The age of digitilisation is data-dominated. Why? Well, in almost every area of life, we are increasingly producing large quantities of data, and one of its most valuable uses is for the decision-making of businesses. In fact, a primary reason as to why 90% of start-ups and small businesses fail, is due to their oversight in leveraging data. Naturally, for any company to move towards their goals they must have informed decision-making.

In 2022, despite a multitude of available analytics tools, many companies are turning to Microsoft Power BI. This cutting-edge software is redefining how we monitor, interpret, and process data, in order to create invaluable business intelligence.

In this article, we reveal the basics of Power BI, how to wield it to your advantage, and its vast potential for empowering businesses and even career opportunities.

Overview | What is Microsoft Power BI?

Firstly, let’s address the name: the BI stands for “business intelligence” i.e., the technical infrastructure that collects, analyses, and visualises, the data produced by your company’s activities. In other words, Power BI gives users the ability to analyse multiple data sources and generate interactive reports from data that offers invaluable insight. It is the one-stop-solution that you can find in any Business Intelligence practitioner’s toolkit.

What’s more, it does not require programming expertise to be used effectively, and so is accessible to non-technical users. This, coupled with other advantages like cloud-based security, is what makes it a must-have for companies worldwide.

The Key Components of Power BI

The Power BI architecture consists of the following 7 major components:

  • Data Sources: Power BI hosts a vast range of data sources. You can import data from cloud-based data sources or personal files. Commonly used data sources include Excel, Google Analytics, or XML, etc.
  • Power BI Desktop: also known as the companion development and authoring tool. This desktop-based software includes functionalities to connect data sources, transform data, and generate reports (it can also be downloaded for free.)
  • Power BI Service: this is a web-based platform, from the dashboard you can view and open analytics reports made on Power BI desktop and share them with others. Power BI Service is also known as “Power BI Web Portal” or “Power BI Site”.
  • Power BI Report Server: similarly to Power BI Service, this enables you to create dashboards and share your reports with other users. However, it differs by being an on-premises platform i.e., it is used by businesses who do not want to store their reports on the cloud (typically due to security concerns.)
  • Power BI Gateway: the software is required to access on-premises data from secured networks. To ensure fast and secure data transfer between users, installing this gateway on servers is always recommended.
  • Power BI Mobile: Power BI’s native mobile app (available on Android, iOS, and Windows devices.) Here, users can securely access real-time reports, regardless of whether that data is stored on-premises or in the cloud.
  • Power BI Embedded: this is an Azure offer, designed for developers building applications and wanting to use Azure to aid the visualisation of application data, rather than build it personally.

Power BI’s Massive Potential: What are its key advantages?

Due to it being versatile and packed with useful features, Power BI is used by various professionals including administrators, developers, accountants, and marketers. What’s more, it’s scalable, meaning it can fit any organisation’s size, during rapid business expansion or downsizing. Let’s explore what else makes it so beneficial:

Business Intelligence: Power BI enables intelligent decision-making, lowering the chances of failure and other associated risks. The data it produces can be easily accessed and interacted with from any location (if you have mobile access.) This feature is not only convenient but means users can gain real-time insights anywhere, anytime.

Data Security: Power BI allows users to monitor and control data usage, enabling access to only those with certain permissions. This means you don’t need to consult your tech team to manage cyber security as the Power BI dashboard allows you to do this efficiently. With Power BI, you also have the flexibility to store data in Microsoft’s cloud, or behind your organisation’s firewall.

How to Start Learning Power BI

Due to its popularity, there’s a multitude of educational resources available to non-technical users, but narrowing down your choice can be tough. At ThinkShare, we simplify things with our Microsoft experts that can offer a demonstration of its capabilities. This also includes a consultation of your needs and ambitions with the platform, so we can tailor a learning experience that suits you.

You can also get started with useful online resources like Power BI essential knowledge and assess yourself with a plethora of free Power BI tests. If you want to advance your learning or refine your existing skillset, consider these additional materials:

  • The official Power BI online community
  • Microsoft’s training videos on YouTube
  • Power BI’s development team blog

Ultimately, the beauty of this software is its accessibility. You don’t need to be technologically proficient to excel at it. If you have access to the right data sources and dashboard, Power BI processes information for you and creates insightful reports that benefit your organisation immensely.

Vast Opportunities | It’s time to advance your business with Power BI

Self-learning is an admirable endeavor; however, a professional environment needs the best-qualified employees, and such employees need the best possible training. At ThinkShare, we want to help your company get the most out of Power BI, empowering you to improve operations and solve business problems with ease.

Between 2015 and 2021, the Business Intelligence market increased in value by $10.17 billion. This astonishing value is explained by the fact that successful businesses are realising that they require actionable insight to achieve a competitive edge in modern commerce, and you don’t want your company to fall behind.

If you haven’t already considered business analytics tools at your organisation, contact ThinkShare today. Our expert guidance empowers you to learn, implement, and sustain this incredible solution for years to come, supporting your continued growth and success.