What exactly is Power BI?
Chances are you have probably heard of it but are unsure of what it is exactly. You might of have been on Zoom or Teams and someone presents some data using Power BI or have seen examples elsewhere.
It’s a relatively new product (having been on general release since 2015) and many job descriptions include ‘knowledge of Power BI’ as desirable in certain roles. Gone are the days when good excel knowledge is all that matters!
So, what exactly is Power BI? It’s a business intelligence tool that visualises and analysis data for insights, it is part of Microsoft’s Power Platform (which includes Power Apps, Power Automate etc), designed for Low-Code solutions. By loading data, which can be inputted from a massive range of apps such as Stripe, Google Analytics, Hubspot and Docusign, you can create visualisations that represent the data you’ve inputted.
The system is easy to learn although it’s dependent on the quality of data that you feed into it. In this blog, we will go over each visual so that you can get the most out of your data.
Why do you need to visualise data?
Data accuracy is increasingly important for strategic decisions. In this digital age we are bombarded with data from many different sources, and this can become overwhelming.
Visualising data allows you to see a clear picture of what is happening, what the trends are and insights at a high level, this helps with important decision-making.
How to visualise your data
The easiest way to visualise data is by loading an excel report directly into Power BI. You can also load data from a live source such as Dynamics 365 and Google Analytics.
Before loading, you have the option to transform the data. This is good to use if the excel sheet has already been visually presented (such as graphs, charts, pivot tables etc). What we find visually appealing in Excel doesn’t work for Power BI, if anything it sees the data as needing to be cleaned up.
Also, sometimes the data can be incorrectly formatted. By clicking on ‘Transform Data’ you open Power Query. This will allow you to re-format or in this instance amend the code (“Ringing” from datetime to time).
Power BI has a selection of ready-made visuals you can choose from. By clicking get more visuals you navigate to the Microsoft Appstore where there are 100’s to choose from.
However, to start with it’s best to use the standard visuals to practice with. In most cases (unless you are doing a specialised project) they will be more than adequate to represent your data.
We will briefly go over each one to summarise what they are best for.
An easy and simple way to present data such as number of page views on a website for example.
Pie & Donut Charts
Ideal for seeing the percentage of leads by owner or lead source type. The difference between the two is the donut chart allows to be incorporated into a logo or design.
Funnel & Gauge
A funnel is suited for seeing each stage and if it is on target and a gauge shows the total amount of views or leads for example.
Can be shaded or pinpoint where certain businesses are located (ie: New Business opportunities for example).
Elevate Your Insights with Power BI
Large corporations have the resources to employ Data Analysts and other specialists that can not only analyse the data but provide insights and help predict future trends. For SMEs, resources are invested in their go-to-market product whether that is a Software as a Service (SaaS) or front-end system.
Elevate is a service designed for SMEs that uses Power BI by visualising data from their systems to help them every step of the way. Discover how Elevate can help smaller businesses with data visualisation.