If you work in an organization, terms like “Data”, “Quantitative Analysis”, “Pivot Table”, “Visualisations”, “Business Intelligence” might sound scary. Don’t be intimidated! Data does not have to be complicated. Simply stated, data is useful information that you collect to support organizational decision-making and strategy.

In this short blog we will learn what Business Intelligence is and how Microsoft’s Power BI helps in Data visualizations and BI Decisions

What is Business Intelligence (BI)?

Business intelligence (BI) is a process that links the past, present, and future in order to help an enterprise make smarter decisions. It includes the use of analytics and data visualization tools that can be used in various ways to identify patterns or anomalies in data sets. BI also involves reporting tools that allow managers to access information from different sources in one place.

Business intelligence has become an integral part of many organizations’ strategic decision-making processes. The ability to access and analyze data to make better decisions is critical for success.

What is Microsoft Power BI?

Microsoft Power BI is a business intelligence software that offers a range of features including data analysis, visualization, and dashboard creation. It has been designed to provide an easy-to-use interface for people without any technical skills.

Microsoft offers three types of Power BI platforms:

  • Power BI Desktop (A desktop application)
  • Power BI Service (SaaS i.e., Software as a Service)
  • Power BI Mobile (For iOS and Android devices)

In the image given below, have a look at the process flow in Power BI.


Working with Power BI

To convert raw data into meaningful insights and visualization, we need to follow some steps. Generally speaking, we can divide this process into the following 5 steps:

  1. Connecting to your data

Figure 1 Connecting data from various sources to Power BI

The first and foremost step in working with Power BI is importing your data. Power BI supports a wide variety of data sources like SQL Server, SharePoint, Excel Files, Getting data from the web or an API, and so on. This flexibility of having hundreds of data source options in Power BI makes this one of the best tools for BI

  1. The Preformatting of data

Figure 2 Shaping or Transforming of data

We all know that data is never in perfect format, sometimes there are redundant rows, unnecessary columns, etc. Before making any visualization, it is important to give a proper shape to our data. Luckily Power BI provides in-built capabilities for shaping and transforming data to our needs. With the help of Power Query Editor, we can easily format and clean or even remove duplicates in our data with a few clicks.

  1. Modeling of data:

Figure 3 Modelling of data

This step is basically to enhance the data with relationships, calculations, measures, hierarchies, etc that can be used to find business insights. Also, we can write a query to enhance data for better visualizations and analytics.

  1. Data visualization:

Figure 4 Data Visualisation

This is probably the step where we play around with data and visualization types. With a variety of visual tools and a custom visual gallery, we can create stunning reports for our organization effectively. So, a business user simply could mash up the data without writing even a single line of code. Exactly, It’s that easy!!

  1. Publishing data reports:

Figure 5 Publish reports using Power BI services

Using Power BI Services, we can export or publish reports securely and set up automatic data refresh which provides near-real-time analytics of trends and indicators for everyone.