How to Stop Chasing Your Data: Microsoft Power BI

According to a recent IDC study, data professionals waste half their time finding, protecting and preparing data. That leaves very little time for analyzing and interpreting report findings.

If you recognize that your organization is spending too much time chasing data, what do you do?

A. Reduce the number of data silos by using an integrated ERP / CRM solution like Microsoft Dynamics 365?
B. Build a data model that stitches all the data together into a single data warehouse?
C. Invest in flexible business intelligence software like Power BI so everyone can access the right data?
D. All of the above!

If you chose D, you’re RIGHT! Having modern enterprise software like Microsoft Dynamics 365, using a data warehouse and adding a data visualization tool like Power BI will significantly slash the amount of time you spend chasing data.

But for now, let’s talk about the simplest aspect: Microsoft’s Power BI.

Why Microsoft Power BI?

Unlike implementing an ERP system or a data warehouse, Power BI can be easily setup and used by individuals or organizations. In fact, Power BI is one of the few enterprise business intelligence software tools that puts much of the power in the hands of the user, instead of the IT team.

Microsoft offers multiple Power BI Products – Desktop, Pro, Premium, Mobile, Embedded and Report Server. In all cases, Power BI:

  • Connects to hundreds of data sources, on premise or in the cloud
  • Allows users, teams and organizations to create and publish reports and dashboards that are fed live information
  • Enables users to create stunningly beautiful and easy-to-interpret graphs
  • Is easy to learn and easy to use, especially when compared to other BI Platforms. Pixel-perfect dashboards and reports can be built in a minutes/ hours rather than days.

The Problem with Reports

Business runs on data, therefore business runs on reports:

  • Financial reports
  • Sales forecasting reports
  • Inventory lists
  • Production reports

Some reports are easy to run. Running a customer “Accounts Receivable Aging Report” is a staple of every accounting software.

But what happens if you want to connect your ERP Aging Report to Experian to collect credit scores, develop a risk profile, and use that data to vet the creditworthiness of your active sales prospects?

How do you combine multiple data sources? The most common solution is Microsoft Excel.

Excel is Excellent, But Inefficient

When you have a reporting scenario where you have to regularly and repeatedly pull information from multiple data sources, you’ll likely aggregate the records into an Excel spreadsheet. It can take days to source and stitch together the data.

Once you understand the basics, Power BI can be as easy to use as Excel (or for some, easier), but with much more power:

  • You only have to create the report / dashboard once. The data from each source system is continually refreshed.
  • You have more advanced analytics visualization capabilities.
  • The information can be automatically distributed to any device.

What About Other Business Intelligence Software?

There is no shortage of excellent enterprise business intelligence (BI) software. We use and recommend many of them. But few BI tools put the controls in the hands of the user like Microsoft Power BI does.

Your organization will still control security access to sensitive information, but users can rearrange their own dashboards and charts. They can include additional data sources and filters to create dashboards that are unique to their job role.

Also, one of the primary features of Power BI is the beauty of the data visualization capabilities, which far exceeds the capabilities of Excel.


Create a Power BI Dashboard Once

Instead of continually chasing data, data is continually pulled into Power BI, and distributed as needed throughout the organization, as either dashboards or reports, which can be accessed from any mobile or desktop device.

Stop chasing data. Let the data drive your business with Power BI.

Ready for a Power BI demo?

Contact us at or 1-866-622-0669 to talk with an analytics expert.

Author: Mark Hatting, Director, Business Analytics

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