5 reasons why small business owners should try Microsoft Power BI.
As a small company owner with more than a passing interest in technology, I could not wait to get my hands-on Microsoft Business Intelligence Platform Power BI. With years of experience creating reports and dashboards for others, the idea of being able to generate this kind of content for my business was exciting!
What is stopping you from doing the same? Ok so maybe many years in IT working with data has given me an advantage getting up to speed with this platform however, here are 5 important reasons why I believe that you should be looking to use Power BI in your business regardless of your businesses size.
- It’s free! Do I need to continue? Yes, you can sign up to the Power BI Portal and download the tools required to model your data and create beautiful reports and dashboard to give you insights into your business. If you want to share these reports and dashboards with others in your organisation you’ll likely need to purchase an additional licence. However, the ability to try out this tool and make it work with your data will not cost you a penny. Taking the time to explore this with your data will give you a real understanding of the capability of the platform and start to provide you with insights into your business.
- The future is here, artificial intelligence (AI) is waiting to give you insights into your products, services, customers, sales or financial data. The AI will interrogate your data and provide you with suggested visualisations, as well as allowing you to ask it questions. It’s not quite the same as asking ‘Alexa’ or ‘Siri’ to give you today’s weather. However, with Power BI’s Q&A functionality you can interact with your company information in a revolutionary way. This is not a gimmick with little real-world use. The AI will genuinely give you different perspectives of your data which will give you true insights into your company not previously available to you!
- A mobile app is available to view your epic reports and dashboards on the move. Although this capability should be expected these days, how many of you can review your businesses KPI’s at the breakfast table or on the move before getting into the office. Knowing where to focus your precious time and what project or customers need your attention is a game-changer when it comes to maximising your ability to influence.
- It supports a huge range of input data sources – including excel. As is common with most of these platforms you can access data from an almost endless number of applications, so the chances are your applications will be easy to connect. However, Power BI has a special trick that sets it apart from its competitors and that is the ability to seamlessly refresh data held in Excel (if it stored on OneDrive). This means you can effectively treat data held in Excel as it if was in one of your applications. This can raise several concerns when we start to think about data governance but also a powerful functionality. The ability to simply patch over gaps in applications and utilise this information in your reporting is very powerful and may allow you to extend your applications without any additional investment.
- The platform is designed as an end-user tool to enable users to take control of their data. It offers an intuitive user experience and the ability to quickly generate insights that add value to you and your organisation. There will likely be some limitations to what you can achieve depending on your data and your initial competency however, with some support this can be overcome.
So, it may not be a tool that is for everybody and there are others on the market but investing a little bit of time to try Microsoft Power BI may just change how you see your business.