Introduction to Power BI
Let’s review Business intelligence for a moment before we get into the Power BI introduction (BI).
Data preparation is the process of translating raw data from a data source into usable data and then using that data to generate reports and helpful visualizations for data analysis.
Data visualization is the process of making tabular data more visually appealing.
It helps users see data in a variety of visual formats (charts, graphs, key performance indicators (KPIs), maps, etc.) so that they may learn from what they see.
To be sure, Microsoft Power BI is a program that can analyze data and display the results graphically.
We need to get a firm grasp on the fundamentals of Microsoft Power BI before we can move further with our exploration of this innovative business intelligence platform.
We recommend that you set aside some time to read through this Power BI lesson carefully, as it will serve as a foundational piece in your education about Power BI.
Microsoft’s Power BI is a solution for gathering and analyzing data related to company operations in the cloud. Software services, applications, and data connectors are all part of this suite of BI and data visualization technologies.
Power BI’s data visualization and analysis features allow us to turn imported datasets into publishable reports, dashboards, and apps. Power BI is an intuitive program with powerful drag-and-drop functions and self-service options.
Microsoft’s Power BI offerings come in three flavors:
- Power BI Desktop (A desktop application)
- Power BI Service (SaaS i.e., Software as a Service)
- Power BI Mobile (applicable for both Android & iOS devices)
Power BI can either be used in the cloud or on-premises.
Why Power BI?
Power BI is an encompassing word that comprises multiple distinct types of services.
- Power BI Services is a web-based business intelligence tool that allows users to view and share dashboards online.
- An interface for reporting is called Power BI Desktop, which runs on desktop computers.
- Another helpful service is Power BI Embedded, which is hosted on Microsoft Azure and can be utilized for the production of reports, the execution of ETL operations, and the analysis of data.
- In addition, let’s talk about a few reasons why Power BI is such a crucial tool in this day and age, as well as why we require it.
- Establishing direct links to the sources of data in Power BI enables users to conduct real-time analysis of their data. In addition, it utilizes data updating to ensure that all of the data is kept up to current to the most recent second.
- You can select a custom visualization from a gallery of available custom visualizations. The custom visuals can be broken down into a wide variety of subcategories and settings.
- By utilizing the Quick Insights option, you will be able to do a thorough search of your data in order to locate relevant insights and datasets in a short amount of time.
- Create a live or non-live connection to data sources located on-premises, such as SQL Server, and use a secure route to access data via data gateways. Because of this, Power BI is now ready for use in an enterprise setting, as on-premises connections ensure that data transfer is kept private and that the technology is both scalable and dependable.
- Through Power BI, you will have the ability to connect to other services such as SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS), Microsoft Excel, and many others.
Power BI is a cutting-edge piece of software that takes advantage of the most recent technological developments, including HTML 5.0, column store databases, cloud computing, mobile app development, and many more.
This contributes to maintaining Power BI at the forefront of the industry and popular by ensuring that it is always being updated with the most cutting-edge features.
A Brief Overview of the History of Power BI
Microsoft’s Power BI was made available to the public for the first time on July 11th, 2011. In 2010, Ron George was the one who conceived the idea, did the initial design work, and released the product under the name “Project Crescent.”
After some time, in September of 2013, Microsoft officially rebranded it as Power BI and made it available to the whole public.
This release was a Power BI for Office 365 update, and it included Power Pivot, Power View, and Power Query in addition to the Microsoft Excel add-ins.
In later versions, Microsoft included more complex capabilities like as enterprise-level data security and connection, natural language question-and-answer functionality, Power data gateways, and so on.
On July 24, 2015, Power BI was made available to the general public for the very first time. According to the 2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms, Power BI is now officially recognized as one of the most effective business intelligence (BI) products available.
