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Business Intelligence Solutions with Microsoft’s Power BI

Business Intelligence Solutions with Microsoft’s Power BI

Business Intelligence (BI) solutions are now possible for every business to implement. Whereas we have become accustomed to spreadsheets and Excel, databases and bar graphs, Business Intelligence solutions go beyond this to quickly and easily transform data, create interactive reports, and show modern dashboards of your most important company data. Think financial reporting, sales projections, staff KPIs, and more.

Business Intelligence is your old spreadsheets, formulas, and graphs, all in a more easy to manage, attractive, interactive and intuitive package. It can also be more than this. When you start getting into machine learning algorithms you can really supercharge your data.

Before you begin with BI

There are 3 important things you need to know before you roll out any sort of Business Intelligence solution:

  • The data needs to be clean
  • The data needs to be as complete as possible
  • You need to know the right questions to ask

Simply mandating ‘Business Intelligence’ within your organisation is not enough. You need to have the right (and correct) data behind you, the right algorithms to transform and combine your data, and the right questions to ask to provide real insights to business stakeholders.

With that out of the way, let’s jump into Microsoft’s premier Business Intelligence product, Power BI and how it can help provide those crucial insights into your business.

Power BI

Power BI is Microsoft’s main Business Intelligence product. By connecting Excel files, SQL databases, Azure databases, or other on-premise databases, you already have the internal data you need to get to work. Power BI can also connect to third party services such as Salesforce Objects, Twilio, Zendesk, and MailChimp.

After ingesting this data, Power BI can be used to create specific reports that include interactive visual elements. As a product, you can then create dashboards to explore both your data and your created reports in more detail. 

You can create multiple dashboards that give an easy to comprehend overview of specific business areas; perhaps one for your monthly sales financials including targets, top performers, year on year comparisons, etc, and another one for your online marketing analytics with website visits this month, new customers added to your mailing list, ROI on social media advertising, etc. These dashboards can be available on any device.

With an open connection to a database, or a pull to update, you can get your most up to date data transformed and ready to investigate at the click of a button.

What else do you need to use Power BI?

The best way to use Power BI is to have someone on the team who already knows how to use it. Managers and those in charge of reporting are common candidates who, with the right upskilling, can learn how to best represent your business data. Data scientists are not currently a necessary addition to the team. Power BI has been designed so that tech-savvy people in your organisation who are used to handling business data can run the show.

There is a Microsoft course available – Course 20778-C: Analyzing Data with Power BI – that can be a good start for upskilling professionals within your organisation. However there are plenty of other online courses in Power BI that may suit your purposes just fine. We can also offer training at your workplace for staff to gain competency and proficiency in this handy product.

Prefer a managed approach? We can build out reports and dashboards that help you gain greater insights into your business. Partnering with A1 Technologies means that you achieve professional results in a shorter space of time, with on-hand updates and monitoring. Ask us for more information about how we can help you out with your Power BI implementation.

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