What is Power BI? Architecture and features - an explanation
There is a growing interest in business intelligence tools. More and more companies across various industries are reaching for revolutionary analytical systems to use better the data they collect. The leading programme in this field is Power BI. What capabilities does the modern system from Microsoft offer? How is it built? What are its advantages over other BI programmes? Find out in this article!
What is Power BI?
Microsoft Power BI is a powerful and interactive Business Intelligence toolkit for data analysis and visualisation. It allows you to combine information from many databases, files or web services. Power BI is an intuitive tool that offers a wide variety of features.
Power BI provides a complete set of analytical tools that support the functioning of companies and organisations in various industries - whether they are business giants, medium-sized or small players in the market. The software helps them to see the relationship between data and use the insights they draw from it to plan their business activities.
Power BI architecture
Microsoft Power BI is much more than a computer programme. A revolutionary program for data analysis and report design, it is linked to a set of online services such as publishing and sharing. It is a comprehensive tool that considers a desktop, mobile, and web portal.
The architecture of Power BI comprises three elements. Within the programme environment, the most important are:
- the desktop application (Power BI Desktop) - a free application that runs on Windows PCs, allowing users to connect to data, build a report and save to file, and publish the report to the Power BI Online service in the form of a visually exciting presentation. Microsoft Power BI Desktop was developed for analysts and others working with data. It combines interactive visualisations (Power View - creating charts, maps and other visual forms), data query functions (Power Query - finding, connecting and refining data sources) and modelling capabilities (Power Pivot - modelling data and performing complex calculations). This is the most extensive version of the programme.
- mobile application (Power BI App / Mobile) - allows you to view reports and interact with them anywhere and anytime conveniently. This is the version of the programme designed for use on phones and tablets.
- cloud application (Power BI Service) - allowing reports to be created and shared between users. It enables automatic refreshing of data and sharing of reports via, for example, a link or email. A cloud-based version of the programme allows you to pull in data and work on it without installing the software on your device.
Key features of Power BI
Power BI is a powerful data analysis tool. It offers a range of functionalities - the key ones are outlined below.
Data analysis: the application can be primarily a data analysis tool. Microsoft Power BI is tightly integrated with Excel, making it possible to extract data from existing worksheets.
Data visualisation: Microsoft Power BI is a self-service application allowing users to connect to data and create reports. Finished reports can be easily shared with all or selected team members.
Data aggregation: Power BI also allows data to be pulled from any database, web source, SQL Server or Dynamics 365.
Power BI - integrations with applications
Power BI is integrated with a vast number of applications that enhance the capabilities of the tool itself. These include, among others, with:
- SQL Server, SQL Server Analysis Services,
- Office applications: Microsoft Excel, Access,
- Azure services, including Azure Audit Logs, Azure Mobile Engagement, Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Azure SQL Database,
- Google Analytics,
- Microsoft Dynamics Marketing, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft Dynamics CRM,
- Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL databases and more.
The most significant advantages of Power BI
Power BI is a programme with many advantages. First and foremost, it is effortless to use - thanks to its interface, users, even those who have not dealt with programming and databases before, can learn how to create even the most complex reports in a few days. Microsoft's free tutorials are also helpful. EBIS also provides comprehensive support and training for system users. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, we can pride ourselves on the knowledge and experience our consultants have gained through numerous implementations and by constantly improving their qualifications by taking courses.
Thanks to the automatic downloading of data, the programme saves time entering data into the system. This increases the efficiency of working with information. But that is not all - Power BI also teaches good data visualisation practices, and the analyses created with its help are very interactive. The interesting form of reports promotes data analysis and quick conclusions, which can be critical to the business. Also noteworthy is the ease of sharing prepared statements by publishing and sharing them.
Not insignificantly, Microsoft Power BI is an application that is constantly evolving, with new updates released virtually every month. The programme is free, although a paid Pro version is also available, costing just $9.99 per user per month.
Power BI is an excellent alternative to Excel and other analytical tools. However, when working with extensive data from different sources, these programmes require time-consuming analysis, which is also subject to errors. The system developed by Microsoft solves this problem. Furthermore, thanks to the modern Business Intelligence tool, analysing data and visualising reports have become more accessible.
If you collect and analyse data, you need a modern Business Intelligence tool to streamline your work. One such tool is Microsoft Power BI - the most widely used BI software. Contact us to discuss the process of implementing Power BI in your company. Together, we will choose the right solution to meet the real needs of your employees!