Power BI Options and Functions
Power BI includes the following elements, which are among its most notable and engaging characteristics:
- Visualizations that are both aesthetically pleasing and individually crafted
- GetData (Data sources)/data connections
- Analyses done on a whim
- Reports and reporting on an as-needed basis
- Indicators of future trends
- Processing of Analyses Conducted Online (OLAP)
- Navigation pane
- Natural language Q & A box
- DAX operations and mathematical formula
- Launcher for Office 365 applications
- Packages of content
- Creating dynamic and interactive reports.
The Components of Power BI
Microsoft has developed a business intelligence and data mining software suite known as Power BI.
This suite is a collection of many types of services offered by Microsoft.
In order for Power BI to operate well as a whole, each of these services fulfills a unique purpose and collaborates closely with the others.
In this segment of the Power BI lesson, we will learn about the various services or components that make up Power BI, as well as the responsibilities that they play.
- This service, known as Power Query, is utilized by our company in order to gain access to public or local/internal data sources, conduct searches on those sources, and then convert the data.
- This technology, known as Power Pivot, gives users the ability to model data that has been retrieved from an in-memory data source so that it may be used for analytics.
- Power View is a service that offers several different tools to graphically portray data through the use of visuals and then analyze those visuals.
- Power Maps comes equipped with the tools and capabilities necessary to visualize geospatial data or information in the form of a 3D model in a map. These maps are available for use in a Power BI report if you so choose.
- Power BI Desktop is a complementary development tool that can be used in conjunction with Power View, Power Query, and Power Pivot. Using Power BI Desktop, you can generate reports by importing data from a data source, preparing and transforming that data, and then using that data in visualizations.
- Power BI Website is a web-based platform that allows users to browse and share Power BI applications or solutions. You may construct dashboards from reports by using the Power BI Website and then share those dashboards with other Power BI users. Additionally, you can employ the website to slice and dice data contained within a report.
- The Power Service makes it possible for users to collaborate with one another by exchanging data views and workbooks. The on-premises or cloud-based data sources are polled at regular intervals to ensure that the data are accurate and up to date.
- If you choose to make use of the Power Q&A option, you will be able to search for your data or find new insights by inputting queries written in natural language. It swiftly comprehends your inquiry and provides results that are pertinent to it.
- Power BI Mobile apps allow business users to see and interact with reports and dashboards that have been published on a cloud service through mobile-hosted instances of Power BI. The Power BI mobile apps are compatible with mobile devices running Android, Windows, and iOS.
- The Data Catalog choice provides the opportunity to search for and reuse queries in the system.
- This component, known as the Data Management Gateway, is responsible for managing the periodic data refreshes, as well as the viewing and exposing of tables.
The Architecture of Power BI
To acquire a deeper comprehension of Power BI, the architecture may be broken down into three distinct sections, also known as phases:
1. Data Integration
We are able to import data into Power BI from a wide variety of data sources and save it in a variety of formats.
During the data integration process, Power BI gathers information (which it has already extracted) from a variety of data sources and transforms it into a format that is universally accepted.
Once data has been imported into Power BI, it is placed in a shared storage space known as the staging area until it can be analyzed.
2. Data Processing
When Power BI has finished integrating and storing data in a safe location, the raw data will need to be processed in some way.
The raw data are transformed through a series of processing and cleansing procedures, such as eliminating redundant values and the like.
In a later step, we take the processed data and add applicable business rules to it, which alters the data so that it better fits our company’s requirements.
The data warehouses are then loaded with the modified versions of the data. The ETL procedure has now finished in its entirety.
3. Data Presentation
During the final part of the process, the processed data is transferred from the warehouse to the Power BI platforms, such as Power BI Desktop, where it is used to generate reports, dashboards, and scorecards.
Power BI provides users with a diverse selection of visual representations. Additionally, we have the ability to import customer visualization from the market.
We can distribute the reports to other business users by publishing them on the web or in mobile apps, both of which are capabilities offered by the report development platforms.
Users of Microsoft Power BI
Users of Power BI are separated into four distinct groups based on the objectives they hope to achieve through their work with the software. Analysts, Business users, IT Professionals, and Developers make up the four distinct categories of end-users.
