Data is the source of power for companies, and nowadays we create more data than ever before.
“Data is the new oil,” they say. But this implies that both oil and data need to be refined to be valuable and useful.
But collecting oceans of data is impractical if we do not understand the process of selecting and interpreting them. Here is where Business Intelligence (BI) comes into play. To achieve the desired effects with data, it is necessary to know and master the appropriate tools.
The interest for BI is global, constantly growing, and the competitive market for BI tools is consequently growing exponentially. Here we will talk about the most interesting for us – Microsoft Power BI.
What is Power BI?
Microsoft Power BI is an intuitive and user-friendly tool, even for those who have no experience in BI. It offers a set of visualizations such as columns, graphs, distribution maps, etc., and is quite detailed when it comes to a visual display of data.
Microsoft first introduced Power BI in 2013. Back in time, Excel revolutionized data display with extensions like Power Query and Power Pivot. In July 2015, Microsoft merged all these extensions into one and launched Power BI Desktop (ad-hoc analysis, data preparation, dashboards and data analysis) and Power BI Service (web content publishing service and team chat space).
How does Power BI work?
With Power BI you can collect, review and visualize data with greater insight into their behavior, and therefore, make decisions based on real data. This software consists of machine learning algorithms that “walk” through the data to recognize and learn the data model. By learning these patterns Power BI can use data to make predictions in “what if” scenarios. For statisticians, this software supports features such as trust interval, beta distribution, and R-scripts.
The plugins that come with this tool are quite comprehensive. However, due to the rapid growth and the need for flexibility in this industry, Power BI launches new add-ons and functionalities to this tool every month. With this rate of constant upgrading, chances are high that if you need an add-in that is not available, it will be available next month. Power BI helps users to know what has happened to data not only in the past and present but also to predict future trends when it comes to business and the next level of BI.
Why use Power BI?
Think of Power BI as an evolved version of Excel. You have the result, but this time much more powerful in reporting and transmitting the result.
These are some of the key benefits:
- You can enter a huge number of databases that many other similar platforms would struggle to process;
- “Learning” functions that analyze data and impose trends;
- Information can be visualized in powerful templates making your data more tangible and understandable;
- This software is a cloud-based platform, so you get the latest updated algorithms that are constantly updated;
- “Alarms” can be set when we talk about Key Performance Indicators for users to stick to important and measurable quantities;
- Intuitive interface that is simple and easy to navigate;
- Integrates with other management tools such as Google Analytics, SAP, Salesforce and Mailchimp;
- Data security is a basic prerequisite before you start working on any software. With Power BI, data is controlled in terms of availability, both internally and externally.
Who uses Power BI?
Although BI products are usually used by data analysts thanks to their intuitive nature, Power BI can be used in many other professions besides the business sector.
How you use it depends on your role and responsibility. In principle, this tool will work regardless of the given parameter so you can have insight into data of any nature.
It is most popular and widely used in the financial sector, marketing, sales, human resources and operational management. Microsoft has never squandered the numbers when it comes to the popularity of their product, and that is why Gartner.com, a software reviewing company, confirmed Microsoft as Leader in the “2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platform” as a result of the capabilities of Power BI platform.
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