The New Modern Workplace – Quickly Transform Data, Build Dashboards and Visualizations

Our lives are busy with work-life pushing people to do more and deliver more with fewer people, fewer resources, and fewer tools to get the job done efficiently. Employees are expected to have financial literacy, think outside the box, be data-savvy and have the knowledge to build reports quickly on day-to-day business operations. For organizations to create competitive business strategies, everyone is forced to adapt to new software instantly and learn about it quickly.

Teams need to be creative thinkers, as well as bring their know-how and A-game to the next corporate meeting. Organizations need to break down silos, continually add process improvements, reduce time spent in building reports and statistical data if they are going to stay cost-effective and productive. Moving the business landscape into a digital-savvy environment adds a new level of growth innovation and brings a competitive edge to an organization.

The Power BI cloud-based service allows collaboration, sharing, enterprise distribution, dynamic dashboards, and interactive reports. Improve metrics and create powerful customized visuals for predictable performance and industry-based analytical scenarios.

The Power BI ecosystem is a versatile data tool that helps create a positive change, streamline processes, and support continued improvements. Data collection is scalable, and gathering all the data in one place can be done at the granular level.

Businesses are raising their digital IQ and demanding a BI strategy to stay competitive, and having the right technology will create effective and successful outcomes.

Organizations are constantly searching for new tools that help them be competitive. Analyzing vast amounts of data quickly, efficiently and in new simplified ways are key advantages that give businesses the viable edge they need over the competition.

However, many organizations don’t clearly understand the right strategy when implementing Power BI into their business.

This article will debunk the top five myths and help businesses better prepare for their Power BI implementation.

There are so many myths and personal opinions that plague Power BI, causing frustrations, confusion, and misunderstandings within organizations. Power BI has five building blocks: dashboards, apps, reports, datasets, and visualizations.

• No programming is required to quickly summarize findings into a simple report using DAX query language by Microsoft.

• Analysts can share queries with other users and connect to any data source, utilizing a comparable learning curve to Excel’s built-in formula language. There’s no manual entry time, tedious steps or pulling data from numerous databases into a single report.

Top 5 Myths Explained

Myth 1: Power BI Free Service is all I need to get started

The Power BI Service with Power BI Free is limited to what a user can do. The Power BI paid version contains hundreds of templates, content data packs with preset reports, or the advanced customized features within the paid version.

• Viewing reports and dashboards are available and live within the Power BI Service.

• Business users in the free service can only schedule data refresh, dashboards, and data alerts and are typically installed on an individual user machine and best suited for personal use only.

• The Power BI Service can be used with a Power BI Free license; this doesn’t allow the user access to features like Analyze In Excel, Power BI Service live connections, and email subscriptions, which are not available with a Power BI Free license.

• Visualizations, download reports, create dashboards, persistent report filters, data alerts, publish datasets and publish to web and export to PowerPoint can be done in the Power BI Free Service and In My Workspace.

Power BI Free Service cannot create easy to understand reports using Timeline Storyteller by combining data pulled from various data sources such as Mailchimp, Google Analytics, Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce, SAP software, Excel spreadsheets, and Adobe Marketing. Customized dashboards that make sense for your team within your industry is only available in the license paid version.

Power BI Free cannot do queries, datasets, templates, or customized visualizations with the Power BI Free license and is recommended for personal use only. The free version doesn’t allow for sharing or collaboration in a Personal BI scenario.

Power BI Desktop for personal use is a free singe use tool that allows users to data cleanse, clean old data, prepare custom visuals, and publish to Power BI Service. Users have 60 days before deciding if they want to purchase the subscription.

Advanced features are available in the licensed version: Build timelines, grids, a sequence of events snapshots, and chronological lists are easy to build. Spirals and charts for number crunching tell an impelling story and use what-if parameters for situational scenarios by setting the data type and using a slider bar within the tool for calculated revenue measures.

Myth 2: The Power BI has all the tools I need, and add-in tools are not necessary

This myth is entirely false, and Power BI would benefit from independent advanced software add-in products that allow troubleshooting DAX queries, improve the readability of DAX, and improve how the natural language Q&A functionality aids in removing unused data elements.

These community tools are a lifesaver and will help advance the usability of the software by cutting down process time and bringing simplicity to the software. Microsoft does not support these add-in tools; some are free, while others are paid products. It’s worth looking into and adding at least a few of these products within Power BI.