Using Power BI, analysts can construct reports, dashboards, and data models, and then examine these artifacts in order to extract actionable insights from the analyzed data.
Power BI provides users with access to a wide variety of data sources, from which they may extract data, compile it into a single dataset, clean and prepare that data, and then use it to generate reports and perform analysis.
2. IT specialists
The scalability, availability, and security of the data are the primary concerns of the experts working in information technology. They also handle all of the Power BI services and users from a central location.
3. Business Users
Common users are referred to as business users, and they are the ones that examine the reports and dashboards that can be shared with them via the website or mobile app for Power BI.
Users in the business world are kept abreast of the most recent information, which enables them to make crucial decisions at the appropriate moment.
They also have the ability to set up an alert notification for any abnormalities or changes in the data (if occurs).
Developers are in charge of all the work that is done on the technical side.
Their primary responsibilities include the development of individualized visualizations for usage inside Power BI, the incorporation of Power BI into other applications, the generation of reports, and so on.
Establishing Data Connections with Power BI
You can gather information for use in Power BI from a wide variety of sources of data, which is convenient.
Connecting to data files on your local system, Excel files, Azure SQL Database, Facebook, Google Analytics, Power BI datasets, and other types of data is possible.
Through gateways, online services, direct connections, and the like, it is possible to connect to on-premises data sources as well as cloud-based data sources. Below you will find a list of several data sources that are frequently used.
- Excel, Text/CSV, XML, PDF, JSON, Folder, and SharePoint are the file types that are supported.
- Databases such as SQL Server databases, Access databases, Oracle databases, SAP HANA databases, IBM databases, Teradata databases, Impala databases, Amazon Redshift databases, and Google BigQuery databases are examples of databases.
- Power BI includes the Power BI datasets as well as the Power BI dataflows.
- There are many different types of databases hosted on Azure. Some examples are Azure SQL, Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Azure Analysis Services, Azure Data Lake, Azure Cosmos DB, and so on.
- The following are examples of online services such as Salesforce, Azure DevOps, Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, Dynamics 365, Facebook, GitHub, etc.
- Other options include scripts written in Python and R, the web, Spark, Hadoop File System (HDFS), ODBC, OLE DB, and Active Directory, among others.
Costs of Using Power BI
Now that you are aware of everything that Power BI has to offer, we are positive that you have developed a preference for using it.
As a result, you would also be interested in knowing its pricing as well as the fees associated with licensing it.
In this “Power BI tutorial“, we will provide you with information regarding the costs of the various editions along with their respective features. Microsoft has made three different pricing options available for Power BI, and they are as follows:
- Data visualization, data preparation, data modeling, data cleansing, and uploading reports to Power BI Service are all included in the free basic edition of Power BI Desktop. This version is also available without any further fee.
- A subscription to Power BI Pro may be purchased at a price of $9.99 USD per user USD per month. Before committing to the membership, you have the option of participating in a free trial that lasts for sixty days. This package for Power BI Professional provides tools for data collaboration, a 360-degree real-time view for dashboards, data governance, and the ability to publish reports anywhere.
- A single dedicated storage resource and cloud computing facility can be obtained for a monthly fee of $4,995 when purchasing the Power BI Premium package.
Businesses that make use of Power BI
Power BI is a business analytics program that has just recently been introduced to the market, but it is quickly becoming highly popular.
It already has a significant number of customers all around the world and is increasing at a rapid rate.
The following is a list of several well-known companies who employ Power BI as their primary program for conducting business analysis are Accenture, DELL, Nuevora, Capgemini, Agile BI, Data Bear andsome other.
After you have a general understanding of Power BI, you can move on to exploring the several options it provides for data visualization.
Learn how to select the appropriate visual for your dataset and type, how to make changes to adhere to visualization best practices, and how to tell a compelling story with your data.
Additionally, gain an understanding of how to sort and format your data so that your stories are more easily understood.
Learn Power BI course in Chennai at Softlogic Systems to master the above concepts and explore more.