Traditional business intelligence involves using historical data to derive current performance insights. Many companies today benefit from analyzing this intelligence to make predictions about future business operations. There are three components of business intelligence: diagnostic analysis, predictive analysis, and reporting. Diagnostic analysis determines the current state of business operation. Predictive analysis uses historic data to create predictive model. Reporting compiles data for use in diagnostic and predictive analysis. It is important for organizations to focus on predictive analysis to gain a competitive advantage and better understand the needs of their customers. To extract the value of a predictive analysis, companies can utilize visualization tools to model and consolidate their data.

Power BI for Real Time Insights

Power BI is a data visualization tool that transforms and models data to present as a dashboard or report. This business analytics product allows organizations to gather real time insights. Having access to real time data visualizations allow companies to use predictive analyses to uncover future opportunities and better understand their customers.

Power BI Strengths

power bi business intelligence dashboard - data visualization toolsThe strengths of Power BI include dashboards, reports, datasets, and workbooks. A dataset is data that users can import into Power BI. A report in Power BI are visualizations that include graphs and charts. Reports are displayed as data tables, graphs, or relationships.  Reports visualize data from one dataset and multiple reports can be added to a dashboard. A Power BI dashboard is one page with visualizations that provide an overview of the business. Dashboards allow business to monitor important metrics as the data adjusts as well as have sharing capabilities that provide consistent information to all members of an organization.

Tools Used with Power BI

Power BI primarily uses the tools Power Query, Power Pivot, and Power View to model data. Power Query allows users to connect to many different types of data sources to transform and edit their data. Some Power Query transformations include adding/ removing columns, splitting columns, and converting data into a different form. Power Pivot then takes this transformed data and models it via smart formulas. Afterwards, Power View creates visualizations of the data analyzed by Power Pivot.

Advantages for Power BI

data visualization tools - Advantages of business intelligence dashboardPower BI holds many advantages over its competitors. Excel, Tableau, and Spotfire are other visualization tools that are often compared with Power BI. Power BI is a better alternative to Excel because it can handle large data sets and filter data easily. Users can aggregate data sources by creating relationships between data sets. In addition, the interactive user interface of the tool allows for easier data visualization. Tableau and Spotfire are often cited as leaders in data visualization and analysis. However, Power BI holds some advantages over these two platforms. Power BI is often easier to learn than Tableau and Spotfire which encourages cross departmental collaboration on data analysis. Power BI also has easier sharing options and connects well with other Microsoft products in addition to external sources.

The Cost of Power BI

Most importantly, the Power BI tool costs less to implement while providing many of the same services as Tableau and Spotfire. It is a easy to use tool for self service analytics which allow users to create their own interactive dashboards and data transformations with nominal data science experience. Since Power BI is a cloud based service, it updates automatically and reports can be accessed from numerous platforms (iOS app, web app, and Android app). The tool can be used with other Microsoft products such as Azure, SQL, and it also accepts data from numerous sources such as Excel, Google Analytics, and SalesForce. By using the real time data visualizations provided by Power BI, businesses can begin to take full advantage of predictive analytics to enhance their business operations.


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