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What is Power BI?

Are your sales people on target? How much inventory will you need in the next quarter to meet demand? In which region does your marketing budget yield the most? The more data, the better you can answer these kinds of questions. Anyone who has to work with numbers will quickly use Excel. But this application is unsuitable for using data from different sources. And anyone who has worked on the same Excel sheet with more than two people knows that this does not work well.

To analyze large amounts of data, you need Business Intelligence (BI). This was created to bring together figures from a multitude of sources and to provide an overview. Until a few years ago, BI was expensive and complex. Microsoft has changed that with Power BI. Any organization can work with and benefit from it.

Visualize your data

Power BI translates gray number clouds into a colourful overview. When building a dashboard, you have a wide choice of pie charts, diagrams and other options. Because the data comes directly from Dynamics and other sources, the data is updated in real-time. If you have any questions, the answer can be found with a mouse click.

icon-box-1 Always the latest numbers: Don't base your decisions on old information.

icon-box-2  Overview at a glance: You can see in a second what is going on.

icon-box-3 The same numbers everywhere: Everyone works with the same data.

Who works with Power BI?

Power BI is a self-service BI tool. In theory anyone can work with it. In practice it depends on what you want to do..  

What is a Power BI dashboard?

Power BI works with dashboards. You then translate all data into useful information within one screen. On a dashboard you can see the KPIs that you have set, visualize figures and forecasts are projected. What that looks like exactly depends on your wishes. You build dashboards according to your own insight. The real power of the dashboard lies not only in the real-time display of relevant information, but in the possibility to zoom in. Are the sales figures of a product disappointing? Click on the numbers and you will see the underlying data. This way you can immediately zoom in on what is going on and why it is happening.

Made for collaboration

Microsoft created Power BI to collaborate. You can easily share dashboards and your own analyzes with others. They can then – based on your information – delve deeper into the figures. This is very practical if you jointly try to find out what is going on and what solutions there are. The software is cleverly designed to prevent you from accidentally leaking sensitive data via a dashboard. You can share dashboards with confidence, only people with access rights can see the data.

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Microsoft Power BI vs. Microsoft Excel

Because the two applications have a similar purpose, it's almost impossible to talk about Power BI without mentioning Excel. Excel has the advantage that it is practically standard on every device. But Power BI is more powerful.

  • Power BI can use larger data sets than Excel;
  • Power BI can be linked to more data sources than Excel;
  • Power BI can process data much faster than Excel;
  • Power BI has visualizations that allow you to compare data more clearly than in Excel;
  • Power BI is made to work with data, Excel is not;

Power BI is much better suited than Excel for analyzing data sets and for collaboration. On the other hand, you can easily and quickly organize, transform and calculate data in Excel. That doesn't work against Power BI. You can easily export data from Power BI to Excel, and then import it back into Power BI.

 

Azure, Dyamics and Power BI

Both Dynamics and Power BI are part of the Microsoft Platform. That is modular. That has two advantages. On the one hand, you only need to purchase those parts that your organization needs. On the other hand, you can easily integrate new parts into the bigger picture. Power BI can be linked to Dynamics practically out-of-the-box. Where necessary, we will link it for you. That makes it a very practical tool to do more with your data. At least as handy: the Microsoft Platform is based on Microsoft's Azure cloud environment. With Power BI you not only integrate your on-premise information, but also data from the cloud.

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What does Power BI cost?

Microsoft Power BI is availablie in 3 verious versions: 

1) Microsoft Power BI Desktop/Free
Power BI Desktop is available for free download from Microsoft. This allows you to link 70+ data sources. This release includes all the basic Power BI features. You can analyze data, publish it on the web, export it to Excel and so on. It's a good start to explore the basic capabilities of Power BI

2) Microsoft Power BI Pro
Power BI Pro is the full suite that Microsoft offers. The functions from Power BI Desktop are extended with possibilities to build your dashboards, share analyzes and create reports. With Pro you can collaborate and give your people more space to store data. 

3) Microsoft Power BI Premium
Premium is for organizations where a lot of employees will work with Power BI. Within Pro you pay a license per user, with Premium you buy computing capacity for a fixed monthly fee that you can share with all users.

Can you work mobile with Power BI?

BIRDS Hillstar Power BIMicrosoft has a Power BI app for Android, iOS and Windows. With this app you can gain insight into your company data everywhere. You can comment on figures on the go and share it directly with colleagues who see it appear on their dashboard (or in their own app). The app supports push notifications so you can receive alerts if you want to be immediately informed about a development.

 

How does Power BI handle large volumes of data from Dynamics (and other sources)?

The more data, the more powerful Power BI. But the greater the amount of data, the more you demand from the machines you work with. And how do you analyze data on the go if gigabytes of data must be available. This can be a challenge, especially if you need large data sets, such as those in your Dynamics solution.

Microsoft has developed its own caching system and data format to efficiently share large data sets with Power BI. Even if the underlying data runs into the tens of gigabytes, you can still work with it quickly, reliably and with minimal bandwidth in Power BI.

Linking Power BI to your solution?

Ready to get started with Power BI?