

Power BI business reports dashboard

Power BI business reports and dashboard example

Data security and data access

Power BI is built on Azure, which is Microsoft’s cloud computing infrastructure and platform. Azure provides enterprise-grade security and the highest level of data compliance and security features. At the application level, the first class data security model of Power BI ensures the protection of your data inside and outside of your organisation.

One of Power BI’s most valuable features is the ease of sharing the business reports and dashboards you create. Sharing does not mean you compromise the security of the data. You can protect your data and control access to Power BI reports to specific people in your organisation or restrict views of data within reports and dashboards to specified users only. Grant permissions based on role or the organisational user group they belong to.

Microsoft is the market leader

Gartner, the world’s leading research and advisory company, ranks Microsoft the leader in Business Intelligence and Analytics platforms.

Power BI for analytics and business reports

Microsoft Business Intelligence platform is the market leader

Can’t I do that with spreadsheets?

How much effort do you expend in building and maintaining spreadsheets? What about the time it takes to detect and fix errors? Do spreadsheet errors result in poor decisions being made?

Spreadsheets have their place and can be a great way to develop ideas, but they rarely provide a robust and reliable long-term solution.

There are many pitfalls in using a spreadsheet as the data source for key business decisions:

  • How do you verify data is correct?
  • Are you able to keep an audit trail of the changes to the data, functions, macros, etc?
  • How do you ensure the data definitions and business rules used in the spreadsheet remain current?
  • Do you have the time, ability, and processing power to develop accurate and useful predictive models in a spreadsheet?
  • Who will have sufficient understanding of how the spreadsheet works to maintain it if/when its creator leaves?

Power BI advantages summarised

  • A cloud subscription means affordable monthly cost per user
  • Easy sharing with anyone, anywhere and on any device
  • Minimal start-up costs
  • Connects to any data source
  • Seamless integration with Office 365
  • Powerful visualisation engine or access open-source visualisations to suit your needs
  • Power BI has a natural language query engine
  • Dashboards to customise what you see and when
  • Easily embedded into your custom apps
  • Product improvements released every day with a continuous release cycle in the cloud

How Satalyst can help

Satalyst is a Gold Microsoft Partner for Data Analytics and Cloud. We can help you from setting up subscriptions right through to delivering a business intelligence platform that changes your business. If you have a question or want to know more about how Satalyst can help your organisation with PowerBI, contact us!

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