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Jordan’s 7 Reasons you Should Adopt Power BI

Okay, we’ve chatted about Power BI time and time again – you’re probably well familiar with its incredible features by now.

But just in case you need to hear it from the horse’s mouth, our Business Development Director, Jordan Brookes, is here to share his seven key reasons why you should adopt the Power BI platform.

Always keen to leverage the newest technology to stay ahead of the curve, Jordan is a fan of Power BI for enabling us to better serve our clients. Here’s how using it could help you do the same…

1. Access to invaluable insights

With all your data in one place, Power BI has the power to unlock invaluable insights about your business – from monitoring product sales to finding gaps in organisational processes.

By compiling all your data from various platforms and channels and turning it into easy-to-read, intuitive visualisations, all employees on every level will be able to make data-led, impactful decisions. Because Power BI is so easy to use, it doesn’t require a data analyst or an IT professional to access and manage it, meaning everyone within the business can feel empowered and closer to the heart of the action.

2. Quick start process

Getting started with Power BI dashboards is quick and uncomplicated, meaning there’s no waiting around to see that precious ROI.

For example, all of your data sources can be connected to Power BI in less than a minute, meaning there’s no lengthy set-up process. With in-built integrations such as Excel, Salesforce, Google Analytics, Jira and much more, you can have all your data in one place from the get-go.

When it comes to getting individual users set up, Power BI makes it easy to set up user levels and access permissions, so long as you have a good idea of your data governance strategy ahead of time. And thanks to its incredibly intuitive dashboard and drag-and-drop interface, almost anyone can start using Power BI straight away, without the need for additional training beforehand. If they get stuck, all of Power BI’s educational resources are available for free.

3. Easy to access, wherever you are

Power BI’s dashboards can be accessed from any laptop, tablet or phone, meaning you can keep your eye on emerging trends wherever you are. This also helps to keep employees in the loop, with the option to share with team-mates or clients on the move.

If you’re concerned about the security risks of accessing sensitive data over a mobile connection, know that the Power BI mobile app comes with full Enterprise Mobility and Security compatibility, meaning you can rest easy knowing your company information stays safe. You also have the option of using Power BI’s flexible permission controls, so only those who need to know certain information can access it from their mobile devices.

4. Real data-led insights, in real-time

Part of the beauty of Power BI is that data sources can be pushed into dashboards in real-time, meaning users can make meaningful decisions based on the most accurate data.

This is incredibly important for conserving time and resources, as out-of-date, inaccurate, or missing data can mean employees need to go searching for the right data before they can move forward. It also enables employees to act quickly within periods of pressure or high demand, limiting the possibility of making decisions that could do more harm than good.

5. Stay connected

Gone are the days when data needs to be manually downloaded, before reuploading it to another platform in order to be cleaned, processed or visualised. Power BI does this all in one go by staying permanently connected to your data sources, meaning you’ll never have to download a dataset again.

Simply jump in, see your data in real-time and start discovering its potential.

6. No upfront costs – so nothing to lose

Power BI comes with no upfront costs, so you can get started using Power BI desktop directly without any obligation or license fees. This means you can take your time finding your feet and creating your first report, seeing how Power BI could benefit your business before making a commitment.

If and when you’re ready to level up, know that Power BI Pro still costs two to three times less than its leading competitors, with the option to add additional data capacity without purchasing extra license fees (if over 1000 users).

7. Advanced AI works hard so you can do less

For more advanced users, Power BI can be used to streamline various processes with its artificial intelligence features. These include image recognition, text analytics and machine learning integration directly from within the platform.

All these new AI capabilities were pioneered in Azure and require no code, enabling all Power BI users to discover hidden, actionable insights in their data and drive better business outcomes.

Ready to level-up your data?

At Bespoke, we help businesses like yours unlock the full potential of their data through custom solutions, including Microsoft Power BI. Talk to the team today to learn more about Power BI and how we can help you with one of our friendly Power BI consultants.

