Are you looking to gain more value from your business intelligence (BI) system? You’re not alone.
BI solutions offer the possibility of gaining deep insights into organisational activities, and as users of these systems, it helps to know what results your activities are delivering. But many users can struggle to get valuable insights from traditional BI processes in a timely manner. The sheer volume of data sources, connections, and processes involved can lead to data fatigue.
There are many reasons why this struggle exists, but some common issues tend to get in the way.
Common business intelligence issues:
- Lack of governance. One of the most common issues facing organisations is a lack of governance around their BI implementation. Ensuring everyone uses the same data sets and definitions is challenging without informational control. And the cost of getting it wrong is confusion and inconsistency.
- IT silos. Another common issue is the existence of IT silos within an organisation. When different departments within an organisation have separate BI systems or processes, it can be challenging to get a clear picture of what’s happening across the business.
- Lack of user adoption. A third issue that often plagues organisations is a lack of user adoption of their BI system. This issue can be due to several factors, such as insufficient training or a misunderstanding of the desired outcomes.
- Hard to collaborate. Traditional BI solutions focus on turning data into insights but may fall short of helping users share what they’ve uncovered. Workarounds may close the gap, but they can take time or even put informational security at risk.
How does Power BI answer these issues?
Power BI is a cloud-based business intelligence and analytics platform from Microsoft. It’s designed to provide insights from data for businesses of all sizes and users with limited technical experience.
Power BI can dig deep into various data sources, enabling users to visualise information, spot trends, and take actionable insights from their data.
Users can create custom visuals, dashboards, and reports through the Power BI Desktop app. The intuitive workflows help overcome data fatigue by allowing you to manage your content displays more effectively and share the results from your data with a streamlined workflow.
Some key benefits of Power BI:
- Connecting to virtually any data source. Power BI can connect to almost any data source, whether on-premises or in the cloud. This feature makes it easy for businesses to access the data they need when they need it.
- Visualising data. Power BI’s visualisations make it easy for users to see patterns and trends in their data. This element helps users to make better decisions about their business.
- Centralised access. While Power BI can access any data you want it connected to, not everyone in your organisation needs access to that data. Power BI makes it easy to control who has access to what, with permission-based controls that can operate on organisational, team, and individual levels.
- Turning insights into action.Once you’ve spotted a trend in your data, Power BI lets you take action on those insights. For example, you can create alerts to receive notifications when something important happens, or you can create workflows to automate tasks.
- Integration with other applications. Not only does Power BI connect with different data sources, it also offers seamless integration with a range of other Microsoft applications. Power BI’s capabilities could be further enhanced when used with the other tools in the Power Platform, such as Microsoft Flow and Power Automate.
Getting familiar with Power BI
One thing that makes Power BI so popular is its ease of use. The platform is user-friendly and intuitive, so anyone can start using it with little to no training.
But like any other new solution, the range of features can confuse new users. So, to help out, we’ve pulled together a few tips to help you get started.
- Get familiar with the interface. It pays to explore Power BI and get comfortable with where everything is located. This step will make finding the features you need easier when you’re ready to use the tool for your projects.
- Start with the basics. Power BI has many parts, but you don’t need to use them all at once. Start with the basics and gradually add complexity as you become more comfortable with the tool.
- Use sample data. Power BI comes with a range of sample data sets that you can use to practice your skills. These data sets are a great way to get started without worrying about real-world data, as you can check the results against known outcomes.
- Get help when you need it. Power BI has an extensive help system that can answer questions about using the tool you’re using. If you’re ever stuck, you can search for what you need in the help system, and you’ll likely find the answer you’re looking for.
- Keep learning. Power BI is constantly evolving, so there’s always something new to learn. Stay up-to-date on the latest features and best practices by following the Power BI blog or organising professional BI training sessions.
When to avoid Power BI
There are a few instances where Power BI may not be the best solution.
Power BI can deliver if your data is constantly updating and you need real-time-to-the-second insights, but the process can be complex. Unless you can perform a setup that can keep up with the constant informational turnover, you may want to investigate other options.
Power BI can meet these needs if your industry requires highly customised reports or you need to perform multiple complex analyses with outputs unique to your organisation. But again, this requires a sound understanding of the inputs and requirements.
In these cases, you may want to look into apps that are designed for real-time dashboards out of the box, industry-specific programs, or an expert Power BI setup with a qualified professional to help you get the customised output you need.
As you can see, there are many ways to get value from Power BI. By understanding the features and capabilities of Power BI, you can make informed decisions on how to best use it for your needs.