What is Microsoft Power BI?

by | Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft Power BI is the industry’s leading analytics platform. The software is uniquely designed to consolidate an organization’s disparate data sources into a single, cloud-based data model. It then integrates this consolidated data with fully customizable visualizations to deliver interactive dashboards, reports, and alerts that are configured to the specific needs of that organization.

Here are some of the key reasons why Power BI is many times an ideal solution for small and midsize businesses looking to build an intelligent, data-driven organization.

Best-in-Class Ranking
Gartner has ranked Microsoft Power BI as the leader in Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms for 12 consecutive years. In 2019 the firm’s analysts highlighted the product’s low price, ease of use for complex analysis, and comprehensive product vision as the main reasons for its top position on the Gartner Magic Quadrant (see Figure 1).

Low Cost-of-Ownership
At $9.99 per month/user and no long-term contracts, Power BI is extremely affordable for most SMBs and has enterprise-licensing programs for larger organizations.

Cloud-Based SaaS and AAD
Analytics are stored and backed-up online in a scalable and secure Microsoft Azure data lake, meaning zero upfront investment in on-premise hardware. The software also uses Azure Active Directory (AAD) for user access and secure sign-in. This enables rapid provisioning and centralized user management via Office 365.

Intuitive Visualizations
The solution ships with a comprehensive suite of visualizations right out-of-the-box, and supports numerous third-party charts, graphs, dials, and gauges—providing multiple options for displaying and drilling-down into data in the most intuitive way possible.

Robust Data Integration
Power BI supports on-premise connections to numerous databases and file types, e.g. SQL, Access, Excel, XML, JSON, PDF, and Text/CSV. It also integrates with custom web APIs, webhooks, and cloud sources such as Azure Data Warehouse, SharePoint, OneDrive, Salesforce, QuickBooks, Google Analytics, MailChimp, Zendesk, and many others.

Centralized Data Modeling
Preparing data for analysis is often the most time-consuming step in business analytics. Microsoft Power Query expedites and simplifies the data extraction, transformation, and loading (ETL) process.

Data Analysis Expressions (DAX)
DAX is Microsoft’s powerful functional programming language that allows analysts to query data and perform complex calculations on extremely large datasets. DAX was built from the ground-up to provide complete control over data grouping, filtering, forecasting and clustering.

Machine Learning and AI
Microsoft is at the forefront of analytics innovation and is constantly improving the Power BI platform. This includes R statistical analysis software integration as well as new turn-key modules that incorporate machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence to uncover the root contributors to key performance results.

Global Community of Users
Microsoft is the largest company in the world and Power BI draws an enormous community of analytics developers and users who collaborate, share, help, encourage, and inspire one another.

Here at PIVOTL, we’re on a mission to bring the financial benefits and competitive advantage of enterprise-level analytics to small and midsize organizations across the Southland. If you would like assistance planning, developing, and implementing Microsoft Power BI at your company or non-profit, we encourage you to reach out for a free, no-pressure consultation.