3 Fun Ways We’ve Been Playing With Data Through Power BI Dashboards

To those less in-the-know, data can easily come off as being quite a dry subject. Numbers? Graphs? Comparisons? Without the tools to understand or manage data’s complexities, it can all seem a little overwhelming.

But when you have the power to unlock the stories data tells, it opens up a whole door of exciting narratives and intriguing discoveries. And the data can be about anything – from your favourite TV show to how you like to organise your spending.

Here at Bespoke, we’ve been having some fun with data lately. Take a look at the three Power BI dashboard examples below created with Microsoft Power BI, which share some pretty thrilling insights…

Covid-19 Vaccination Rollout

We’re sure you’ll agree that everyone is keeping a close eye on the UK’s covid-19 vaccination rollout right now. We decided to compile all the current stats on vaccinations in this easy-to-view Power BI dashboard, so you can stay close to the action as it unfolds.

The map on the left gives a top-down view of the most vaccinated areas in the UK, while the filters in the top right enable you to check the progress of vaccinations in your local area and by age.

Flip on over to the second page and we can compare the UK’s progress with the rest of the world, checking out the most vaccinated countries and seeing the number of vaccination doses administered so far.

Vaccination Dashboard

May the 4th Be With You

To celebrate May 4th, we decided to delve deep into the minutae of our favourite film saga, Star Wars.

Whether or not you’re a fan of the multi-million dollar franchise, few can deny its monumental success that spans several movies, comic books and video games, and brought us characters and adventures we’ll never forget. One might say there’s only one way to handle so much data…and that’s of course with a Power BI dashboard.

Did you know that out of the first six Star Wars films, the Phantom Menace received the highest box office takings, but has the poorest ratings?

Or that C-3PO, Obi-Wan Kenobi and R2-D2 were the only characters to appear in every one of the first six films?

Explore our interactive dashboard to learn which films had the biggest budgets, which ones won the critics’ approval, and even which starships had the biggest hyperdrive (and crew). Learn fascinating facts about your favourite characters – from Boba Fett’s birth year to Chewbacca’s eye colour. It’s all in there.

May the 4th be with you

Global Emissions

Climate change is a pressing topic at the moment, and rightly so. With global greenhouse gas emissions rising at a worrying rate since the start of the industrial era, and the UN calling for dramatic systematic change, we reckoned there was only one thing to do with all of the scattered data out there – bring it all into one place.

Our GHG emissions data dashboard takes a look at the global impact of three major greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. See which countries have lowered their emissions the most in the last 10 years; which industries are responsible for emitting the most gases, and how the correlation between GDP and emissions has changed over the years – and still continues to change.

This dashboard is full of amazing insights, all of which help us to gain a much-needed clearer picture on the climate crisis.

Global Emissions Dashboard

Have fun with data

Hopefully you’ll know by now that data isn’t just a bunch of numbers or observations. Data is a powerful storytelling tool we can use to reveal incredible things about the lives we lead and the world we’re a part of. We can use it to stay informed about important issues, make impactful decisions…and maybe even have a little fun too.

Are you ready to get playful with your data? Get in touch with our team of experts who can help you find new ways to unlock stories about your business.

Switching to Power BI – it’s not painful!

You’re probably more than familiar by now with Power BI – Microsoft’s cloud-based data visualisation and analytics tool. Whether you’re still on the hunt for a custom data management system or have decided that Power BI is for you, you may still be a little put off at the thought of actually switching.

After all, doesn’t any kind of platform migration typically lead to lengthy delays, overtime hours and unforeseen costs? Well, you just might be wrong about that…

Here, we’re going to take you through the process of switching to Power BI and hopefully put any doubts or concerns you have to rest. In fact, we aim to have you planning the switch by the end of this article!

Why Power BI?

First, let’s take a quick look at why Power BI has generated so much popularity over the years and is now the leading tool of choice for many of the world’s most iconic brands.

Power BI is an all-in-one solution that can be used to collect, clean and manage data from a wide range of systems and transform it into meaningful insights. As a cloud-based business intelligence service, it can be accessed from almost anywhere, saving time and increasing collaboration for employees and teams. It also saves businesses significant costs in data storage and management, as well as being incredibly secure.