DAX Studio: A client tool for executing and troubleshooting DAX queries. Supported by SQLBI

DAX Formattter: Improves the readability of DAX. Supported by SQLBI

Lingo: A web-based code editor for editing the linguistic schema in Power BI and helps with the natural language Q&A functionality. Supported by Power BI Tips

Report Theme Generator: A web-based tool allows users to specify properties, download them into a JSON file, and use them in the Power BI Theme environment. Supported by Power BI Tips

Power BI Helper: Aids in removing unused data elements from a model, finding dependencies, and documenting a model. Supported by RADACAD

Power BI Documenter: This tool auto-generates documentation from Power BI Desktop. To identify and document data usage, visuals, and development practices. Supported by Data Vizioner

Myth 3: Data Connectivity and Data Preparation Technology is already included in Power BI.

Power Query is a Microsoft add-on and does not come as part of the licensed version. Microsoft recommends this add-on if business users want to seamlessly access data stored in hundreds of data sources and conform to their business needs. No code user experience is needed. It’s easy to use and it connects file types, databases, Microsoft Azure services, and many third-party online services.

Third parties can build their data connectors and plug into Power Query with Custom Connectors SDK tool and Power Query Editor.

Power Query Editor allows users to manipulate data preparation and can apply more than 300 transformations by previewing data and selecting transformations within the user experience.

Power View and Power Pivot are Microsoft add-ons that can be effectively used within Excel; users can work with traditional Excel data and incorporate new data sources. Reports and large data sets in Power Pivot can be created in combination with creating visualizations in Power View.

Power Pivot gives business users the power to measure analytics developed using Microsoft DAX query language, with Excel’s built-in formula language. Excel user building models that reference sheets or using Lookup advanced function can be done quickly.

Myth 4: Pulling data from various databases into Power BI takes too much time.

Nope. Reshaping data into a format in Power Query eliminates time and reduces steps. It can file, sort and modify data before loading it into Excel. Users can refresh data connections in Excel quickly and easily.

Power BI Desktop and Excel are business analyst tools that work directly with Microsoft cloud Power BI. Power BI gives users the ability of super-fast publishing into a web browser for charts, graphs, pie diagrams, line graphs, and maps while quickly changing a given scenario with refresh capabilities.

SQL Server Analysis Services and Databases and other data sources feed directly to Azure Data Service, Dynamics, Office 365, and Partner apps within the Microsoft cloud effortlessly, resulting in better communication, data, and simplicity within data activities. Alleviate time-consuming steps and bring data flow into a digestible tool with so much power for better development and publishing.

Mobil Apps create bubble graphs, aster plots, bullet charts, table maps, tadpole grids, tornado line graphs, enhanced scatter, histograms, KPI indicators, dot plots, and bullet charts that can be viewed on your mobile device. 

Myth 5: Power BI sharing of reports, dashboards, datasets, and visuals within colleagues are difficult

In the past, companies have struggled with sharing reporting with so many limitations it’s no wonder they’re under the impression that this activity would create difficulty within teams. This pain point doesn’t exist within Power BI.

Business users can embed live reports on any web page. Basic sharing of dashboard and reports is straightforward with a SHARE Button built in the dashboard. This report allows sharing with users with one-step click capability.

Dataset, reports, and dashboards can be shared as a content pack by clicking the Gearbox icon within the Power BI workspace.

Easy-to-understand dashboards can be created quickly; Data is secure and compliant when exported with better self-service tools and automation that enhances collaboration between departments within an organization.

Power BI machine learning algorithms deliver and measure data through qualitative and quantitative feedback, whether data is coming from Excel or a collection of external data sources.

The negative result is more money spent in the long run. Better-informed data learnings and discussions within the Microsoft BI community are essential to grasp a deep understanding of this incredible data analytics tool.

Utilizing streaming technology in the right way is crucial to the success of any organization.

The Takeaway

In today’s modern workplace, how we work and work itself is changing more than ever before. Financial pressures are causing organizations to take drastic actions by beefing up technology and digital tools for improved business operations.

Companies need to find new ways to improve data analysis for better decision-making.

• Building data fact-packs and customized solutions are now more accessible than ever before, and developing a data solution is simple for all types of users within a company.

• The bottom line, Power BI by Microsoft is a powerful enterprise software tool and data analytics reporting system with drag and drop functionality.

• To understand and consume the mounds of data overflowing within departments, employees feel the pressure and as a result, work extensively long hours to bring new insights into their business.

Fast Facts

In a recent Power BI article by Arun Ulag, General Manager at Microsoft has confirmed:

• Power BI and Azure Analytics help businesses build a data-driven culture and drive analytics journey for improved business operations.

• Power BI is a suite of business analytics tools to analyze data and for employees to share insights. Monitor business and get answers quickly with rich dashboards available on every device.

In a new Harvard Business Review Analytics survey, 87% of respondents believe analytic proficiency to be a competitive differentiator in their industry. 

From an October 3, 2019 Microsoft blog: Using Power BI and Azure Analytics together can provide valuable insights for businesses by delivering an ROI of 271% in just three years.

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