Benefits and Features of Microsoft Power BI
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Power BI Features: Get Actionable Insights For Your Business

30 Sep 2021

Data is everywhere. In today’s digital world, organizations are generating a massive amount of data every second. But gathering heaps of digital information isn’t much of use unless organizations can make sense of it and leverage it. That’s where business intelligence software comes in. One such tool making waves is the Power BI platform developed by Microsoft.

This flagship software help enterprises transform existing raw data into resourceful insights that can increase transparency, enhance interdepartmental collaboration, and drive business efficiency. If you’re someone who wishes to learn how to harness PowerBI’s potential to extract useful, actionable insights from data then you’ve come to the right place.

What is Power BI?

It is a cloud-based business intelligence platform that enables enterprises to visualize data and share insights across the organization or embed them within the app or website. This platform comprises apps, services, and connectors that convert a company’s raw data into interactive, graphical, and intelligible insights.

Top Features in Power BI

Listed below are the unique features of this platform that enables reading data to create insights, forecast and implement an appropriate plan of action to help address a wide range of business priorities.

Personalized Dashboards With Attractive Visualizations

  • Helps create reports and dashboards with available libraries by utilizing simple or complex visualizations to represent the data sets and offer shareable and printable reports.
  • By utilizing this tool, one can create listed visualizations such as Bar & Column chart, Line, Area (Layered & Clustered), Funnel, Gauge, Ribbon, Waterfall, Scatter, Pie, Donut, Treemap and more!

Quick Access to Detailed Insights

  • Data Source Feature:
    • Provides the users with the flexibility to select from a range of data anywhere in the spectrum – from on-premise to cloud-based databases
    • Allows gathering business insights from both unstructured and structured data including images and text to project forecasts
  • Provides real-time data from sources such as Dynamics 365, Salesforce, SharePoint, Google Analytics, and more.

Datasets Filtration

  • Dataset is a single set of data built by extracting information from various data sources. It can be availed to create visualizations of varied categories.
  • Presents better visibility into data within a selected timeframe.
  • It provides an option to filter the datasets by just having smaller subsets that consist of vital data and contextual relevance. Power BI provides in-built data connectors including Excel, Facebook, Oracle, SQL database, Salesforce, Twitter, Azure, MailChimp,and more to connect and create datasets by importing data from one or more sources.

Natural Language Q&A Box

  • A unique feature of this tool – it enables the user to ask questions in their natural language to search for desired information in the system.
  • The cognitive engines of Power BI use autofill, suggestions, rephrasing, and other techniques to fulfill the search requirements of users with ease.
  • Interestingly, the cognitive technology enables fulfilling the search requirements of users by rephrasing, autofill, suggestions and other such techniques.

Data Analysis Expressions (DAX) Function

  • The DAX functions are predefined codes that perform analytics-specific functionalities on data. It would surprise you to know that there are over 250 functions in the Power BI library as of now.

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Power BI Components

This business intelligence platform from Microsoft is built on the company’s own data center – Azure Cloud. Listed below are its components;

  • Power Query – A data mash-up and transformation engine that enables the users to extract the data from several databases such as SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, and more.
  • Power BI Desktop – An integrated development tool that enables you to create advanced queries, models, and reports.
  • Power BI Mobile – A native application that runs on Android, iOS, Windows OS to access reports and dashboards on the fly.
  • Power Pivot – A data modeling and calculation engine for modeling simple and complex data. It helps set or establish relationships between various tables and compute values that can be viewed in Pivot tables. It avails Data Analysis Expression (DAX) language to model simple and highly complex data.
  • Power View – A data visualization tool that produces interactive charts, graphs, maps, and more.
  • Power Map – A three-dimensional geo-spatial data visualization tool that lets you map your data and plot geographic and temporal data on a 3-D globe or custom map to discover required insights.
  • Power Q&A – As discussed earlier, this question and answer engine allows the users to ask questions about the desired data in an easily understandable language and even get the answer for the same.

Power BI Architecture

MS Power BI architecture involves few important steps that describe the end-to-end workflow from data sourcing to the reports and dashboards creation. Various technologies and processes work together to get the desired outcomes with extreme precision. Now let’s understand its navigational flow.

Microsoft Power BI Architecture

Data Sources

Power BI can supply information from cloud-based online data sources or connect directly to live connections.