Ultimately, Power BI gives organisations something that’s increasingly important for their success – complete control over their data. Through its many features and capabilities, it gives users an unrivalled 360 degree view of their entire business, opening up the door to market opportunities and saving them both time and money.

Making the switch to Power BI

There are a number of reasons why switching to Power BI is not like your usual DMS migration. Here are some of the main ones you can look forward to:

1. Seamless integration with existing services

Power BI makes it easy to automatically connect your data from various sources immediately after set-up, enabling you to view it all in one place. This means time isn’t wasted migrating data from existing platforms or drawing conclusions from more than one data source.

Power BI’s native integrations include SQL Server, Azure, Google Analytics, Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics, Adobe Analytics, Salesforce, Jira, Mailchimp and many other apps and services your organisation might use. New integrations are always in development too, meaning there’s no limit to the reach Power BI can provide.

2. Quickly connect all of your data in just a few clicks

Because connecting your data is integral to begin analysing and interpreting, Power BI has made the process as quick and simple as possible. Users can connect their data sources in less than a minute with just a few clicks, to begin making use of the tool’s value straight away.

After selecting the appropriate data sources and entering the relevant credentials, Power BI will automatically populate a dashboard with your real-time data, allowing you to immediately start leveraging its insights. For example, after connecting your CRM system and website analytics software to Power BI, you could create a graph directly comparing website visitors with your sales. Dive further and you could even correlate the average time a visitor spends on your website before making a purchase.

3. Built with data governance in mind

Power BI is built with data governance in mind, so enables you to set user hierarchy and company access permissions from the start.

For instance, users can easily apply specific rules regarding data sources, organisational roles, and individual reports to ensure various kinds of data can be seen only by those who need to see it. To make this process even faster, different levels of administrators can be assigned within Power BI who will also have the power to assign access permissions to everyone else in the organisation. These administrators will be controlled by a Global Admin who can assign different administrators for separate data sources or certain types of data, or whatever else makes sense for your organisation.

All of this makes creating a strong and clear data governance strategy easy from the very beginning.

4. No pressure to move everything to the cloud

Power BI is first and foremost a cloud-based platform, but that doesn’t mean customers only have the option of hosting on the cloud. Many businesses are not quite prepared for cloud-based data storage and may want to take less of a leap, in which case Power BI can very much still work for you.

Power BI provides the choice of moving all of your data to the cloud, or perhaps moving just some data while keeping the most important or sensitive stuff on the premises. The Power BI Report server can be used to take reports and dashboards created in Power BI Desktop and deliver them to other browsers and applications, as well as the Power BI mobile app. This allows organisations complete freedom to choose which data they keep on premises and which they decide to put onto the cloud.

There is also the possibility to create hybrid dashboards that use data from both your dedicated server and from behind your own firewall, simply by pinning reports from the Power BI Report Server to the Power BI cloud service.

All of these options enable businesses to transition to the cloud at their own pace and in their own way, while still enjoying the benefits Power BI has to offer.

5. Minimal time training staff

It’s normal to account for staff training and onboarding time when transitioning to a new data platform. However, Power BI is built to be an intelligent and easy-to-use business tool, with its intuitive drag-and-drop interface and simple set-up process. This is why everyone – from seasoned analytics professionals to absolute beginners – will be able to start turning their data into beautiful, informative visuals and valuable insights within just five minutes.

Power BI’s drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to create data-rich dashboards and engaging charts and graphs. Excel and PowerPoint users can jump right in thanks to its many built-in parallels to and compatibility with these tools, such as the ability to import data from an Excel workbook, drag charts to your dashboard or share the workbook with other Power BI users.

Beyond this, Power BI offers an extensive amount of educational information

you can take advantage of, including official guided tutorials and documentation, webinars, training videos, and other resources, all for free. No matter where your employees are starting from, Power BI provides all the support needed to become a data-led workplace.

6. High security & peace of mind

Data security may be a concern when moving to a new data management tool – particularly the additional time or costs involved in ensuring data is kept safe throughout the transition process.

