What is Power BI?

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What is Power BI?

Your business creates huge amounts of data every day… How can you best make use of this data to make good business decisions? Wouldn’t it be great if each person could see this data represented in the best way for that person to do their job? And what if you could see how your own data relates to data from the wider world? This is Business Intelligence, or BI.

And a good way to gain that Business Intelligence is through Microsoft’s Power BI.

Power BI is a cloud-based service which allows you to create visualizations (charts and graphs) based on your own or external datasets. You can create reports containing one or more visualizations, and then create tiles based on those reports, which you can share with others or pin to your dashboard. Tiles can also be created by typing natural-language queries via the Q&A feature. Thus, you can create a dashboard containing the most meaningful data to you, in a manner which allows you to easily visualize and interpret that information. You can even take your data with you using the Power BI mobile apps for Windows, Apple, and Android devices!

Power BI Dashboard

Sample dashboard (Microsoft)

Power BI licenses are separate from Office 365 licenses, but once purchased, you’ll see a Power BI tile in your O365 App menu. NOTE: The old-style Power BI for Office 365 experience (which used SharePoint Online sites) will be deprecated as of December 31, 2015. We’re using the New Power BI in this article.

Creating a basic chart is as simple as getting a dataset, and dragging fields onto a design surface…

Power BI Connecting to Data

It literally took less than a minute to create the two charts below, by uploading a sample Excel spreadsheet, clicking on it, and dragging the Date and Sales fields onto the design surface to create the bar chart. Dragging the Country and Sales fields onto the design surface automatically created a world map chart with sized bubbles. Adding legends, changing chart styles, or otherwise enhancing your chart is also very simple with the intuitive UI.

Power BI Chart

You can then use the pushpin icon to pin a chart to a new or existing dashboard:

Power BI Pin to Dashboard

Here’s an example of using the natural language Q&A to create a chart in mere seconds:

Power BI Chart

To make things even easier for you, Microsoft has made a number of sample content packs available, so you can check out dashboard templates that may be relevant for your industry or role:

• Customer Profitability

• Human Resources

• IT Spend

• Opportunity Analysis

• Procurement Analysis

• Retail Analysis

• Sales and Marketing

• Supplier Quality Analysis

Power BI Resources to learn more

There are lots of resources for learning how to take advantage of all that Power BI has to offer:

Power BI YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/mspowerbi/videos

Live and on-demand webinars for all experience levels: https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/powerbi-webinars/

Power BI Community (events, forums, user groups): http://community.powerbi.com/

And much much more on the Power BI site: https://powerbi.microsoft.com/

Turn your business data into Business Intelligence…

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