Data and Microsoft Power BI

Publication Date: 20 August, 2021

Why is good data important to your business and how can Microsoft Power BI help?

In business, there is one universal truth – data doesn’t lie…or does it? In today’s world, companies big and small are inundated with a proliferation of data from multiple sources and without good data management, it is hard to get a true picture of what’s really going on. Poor quality data caused by human error can be harmful to businesses by wasting time and money. According to the Harvard Business Review, only 3% of companies’ data meets basic quality standards. Good data is indeed a company resource, but how data findings are used is what gives companies their competitive edge. Find out why data is essential and how Microsoft Power BI (Business Intelligence) – a self-service business intelligence and visualisation tool can help you dive into data and uncover your business’s hidden potential.

Data should be your top priority because it helps you make smarter decisions. Whether you’re looking at customers’ interactions on your website or their comments across social media, information about your company’s reputation should inform your data strategy. No longer is it enough to simply house data, companies must figure out how to transform data into actionable items. Having a robust data strategy outlining how you will mine and manage your data can not only provide customer insights but also improve your operations and make your employees happy in the process.

Data entry can be a real chore and having a solid data plan can help avoid employees having to do tedious work. Cloud-based Power BI makes data entry easier and more impactful as it moves data beyond static reports and brings it to life with vivid visualisations. At a company level, data planning using Power BI is more cost-effective as it minimises employee task redundancies and it also helps prevent loss of data.  

Here’s how it works: Power BI builds upon the foundation of MS Excel spreadsheets and takes it even further with self-service visualisation and the ability to use and share multiple workbooks in a single view. It goes beyond data organisation and gives predictive insights using advanced analytics. Its unique features also include data visualisation from any platform and from anywhere including mobile and desktop devices.   

The need for such an application became apparent during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Large amounts of urgent, constantly changing data had to be analysed and presented in an easy-to-understand format. Microsoft teamed up with USAFacts, a nonpartisan, not-for-profit civic initiative to create a COVID-19 report containing country-level data using Power BI. Similarly, thanks to Power BI’s customisable dashboard feature, the Washington State Department of Health teamed up with Microsoft’s AI for Health team to create an immersive COVID-19 Data Dashboard. The ability to track data in real-time and break down metrics in a clear format increases the agility in which key decision-makers have to respond, and during a crisis that may help save someone’s life.

Another feature that makes Power BI a superior data analysis application is that users can get answers to their queries simply by asking it a question in their natural language. Reports become interactive with the insertion of buttons and Q&A options. So, during a presentation, you can simply ask a question and have data appear instantly. This service is also compatible with Microsoft’s voice-activated virtual assistant Cortana. Easy access to dynamic data can help improve your company’s business intelligence.  

Power Bi also makes it safer to use and share data both inside out and outside of your company with data protection which enables data owners to set Microsoft information Protection sensitivity labels for dashboards, reports, datasets, and dataflows at varying levels depending on their role and what they are trying to achieve. For example, business users can view dashboards, reports and Power BI apps, but with the full suite of Power BI capabilities, can be reserved for strictly administrators. Business users can still make and save changes to a report, but administrators will maintain final oversight. This cautionary measure protects your data and helps safeguard against possible data breaches of customers’ sensitive personal data.

Make your company’s data better, more reliable, and safe with Microsoft Power BI today.

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