PowerBI is a set of online services and tools that enables you to view, share, and collaborate on the data that is important to your organization. PowerBI can be enabled through your Office 365 portal and is available as a free or Pro Version (stand alone). The pro version is also available as part the Office 365 E5 bundle. Making BI and Analytics easy to implement is very important, since Gartner cited it as the #1 CIO priority in 2016.
Microsoft has made great progress in the BI/Analytics space, partly due to advances in SQL server as well as Power BI. Gartner highlights this indifference between their 2015 and February 2017 report. Many of our customers are moving away from complex IT centric platforms such as Business Objects (SAP) and Cognos (IBM). We have also seen impressive adoption of Tableau in our customer-base, but the progress made by PowerBI has some taking another look at Microsoft.
In this post, we will discuss 5 reason why it should be a serious consideration for your data reporting and collaboration needs.
5. Cloud-based – PowerBI is delivered through Microsoft’s cloud-based Office 365 platform. You will save time and money because Administration work has been dramatically reduced thanks to the simple to use Administration UI. Hardware cost and maintenance savings are also greatly reduced due to the earlier fact that it is a cloud-based application.
4. Drag and Drop – Data is visually explored using drag and drop to a free-form canvas. This makes report authoring simple with no new languages to learn.
3. Content Packs – Content packs are pre-build dashboards and reports for major online services that your organization may use (ex. Google Analytics, MailChimp, and SalesForce). There are also Organizational Content packs, which allow you to package and share your own dashboards, reports, and datasets with co-workers.
2. Natural language queries – You type a question in the search field, and PowerBI returns the data to you based on your question. “Featured Questions” can also be created by an Admin or user with “Manage” permissions for the Office 365 site. Those will then appear on the Power BI Site page and the Q&A collage page.
1. Real-time dashboards with mobile alerts – See your data in realtime as it changes. Alerts provide the ability to be notified on your mobile device when data changes, hits certain thresholds or exceeds a target. The example below, provided by Microsoft, shows retail analysis from a sample dataset.
Bonus – Power BI REST API – This is a powerful API that allows developers to manage your PowerBI data and environment. More information on this can be found at https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn877544.aspx
In closing, I was able to load a dataset and create a dashboard within 15 minutes of seeing this for the first time. That simplicity, along with the rich feature set make this a winner, and a product that deserves serious consideration.
If you want to see how PowerBI is assisting with AIDS prevention check out this public facing dashboard.
If you would like a demo, free trial or help with a proof of concept, please contact us.