In my old company, we had a self-service business intelligence tool, which by the way is what Power BI is as well.
When I first heard the term ‘self-service’, I thought, “I can serve myself.”, Like Excel, I’ll open it up, move stuff around, do my analysis, do my calculations, and then close it.
But no, that wasn’t the type of self-service that was offered. It was more like this:
- First, I log a call, which meant opening a ticket.
- Then, have a bunch of back and forths, explaining what I wanted with screenshots and examples.
- Next, I had to wait for approval.
- Once that was done, it would be sent off to specialized external consultants for implementation.
- Then, it will finally be my turn to test in the test environment
Usually, at that point, there were one or more things that needed fixing, so we had more back and forths.
If we were lucky, it would, at some point, go live. If we were doubly lucky, what we wanted three months ago was still valid that day, which wasn’t always the case.
That was my experience with a self-service BI tool. These types of tools, as you can imagine, are also very expensive for businesses. They can’t afford to spend so much on just reporting.
That’s why Power BI is now the leader in their market. Because, in my opinion, it solves four main business problems.
Sharing Reports is Easy with Power BI
One is the problem of sharing reports. This wasn’t always easy. If your reports were in Excel, you had to keep sending these around. If they were on the web, you needed to use the browser or a special app to access them.
With Power BI, you have multiple options. You can view your reports on the browser.
You can view them from your mobile device.
You can embed Power BI reports live in a PowerPoint presentation.
You can embed these reports on a website.
You can add a Power BI report to your Teams channel.
You can also connect your Excel files to your Power BI data.
So you set up your datasets and reports in Power BI once, and then you can access them pretty much from everywhere.
There’s also security that you can set which defines what different people can see.
Now, on top of that, you can also set alerts so you get email notifications when a threshold is passed.
You can also schedule data to be automatically refreshed.
Power BI Implementations are Fast
The next problem businesses had with BI tools was the long implementation times and high costs that were associated with them.
Power BI is easy to implement. It’s easy to learn and it’s easy to use.
To get started, you can download the Power BI Desktop app from the Office store and use it for free. If you can use Excel, you can use Power BI.
You can create reports quickly and easily.
You don’t have to be in IT, and you don’t need a coding background.
Power BI Eliminates Decision Paralysis
The third problem Power BI solves is that it eliminates decision paralysis. You see, because many BI projects take forever, they’re more rigid. And you can end up spending days deciding whether you want to compare this value to that or something else. Which one is more important?
Well, with Power BI, you can make updates with a few clicks and create different reports and different views. You’re not restricted to a certain number of reports.
You also don’t need a designated person to create reports if you don’t want. You can have it behave like a real self-service tool where people can create their views and reports.
Power BI is More Than Beautiful Reports
The fourth problem Power BI solves is it goes beyond just creating beautiful reports.
A lot of people associate Power BI with fancy reports.
It can do that, but it can do a lot more. It’s like saying your smartphone is just for making phone calls.
Some managers like fancy reports, right? They want interactivity; they want to slice and dice as they need. But other managers might love detail, they want to drill through and drill down, and they want tables.
With Power BI, you get to cater to all of them.
If someone wants to get their hands dirty and they want to use Excel and create an Excel dashboard, they can. They can connect to your Power BI model. That’s the beauty of keeping everything in a single place. You have one source of truth where all your data and calculations are and then, you can create different reports in different places, Power BI or Excel.