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Power BI: Connecting to business data that matters to you!


July 23rd. 2015

Terms such as “sophisticated visual data analytics” and “easy-to-use report authoring” traditionally have been seldom spoken in the same sentence. Furthermore, businesses often have been challenged with the difficult task of collecting data from various distinct (and often disjointed) data sources and reporting against this information in a visual and meaningful way.  This data will often reside in their own distinct data silos (ERP, CRM, HRMS, etc) and each silo may expose its data differently (SQL, SOAP, oDATA, CSV, Excel, XML). These problems present an array of reporting and data analytics challenges that traditionally have been both complex and costly to solve.

 

“Power BI”, an exciting new cloud-based business analytics service from Microsoft, allows you to easily and intuitively collect all of your relevant business data, regardless of where or how this data is stored, into a unified cloud data warehouse for visualization and modelling. The main goal of Power BI is to make the hard things easy. Some of the key benefits to Power BI include:
 

  • Mobile Support
    Stay connected with your business intelligence anytime, anywhere. The Microsoft Power BI mobile app is currently available for download for iOS, Android, and Windows (Windows 8, Windows 10) via their respective app stores (see https://powerbi.microsoft.com/mobile for more details).
     
  • Natural Query Language
    With Power BI, it is now possible to visualize your data by asking questions such as “which territories had the highest win ratio last month”. With the power of natural language, you ask Power BI what data you want, and it will deliver your answers as interactive and spectacular charts, graphs, and geographical maps.
     
  • Collaborate, Manage, Share
    Empower your team with collaborative business intelligence. Share data, insights, workbooks, and queries. In addition to this, with Power BI’s “Data Catalog” feature, it is now easier than ever for IT departments to connect your company’s end users to the corporate data they need.
     

To leverage Power BI for your business, you will need the following:

  • A monthly Microsoft Power BI subscription
    • Pricing models range from free (“POWER BI”) to $9.99 USD (“POWER BI PRO”) per user per month.
    • See https://powerbi.microsoft.com/pricing for more information
    • General availability for Power BI to the public is July 24, 2015
       
  • To collect, design & model your Power BI data, you will need one of the following tools:
  • If you already have on-premises analytical data kept in SQL Server Analysis Services and wish to upload this information to Power BI, you will need the Microsoft Power BI Analysis Services Connector.
     
  • If your business is running Microsoft Dynamics NAV
    • Modelling and visualizing Microsoft Dynamics NAV data in Power BI requires no connectors. Microsoft Dynamics NAV (2013 and 2015) can expose both “page” and “query” objects via web services to query your ERP’s data over http. Power BI and its designer tools can easily import this data.
       

Microsoft Power BI represents a bold new chapter for businesses to visualize and analyze their company data in new and exciting ways! With Microsoft Power BI, your business can now have the tools it needs to easily shape and visualize data into reports that are rich, interactive, and completely mobile.

 

For download links (as well as links to download the mobile Power BI app) and more information on Microsoft Power BI, go to https://powerbi.microsoft.com/


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