Here is the list of some common & supported Data Sources:

  • MS Excel (in-built data connectors)
  • XML
  • Text/CSV
  • JSON
  • MySQL database (in-built data connectors)
  • Oracle Database (in-built data connectors)
  • IBM DB2 Database
  • SAP HANA Database
  • Amazon Redshift
  • PostgreSQL Database
  • Sybase Database
  • Teradata Database
  • SAP Business Warehouse Server
  • Impala
  • Google BigQuery (Beta)
  • Salesforce Reports
  • Google Analytics
  • Facebook
  • GitHub

Power BI Desktop

A desktop-based software, it offers numerous functionalities & tools that enable data integration from the existing database applications to combine the input into data models. This allows report designers to create visual reports and perform data analysis which can be easily shared with other users.

Power BI Service

A SaaS-based online service that doesn’t require a typical hardware environment setup and software installations. It enables you to move your secure information over the cloud network. This Power BI Online service is best suited to share and publish the reports generated on Power BI Desktop.

Power BI Gateway

It allows protecting accessing information & input available in an on-premise network.  This is by acting as the guard for on-premise data sources.  If a user needs to access on-site data from a cloud or web-based app, the request gets processed through the gateway.

Power BI Apps

Be it iOS, Android, with Power BI mobile, you can access live dashboards and reports on the device of choice. It allows viewing on-premises data stored in SQL Server, or cloud data.

Key Benefits of Power BI

Single Platform Analytics Interface

This platform combines scalability with self-service along with enterprise analytics that enables organizations to save money and reduce security issues.

It is with three fundamental components;

  • Datasets: Can connect to over 100tools, platforms, and databases that produce or store data. Especially for businesses, this cuts the amount of time spent on data capture, access, and evaluation.
  • Dashboards: The platform offers neat, interactive panels that allow users to consolidate disparate data and prepare it for analysis and exchange seamlessly.
  • Reports: Enables the option to create the reports from scratch with custom components or even utilize a template to incorporate them to gain valuable insights into the organization’s performance.

Seamless Integration

  • It integrates smoothly with existing business applications enabling you to tap into the power of business intelligence analytics and reporting capabilities.
  • Also, this tool is compatible with the core Microsoft stack. It can seamlessly connect your excel queries, data models & reports for project data to easily update visuals in new ways

Eliminates Speed & Memory Constraint

  • The cloud-based environment of Power BI helps remove the processing speed and memory barrier to save data for quick retrieval and analysis.

Secure Reports

  • Enables setting up automatic data refresh on a daily or even hourly basis to publish reports.

No Technical Support Required

  • The tool provides agile inquiry and analysis without the need for specialized tech support.
  • Further, it supports a powerful natural language interface by using the use of intuitive graphical designer tools.

Power BI Use Cases

While we’ve shared with you the specifics regarding the tool, core components and more. It’s now to show you in real-time what we at Rishabh have an experience of by utilizing this tool.

Case 1:

How we helped a Canada-based credit union bank improve transaction safety & enhance customer experience

The banking institution wanted to develop a real-time fraud detection & prevention system to increase operational efficiency. Our team utilized Power BI capabilities to develop the solution that offers preventive action with related data visualization on potential fraudulent scenarios and how to avoid them by minimizing the impact.

Key Benefits

  • 100% transparent and trackable transactions
  • 4X increase in operational efficiency
  • A million transactions supported in 1 second

Case 2:

How a US-based Flexible Intermediate Bulk Container (FIBC) manufacturer wanted to streamlined production planning

Originally the client was looking to migrate from a traditional MS Excel-based daily production reporting system to an automated system capable of streamlining production planning. It is through real-time insights-based projections. We developed a fully automated production planning & reporting system to plan, track & measure goods manufacturing against the set goal, ensuring the optimum utilization of plant capability and resources.

Key Benefits

  • Enhanced production decision-making
  • 100% data accuracy with automated data entry
  • 30% increase in inventory management efficiency

Closing Thoughts

Power BI is an excellent and robust tool to make data-driven business decisions and it is going to be around in the world of data visualization for a pretty long time. In today’s fast-growing world, the leadership team that recognizes the value and core importance of next-gen business intelligence will craft a business to stand the test of time. Therefore a carefully chosen business partner, who has the right understanding of how to leverage it properly to model, perform real-time & predictive analytics for extracting actionable insights from their massive data.

Rishabh Software is a Microsoft-certified partner who possesses great strength & hands-on experience in leveraging the different components of the MS ecosystem. With custom Power BI development services, whether it is on-premise or on the cloud we can help plan & strategize to creating custom reports and interactive dashboards.

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