Power BI, originally called Project Crescent, was launched in July 2011, bundled with SQL Server. Later, it was renamed Power BI and presented as Power BI for Office 365 in September 2013. It was released as a standalone product in July 2015 after adding more features including enterprise-level data connectivity and security options, apart from its original Excel features like Power Query, Power Pivot, and Power View. Now Microsoft brings regular updates of the Power BI application with new features and improvements every month and users can download the latest edition from the Power BI site. The Windows Store has Power BI Desktop, which Windows 10 users can get from.
Let us learn more about the different features of power BI, its components, and its benefits of power BI.
What is Power BI?
Power BI is a technology-driven business intelligence tool or an array of software services, apps, and connectors to convert unrelated and raw data into visually immersive, coherent, actionable, and interactive insights and information. Microsoft developed it and combines business analytics, data visualization, and best practices. The core Power BI benefits lie in helping businesses make data-driven decisions through interactive dashboards and Business Intelligence reports.
Power BI is a phenomenal tool for organizations looking to launch, prioritize and grow their business through data-driven intelligence efforts. Not surprisingly, then the Power BI advantages have made this Microsoft product one of the most popular data analytics platforms in the world with the “2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and BI Platforms” naming it as the Market Leader for the fourteenth year in a row.
The benefits of Power BI can be best understood from the case study of Meijer Inc (an American supercenter chain). It was unable to perform ad hoc and real-time analysis efficiently.
Meijer connected Power BI. With it, they could refresh 20 billion rows of data in near real-time pull in the data faster and perform real-time analysis to derive insights from data. The bakery department of Meijer harnessed the Power BI features and benefits to compare its sales with regional performance.
They could easily figure out where was behind the regional trends, pinpoint the problem, and created a solution as well. Additionally, gaining traction from the BI advantage, they could drill down into their hourly sales and send out a sales flash report to 800 Meijer business leaders, standardize data sources and empower store directors and team leaders to develop and track their data to ensure improvement.
For gaining expertise in Power BI and understanding the benefits of using Power BI, a Power BI Certification will help to learn various Power BI concepts, for example, Power BI Desktop layouts, BI reports, dashboards, Power BI DAX commands and more. This is apart from exploring and experimenting, fixing, preparing, and presenting data fast using the Power BI tool.
The Components and Features of Power BI
Components of Power BI
1. Power Query
Power Query helps to discover, connect, combine, and refine data sources to meet your analysis need.
2. Power Pivot
Power pivot is a data modeling technique to create models and establish relationship calculations.
3. Power View
Power view helps to create interactive charts, graphs, maps, and other visuals in Excel, SharePoint, SQL Server, and Power BI that bring data to life.
4. Power Map
Power map is a 3-D data visualization tool.
5. Power BI Desktop
Power BI desktop helps to get everything easily under the same solution to develop BI and data analysis experience.
6. Power Q&A
Power Q&A is used to explore data in the fastest way to get an answer using natural language. For example, an answer to a question like what was the total sales last year?
Apart from these hundreds of data sources from files (like Excel, PDF, SharePoint Folder, XML), databases (like SQL Server Database, Oracle Database, IBM databases, Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery), other Power BI databases, Azure data connections, various online services (like Dynamics 365, Salesforce Reports, Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, Facebook and others) can be connected into Power BI.
Features of Power BI
1. Power BI Desktop
Power BI Desktop is free software that can be downloaded and installed to build reports by accessing data easily without the need for advanced report designing or query skills to build a report.
2. Stream Analytics
Stream Analytics helps to assist in real-time analytics to make timely decisions.
3. Multiple Data Sources
Multiple Data Sources support various data sources like Excel, CSV, SQL Server, Web files, etc. to create interactive visualizations.
4. Custom Visualization
Custom Visualization is used to access the custom visualization library to suit individual or customized needs, apart from Power BI's default standard of dealing with complex data.
5. Artificial Intelligence
AI helps to access image recognition and text analytics, create machine learning models with automated machine learning capabilities, and also integrate with Azure Machine Learning.
