Have you been thinking; “What is Power BI and is it important for my business?” Well, then you have landed on a goldmine of information that will help you answer just that! Below I’ve included 5 answers to common questions about Power BI to help you decide if this powerful tool could be beneficial for your business.
Power BI has been around for a while and from the very beginning of its time, Power BI and Excel were married together with features such as Power Query (data mashup and transformation tool), Power Pivot (data modelling tool) and Power View (data visualization tool). Today, the Power BI application features new improvements, enterprise-level data connectivity and security, updates on a monthly basis and has options for uses in every organization.
Question #1 – What Exactly is Power BI?
Microsoft Power BI is a cloud-based business analytics service for visualizing data and sharing insights across your business to essentially help you become productive and creative with reports and analytics. So basically, it’s a really cool application that makes you look really cool using it.
Question #2 – How Can I Use Power BI?
It’s actually really easy. I am not being biased – just hear me out! You do not need a computer science background, coding experience, or be dependent on IT to create dashboards and reports. Power BI has powerful self-service abilities – meaning it works for you the way you want it to.
Power BI can be used as a desktop application, a SaaS product, or on a mobile device. You can connect your data from just about any data source (on-premise or in the cloud) and explore data to create interactive visualizations that you can seamlessly access from your desk or on the go using the Power BI Apps. To see a demo and learn more about Power BI, watch our recorded webinar Microsoft Power Platform | Power BI.
The best part is that you can have fun together! In Power BI you have the ability to not only publish reports and dashboards in real-time, but you can create a data driven culture by sharing those insights collaboratively with your team inside and outside of your organization. You can add permissions to give colleagues the ability to edit reports or create dashboards; in the same way you can also restrict access when called for.
Question #3 – What Can Power BI Do For Me?
Power BI continues to add a large number of data analytics features. Here is a list of a few important features:
- Artificial Intelligence – Use image recognition and text analytics, create machine learning tools, capabilities, and models integrated with Azure Machine Learning.
- Quick Insights – Create subsets of data and automatically apply analytics to data sets.
- Common Data Model Support – Standardized and extensible collection of data schemas (relationships, attributes, entities, etc.)
- Cortana Integration – Allows for verbal query using natural language through Cortana and Microsoft Digital Assistant. You can now ask the platform questions and get answers– how cool, right?
- Customization – Import new tools for custom visualizations and reporting.
- Data Catalog – Easily search, use, and reuse queries with this feature.
Question #4 – What Sources of Data Can I Connect?
Good Question! The simple answer is dozens and hundreds and thousands (not literally).
You can connect Excel, CSV, PDF, SharePoint Folder, XML files. If you use databases such as SQL Server Database, Oracle, IBM, Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery, Azure data – no problem! You can even use Power BI to visualize data from services such as Dynamics 365 Salesforce Reports, Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, Facebook, xero, K2 cloud, MailChimp, Marketo, SAP HANA, GitHub and so much more.
Power BI has the ability to create reports against all these systems and bring them together into an interactive dashboard that provides the insights you need from your data.
Question #5 – How Much is Power BI?
There are 3 levels of Power BI for users:
- Power BI Desktop – Absolutely free!
- Power BI Pro – $9.99* USD per user per month
- Power BI Premium – Contact me for more details as the pricing is dependent on the size of deployment and user count.
Within the Desktop version you can connect to 70+ data sources, publish to the web, and export PowerPoint, Excel, and CSV. In the Pro licensing type you can do all that and more: apps, email subscriptions, embed APIs and controls, app workspaces, peer-to-peer sharing, and the ability to analyze data in Excel and Power BI Desktop.
Too good to be true? Well, it isn’t. For more details on licensing and service costs or any questions you may have about Power BI – contact me!
*All pricing is subject to change without notice. Always contact Encore for the most current product pricing.
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