Power BI: Microsoft’s Low-Code Data Visualization Solution!
Post co-written by Madeleine de Place & Coralie Martinez
Referred to as the “black gold of the 21st century”, data has become a valuable asset for companies if you know how to use it. No matter what field or activity a team is in, there is an explosion of data. They will only be able to reach their full potential if they can find a way to process and analyze this data. But how do you do this if you don’t know how to code, as most business teams don’t? With Power BI, one of Microsoft’s low-code/no-code tools, teams can take back their data and turn it into a performance tool.
Power Platform provides a suite of tools enabling businesses to speed up their transformation and the modernization of their information systems:
- Power Pages for creating professional websites
- Power Apps for creating applications
- Power Virtual Agents for setting up chatbots
- Power Automate for automating tasks
- Power BI for exploiting the full potential of data
In the latest post in this series on Power Platform, we look at Power BI.
What is Power BI?
Power BI is the business intelligence solution in the Power Platform suite. It lets you visualize, analyze and share data. Power BI is easy to use and highly intuitive, which makes it ideal for business users who don’t have any development expertise. It is a low-code/no-code solution.
Power BI lets you retrieve data from various sources, process it, and display it visually and clearly. Power BI can, for example, show information from a table with tens of thousands of lines as curves, pie charts, graphs, diagrams, etc.
Power BI has three components:
- Power BI Desktop
- Power BI service
- Power BI mobile applications
Each user will use Power BI in a different (and customized) way, depending on their needs. For example, the marketing team will need a broad overview of campaigns for purely statistical purposes, whereas the sales team will need highly detailed sales monitoring.
Creating Reports With Power BI Desktop
With Power BI Desktop, you can create dashboards (reports) that let you visualize data, analyze it, and use it to make informed decisions.
Coding is unnecessary because everything can be managed via the interface directly.
Microsoft provides over a hundred connectors (Excel, CSV, GCP or Azure database, etc.) that let Power BI Desktop retrieve and process data from various sources. An integrated module makes it easier to process data before modeling.
Creating dashboards is highly intuitive with a visual interface.
Source: Microsoft documentation
Publishing Reports With the Power BI Service
Once the dashboards have been created, the reports are published using the Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud platform. These reports can be viewed by or shared with other users.
So, the tool makes it possible to share dashboards with a specific audience in a completely secure way (without giving them access to the data sources).
For example, the sales team can give the marketing team access to its sales statistics by product.
There are three ways to share reports:
- Via the web browser
- Via a mobile application
- By adding reports to a Microsoft solution (such as Teams or SharePoint)
How Much Does Power BI Cost?
Power BI Desktop is free, and anyone can use it to create dashboards by downloading the app from the Microsoft website.
However, to share reports, you need to buy a license. There are either Pro licenses (per user) or Premium licenses (per user or by capacity). See the Microsoft documentation on Power BI license terms to find out more about license prices.
The combination of Power BI and Power Apps lets us create an immersive experience for business users and give as many people as possible access to data that is useful for making decisions.
Coralie Martinez – Power Platform Domain Director at Cellenza