Though no cloud-based system is impervious to attacks, it’s worth knowing that Power BI utilises cloud computing service Azure, one of the most stable and secure platforms available. Azure helps to prevent the unauthorized and unintentional transfer of information in several ways, including making use of both a Web Front-End to handle the initial connection and authentication to Power BI, and a Web Back-End cluster, which takes care of all subsequent user interactions.

The Azure infrastructure also uses a multipronged threat-management approach to continuously strengthen its defense and reduce risks. Power BI also comes with the full support and backing of Microsoft, an industry leader in both on-premises and cloud security. This means you can rest assured knowing your data will remain safe.

Ultimately, no other service can compete with Power BI when it comes to usability, features and value. Hopefully we’ll have convinced you that there’s nothing to lose by switching, but if you’re still on the fence, make sure to book a consultation with our Power BI consulting team to see how you can gain control of your data.

How Power BI can Benefit your Manufacturing Business

Microsoft’s Power BI is making it easier for manufacturers to harness their data in a matter of moments rather than months, increasing productivity and driving their business forward.

But what exactly is it and why should you be making it a focus for 2021?

We’ve outlined everything you need to know about Power BI and how it can benefit you and your business.

What is Power BI?

Power BI is a business analytics service from Microsoft that provides users with interactive data visualisations and business intelligence, giving them a capability for data analytics within a simple-to-use intuitive environment.

Cloud-based software, it allows multiple users to overlay multiple data sources, analyse data and create impactful visualisations with the aim of driving impact through insight.

What’s more, it also consolidates valuable data, presenting it in an easy-to-digest format, which enables users to make more informed and insightful decisions.

How it benefits manufacturers 

Power BI has the ability to, quite literally, revolutionise how manufacturers engage with their customers while empowering employees to gain insight from big data and optimise their operations – changing the very nature of their business model.

From huge manufacturers to small companies, Microsoft BI is an attachment to the Office 365 package – bringing data to life and providing vital information in a simple-to-understand and easy to access interface.

From identifying opportunities for improvement, trends and patterns to more accurate forecasting, Power BI offers a host of benefits.

So here are just a handful of reasons organisations choose Power BI to meet their self-service and enterprise business intelligence needs.

Supply Chain Management

Power BI allows you to evaluate your supply chain logistics and analyse data regularly to ensure timely deliveries and superior service, helping to keep track of consignment costs while also evaluating performance and negotiating future contracts.

Predictive Analytics

A huge advantage of BI tools is the ability to provide predictive analytics, enabling you to take the necessary actions for improving manufacturing operations; such as scheduling the service of equipment before its condition deteriorates and leads to downtime.

Equipment Assessment

Issues arising in equipment due to poor installation can seriously impact productivity, so maintaining proper functioning of manufacturing operations is vital. The incorporation of data analytics and business intelligence in manufacturing keeps you informed about your machines’ health, while giving you real-time insights into your manufacturing lines.

Forecast product demand

Demand forecasting is extremely important for every manufacturer in order to plan future production, so if you want to analyse future product demands, Power BI gives you the ability to set up your models so that you can run several scenarios at once, providing you with insights to take your business to the next level.

Easy to understand analytics

Power BI creates simplified visualisations of your data that anyone can read and understand at a glance by using official free add-ons, not to mention apps that provide highly customisable graphics – enabling you to digest and present your data as simply or creatively as you wish.

Power BI is changing the way we work

By automating the process of compiling data and connecting it to KPI-centric dashboards, manufacturers are changing the way they do business and intelligence systems like Power BI are making it easier for them.

Power BI allows users to adapt while allowing for more complex, multi data driven and complicated artificial business intelligence-based reporting. Its ability to automate processes and consolidate data also enables decisions to be made faster and more efficiently.

Meanwhile, having access to analytics on the mobile app, alongside tablet and laptop, reduces the time it takes to collate, digest and utilise the information that is so vital to manufacturers.

It’s easy to implement

Implementing Power BI couldn’t be easier, meaning you and your business can start to enjoy its many benefits almost immediately.

