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What is Power BI?

  • by Liz Mangini
  • February 19, 2018
What is Power BI?

Many companies think they need data experts on staff to make sense of business data, and to inform business decisions. Although having that type of expertise on staff would be great for many, there are better options available to those on a tight budget. Microsoft’s Power BI is one of those options.

Power BI is an online service, with connection to other Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications, that helps you transform, analyze, and visualize data quickly and easily. Through the use of Power BI dashboards, rich visualizations and interactive reports, your company will make better decisions in less time, and with less effort.

High Level Overview!

At its core, Power BI is a service to aggregate business data from multiple sources into one location where it can be modeled and built into visualizations to help businesses make better decisions.

When you first login into Power BI, you will see a blank screen because there is no content in the service. You need to provide the necessary data to create the visualizations. The top-level concept in Power BI are Dashboards. There are multiple dashboards, reports, and datasets included by default with the Power BI service. Each dashboard includes multiple tiles, and each tile is linked to a specific report on the backend. Each report is created from a specific dataset. Each dataset is either a connection or a bridge to another database, or a set of data cached or stored within the Power BI Service itself and refreshed on some regular cadence.

Reports can only be linked to one dataset, but a dataset can be linked to multiple reports. Reports can be linked to multiple different dashboards depending on the visualizations and analysis required. A brief video introduction of these concepts can be found here.

There is a desktop application that enables connections to multiple different data sources, and provides the ability to model and enrich the data through charts and other visualizations to make the data more accessible and understandable.

There are mobile applications to ensure you can track your data on the go. For those who wish to augment Power BI functionality, Microsoft has provided programmatic ways to interact with Power BI to extend functionality to suit specific needs.

With the ability to connect to over tons data sources, including Microsoft and 3rd party data categories, Power BI provides rich functionality for your data analysis needs.

Where can you get Power BI?

Power BI is included with the Office 365 Enterprise E5 subscription. If your company is subscribed to that plan, then you have what you need. Otherwise, you can sign up as an individual and choose a free account, a Pro 60-day trial account, or purchase Power BI Pro. Power BI requires that you use a work or school email address to sign up.

Power BI Pro includes all the features of the free account, plus additional capabilities that include:

  • Creation and publishing of customized content packs
  • Refreshable team dashboards
  • Reports using groups
  • Live interactive connectivity to multiple data sources

There’s so much MORE!!

This post is only meant as a primer and introduction to Power BI. There is so much more to discuss and cover with Power BI. I would love the opportunity to discuss your business needs, challenges, objectives, and map out some cost effective and impactful solutions to help you.

Inviso delivers interactive dashboards, custom reports, user-friendly tools, industry-leading experience, and hands-on training so you can make smarter, faster decisions to drive better business. From free readiness assessments to workshops to proof of concepts to full implementation, Inviso can help bring your data to life.

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Liz Mangini

Liz is a Marketing Project Manager at Inviso. She brings over 20 years of writing, copyediting, public relations, and marketing experience. She is an expert in submitting projects through to client approval, markups, and final; a keen champion of the client’s brand; and a master at keeping project timelines on track while delivering high quality work. Liz has extensive writing and copyediting experience for both consumer and corporate marketing, including emails, press releases, newsletters, magazine articles, and website, blog, and social media content.

Power BI

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