Date: Monday 22nd March 2016
Author: Neil Hambly – SQL and Business Intelligence Practice Lead
Unless you have been otherwise engaged I’m sure you would have already heard of Microsoft Power BI sometime in the last year. Perhaps you’re already using it to better understand your data through the excellent visualisations that are available in Power BI, or easily creating dashboards, reports and using the collaborative features to share them with the business. Also don’t forget the ever growing collection of custom visualisations, some providing astounding visualisations unlike anything we have seen before from the visuals gallery.
With already a wealth of resources available to help get you started, I’m going to go cover my TOP 5 Features for getting you started on your own visualisations so you can be up and running and leveraging Power BI within your own business in no time at all.
Sure you probably want to build some beautiful and interactive reports and dashboards to share all those insights from your data with your business, but perhaps lacking the experience that report designers, data queries specialists or Excel Power Users have?
Well now all your end users can easily access data and build their own reports using a simple yet powerful interface, Power BI Desktop. Power BI Desktop is a free download which provides an excellent canvas for creating your own masterpiece’s or perhaps just a simple report or dashboard tile.
Power BI Desktop with its monthly release cycle is constantly evolving with newly added features or enhancements that can ‘bring data alive’ often in just a few minutes or hours.
Data is arguably one of most precious resource that businesses are generating today. The key aim to be able to manipulate and easily combine this valuable data with other datasets, and then have a simple way to gain a deeper understanding of their business.
With data often residing across multiple systems and formats, a valuable resource that businesses need is to be able to collate the various datasets and generate different ways to visual and understand it. In order to identify trends and relationships which were not previously visible and help make those important DECISIONS that business need to make every day based on the right facts.
With a deeper understanding that comes from interpreting data in a visual form, the data world has become even more important for a business to be able to leverage and gain the competitive edge it needs; so it’s no wonder that Microsoft’s BI can provide so much value with the data-shaping and modelling capabilities to unlock hidden insights.
Every business has its own culture and way of doing things, sometimes the ‘standard way’ of doing something just doesn’t cut it and a need to customise it to make it work is needed. The same goes for visualisations that come as standard with Power BI tool, which for some may not provide the depth or complexity of visualisation that is needed in order to ‘bring data alive’. However by accessing the growing library of custom visualisations or even creating ones that meet a specific need is perhaps a way to find a competitive edge.
One of the recent improvements that was added was the ability to import data from Excel. It has a wizard for making it very straight forward so your Excel ‘Power User’s’ now have even greater functionality to make sense of the data.
Have you wanted to be able to ask questions in your own language and have it answered? Now Power BI makes that very easy with the Dashboard Power Q&A and the underlying datamodels. You just start typing in your question and the datamodel provides the context and answer which can then be manipulated to suit your own visualisation needs.