What is Microsoft Power BI?
Microsoft Power BI for Office 365 is a group of features and services that enable businesses to collect and visualize data, share discoveries, ask questions, and collaborate in intuitive new ways. Power BI provides self-service business intelligence (BI) infrastructure, and brings Excel workbook sharing, online collaboration, and IT infrastructure together into a holistic product that’s easy to use.
Microsoft Power BI helps you:
- Discover – Easily discover and connect to data from public and corporate data sources, including powerful new search capabilities and and a means to merge data from multiple data sources so you can analyze it in Excel.
- Analyze – Create data models from various data sources in Excel by creating relationships, hierarchies, custom measures, and key performance indicators (KPIs).
- Visualize – Create reports and analytical views via interactive charts and graphs that help you explore your data visually.
- Share & Collaborate – Produce Power BI sites for your team to view reports and share. You can also connect to on-premise data sources and refresh your reports.
- Ask Questions – You can ask questions using natural language query, which will interpret questions and provide quick answers in the form of interactive graphs or charts, which change dynamically as you modify the question.
- Access ViaMobile – The Power BI app provides live mobile access to all your important business information. HTML5 support allows you to view and interact on any device, anywhere.
Microsoft provides a business intelligence platform for the masses.
With the power of Microsoft Power BI:
- You’ll be able to analyze your data in ad-hoc analysis and discover new insights you weren’t previously aware of – insights that help run your business better.
- You’ll be able to create interactive dashboards, 3-D visualizations, and have flexible in-memory modeling on the fly. You can also collaborate with your colleagues anywhere whether on the road or at home.
- You’ll use business intelligence tools to combine your structured and unstructured data to provide a central reporting environment for all your inquiries.
- You’ll use many of the tools that you already own and enjoy, such as Microsoft SQL Server, SharePoint, Microsoft Excel, and Office 365 for faster deployment and better adoption among your organization.
What are the features of Microsoft Power BI?
Power BI provides uses tools and technologies that your employees are already familiar with and/or can easily learn themselves.
- Self-service BI tools such as Microsoft Excel and Office 365 Power BI allow your employees to get up and running quickly
- Share insights and reports with your colleagues with tools like Microsoft Power BI
- Power Query inside of Microsoft Excel allows you to quickly transform data into the right formats
- Merge data sources with Power View and quickly produce interactive visualizations, 3D visualizations, or interactive tours with tools like Power Map inside of Microsoft Excel
- Power Pivot, a tool for analytical modeling, allows you to drill down and discover the insights needed to improve the bottom line
Dashboards and reports
- Microsoft SharePoint technologies allow you to create beautiful dashboards in real-time
- With tools like Power View inside of SharePoint you can quickly transform the shape of your data into KPIs that you can use to measure progress and set goals
- Use the SharePoint reporting libraries environment to provide subscriptions to reports and receive proactive alerts when reports change, always keeping yourself up to date
- Microsoft’s Report Builder helps drive any types of reports, matrix views, charts, gauges, or spark lines and then renders your reports into PDF, CSV, XML or TIFF Images, depending on your audience
- Leverage Microsoft SQL Server Analysis to drive the scale and analysis of your data
- Microsoft’s SQL Server Analysis Services allows for multidimensional analysis or tabular analysis, granting you the flexibility to manipulate how you build your analysis
- Get the flexibility you need across your analytics to drive new dashboards and scorecards
- Ensure only the right people see the information by having SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) address all the permissions issues of your organization right down to row level security
- You have the history, so now you can start forecasting better. You can use SQL’s predictive analytics and Microsoft Excel with data mining add-ins to reduce your risk and produce a better bottom line
- Use the sophisticated data mining capabilities, which allow you to leverage cross-validation, statistical scoring, and near or long term predictions
- Perform e-commerce shopping cart analysis, reduce churn, and learn why people are abandoning transactions all within Microsoft’s business intelligence tools
Why Microsoft Power BI is a game changer
A review of Microsoft’s newest BI solution shows that Power BI merges centralized data warehouse/business intelligence strategies with cloud data sources and self-service tools better than any other platform. Power BI has the potential to speed up the adoption curve and make advanced BI Analytics just as common as Excel, offering a solution that employees are already familiar with and can easily become proficient in.
Power BI brings game-changing capabilities to all BI system stakeholders:
- End users who want the ability to easily access and analyze data. Q&A’s natural language query and intelligent visualization engine will do more to encourage every employee to use information as a basis for decisions.
- Power users who use Power Pivot to build efficient data models over large data volumes. Power Query’s data transformation and flexibility further empower analysts to quickly build their own end-to-end solutions.
- Data stewards realize that employees want to have the self-service tools and information they need to make good decisions. Yet proper governance, security and auditing is often seen as a road-block to progress by power users. The data catalog underlying Power BI is exciting because it promotes self-service and governance simultaneously.
For many organizations, a robust BI platform that is easy to implement and also affordable is most welcomed. Power BI may be the solution that finally makes advanced BI simple to use and widely adopted. Power to the people!