What is Microsoft Power BI?

Luke Haskins 30-Sep-2020 00:00:00
Computer screen displaying a Power BI dashboard

You may have heard of Microsoft’s Power BI before, but what does the program do and why is it worth learning?

Power BI is a cloud-based suite of business analytics tools that lets anyone connect to, visualize, and analyze data with greater speed, efficiency, and understanding. It connects users to a wide range of live data through easy-to-use dashboards, provides interactive reports, and delivers compelling visualizations that bring data to life.

How is Power BI different from Excel?

Microsoft Excel has been around since 1985 and is easily the most widely used data analysis tool on the planet, so why would you invest the extra time and energy to learn to use Power BI?

Power BI & Excel are so similar, that roughly 80% of a reports development time would be nearly identical between the two tools.

The only real difference in development or design exists at the visualisation level, once you’ve completed your data model. Power BI has far superior data visualisation tools to create interactive and easy to understand reports. To give you an idea of what Power BI is capable of, below are some of the ways you can use the program.

If you’re interested in learning more take a look at our webinar on traditional financial reporting in excel versus the options available in Power BI and ultimately how it can help grow your business. For more details take a look at our webinar page.

What is Power BI used for?

Power BI is built to give you a 360 degree of your business where you can design dashboards and reports to make data-driven decisions. Here are some of the ways you can use Power BI:

Make data-driven decisions

Connect, model, and visualise your data, creating power bi reports personalised with your brand and most importantly, your business KPIs. Access dashboards on the go with the Power BI Mobile app to make data-driven decisions from anywhere.

With hundreds of on-premises and cloud data sources such as Dynamics 365, Azure SQL Database, Salesforce, Excel, and SharePoint, you can design and share data visualizations that will help your team members – inside and outside your organisation – make fact-based decisions.

Gain important insights

Get insights instantly from your favourite applications using pre-built data visualisation and report templates.

Gain the ability to report on the past and present and the future. Power BI’s machine learning capabilities means AI can pick up patterns in data and use the patterns to make informed predictions – perfect for those “what if” scenarios!

Connect familiar tools

Work together easily on the same data, collaborate on reports, and share insights across popular Microsoft Office applications such as Microsoft Teams and Excel—empowering everyone in your organization to quickly make data-driven decisions that drive strategic actions.

Is Power BI difficult to learn?

Power BI’s user interface is fairly intuitive for users familiar with Excel and its deep integration with other Microsoft products makes it a versatile tool that perhaps only requires training to get you started, or for advanced features.

Where can you learn Power BI?

Netitude provides Power BI customised co-development and to structured training depending on your needs.

Our co-development services are best suited to those looking for help setting up a suitable BI environment, including connecting your data sources.

If you’re looking to learn more about Power BI get in touch to talk about our training options.

Try the free version

You can download and use the free version of Power BI, here. However, if you want to share your reports you’ll have to upgrade to Power BI Plus which is available for a monthly subscription fee.

It’s also worth noting that if you have an Office 365 Enterprise E5 licence, you should have access to the tool as part of your package.

Hopefully, now you have a better idea of Power BI works and how it could be used to create more data-driven decisions in your business. If you would like to hear more about the business intelligence tool, take a look at our webinar “Excel Vs Power BI” or if you’re interested in learning more about the tool and would like our help, please get in touch!

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