Bespoke’s Marketing Director, Kelly Humpleby, interviews Jordan Brookes, the Commercial Director, on all things Power BI. Discover more about how the tool works and when you should consider implementing the Power Platform within your business.
What is Power BI?
Power BI is a business analytics service provided by Microsoft. The aim that Microsoft have for Power BI, is to provide users with interactive data visualisations and business intelligence, so they have capabilities for data analytics within a really simple-to-use intuitive environment.
It’s a cloud-based piece of software that allows users to overlay multiple data sources, analyse big data and create impactful visualisations, that bring data to life. It’s all about driving impact through insight. It consolidates your data, presenting it in an easy-to-digest format and allows people to make more informed business decisions, therefore driving impact.
Who should use Power BI?
Microsoft state that 98% of Fortune 500 companies in the US are using Power Platform (Power BI being a key element of that). So, it ranges from huge enterprises down to small SME companies as well, because it’s a great attachment to your office 365 package. It brings data to life within any size of organisation.
Why would you move from Excel to Power BI?
We call this moving from Excel to cloud, and whilst Excel is a great tool, it comes down to the use cases. There has been an industry shift over the last few years from just collecting data, to drawing insight from that data. Excel is not fit for purpose when it comes to providing analytics, especially when you have multiple data sources and a lot of data. There are several reasons for this;
Excel is limited in that users cannot access and change workbooks at the same time. Power BI on the other hand does not have this limitation. As it is cloud based, multiple users are able to analyse and interrogate dashboards, which drives this phrase of the ‘single source of truth’. When you bring the data off the cloud into an Excel spreadsheet, instantly you’ve got multiple sources of truth, because of the data integrity. Power BI on the other hand, is driven from a data model which is the single source of truth that multiple people can interrogate.
Power BI allows its users and IT teams to control and govern their data significantly better. Excel spreadsheets exist within the business to run processes but sit outside the control of the IT team.
A key benefit of Power BI is that it brings the gap between data and analytics together, rather than pulling it from your systems into a standalone Excel spreadsheet.
What can businesses expect when adopting Power BI?
Power BI is a straightforward, intuitive business intelligence tool. It is an upgrade from Excel and has even been referred to as “the yellow Excel”. Power BI has been built using the same principles and coding language as Excel.. It’s a sensible and intuitive next step from spreadsheets. By moving away from Excel spreadsheets and being in technical debt of one person having the knowledge of how it works, users ensure they don’t find themselves in a situation where if that one person were to leave, or be on holiday, everything would grind to a halt. Adopting Power BI begins the process of eliminating the reliance on one person having all the knowledge in their head.
How easy is it to implement Power BI?
Implementing Power BI is very straightforward due to the way the licensing works, Power BI desktop often comes with a certain Office 365 license type. Users can start interrogating and playing with data straight away. Power BI is very much a platform that allows users in the business to adapt and use Power BI Desktop. It also allows for more complex, multi data driven and complicated artificial business intelligence-based reporting. Bespoke help with building and providing the blueprint of that architecture. Once you start that process and adopt it, it’s straightforward to get your hands on and understand it.
Some of the key things we talk about with our clients when we’re discussing what they want from their data, is Power BI’s ability to automate processes and consolidate data, this results in data being fed much quicker, enabling decisions to be made faster. It’s all about putting insights into the hands of more people, so users can make more informed decisions quickly, whilst making sure it is from one single source of the truth.
How does Power BI make the users life easier?
Going through Power BI first thing every morning gives the user an overview of what is changing in the business day by day. Having access to analytics on the Power BI mobile app alongside tablet and laptop, makes life so much easier. It reduces the need to go searching for information. The Power BI web app has great functionality, which allows non developers to build straight forward visualisations from the data that is being held.
Another fantastic feature is the qualitative search function which enables the user to essentially type in a question, for example “revenue split by industry” and Power BI is clever enough to populate that with a data visualisation.
Power BI is a user-friendly business intelligence tool which enables data to be not only accessible to multiple users, but also understood by non-developers and brought to life through data models and visualisations. Moving from Excel to the cloud removes many constraints which are typically seen by companies who use Excel spreadsheets. If you are ready to get started with Power BI, get in touch today for a demo.