By: Brad Lathrop
Power BI is a phenomenal tool for companies looking to launch, organize, and/or grow their business intelligence efforts. It’s not surprising that the prominent Microsoft product has become one of the most popular data analytics platforms in the world, and that Microsoft was named a leader in the “2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and BI Platforms” for the fourteenth year in a row.
So, what makes the platform so special? Here are seven key benefits of Power BI:
- Power BI can provide business intelligence for all
- Power BI brings data to life (interactivity)
- Power BI is secure
- Power BI easily connects to many data sources
- Power BI has artificial intelligence capabilities
- Power BI is constantly improved
- Power BI apps – an excellent means of sharing content
Let’s explore these benefits in more detail.
1. Power BI can Provide Business Intelligence for All
One of the largest benefits of Power BI is that the platform empowers organizations (of all sizes) to better create data-driven cultures. A data-driven culture is one where decisions are made based on data – not feelings or gut.
Power BI helps companies accomplish this difficult task by seamlessly putting business intelligence assets (like real-time reports and dashboards) into the hands of everyone (if desired) in an organization. This creates an effect where an entire company can make decisions based on real-time and trustworthy data.
Power BI currently has two versions: Power BI Desktop and the Power BI service. Power BI Desktop is totally free, so anyone in an organization can download it and start using it immediately. Power BI Desktop is where users can connect to data and create reports with rich visualizations.
These reports can then be ultimately published (as dashboards) to the cloud version of Power BI, which is called the Power BI service. It is in the Power BI service where reports can be published as dashboards to be consumed by users on any device and anywhere.
The Power BI service is not free and requires a Power BI Pro license for use. Check out my article from earlier this year titled, “Power BI Pricing – How Much Does Power BI Cost?” to learn more.
2. Power BI Brings Data to Life (Interactivity)
Data becomes really valuable when it can provide useful business insights and tell stories that help decision-makers make better decisions.
Power BI makes it easy to bring data to life. Users can connect their data to Power BI and choose from a variety of visualizations (column charts, pie charts, bubble and heat maps, scatter plots, etc.) to tell stories about their data in order to gain and share insights.
Implementation of these visualizations is easy, and Power BI’s functionality makes it simple to drag and reposition visuals to create insightful, clean, and well-organized reports and dashboards.
Additionally, these visualizations are interactive, which is a huge benefit of Power BI. Consumers can filter reports and dashboards and watch their visualizations adjust and update in seconds to meet their newly applied filter requirements – all to gain more insight from their data.
3. Power BI is Secure
Power BI has a plethora of security features that enable users to protect sensitive information and meet various security and compliance standards. For instance, Power BI takes advantage of Microsoft’s Cloud App Security feature, which “provides rich visibility, control over data travel, and sophisticated analytics to identify and combat cyberthreats across all your Microsoft and third-party cloud services” (source).
Furthermore, Power BI’s sensitivity labels feature makes it easy for admins to alert users and consumers as to what data/information is sensitive and therefore should be handled differently. The popular Microsoft product also has encryption features that further secure data.
Lastly, developers can take advantage of Power BI’s row-level security (RLS) capabilities to create and establish different roles for different users. This security feature has large utility for organizations who have data that should only be seen by certain employees (or groups).
4. Power BI Easily Connects to Many Data Sources
I won’t spend too much time on this benefit of Power BI. The robust data analytics platform can connect to myriad data sources, from file data sources like Excel and CSV to database sources like Oracle database and Snowflake to online data sources like Salesforce and Adobe Analytics.
Furthermore, Power BI’s integration with Excel is excellent, enabling you to “easily [transfer] all of your current Excel queries, data models, and reports to Power BI—without learning a new application or language” (source).
For a detailed list of data connectors in Power BI, visit Microsoft’s documentation here.
5. Power BI has Artificial Intelligence Capabilities
Power BI possesses artificial intelligence capabilities that allow users to get more value out of their data and reporting. It offers three powerful AI visualizations that developers can use to dive deeper into their data and generate insights and identify trends perhaps difficult to find.
For an overview of these visualizations, check out my article from earlier this year, “Power BI Artificial Intelligence – 3 AI Visuals to Enhance Your Analytics.”
6. Power BI is Constantly Being Improved
Microsoft continues to pour time and money into Power BI, showing clear dedication to making it one of the most valuable and useful data analytics platforms in the world. New features are often added to the tool and existing features are frequently tweaked and improved.
Be sure to visit the Power BI blog to learn more.
7. Power BI Apps – An Excellent Means of Sharing Content
The last Power BI benefit I’m going to mention in this blog post is Power BI apps.
Apps in Power BI are a very convenient way for report developers to distribute Power BI content to consumers, whether it be with large groups, an entire organization, or even just with one person.
At Key2 Consulting, we’ve seen the value of Power BI apps firsthand throughout our consulting work. We recently helped a large retail organization really take advantage of this feature. After helping our client improve their data, implement Power BI, and generate invaluable reports and dashboards, we then helped our client create a robust Power BI app to effectively share their Power BI content with other staff.
The app has been a huge success, and the entire process has enabled our client to foster the creation and feed the sustainment of a data-driven culture.
Thanks for Reading! Questions?
Thanks for reading! We hope you found this blog post useful. Feel free to let us know if you have any questions about this article by simply leaving a comment below. We will reply as quickly as we can.
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Key2 Consulting is a boutique data analytics consultancy that helps business leaders make better business decisions. We are a Microsoft Gold-Certified Partner and are located in Atlanta, Georgia. Learn more here.