The desktop version of Power BI is totally free with the option to purchase Power BI Pro plan to share capabilities with multiple users while Power BI Premium is available to those with a larger budget.

What’s more, it’s compatible with other Microsoft products, meaning you can adapt to the software quickly and easily if you’re accustomed to using Office 365 applications.

Have you considered making the switch to Power BI?

If you’re interested in learning more about how Power BI can impact your manufacturing process, we’re here for you and at Bespoke, we can help your manufacturing business get started with Power BI and set you on your way to data-driven success.

We’ve even created a free guide on introducing your company to the Power Platform, including sharing its powerful benefits with decision-makers and stakeholders which you can download here.

So if you think it’s time for your business to move-on from Excel and get started with Power BI, contact us today for a demo.

Team Bespoke: Meet Val

Name: Val MacArthur
Role: Project Director

What is your role at Bespoke?

My role is extremely varied but ultimately it is to ensure the smooth and successful delivery of all our projects, from initial customer engagement through to project management and technical/development consultancy. I also work as a Senior Project Manager on large, key accounts as well as manage our development/technical specialists and projects team in terms of resource management, staff performance and training.

How long have you been in this industry / what is your background?

I have worked in the IT industry for many years and my previous roles have been in Service and Project Delivery including PMO, Project Manager and Service Delivery Manager within software and hardware deployments, including hosted migrations, upgrades and new product platforms.

What inspires you to work in this industry?

Having the opportunity to work with amazing technical and non-technical specialists in their field inspires me. There is always something new to learn when surrounded by a team of passionate and creative people!

What is the best part of your role?

Bespoke may be a small company but with a huge personality and this shows in the team chemistry.

Managing a team that work so well together and watching those technical sparks fly when a new project gets started. Knowing that everyone is committed to deliver a quality product and that they not only support each other, but all pull together when the pressure is on.

Engaging with clients at the beginning of each new project and watching their vision come to life throughout the duration of their project and the successful result and client satisfaction with the finished product.

What is your favourite project that you have worked on?

The successful delivery of multiple excel-based projects to a global audience for STEM Healthcare and now on a digital transformation journey with them using the Power Platform.

What is the toughest challenge you have faced in your role at Bespoke?

Initially I found transitioning from a large formal company a challenge, but I soon saw the benefits of working with less red tape, fewer people, and departments to consider. There is far more flexibility in terms of project deployment and when working with a small team, as decisions are made faster and communication, as well as the team bond, is stronger.

Keeping staff and projects going through the pandemic has been incredibly challenging.

What does a typical day in your role look like?

My day starts with a meeting with the team to communicate the work to be delivered that day and to check in to make sure everyone has what they need to have a successful day.

The remainder of my day is split between project meetings both internally and externally, following up on project actions and planning, resource planning and staff management.

What do you think our industry is going to look like in 10 years? 

Now more than ever businesses will have a greater need to save on time and costs and they will continue to look at ways of reducing and simplifying manual one person tasks or processes.

The next 10 years will definitely be an exciting time for technology, as it will continue to be as fast paced as it is now, but with even more on offer, especially around Data Analytics, AI and Cloud computing, and who knows maybe even a robot as a team member!

If you had an unlimited budget, what innovation would you want to create in our industry?

A personalised virtual help seeker/assistant! A bit like Siri but better! Something that could be dropped in and deployed into any system (regardless of the system) and could help find supporting documents, reach out to a team member or client, create meetings, make notes as well as help clients troubleshoot quickly and easily on our products, make suggestions, and recommend who to contact etc.

If you could get a new skill in 10 minutes, what would it be? 

Personal – learn a new language or learn to play golf (the number of times I have been asked how I can originally be from St Andrews ‘the home of golf’ and not play) Work – something technical – code or Power Apps development.

If you could go to any country (that you haven’t been to) where would you go and why?

Borneo as I would love to visit the orangutan’s sanctuary!

What language would you like to learn one day? Why?

Spanish as it is widely recognised/spoken in over 22 countries across the world and that has got to be a good excuse to travel (when we can!)

Read more about the team and Bespoke’s story here.