Why Power BI
Why Power BI is Basically Magical
How many tasks do you have to do each day that make you think, “why hasn’t anyone figured out how this can be done automatically?”
While BI may seem like a simple concept from the outside, once you start really using it, you’ll find it’s the magic wand your business has been looking for all along. Power BI by Microsoft is one of the latest and greatest developments in the growing Office 365 suite and it’s here to make your workplace a lot less Office Space and a little more Harry Potter.
It’s all about visibility and transparency. The goal with using Power BI is to give you the correct data to make the right choices. This exciting collection of tools offers a wide range of digital goodies to help analyze and organize information while integrating aspects of your business to gain insights into data. There is almost no end to the features that Power BI provides, but some of the most important include:
- Real-time reporting that is available on all your devices.
- Super simple, easy-to-use dashboards with connections to hundreds of common business applications.
- Secure, customized dashboards for each team member.
- Ability to connect to both on-premise and cloud-based sources, financial systems and social media.
- Flexibility allows you to combine data from complex sources in dashboards or reports to deliver focused, highly interactive reports for your entire organization.
- Creates detailed, mobile-ready and aesthetically pleasing reports within minutes.
No matter how your data is stored, Power BI gateways can help you to combine and connect your sources in one dashboard which can also be embedded into your other reporting methods. This feature, along with flexibility and accessibility make Power BI extremely useful for any company or organization that needs to set up business intelligence quickly without losing applications and features they already have.
How Power BI helps your business
Power BI’s range of tools is like the mystical sorting hat, carrying something powerful for each house of your team: business users, analysts, developers and IT professionals.
“Perhaps even more importantly, data can be combined from a huge variety of sources, including financial systems, data warehouses, office applications, spreadsheets, emails and many more. Members and teams in your organization can then drilldown to an incredibly granular level of detail to analyze and improve their business without losing the big picture,” said Kim Coxford, PowerBI specialist and Business Analyst.
If you’ve ever worked in an environment where data is shared from these multiple platforms, then you can see one of the many ways Power BI can make work and data sharing more time and cost effective. Redundancy and confusion over data is significantly reduced along with working hours and cost associated with it.
“One of my favorite project types to work on with Power BI are the ones that fill in software integration or functionality gaps. I recently worked on a dashboard for a company that hated the user interface in their project accounting software. And, yes, it was really that bad. You would have to open three windows and use a calculator to see if you were losing money on a job. They had just implemented the solution a few years ago and had no appetite to replace it. We ended up making them a consolidated dashboard with advanced job costing where they could not only see the health of a project, but also narrow down scheduling and budgeting issues to the transaction level in minutes, ” said Coxford, who continued with another story stating that, “another place Power BI really shines is in integrating software solutions. One company I worked with had their inventory and purchasing software separate from their financial and operations systems. So an item would be processed at the item level in one system, and the vendor invoice would be paid and costed in the other. Operations had a blackhole between submitting a detailed requisition to seeing one number at the other end. They’d know it was from whatever vendor and cost $1,000, but would have to submit a request to purchasing to find out what it was for. Instead of a costly system integration, we quickly and easily combined both systems into one report that followed the requisition from purchase order to shipment receipt to vendor invoice to payment down to the item level. No more blackhole.”
While improving existing data sharing and analysis, Power BI also helps to identify trends, opportunities and prepare for potential issues. These kind of efficient, self-service controls are what organizations need to remain competitive going forward.
With Power BI, it’s all about upgrading your whole team. Power BI ensures no one is ever left in the dark or without the data they need to make better informed decisions quickly.
To sum it up Coxford says, ” Knowledge is the most important and cheapest tool you can use to improve your business. One of my favourite quotes is from Jason Guthridge who used to work at Microsoft. It’s about SharePoint, but I think it works well with Power BI. So to paraphrase a bit: By itself, Power BI can neither create nor destroy organization chaos, but does an excellent job of reflecting the level of organization chaos that existed at the time of the deployment. There’s a lot of “a-ha” moments in the early days after a BI project where the consumers of the data and the creators of the data realize they weren’t on the same page. They likely would either have never realized it or wasted a lot of time trying to figure it out. That downward trend in fuel expenses that finance was celebrating? Well, unfortunately, it was actually going up, but procurement had recoded fuel to consumables. You start seeing stuff like this, you start fixing your data, you start trusting your data, and then you really get going on streamlining and managing your business.”