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Power BI for Beginners

Published: 2/26/2018 Author: Scott Morrison

Microsoft Power BI isn’t merely an application, it’s a game changer. Power BI enables organizations and users to visualize data and make better decisions based on the insights provided by dynamic visuals. Microsoft’s Power BI visuals (or visualizations) consist of bar graphs, tables, charts (we like the donut), scatterplots, and maps that have the power to bring a dataset to life. The visuals that you are able to create with Power BI allow you to tell a story and better analyze your data. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to take a spreadsheet and show trends, patterns, and anomalies in the data set. What is also important to recognize is that the visualizations are very helpful in determining the accuracy of the data set.

In Power BI, each visualization is presented in a tile. These tiles make up a Power BI report. These tiles can help you tell a “data story” and provide an organization with a better way to consume complex data sets and analyze information. You can create a Power BI report using the Power BI service.

Our team has been working in Power BI for quite some time. Business Intelligence isn’t new to us… We had been working in SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) before making the move to Power BI. With deep expertise in business intelligence, moving to Power BI was an easy move for us to make. We have been really interested in the capabilities of Power BI and have been uncovering new ways to add more capabilities and functionality to applications we’ve built in other Microsoft applications.

Ease of use and bold functionality has made Power BI a very interesting solution. We have clients that are eager to see the solution in action. Last week, we had a client meeting with an organization that had very little exposure to the Power BI offering. They were blown away by how quickly we built a dashboard and how easy it was for us to connect to their data. Within minutes, we were slicing and dicing their data and showing them a tool that they simply couldn’t live without.

We spend a fair amount of time educating clients on the portfolio Power BI tools. Typically, clients get their first taste of Power BI through the use of the Power BI Service. The Power BI Service is an online SaaS (Software as a Service) that offers capabilities that are available in the Power BI Desktop solution, but it is hosted in the cloud. With Power BI Service, you can share dashboards and reports, online. Another flavor of Power BI is Power BI Desktop, it’s the tool we use to build sophisticated business intelligence reports. Power BI Desktop has a lot of capabilities and flexibility when pulling in data from many sources. Once Power BI Desktop pulls the data in, you can instantly start working with the data, create reports, and gain insight. Watching a new user pull data into Power BI for the first time is a real treat for any consultant...It’s fun to see a user really feel like they have control over their data.

So, I want to give you an idea of how you can use Power BI and the expansive set of tools I've outlined in this blog. Your Power BI pros (Kiefer Consulting can help you in this area) will use Power BI Desktop to build a report from a data set. You are then able to publish your report to the Power BI Service and shared across your organization. You may even create a Power BI dashboard which can make data even easier to consume. There is one Power BI solution we failed to mention, The Power BI Mobile app. With the Mobile app allows users to view reports on their mobile device!

We are using Power BI across a wide range of projects. Please contact us and we can show you how it works! We look forward to introducing you to Power BI.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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