PowerBI Overview: Everything You Need to Know

by Emily on July 19, 2020

in Articles

Data is very important to a company’s overall business functions, but making sense of the deluge of data that you have coming in can be a challenge. Fortunately, you have a powerful tool like PowerBI to help you out. Let’s get a PowerBI overview so we can better understand what this tool is all about and how companies use it to achieve business objectives. 

What is PowerBI?

PowerBI is a powerful tool that is used by businesses all over the world to transform the data they have coming in into actionable steps and insights. This makes it a lot easier to plan for the future and help explain certain phenomenons that are going on. All of this is done through an intuitive user interface that makes it easy to generate all kinds of reports with lots of different visualization options. The data sources PowerBI uses can also vary from simple excel spreadsheets and all the way to large databases. The name “PowerBI” speaks for itself because the tools are powerful enough to handle large amounts of data. 

You have some options when it comes to implementing PowerBI. There is a desktop app called PowerBi Desktop, POwerBI Service which is a SaaS service and even mobile apps that will work on Android, iOS and Windows devices. If you are worried that PowerBI will be too complex to learn, keep in mind that PowerBi uses Excel as its foundation. Therefore, if you are a solid Excel user, you should have no trouble switching to PowerBI. 

What Does PowerBI Do? 

Imagine that you are experiencing a business issue and you would like to find out the reason this is happening. You log into the database and see all kinds of numbers that data back many decades. However, you only need the numbers from the last few months. While it is possible to parse through this data manually it would take you a very long time which would not be very efficient. 

However, if you connect your database or other data source to PowerBi, you can select the date and category you would like to see. Then you can run all kinds of analysis on the data depending on your project. 

Not only can PowerBi help you understand why certain problems are occuring, but it can also help you plan for the future and understand how well certain departments are doing and your company as a whole. It can even be used to run hypothetical scenarios as well. 

What are the benefits of Using PowerBI?

If you are looking for an analytical instrument that is more powerful than Excel, PowerBi can take your data analysis to the next level. With PowerBI, you can take data from across the organization and run all kinds of analysis to obtain business insights. This way you can use data as a strong foundation for making business decisions. 

Additional benefits include: 

  • PowerBI can handle large amounts of data that other platforms simply cannot
  • Machine learning features can help you spot even the most difficult to identify features
  • All of the information that is produced can be visualized with a wide variety of templates
  • Since PowerBI is cloud-based, you can get the latest intelligence capabilities not to mention the power that can only be offered by the cloud. 

Who is the Intended User of PowerBI?

Even though analytical software is generally reserved for business analysts, PowerBI is so user-friendly that it can be used by people who are not used to creating analytical models. The way you use it is completely up to you. If you need to run specific data, you can create a custom dashboard in PowerBI depending on the information you need to obtain. 

One of the reasons that PowerBI is so popular is that you do not have to be a trained business analyst to use it. Thanks to its intuitive interface, all you have to do is tell the tool which data you would like it to analyse and the type of analysis you are looking for. That’s it! It will do the rest. 

PowerBI will work with whatever data you need and is widely used by marketing, sales, HR and operations departments around the world. Keep in mind, that it is possible to use PowerBI in conjunction with other services offered by Microsoft such as SharePoint and SQL Server. This way you will get all of your data in one place allowing you to make decisions even faster. 

Even though we mentioned the products offered by Microsoft, it possible to connect PoweBI with tools offered by other providers such as Salesforce, Oracle, IBM, and many others. While all of the possible connections and customizations are beyond the scope of this PowerBI overview, it possible to tailor PowerBI to your exact specifications with some development assistance. 

Start Using PowerBI in Your Business

While this PowerBI overview was designed to give you a general idea of what this tool can do and used by companies all over the world. Using the data that you obtained to the max is absolutely critical in order to give your business a competitive advantage. If you feel that Microsoft Excel or any other tools that you are using is just not getting it done, consider switching to PowerBI and start obtaining insights that will help you make the right business decisions. 

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