The Business Guide to Power BI

Transform raw data into business intelligence, actionable insights, and informed business decisions. That’s the superpower Microsoft Power BI puts at your fingertips.

Data can be your greatest asset as an organisation—or your biggest problem. There’s just so much of it. Making sense of data can be a full-time job. Fishing out nuggets of insight from oceans of facts and figures, reports, and spreadsheets demands advanced skills—and more time than you’ve got. Alternatively, you can save time and get more from your data with Power BI.

What is Power BI?

Microsoft Power BI is a collection of cloud-based apps and services with one focus: enabling you to collate, manage, analyse and visualise data from many different sources—all via a single user-friendly interface.

The Power BI process transforms raw information, such as spreadsheets, reports or databases—highlighting hidden insights.

It gives you the power to create compelling charts, graphs, infographics, etc. This enables you to make sense of what’s happening in your business and generate fresh insights. You’ll spot vital but easily missed trends in sales, cash flow to supply chains, staff performance and customer behavior.

And Power BI is easy to use, with no special training required. Cloud2, a BCN Group Company offer adoption training as an additional service, to help you and your team get to grips with setting up and managing your Power BI subscription. It’s built on the foundations of Microsoft Excel, so anyone familiar with spreadsheets will quickly learn to operate the software. Then you can make the most of its vast and versatile data-crunching power.

 

Power BI components

Through Power BI, you can tap into various apps in the cloud or on a desktop. Apps to transform raw data into actionable business intelligence include:

  • Power Query: Transform, combine, and enhance data from several sources.
  • Power Pivot: Harness data to model different scenarios.
  • Power View: Vividly visualise data, generating various interactive charts, graphs, maps and more.
  • Mapping Visuals: Transform data into immersive 3D visuals.
  • Q&A Visual: Interrogate your data, ask questions in plain language and get clear, insightful answers.
  • DAX data analysis expressions: this language enables you to create new information from existing data. For example, you’ll be able to find the growth percentage over a given period or compare two different periods.

The benefits that make Power BI so essential

  • Input and handle vast amounts of data that other platforms wouldn’t be able to handle.
  • Use the built-in machine learning capability to analyse data, spot vital trends and make informed forecasts.
  • Visualise data using powerful templates to make the findings clear and compelling.
  • Automatically update Power BI’s capabilities and algorithms via the cloud.
  • Allow users to create personalised dashboards to quickly and easily access the data they need.
  • Set up alerts when KPIs are achieved, keeping users aware of vital metrics.
  • See insights and trends clearly on Power BI’s user-friendly interface—far easier to navigate and understand than complex spreadsheets.
  • Integrate easily with other Microsoft tools, including SharePoint, Microsoft 365 and Dynamics 365, as well as non-Microsoft products like Spark, Hadoop, Google Analytics, SAP, Salesforce, and Mailchimp.
  • Protect your data from ever-increasing online threats with Microsoft’s advanced cyber security.

Uses of Power BI for businesses

Easy to understand graphics. Intuitive tools. The power to create customised dashboards. That’s just three of the ways Power BI opens the full potential of your database to a much wider range of people within the business.

Everyone can learn directly from your data and see it from their angle. Analysts and number crunchers no longer monopolise essential information.

Across the globe, Power BI is used as a self-service tool to monitor progress and provide fresh insight by different departments, including finance, marketing, sales, human resources, IT and operations.

Power BI works with any data, empowering you to enjoy insightful reports and vivid visualisations on any subject. This also means that learning from data becomes much more straightforward for smaller businesses that can’t afford a team of in-house analysts.

What does a typical Power BI report look like?

Power BI dashboard

Here is an example Power BI report looking at Emergency Department healthcare data. The first screenshot is a high-level executive summary looking at 5 main key performance indicators (KPI’s) split down by different cohorts. Top left, you can select a time period e.g. 12 months or 1 week and easily filter and dynamically change all the visuals on the page to show the correct values for that period of time.

The second page looks at an over-time view of the data pulled into Power BI. For this report page, 5 years worth of data has been used. You can drill-down into the charts to utilise the date hierarchy that has been setup, to go from year down to day in a few clicks.

What Platforms is Power BI available on?

Depending on your budget and your requirements, you can opt for any of these alternatives, with expert guidance from the BCN team:

  • Power BI Desktop: a free Windows desktop application ideal for small to midsize businesses.
  • Power BI Service: an online SaaS (Software as a Service) with different licensing models:
    • Power BI Pro is a pay-per-user licence that enables you to access advanced features and share reports.
    • Power BI Premium, licenced by scale, is best for large businesses and enterprises.
  • Power BI App for mobile: a device-based app, is available for iOS and Android phones and tablets.
  • Power BI Embedded: a white label version of Power BI that independent software vendors can embed in their apps, with no need to build their own analytical features.
  • Power BI Report Server: an on-premises version of the Power BI Desktop app for businesses that need to keep their data and reports on their servers rather than in the cloud.

Why choose Power BI?

Microsoft Power BI empowers you to leverage the power of your data and share it in user-friendly forms across the organisation. When accurate real-time data is seen and understood, it drives sound management and informed decisions.

Specifically, Power BI enables you to:

  • Create interactive dashboards.
  • Develop reports with actionable insights.
  • Integrate and combine data from multiple sources and applications.
  • Protect your data with data loss prevention.
  • Create paginated reports.
  • See real-time analytics.

The BCN range of Power BI packages

As a Microsoft Gold Partner and Direct cloud solutions provider (CSP), we have the expertise and experience to guide you through the digital transformation journey with end-to-end services and support for Power BI.

Power BI consultancy

Want your business to be data-driven? Unsure what’s involved or where to begin? BCN’s business intelligence consultants will guide you through the process. We’ll offer you advice designed to increase efficiency, plan strategically, support integration, manage data, assist with reports, provide training and develop your bespoke solution.

Power BI migration

If you lack a data visualisation capability or are still using a legacy solution, such as Microsoft Excel, it’s time to embrace the future. As a highly experienced Microsoft partner, we can help you migrate seamlessly to your new Power BI system.

Power BI development

Perhaps you’re just starting with Power BI, and you need data visualisation and reports building. Or maybe you need to extend and enhance your existing data functionality. Either way, our specialist Power BI consultants can create a Power BI reporting solution for your business, plus all the support you need.

Connect and integrate your data. Transform it into insights. Facilitate informed decision making. Become the data-driven organisation you need to be.

Power BI optimisation

With our consultative approach, we can develop any areas that required improvements. Enabling your team and business to reach their full potential. BCN Group services include:

  • Reviewing and optimising your current licensing mix.
  • Improving existing dashboards.
  • Creating new enhanced reports and dashboards.
  • Training and upskilling your team with Power BI tutorials.
  • Introducing best practices and standardisation.
  • Reviewing and assessing your current hosting environment for security gaps or cost efficiencies.

Why choose BCN Group as your Power BI partner?

At BCN Group, as a Microsoft certified partner, we share Microsoft’s cloud-first vision. As a Microsoft Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and Gold Partner with six gold competencies, we have designed and delivered hundreds of exceptional Power BI solutions for our clients. We are 100% focused on delivering your business goals. Expect no jargon, just industry-leading advice, support and expertise.

Ready to find out more about Microsoft Power BI? Contact the BCN team at any time to discuss your requirements.