In the age of big data, understanding essential data concepts, visualizing data, deciphering complex data structures, and converting them into meaningful insights are revolutionary skills that every business needs. For anyone with a technical or non-technical background, the benefits of learning Power BI by availing of Business Intelligence courses will include learning the key concepts and availing hands-on practice under expert guidance.
14 Benefits of Power BI
Microsoft Power BI advantages could be the right choice for any business big, medium, or small that is looking for reporting and analytical capabilities beyond Excel as it offers easy data visualization and analysis across the entire business and gets deep insights into the business operation and performance.
Here is a rundown of the undeniable Power BI benefits that all types of businesses can available as per their business needs.
1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
In the Power BI uses and advantages list, the topmost benefits of Microsoft Power BI perhaps are that it allows access to image recognition, and text analytics, creates machine learning models, and also to integrate with Azure Machine Learning. Microsoft AI’s latest features allow even non-data scientists to prepare data, build machine learning models, find insights from structured and unstructured data.
2. Allows Analysis and Sharing of Big Data
Using Power BI with Azure helps to tackle colossal volumes of data and helps to reduce the time taken to get insights, increasing collaboration between business analysts, data engineers, and data scientists.
3. Personalized Dashboards and Interactive Reports
Power BI dashboard benefits include a customizable, intuitive, interactive dashboard instead of one-size-fits-all, as per a company’s needs with an easy drag-and-drop functionality option for generating a customized report. Options for producing powerful models and visualizations make the advantages of the Power BI dashboard almost limitless.
4. Access to Information in Real-time
The dashboard gets updated in real-time whenever data is pushed or streamed while displaying and updating the visuals with the latest data and information enabling solving problems quickly, identifying opportunities, and timely handling of time-sensitive data efficiently.
5. Excel integration
Hundreds of businesses still use Excel for analytics and reports. The Power BI benefits for businesses preferring to continue with Excel lies in its superb seamless integration with Excel helps to connect queries, data models, and reports to Power BI dashboards and create interactive visualizations with instant access to the right data whenever needed.
6. Profuse Data Sources Support and Integration
Power BI offers seamless integration with Microsoft products, databases like SQL, Oracle Database, IBM, Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery or other Power BI databases, and various online services like Salesforce Reports, Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, and Facebook to name a few thus enabling to connect to any sort of data sources for analysis.
7. Interactive UI/UX Features
Making things visually appealing, easy drag and drop functionality with features to copy all formatting across visualizations.
8. Customizing Security Features
It is possible to set up row-level-security (RSL) filters to ensure that viewers can only see the relevant data, preventing data from being misused by mitigating the data breach risk.
9. Cost-Effective and Affordable
Power BI is relatively less expensive and affordable especially for small and mid-sized businesses compared to other business intelligence and analytics tools and an appropriate version of Power BI can be chosen as per the need.
Power BI users can avail of three different versions: Power BI Desktop, Power BI Pro, and Power BI Premium. Power BI Desktop is a free version that tiny businesses or start-ups can download on a desktop to make reports and dashboards.
BI Pro, on the other hand, is quite affordable for small and mid-sized companies with just $9.99 USD per user per month. At the same time, the Power BI Premium pricing depends on the deployment size and the number of users.
10. Monthly Updates Bringing the Latest Version with Added Features
Microsoft brings regular monthly updates and offers a Power BI community platform where users can provide suggestions. It listens and implements the most frequently asked-for functionality by users. It means that the users always get access to the latest and most advanced features that help them make accurate business decisions.
11. Multiple Dashboards Deployment with Power BI Apps
Often businesses need multiple Power BI dashboards and reports. The Power BI Pro users can quickly deploy a collection of purpose-built dashboards and reports and distribute them to the entire organization or specific teams or departments with the Power BI Apps.
12. No Need for Any Specialized Technical Support
Power BI is a self-service business intelligence platform. No technical or IT team is required to run it, create analysis or generate reports. Furthermore, it supports a natural language interface and uses intuitive graphic designer tools. The simple drag-and-drop functionality helps to create dashboards quickly with a few mouse clicks. All these make Power BI very user-friendly and can be used by anyone without much technical knowledge.
