Power Platform

How to better leverage your data with Power BI_

9th Jul 2024 | 8 min read

How to better leverage your data with Power BI_

Data is everywhere. As the world has become increasingly digitalised, there are more opportunities to gain insight than ever before. You can get information on online experiences, customer demographics, internal performance and much more. The Internet of Things has taken this even further, allowing us to gain data in diverse ways from our devices and systems.

However, the sheer volume of data available can be overwhelming. If a business isn’t equipped to handle their data, it can become underutilised and confusing. You might have the stats and figures, but no idea what you need to do next.

Another common obstacle is that data sits within teams and never ventures further, leading to a lack of visibility. This makes it harder to piece together the big picture and work together to improve performance.

It’s crucial that you get your data to work for you. The right insights can lead to better decisions, leaner processes and improved results – as well as help you maintain a competitive edge.

Power BI is a tool created specifically to improve data visibility and understanding. We explore how you can leverage it to become a data-driven business.


What is Power BI?

Power BI is a business intelligence tool created by Microsoft. It allows organisations to analyse and visualise raw data, turning it into actionable insights. It’s also part of Microsoft’s Power Platform, a suite of innovative, low-code tools.

Power BI consists of several elements that work together to drive intelligent decision making:

  1. Power BI Desktop: A desktop application for creating reports and visualisations
  2. Power BI Service: A software as a service (SaaS) platform where you can share and view reports and dashboards
  3. Power BI Mobile Apps: Allowing on-the-go access for Windows, iOS and Android devices

Power BI also has a range of unique features that enables it to present data in a meaningful way for users across your business.


How does Power BI make data more meaningful?

Power BI makes data more visible and meaningful in several ways, allowing people to easily understand and gain insight.

Here’s how:

  • Visualisation: Raw data can be overwhelming and difficult to interpret, especially if it’s a series of seemingly unconnected numbers. However, Power BI turns these into visuals, such as charts, graphs and maps. These visuals make it easier to spot patterns, trends and relationships within the data that might be missed in spreadsheets or tables.
  • Data connectivity: With Power BI, you can connect to a wide range of data sources, including Excel spreadsheets, cloud-based databases and on-premises data warehouses. It brings your data together for a full view of everything.
  • Sharing and collaboration: You can easily share your reports and dashboards with people across your organisation. This ends the common issue of data silos, allowing for better collaboration and decision making.
  • Interactive exploration: The visualisations in Power BI are interactive, meaning you can learn as you go. You can click on elements to drill down for greater detail, filter data to see specific subsets and compare different data points. This allows you to explore the data in more depth and gain a better understanding of its nuances.
  • Focus and context: You can tailor reports and dashboards to highlight specific metrics or answer particular questions. This helps focus the viewer’s attention on the most important information while reducing any clutter. You can also add context to the data through annotations, titles and tooltips, making it easier to understand the meaning behind the numbers.
  • AI-powered insights: Power BI utilises AI to automatically identify patterns and trends within your data. These AI insights can surface hidden relationships or new paths for exploration, uncovering meaningful connections that may have been missed.


Examples of data in action in Power BI_

With so much possibility, you may be wondering what the best ways are to use Power BI. We’ve put together some specific examples of how you can leverage data to inspire you. But remember, it’s always best to spend time scoping your internal data to identify the best use cases for your business.


1. Interactive customer journey analysis: With Power BI, you can build a map visualisation that tracks a customer’s journey from initial website visit to purchase. By linking website clicks, demographics and purchase data, you can see where customers drop off in the buying process, allowing you to identify areas for improvement.


2. Anomaly detection: Anomalies in financial data can indicate fraud. Power BI can analyse financial transactions and identify unusual patterns. This could involve highlighting spikes in spending, transactions from unexpected locations or deviations from typical customer behaviour. It allows you to act upon suspicious activity.


3. Social media sentiment analysis: Connect to social media data and analyse the sentiment of online conversations about your brand. Track positive and negative mentions over time, identify brand advocates and detractors and measure the effectiveness of social media campaigns to better control the narrative.


4. Real-time inventory management: Create a dashboard that displays inventory levels across different locations. This allows you to monitor stock availability, predict potential shortages and optimise your ordering process for better inventory management.


5. Interactive sales performance analysis: Build a dashboard that lets salespeople see their performance compared to targets, identify top-performing products and regions and drill down into specific customer data. This empowers them to tailor their sales strategies for better results.


6. Interactive HR analytics dashboard: Create a dashboard that tracks employee performance, recruitment trends and retention rates. Visualise metrics like time to hire, training effectiveness and employee satisfaction. This allows HR departments to make data-driven decisions about talent acquisition, development and retention strategies.


Top tips to better leverage your data in Power BI_

Power BI contains many features that make your data visualise, collaborative and meaningful. It’s easy to set up and you can gain the benefits straightaway. However, there are a few tips that will allow you to get even more from your data.


  • Connect to a variety of data sources: Power BI’s strength lies in its ability to unify data from multiple sources. Make the most of this by connecting to all your spreadsheets, databases, cloud platforms and social media channels. By doing so, you can get a greater view across your business and understand patterns.
  • Clean and transform your data: High quality data is essential for reliable insights. Ensure your data is accurate and consistent before diving into visualisations. Power BI includes data cleaning tools to address inconsistencies, missing values and formatting issues, so you can ensure your data is ready for analysis.
  • Go beyond basic visuals: While charts and graphs have a place in any business, Power BI’s more advanced visualisations like heatmaps, funnels and custom visuals can provide greater insight. They reveal complex relationships and provide a deeper understanding of your data.
  • Leverage slicers, filters and drill-downs: Make your reports interactive by incorporating slicers, filters and drill-down capabilities. This allows users to focus on specific data points or segments, enabling a deeper exploration of the information.
  • Incorporate KPIs and metrics: Identify the KPIs that matter most to your business. Then, use Power BI to highlight these metrics on your dashboards and reports, allowing for quicker monitoring of performance.
  • Encourage collaboration: Power BI fosters collaboration by enabling you to share dashboards and reports with colleagues. Make sure everyone has access to Power BI and is regularly reviewing data. This encourages discussion and informed decision-making across the organisation.
  • Embrace storytelling: Don’t just present data, tell a story with it. Use visuals, commentary and clear titles to guide viewers through your reports and highlight key takeaways. This will make your data presentations more impactful and memorable, as well as helping your audience to draw conclusions.


Building a data-driven culture with Microsoft Power BI_

Power BI is an invaluable tool for any business who cares about data and wants to leverage it better. By investing and effectively implementing Power BI, you can empower users to understand, collaborate and make smart decisions based on your owned data.

If you’re looking to introduce Power BI, we can support you. Our team of certified Power BI experts deliver powerful dashboards and reports to organisations across a range of organisations and industry verticals.

Using our years of experience and our exclusive relationship with Microsoft, we can help you to prepare your organisation’s data and allow you to get more from it every day.

Find out more about our Power BI services and get in touch with our team.

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