I don’t know at what point this happened but one day I was reflecting on a data problem and it dawned on me that I hadn’t even considered using Excel to tackle the issue, instead I had instinctively chosen Power Bi. For someone that’s spent a lifetime using spreadsheets this was an interesting epiphany.

Power BI is the latest in intelligence and reporting from Microsoft. It is still a relatively new product that is evolving into a serious contender in the BI market, now challenging the likes of Tableau.  Power BI was first created in 2013 and was a spin-off of some of the advanced features of Microsoft Excel, even today is shares a similar use of tools and commands making it very easy to adopt. It was formally released to the public in July 2015 and has been continually developed since. It is now available in part through Office 365 (enterprise E5) and Dynamics 365 Enterprise edition as well as a standalone solution.

For me there are 5 key reasons why every business should use Power BI.

1. Easy to Use

Not only is the user interface great but it is easy to add data into Power BI. Power BI lets you input data from a range of source, including on premise SQL databases but there are also a number of linkages to cloud providers such as Azure, OneDrive, SharePoint, Google Analytics, Salesforce etc. This make it easy to get all your data in one place and Power BI allows you to use multiple data sources per report or dashboard.

The interface offers you a host of different visualisations and you can create your own or download others from the marketplace extending this. It really does take minutes to turn your data into something visual making it easy to start extracting value from it.

2. Sharable

Once you have a report or dashboard you are happy with its straightforward to share with people both inside and outside your organisation, on any device.

One of the main benefits is how much clearer your data is, and how much easier it is to tell a story, as you can easily show a highlight and delve in to particular areas of interest in real time.

3. Easy to understand

As mentioned with many familiar commands and formulas from Excel and Power BI’s natural language capability it makes it extremely easy to use and understand. For example, you can simply ask “what is the average utilisation for the development team this financial year”. Power BI’s natural language service will analyse your request and identify the required report or dash board in order to provide the information needed. It will then apply filters to limit the data down to just display the particular department and average desired.

4. Powerful functionality

It’s an incredibly powerful tool for both modelling and visualizing data. It has the same base as Power Query so if you have experience with M or DAX you can start making calculated columns, measures, and even shaping your data before you import it without having to learn an entirely new language.

5. Accessible

Once you have a dashboard created you can access it from just about anything. The web app is excellent for both displaying and editing reports from the desktop. The iOS and Android apps allow you to use your reports on the go. Then there is the Microsoft Power BI Desktop, where you can model, transform, and visualize your data to your heart’s content.

We at Incremental Group have now moved our operational reporting and our financial reporting to Power BI and are using this in our board and management meetings. With great feedback from everyone involved.  We now have our on premise and cloud data accessible via a powerful analytics tools and are able to report with dynamic interactive dashboards that meet the end users’ needs better.

To hear our Power BI expert talk through Power BI in more detail click here. 

Power BI comes in a number of forms, there is a free version, a business version and a large scale premium version. For more information on pricing and features please contact us.