13. Anywhere, Any-device Accessibility
Irrespective of the place of work (from home, on the go, in a client meeting), Power BI can be accessed by anyone in the team through iOS, Android, and Windows devices. All it needs is an internet connection.
14. Effective Collaboration
With its great team collaboration feature, Power BI helps a team to share dashboards or reports within its workspaces and allows co-ownership of a report or dashboard. Its ‘Chat in Team’s button for reports and Power BI tabs enables everyone in the channel to get notified whenever a new report is generated. The report can even be embedded in an external site, or the links of the report could be shared via Outlook.
Microsoft Power BI Pro and Power BI Premium Features and Benefits
Having discussed the Microsoft Power BI advantages, we will discuss specifically Power BI Pro advantages and Power BI Premium advantages along with their individual features.
Power BI Pro Version
Power BI Pro version is a fully paid, cloud-based, and self-service analytics tool. The Power BI Pro benefits are:
- It allows the building of dashboards, reports.
- Embed them into Apps.
- Share with users plus integrate with other Microsoft solutions.
Power BI Premium version
Power BI Premium version can be regarded as the super upgradation for Power BI Pro and is best suited for big enterprises with many users. It offers all the features and functionalities of Power BI Pro. The additional Power BI Premium benefits include the following:
- Increased data capacity limits.
- Maximum performance.
- Flexibility to publish reports across the business without the need for any individual license per user.
- Greater scale and performance (instead of the shared capacity available in the Power BI).
- The advantage of maintaining BI assets on-premises with Power BI Report Server.
- Access to the latest features for embedded analytics, One API surface, and a consistent set of capabilities.
- Power BI Mobile Apps are available for iOS, Android, and Windows phones.
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How To Use Microsoft Power Apps To Simplify Customer Communication
Power Apps is a group of applications, services, connectors, and data platforms, as well as allowing a rapid development environment to build customized applications suitable for any specific business needs. Power Apps quickly build custom business apps that connect to the stored data either in the underlying data platform (called Microsoft Dataverse) or in other online/on-premises data sources like SharePoint, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, SQL Server, and more.
It is also a superb example of a Platform as a Service (PaaS) that allows the creation of mobile or tablet apps (that can run on Android, IOS, and Windows) for internal business users. Power Apps can be integrated into Power BI reports using the Power Apps visual.
Here is an example of Power Apps to simplify customer communication:
Too many emails can cause work disruption, waste of time and man hours, or inefficiency in customers’ user base. Simplification of customer communication by delivering easy-to-use tools that drastically cut down on the number of emails required can be best done by Power Apps.
Microsoft Forms, Power Automate, and SharePoint Online (all included with a subscription to Office 365) can simplify customer communications, especially when experiencing a problem. Just by sending only ONE email, all the required information to sort the issue out can be done by drastically cutting down on the back-and-forth emails that it takes to resolve issues.
Right from Data Visualization and business intelligence training to Sisense BI training KnowledgeHut Power BI Certification has helped to harness the true potential of data and gain revolutionary Business Intelligence to hundreds who availed of the course.
A business can reach new heights by using the Power BI tool. The data fluidity and the entire company’s access to the dashboard in real-time could be a game-changer for any company by increasing efficiency and competitiveness.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. How is Power BI useful?
Power BI can be used for any department of a company, any size of company for data visualization and gaining meaningful insight it in an interactive and understandable format.
2. Is Power BI difficult to learn?
As such, Power BI is not at all difficult to learn, excepting certain types of integrations and dealing with data lakes. A certificate course on Power BI training is an easier way to learn it thoroughly.
3. Is Power BI better than Tableau?
Their applications are slightly different and will depend on the specific need. Tableau is mostly used to create data visualizations while Power BI is used for reporting.
4. What are the disadvantages of Power BI?
- It is more useful to the Microsoft Excel users.
- Does not offer any data cleansing solution and assumes that the data provided is of high quality.
- Unable to handle large data sources properly causing issues in connecting and importing large datasets, slow performance, and time-outs.
- Performance issues arise while processing says more than 20000-30000 rows.
5. Which is the best visualization tool?
Some to mention are Tableau, Grafana, Chartist, Google Charts, FusionCharts, Datawrapper, Infogram, and ChartBlock.