What is Power BI?
Power BI is a cloud-based analytics tool which takes data from many sources to give you useful, visual reports, helping you make better-informed decisions for your business.
Why is it better than other reporting tools?
What makes up effective reporting is the amount of relevant data analysed. Power BI brings in data from a huge range of sources into one place to perform analysis. This data can come from on-premise sources or cloud data sources such as Dynamics 365, Excel, QuickBooks, Google Analytics, Azure SQL… basically any database you can think of.
Other features of Power BI include:
- Personalised Dashboards. These can be customised to suit your exact needs.
- Custom Visualisations. Out of the box, Power BI has many ways to display your data, beyond simple tables and charts. You’ll find many more, specialist ways of visualising data on the Microsoft marketplace.
- Real time analytics
- No memory or speed constraints
- No specialised technical support is required to help install PowerBI or for ongoing maintenance.
- Plain language searching makes reporting building easy for all levels of experience
- Prompt Upgrades. Power BI gets upgrades every month, usually based on suggestions from the user community that you will be a part of.
- Power BI reports can be seen across multiple platforms and devices.
How reporting improves your business performance
Effective reporting is an essential component of any business intelligence platform, it allows users to understand integrated data in an effective manner allowing for more informed, evidence-driven decisions.
Power BI’s customer account summaries and opportunity trending reports give you the ability to monitor customer KPIs, sales revenues and auto-renews. Power BI lets you build custom filters, filter data by date range and compare metrics over time.
It also helps increase organisational communication and collaboration.
Take Heathrow Airport, for example. They pull data from various operational systems (weather tracking, flight schedules and baggage tracking, for example) and push it to Power BI. It then produces visual reports and dashboards to give airport staff better insights. Say there’s a shift in the jet stream delaying the landing of 20 flights, causing there to be an extra 6000 passengers in the airport at 5pm. Power BI could anticipate this delay and notify airport staff of the changes that could be coming, offering suggestions as to how they should prepare for the influx of additional people.
How does it integrate with Dynamics 365?
As it’s a Microsoft product, it’s designed to interoperate with other Microsoft applications such as Dynamics 365 and Excel. By combining these business systems you’ll be maximising the value they can offer your business, making the most of the data you have at your disposal. For example, Power BI can produce personalised reports integrating your KPIs as well as your brand.
If you’re already a Dynamics365 Sales user, your subscription includes Power BI Pro. Combining these will let you fully understand the sales data you’ve already collected. Power BI can produce visual graphics for your sales trends over long periods, helping you predict customer buying behaviours enabling you to adjust your strategy for maximum impact.
Power BI is affordable and easy to install
It’s easy to install – all you have to do is download the application and it will integrate smoothly with all your existing business systems. You can download the free desktop version to get a feel for it, connecting to databases both on-premise and in the Cloud. To get the full benefits you’ll need to upgrade to Power BI Pro which will cost you £7.50 per user per month.