In Power BI, Microsoft has created the most powerful and important business tool in years
Around 18 months ago, Microsoft launched a new piece of software for businesses. Although there is nothing new in this; Microsoft is regularly adding to its suite of programmes, this offering stands out for us as a truly game-changing tool.
Power BI essentially collates all the data your business has and offers you the ability to analyse it at any level of detail and in a range of formats, such as graphs, pie charts, maps or a simple list.
A business intelligence tool, it works with both Microsoft and other popular business programmes such as Quickbooks, Sage*, Google Analytics and Xero, and brings all the information your business holds into one place, ordering it into useful summaries. You can then tailor the analyses to your needs.
What’s more, every chart can drill down to fine details and present it in an easy-to-digest format. For example, users can click on individual pie chart segments, or a bar on a chart, and get a further breakdown of stats for that particular section.
As Microsoft puts it:
‘With Power BI Desktop, you connect to data (usually multiple data sources), shape that data (with queries that build insightful, compelling data models), and use that model to create reports (which others can leverage, build upon, and share) […]
‘Power BI Desktop centralizes, simplifies, and streamlines what can otherwise be a scattered, disconnected, and arduous process of designing and creating business intelligence.’
The possibilities are huge: sales teams can not only access detailed comparisons between different sales periods, they can also instantly track and rate salespeople and teams as soon as sales are processed. Then, from this, performance-based bonuses can be automatically calculated.
E-commerce companies can get automated, instant analyses of buyer locations, click-throughs to online shops from other sites and profits per transaction, among a range of useful information.
Businesses with teams working on client premises can have at their fingertips information on how long each team spends on site, how often tools are replaced, mileage used etc, to gain a complete overview of how efficiently teams, or even individual workers, are working.
These are just a few examples in a myriad of possible uses for Power BI but, above all, its real value lies in its ability to automatically collate all the information a business needs and present it in easy-to-grasp formats.
Tools such as these are ideal for a time-pressed MD who wants a quick, up-to-date overview of business performance.
Perhaps surprisingly, most of the useful aspects of Power BI are currently Free of Charge (for now). Like much “freemium” software, there are more premium offers for a charge, but even then, the Professional monthly subscription is not extortionate at $9.99 per user.
Power BI comes in three formats: Desktop; Browser and Mobile, this last one being particularly useful for sales teams or managers who are often out of the office, as the data is kept up to date via cloud-based storage, so information such as the latest KPIs are always to hand.
Microsoft has designed Power BI to be easy to use and understand. If you have knowledge of Excel, for example, then getting to grips with Power BI shouldn’t be too onerous. To add to its simplicity, the data it pulls together is drawn from information you will already have, such as sales, invoices, employee hours etc.
By using our expertise, we can ensure Power BI works effectively and to its full potential, meeting each business’s specific needs. We’re experienced in managing your data in such a way that we can produce the results you want to see quickly.
The more we at Springboard learn about Power BI, and the more we see the reactions of clients that we introduce to it, the more we are convinced that this is a programme which will become an essential part of the IT systems of any business keen to understand its successes and failings.
As Microsoft says: ‘Power BI turns industry data into smart decisions.’ The smartest decision your business could make this year is to adopt this software.
We have created a sample report, using our Ticketing software, take a look here
If you would like to unlock the potential and enjoy all the other benefits of Power BI, why not give us a call to discuss how we can help your business?
*The out-of-the-box Sage integration costs £69 per user per month. We have developed an alternative product, which we price at £15 per site per month.