Why Power BI is A Game ChangerTushar Sonal
Power BI, a cloud-based self-authoring analytics tool from Microsoft, was released for general public availability in July 2015. At the time of the launch, Microsoft Corporate Vice President James Phillips summed up the philosophy of Power BI when he said that “Power BI sets the standard for modern business intelligence”. Power BI is essentially a suite of cloud-hosted business analytics tools to analyze data and share insights. It has since emerged as a leader in Gartner Magic Quadrant for BI and Analytics for 3 years in a row. It is also the leader in Agile BI as per Forrester. It has become massively popular and it allows users to easily create reports and dashboards by themselves with killer visualizations. It simplifies data preparation, data discovery and data visualization steps of data analysis without creating dependencies on information technology staff or database administrators. There is a range of custom visualizations in Power BI visuals gallery that you can directly import and add to your dashboards/ reports in order to express your data in really interesting ways.
With a plethora of data analysis tools in the market already existing, including well accepted and popular platforms such as Qlik, Tableau, etc., that are constantly pushing the boundaries of innovation, what is it that makes Power BI different, fuelling its massive popularity in the last few years?
Power BI is a highly robust, scalable, platform flexible and cost-effective self-service end to end analytics offering from Microsoft that can accelerate your decision making and help your business run better.
1)Delivers End-To-End Data Lifecycle Needs with Easy Data Modelling, Data Shaping and Effortless Data Visualizations
Easily connect and join multiple data sources for data preparation. Power BI has query editor, an integrated ETL tool, that lets you shape data with ease. It has a super-fast data engine that can create complex data models that support a large number of tables with complex inter-relationships. Microsoft has brought its long-time expertise with SSAS to deliver powerful Power Pivot technology. It is also integrated with R, a popular language with statisticians & data scientists for advanced analysis, data mining and visualizations.
Power BI supports live reporting and dashboards. You can effortlessly create stunning graphics and visualizations to identify the patterns and stories within your data with in-built visuals or by using a wide variety of community-created custom visualizations. You can then embed the visuals into your apps and portals or easily publish it to the web. Power BI, with its open SDKs, offers great custom visualizations.
2)Integration with Multiple Tools
Power BI as an enterprise-class SaaS business intelligence comes with inbuilt connectors to over hundreds of on-premise and on-cloud data sources such as popular enterprise ERP & CRM solutions, IoT devices, Social Networks, Flat Files and web services. You can even connect to streaming data sources in order to create your data analytics framework. It also has native Microsoft integration with Cortana and Excel and other Microsoft apps and services. Because it uses standard DAX expressions for creating data models, it is very easy for users that are well- versed with excel. You can easily take out the data dumps from Power BI in the excel format in order to do further analysis on it. This makes it very easy to work with Excel and Power BI together. You can directly publish to Power BI from Excel 2016.
3) SaaS offering
Power BI comes as a flexible and scalable SaaS offering. There is no upfront license fee along with installation and configuration costs. You don’t have to worry about making updates at regular intervals. With Power BI, you can easily upscale and downscale on your investments as per your usage and scale across the enterprise as needs and requirements change.
This reduces your time to benefit on your purchase. You don’t have to worry about managing and maintaining expensive servers. You don’t have to worry about downtimes and interruptions. This makes it a very cost-effective solution for your enterprise requirements.
4) Robust Built-in Governance and Security
Power BI complies with stringent industry-benchmarked data standards with the compliance verified by third-party audits and certifications. With its robust built-in governance, you can manage your data assets and control how your data is accessed and used. This simplifies data management and ensures that your data assets are protected. It helps keep your data secure, giving people access to data and insights that they need. You can then securely share the insights with your team within your organization or even send it outside your organization over e-mail.
5) Lets You Collaborate Easily
Power BI enables you to work together with a single view of your data. With organization content packs, you can share dashboards, reports and datasets within your organization that gives users a personalized view of their metrics. You can use Power BI Groups in order to collaborate with team members and key stakeholders, ensuring that everyone is on the same page. Have productivity discussions with your colleagues with the Power BI presentation mode. Power BI app workspaces are great places to collaborate with your colleagues on dashboards, reports, and datasets and create apps. It is integrated with Office 365 and you can have group conversations via O365. Share Power BI content easily with anyone via e-mail whether inside or outside the organization.
6) Other Features
Power BI can process natural-language queries to explore data and deliver stunning visualizations. It has out-of-the-box content packs for dozens of data providers, making it easy for business users to connect to data and experience their data without technical setup. With automated quick insights, you can run quick insights to generate interesting interactive visualizations based on your data. With mobile apps, react to changes on-the-fly. Now with Power BI reporting server, you can also get the solution on-premise and it is compatible with SSRS. Microsoft very actively listens to the feedback from the user community and regularly innovates with monthly updates. Being a SaaS offering, these updates are automatically included in your subscription Power BI software. Head over to Power BI website to understand what updates you are getting. Publish to the web with a single click to embed the visuals and analysis into blogs or websites.
Create rich analytics reports with visual analytics at your fingertips. Frost & Sullivan named Power BI the lowest-cost solution. Gartner has named Power BI as a leader in business intelligence vision. As the milestones and the scope of business intelligence continue to evolve, Power BI will be the ideal partner for your strategic initiatives.