Where’s my Data?
If you are like most organizations, the amount of data to sift through from spreadsheets, databases, the web, and SharePoint files is overwhelming. Power BI turns chaotic data into an easy-to-read, immersive, interactive experience that leads to insights, making it an ideal business intelligence solution.
What is Power BI?
Microsoft Power BI is a collection of SaaS products, applications, and connectors that work together. When implemented, Power BI collects data from various sources, whether you use cloud sources, different file types, or on-premise data warehouses to store your data. Power BI is broadly applicable for many kinds of analyses through a user-friendly interface.
Power BI consists of several elements that all work together, starting with these three basics:
- A free Windows desktop application – Power BI Desktop
- An online SaaS – Power BI service
- Power BI mobile apps for Windows, iOS, and Android devices
Why do I need Power BI?
Your organization runs on data. It’s easy to collect, but the problem is analyzing quickly and efficiently. That’s where Power BI comes in. The platform has over 160 built-in connectors (see figure below) available to help you securely compile data from various sources into reports and dashboards. Power BI is extensible, enabling the creation of custom connectors. Use it to transform your data and help your organization:
- Improve the decision-making process by accessing data in real-time
- Boost productivity by giving your employees a centralized location to view data
- Enhance your customer’s experience by understanding their changing needs and predicting the best way to meet those needs
What are the steps to Develop a Power BI Dashboard?
The development process is relatively simple:
- Install Power BI desktop
- Get data sources (identify and access all of the data sources required to create your final report or dashboard)
- Model and transform data using the Power Query transformation tools and the DAX language to add calculations and value to that model
- Creatively and effectively tell a data story with the many built-in visualizations (hundreds of customized visualizations are available, and most are free)
- Publish your report to the Power BI service (or you can save your report to an internal Power BI report server)
- Create a dashboard by collecting visual tiles from one or more reports
- Share reports and dashboards internally or externally
How Can I Use Power BI?
Below are some real-world examples and case studies.
COVID 19 Summary
To track and report COVID cases, our client needed a dashboard that could be “sliced and diced” by individual regions, the state, and nationally. The project involved pulling data from various public sources, including COVID case data, populations, maps (by areas within the state and nationally), charts and tables. We developed a dashboard that provided a quick snapshot of “hot regions” and trends using Power BI. In addition, we set up a data gateway with scheduled, regular refreshes from external sites.
The client previously had a SharePoint site with various folders containing reports for several divisions from different data sources (billing, project tracking, hour tracking) regarding projects and their hours worked in multiple phases, categories and types. The Dewpoint Team pulled all the data sources into Power BI, creating an interactive dashboard that went beyond the prior simple static PDF reports. Now the client can view Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of the percentage of green projects, trends by month, the percentage in different category types, and a split between division direct or enterprise work. In addition, we developed detailed tables to show all the individual line details with the ability for each person to filter their details. Finally, we implemented row-level security, so that client leadership can see all divisions in one report (or filter as desired); however, each division can only view their data.
Power BI offers solutions fit for any industry. All businesses collect data, and Power BI helps you utilize your data for decision-making. With over 25 years of providing technology solutions to solve business problems, Dewpoint can help you get the most out of Power BI. We understand different businesses will need different levels of the tool; thus, we always start with taking a quick evaluation of your business to provide a solution that fits you. Contact us today to help produce insights that drive business decisions.