What is Power BI?

Power BI is a collection of software services, apps, and connectors that work together to turn your unrelated sources of data into coherent, visually immersive, and interactive insights.

Ultimately, by using Power BI you can store and share business data in the form of reports and dashboards to analyze and make business decisions.

The functionality works in the below order:

  • Get raw data from various data sources

  • Model data

  • Create Reports and Dashboards

  • Share with Others

To import data and to create various reports and dashboards, we require Power BI Desktop which is a free tool.

Architecture of Power BI

Architecture of Power BI

Data Integration:

An organization needs to work with data which comes from different sources which can be in various file formats. The data should be extracted from a different source which can be from different servers or databases. This data is integrated into one standard format in a common staging area.

Data Processing:

In this stage, the integrated data is still not prepared for visualization as the data needs processing. This data is pre-processed. For example, redundant values, missing values will be removed from the data set.

The business rule should be applied to the data when the data is cleaned. You can load that data back to Data Warehouse.

Data Presentation

Once the data is loaded and processed, it can be visualized much better with use of various visualization that Power Bi has to offer. Use of dashboard and report helps one represent data more intuitively. This visual report helps business end users to take business decision based on the insights.

Power BI components

Below are the Power BI components:

  • Power BI Desktop: This is a desktop application which you can install in your local desktop

  • Power BI service: A SaaS (Software as a Service) based service.

  • Power BI mobile apps: Various mobile apps for Windows, iOS, and Android devices.

  • Power BI Report Server: Allows you to publish Power BI reports to an on-premises report server.

The first 3 are designed to let you create, share, and consume business insights.

Power BI Report Server allows you to publish Power BI reports to an on-premises report server, after creating them in Power BI Desktop.

May be your company is not ready to move the reports to the cloud, wants to keep inside your premises within your corporate firewall.

Power BI Report Server is a solution that you deploy behind your firewall and then deliver your reports to the right users in different ways, whether that’s viewing them in a web browser, on a mobile device, or as an email.

Power BI Report Server is also compatible with Power BI in the cloud, you can move to the cloud when you’re ready without any problem.

Download and Install Power BI Desktop

Power BI desktop is the free tool which you can download and install in your local system.

We can use Power BI desktop to import your data, do the data modelling and then to create reports and dashboards.

Microsoft Power BI Desktop is available for 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x64) platforms. You can download according to your system requirements.

For my 64 bit machine, I have downloaded the 64-bit version of Power BI Desktop.

Double click on the setup to start the installation.

Then click on Next.

Then accept the terms and conditions check box and click on Next.

Then select the installation folder like below:

Then click on Install button to start the installation.

The installation will go like below:

Then click on the Finish button to finish the installation.

Once the installation is over, you can search for Power BI Desktop in the system and you can see like below:

Then we can create report by getting data from various data sources like below:

Applications of Power BI:

Here are the most prominent use of Power BI tool:

  • Pre-built dashboards and reports for SaaS Solutions

  • Power BI allows real-time dashboard updates.

  • Offers Secure and reliable connection to your data sources in the cloud or on-premises

  • Power BI offers Quick deployment, hybrid configuration, and secure environment.

  • Allows data exploration using natural language query

  • Offers feature for dashboard visualization regularly updated with the community.

Advantages of Power BI:

Here are the advantages of using Power BI:

  • Offers pre-built dashboards and reports for SaaS Solutions

  • Provide real-time dashboard updates.

  • Secure and reliable connection to your data sources in the cloud or on-premises

  • Power BI offers quick deployment, hybrid configuration, and a secure environment.

  • Data exploration using natural language query.

  • Feature for dashboard visualization

  • New features frequently added that are great for excel users.

  • Extensive database connectivity capabilities Q&A feature publish to the web.

  • integration with both Python and R coding to use visualizations.

  • Power Query provides many options related to wrangling and clean the data.

  • Post publishing the data into Power BI web service can schedule refresh without manual intervention.

  • Power BI backed by the superpower of with artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Disadvantages of Power BI:

Here, are Cons/drawbacks of using Power BI:

  • Dashboards and reports only shared with users having the same email domains.

  • Power Bl will not mix imported data, which is accessed from real-time connections.

  • Power Bi will not accept the file larger than 250MB and zip file which compressed by the data of X-velocity in-memory database.

  • Power BI can't accept file size larger than 1 GB.

  • Dashboards never accept or pass user, account, or other entity parameters.

  • Very few data sources that permit real-time connections to Power BI reports and dashboard.

Source: SP Guide

The Tech Platform