Looking Beneath the surface of Microsoft 365 – Power BI

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Looking Beneath the surface of Microsoft 365 – Power BI

What is Power BI

Power BI (Business intelligence) is a data analytics platform developed by Microsoft designed to give businesses the tools they need to draw insight from and extract value from their data.

In today’s digital world, organisations are flooded with data contained in a variety of locations, both on-premises and in the cloud. The challenge lies in bringing all this data together coherently and presenting it in ways that are communicable to others both inside and outside your business. Power BI aims to do just that!


Why should I care about data insights?

Data can drive intelligent decision making, which in turn could help your business perform better, achieve better sales performance, and improve efficiency. Harnessing data can profoundly improve performance across your business:

Human resources. Analyse data to track employee satisfaction and monitor productivity to identify opportunities for further training.

Sales. Identify which techniques work and which don’t, by analysing the likes of conversion rate, sales cycle, and revenue data.

Marketing. Measure the success of marketing campaigns by examining and visualising metrics such as cost per lead, ROI and web traffic data.

Finance. Use data you currently hold to forecast future performance. Analyse revenue streams over time to anticipate periods of low demand and prepare accordingly.

Senior Management. Remove the guesswork from executive decision making and steer your business based on hard data. Adopt policies with a proven record of success and implement strategies that improve efficiency.


So how does Power BI Work?

Power BI makes data analysis easy. You know where your data is stored, you know how to retrieve it and you know how to make sense of it; but all of that takes time! Using a collection of software, apps and connectors, Power BI automatically connects multiple data sources and uses virtualisation software to turn what would otherwise be an assortment of numbers into meaningful, attractive dashboards displaying important insights.

Power BI consist of 3 component parts:

A desktop app. A free-to-download software application where users can set up data connections and transform data streams into stunning visualisations.

Power BI service. On online SaaS portal designed to allow collaboration and sharing of reports.

Power BI Mobile apps. Mobile apps give the ability to keep track of your data when you’re not in the office.



Datasets, reports and dashboards – the 3 ‘need to know’ terms

Datasets. A dataset is a single source of data that you want to use to produce a report, in other words; a bunch of data from a single location. This could be an excel spreadsheet stored in your Onedrive or data from a SaaS application like Salesforce.

Reports. Reports are the product of bringing multiple datasets together to produce a detailed visualisation on a specific topic.

Dashboards. Dashboards can be used to combine multiple data visualisations potentially from a number of reports. While reports typically focus intensely on a single issue, Dashboards (which in PowerBI are limited to a single page) tend to present only the key information, leaving out the finer details that are less vital for decision making.


Publish reports in 3 simple steps

1) Draw together data and create a report in the Power BI desktop app. Bring together multiple datasets and create stunning visual representations of your data.

2) Publish your reports to the Power BI service. Upload your detailed reports to the cloud and use these reports to create dashboards ( a collection of visualisations from different reports that ‘paint a picture’).

3) Share reports and dashboards with internal or external collaborators. Share insights with anyone! The Power BI service lets you distribute reports while giving you control over what can happen to your data.


Need help gaining insights from your data?

Here at VaraTech we offer a broad range of IT support and consultancy services that aim to help small businesses extract maximum value from their IT. From proactive network monitoring/maintenance and hardware leasing to Cloud services, VoIP telephony and much more, we help our clients identify and roll-out the best-fit solutions for their businesses.  

We’re cloud computing experts! We can help your business leverage the potential of some of the most empowering Cloud services, such as Microsoft 365. Why not get in touch today, to discover how the flexibility, scalability cost-efficiency, convenience and security of Cloud services can help your business realise its potential.