Microsoft Power BI for Windows is a free tool that helps gather and present your business data in an easy-to-read graphical format. Rather than having to wade through pages after page of Excel sheets and Google Analytics data, Microsoft Power BI transforms your company data into visually rich graphics to help you better identify trends and problems in your business.
Much like popular cloud-based business intelligence software, such as Sisense, Wave Analytics Cloud, and Zoho Reports, Microsoft Power BI helps you to spot trends and ultimately develop your business further by putting as much data in your hands as possible.
Dashing dashboard design
To get started with Microsoft BI, you must first connect it to your preferred data sources, whether that’s Excel spreadsheets, Google Docs or any other statistical source. Power BI collects your data all in one place to help you start exploring.
Once Microsoft Power BI has extracted all of your data, you can start diving into it. You can generate insights with simple drag-and-drop gestures and export those insights as graphs, pie charts, and other interactive reports that more clearly shows what’s going on in your business.
Once you’ve analyzed the data that you want to focus on you can personalize your dashboards and focus on the areas of your business that you want to improve. In this way, Microsoft Power BI gives you a more holistic view of all your data and allows your team to make quicker decisions.
Data, data everywhere
Getting your data ready to analyze can take a long time but the data extracting, shaping and modeling capabilities of Power BI speed-up the process considerably. The Power BI Desktop is the nerve center of the application and allows you to connect, shape, visualize, and share data insights through Power BI. With it you can create a customized dashboard that you can then share with clients, colleagues and other decision makers so they see exactly what you’re seeing on the screen.
The nice thing about Microsoft Power BI is that you can setup reports in less than a few minutes and start creating personalized dashboards and reports on your data. You can also answer specific questions using natural language rather than just having to use abbreviated search terms.
Answer your key business questions
Microsoft Power BI is most useful when trying to answer specific questions. If you want to identify which region sold the most of something for example, you will get an interactive visualization of the answer which is easy to interpret that pages of figures. You can also explore data in a range of other ways such as a free-form drag-and-drop canvas and a wide choice of data visualizations.
The Windows version of Microsoft Power BI is joined by native apps for iOS, and Android. These native apps allow you to view live, interactive, mobile access to your important business information. If you don’t have all of your data in the cloud, Microsoft Power BI also includes something called Microsoft Power BI Personal Gateway which automatically keeps your dashboards and reports in sync. To use it, you must install the Microsoft Power BI gateway on your desktop to automatically keep your dashboards and reports in sync with on-premises data.
If you upgrade to the Pro version, you can also take advantage of Microsoft Power BI Analysis Services Connector. This allows you to connect Microsoft Power BI to an on-premise data center in SQL Server Analysis Services without actually moving your data to the cloud. You can then schedule the data in your reports to refresh from on-premise data sources automatically without having to do anything else.
Microsoft Power BI makes handling large amounts of data easier and less overwhelming than trying to analyze raw figures and data. Microsoft Power BI does an excellent job of combining on-premise data sources, streaming data and cloud data so you can start analyzing and sharing it as quickly and conveniently as possible.
Power BI is a native Windows client and it’s well worth a try. You should also spend time investigating alternatives. Our sister site, GetApp allows you to compare business intelligence and analytics software to help you find the right match for your company.