What is Power BI – Getting Started with Microsoft Power BI

Last updated on May 22,2019 8.5K Views
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For making best business decisions, it is important to fetch relevant information from the data and present it in a lucid manner. Microsoft’s Power BI suite is designed to quickly turn your data into useful information. This “ What is Power BI ” blog explains everything you need to know about Power BI data visualization tool-set.

In this blog you will learn about the following:

  • Why is Power BI important?
  • What is Power BI?
  • Processes in Power BI
  • Do you want to be a Power BI Crackerjack?
  • Companies using Power BI
  • Comparing leading analytics tool

Seems good enough? Now, before I tell you what is Power BI, let’s see what is its importance & why organizations are hunting for professionals with Power BI certification training.

Why is Power BI Important?

Well, following are the reasons why Power BI is such an important BI tool.

·     Power BI is built on the convention of best BI products available – SQL Server Analysis                   Services (SSAS) and Microsoft Excel. Power BI gives you the option to connect with these products

·      Apart from the legacy, Power BI is Being built/rebuilt using the latest technologies                            like HTML 5.0, cloud computing, column store databases &  smartphone mobile apps

·      Microsoft has opened the custom visuals gallery for open source contributions which adds value to the community

·      Trend towards self-service business intelligence indicates Microsoft’s leading position in this space

Alright, now that you know the importance of Power BI in Analytics field, let’s understand what is Power BI?

What is Power BI?

Microsoft’s Power BI is a cloud-based business analytics service for analyzing and visualizing data.

What is Power BI? - Power BI Process - Edureka

Power BI lets you be productive and creative with the reports and analytics. Churning out useful information from the data and creating a visuals reports is a multi-step process, let me brief you about the steps.

Processes in Power BI

Go from data to insight to option in a series of steps. It starts with:

1. Connecting to your data:

Power BI lets you connect to a wide variety of data sources. And, you can either use Power BI Desktop or Power BI Services to connect to your data. Your options are to import it into Power BI or to upload your file.

What is Power BI - Connecting data to Power BI - edureka

                                                                                     Fig1. Connecting data from various sources to Power BI

2. The shaping of data:

Once your data has been loaded, you can shape the data according to your needs. Shaping or transforming the data includes renaming columns or tables, changing the text to numbers, removing rows, setting the first row as headers, and so on. 

What is Power BI? - Shaping of Data in Power Bi - edureka
         Fig 2. Shaping or Transforming of data

 3. Modeling of data:

This step is basically to enhance the data with relationships, calculations, measures, hierarchies etc that can be used to find business insights. Also, you can write a query to enhance data for better visualizations and analytics.

What is Power BI? - Modeling of Data - edureka

                                                                                                                       Fig 3. Modeling of data

4. Data visualization:

This is probably where you play around with data and visualization types. With a variety of visual tools and custom visual gallery, you can create stunning reports for your organization effectively. So, a business user simply could mash up the data without writing even a single line of code. Exactly, It’s that easy!!

What is Power BI? - Data Visualization - edureka
                 Fig 4. Visualizing your transformed data

Now, Suppose you want to share these analytics reports with your organization.

5. Publishing data reports:

Well, using Power BI Services, you can export or publish reports securely and set up automatic data refresh which provides near-real-time analytics of trends and indicators for everyone.

What is Power BI? - Power BI services - edureka
                           Fig 5. Publish your reports using Power BI services

With real-time power BI dashboards, you can get a 360-degree view of your business and you can instantly check when your business needs your attention.

Power BI gateways let you connect with SQL Server databases, Analytical Services, and many other data sources to your dashboard in Power BI and reporting portals, embed Power BI reports and dashboards to give you a unified experience.

This is how a dashboard looks like:

In awe yet? Let me add more to your fascination because Power BI gives you more.

Get Integrated with Power BI

To deliver your solution even faster you can integrate your application or service with Power BI using standard-based REST API.What is Power BI? - Integration with application - edureka

Make business decisions from anywhere

No matter wherever you are, using Power BI Mobile apps for Windows or IOS you can access all your business data.

Alright so, now having learned what is Power BI, and its processes, I feel you should ask yourself

Do you want to be a Power BI Crackerjack?

Get skilled in the following components of Power BI:

  • Power Query: used to search, access, and transform public and/ or internal data sources.
  • Power Pivot: used in data modeling for in-memory analytics.
  • Power View: analyze, visualize and display data as an interactive data visualization using Power View.
  • Power Map: Brings data to life with interactive geographical visualization.
  • Power BI Service: share data views and workbooks which are refresh-able from on-premises and cloud-based data sources.
  • Power BI Q&A: Ask questions and get immediate answers with natural language query.
  • Data Management Gateway: By using this component you get periodic data refreshers, expose tables and view data feeds.
  • Data Catalog: easily discover and reuse queries using Data Catalog. Metadata can be facilitated for search functionality.

So, now that you know what are the skills you need to master, let’s move further and see what are the leading companies where Power BI is being used.

Companies using Power BI

There is a long list of companies using Power BI for analytics, these are just to name a few: 

Now the question arises why Power BI is so popular in the market?

To answer that I have compared three cutting-edge self-service BI tools aimed at giving you direct access to all the insights your data can provide.

Comparing leading Analytics tools – Power BI vs Tableau vs QlikView

MetricsMicrosoft Power BITableau DesktopQlikView
  Free Version Available ✔ ✔
  Mobile Versions ✔ ✔ ✔
  Point-in-time Analytics ✔ ✔ ✔
  Real-Time Analytics ✔ ✔ ✔
  Predictive Analytics ✔ ✔
  Data Prep Tools ✔ ✔ ✔
  Tools to Blend/ Join/ Integrate Data ✔ ✔ ✔
  Semantic Querying/ Natural Language ✔
  Social Media Analytics ✔ ✔ ✔
  Visualizations Feature ✔ ✔ ✔
  Sharing/ Collaboration Tool ✔ ✔ ✔

I think now its clear why Power BI stands out from other BI tools.

So wait not, download Power BI Desktop and see how Power BI makes it easy to combine your data, find new insights, and share them with others.

If you wish to learn Power BI and build a career in data visualization or BI, then check out our Power BI Training Certification which comes with instructor-led live training and real-life project experience. This training will help you understand Power BI in depth and help you achieve mastery over the subject.

Got a question for us? Please mention it in the comments section of ” What is Power BI ” and I will get back to you.


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