What is Microsoft Power BI?

Techcronus Business Solution
4 min readDec 27, 2023

Microsoft Power BI is a service for business analytics, offering insights by analyzing data and presenting them through visualizations like reports and dashboards. It enables swift, informed decisions by scaling across organizations with built-in governance and security, allowing a focus on data usage rather than management.

It’s a Business Intelligence platform designed for non-technical users, providing tools to aggregate, analyze, visualize, and share data. With an intuitive interface akin to Excel, Power BI integrates seamlessly with Microsoft products, serving as a versatile self-service tool requiring minimal initial training.

Common uses of Power BI

Power BI is utilized within organizations to uncover insights from their data. It aids in connecting different data sources, refining and organizing the data into models, and generating visual representations like charts and graphs. These insights are shareable among Power BI users within the organization.

The derived data models serve various purposes, such as storytelling through visualizations, exploring hypothetical scenarios, and crafting real-time reports for decision-making and forecasting to ensure departments meet business objectives.

Additionally, Power BI offers executive dashboards, granting administrators and managers deeper insights into departmental performance.

To utilize Power BI, analysts and users primarily operate in Power BI Desktop, where they establish data connections, models, and reports. The Power BI service, on the other hand, is the platform for sharing these reports, enabling other users to view and engage with them.

How to use Power BI

Here’s an overview of the steps to create a Power BI report:

  1. Connect data sources.
  2. Query data to craft reports aligned with user requirements.
  3. Publish the report to the Power BI service.
  4. Share the report, allowing cloud and mobile users to access and interact with it.
  5. Manage permissions to grant colleagues the ability to edit reports, create dashboards, or restrict their editing privileges.

Key features of Power BI

Power BI boasts a range of essential features that Microsoft has continually enhanced since its inception. Key functionalities include:

  1. Artificial Intelligence: Users can leverage image recognition and text analytics in Power BI, create machine learning models through automated ML capabilities, and seamlessly integrate with Azure Machine Learning.
  2. Hybrid Deployment Support: Power BI offers built-in connectors facilitating the connection of Power BI tools with diverse data sources from Microsoft, Salesforce, and other vendors.
  3. Quick Insights: This feature empowers users to generate subsets of data and automatically apply analytics to that information.
  4. Common Data Model Support: Power BI’s backing for the common data model allows the utilization of a standardized and extensible collection of data schemas, including entities, attributes, and relationships.
  5. Cortana Integration: Particularly popular on mobile devices, this feature enables users to verbally query data using natural language and access results through Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant.
  6. Customization: Developers have the flexibility to alter the appearance of default visualization and reporting tools, as well as import new tools into the Power BI platform.
  7. APIs for Integration: Hire Power BI Developers are provided with sample code and application program interfaces (APIs) for embedding the Power BI dashboard into other software products.
  8. Self-Service Data Prep: Through Power Query, business analysts can ingest, transform, integrate, and enrich big data in the Power BI web service. The ingested data can be shared across multiple Power BI models, reports, and dashboards.
  9. Modeling View: Users can break down complex data models by subject area into separate diagrams, employ multi-select for objects, establish common properties, view and modify properties in the properties pane, and set display folders for more straightforward consumption of intricate data models.

Microsoft Power BI updates over time

Originally known as Project Crescent, Power BI made its debut in July 2011. It was later rebranded as Power BI and officially introduced as Power BI for Microsoft 365 in September 2013.

Initially relying on Excel features like Power Query, Power Pivot, and Power View, Power BI expanded its capabilities over time, incorporating enterprise-level data connectivity and security options. In July 2015, it emerged as a standalone product.

Presently, Microsoft consistently updates Power BI, introducing new features and enhancements. Users can access these updates by downloading the latest edition from the Power BI website. Windows 10 users also have the option to acquire Power BI Desktop through the Windows Store.

How much does Power BI cost?

Power BI offers three user tiers: Power BI Desktop, Power BI Pro, and Power BI Premium. The Desktop version is complimentary, while the Pro model is priced at $15 to $ 25 per user per month. Power BI Premium’s pricing is contingent on the deployment size and the number of users, typically varying based on a company’s size.

Uses of Power BI

While Power BI primarily serves data analysts and BI experts who shape data models before sharing reports across the organization, it’s accessible to individuals without extensive analytical backgrounds for report creation.

Both department representatives and management utilize Microsoft Power BI, crafting reports and forecasts to support sales and marketing reps, and providing valuable data to track departmental or individual progress toward set goals.

Furthermore, Power BI includes an admin portal empowering administrators to configure its implementation, monitor usage, and manage licenses.

For top-notch Power BI Solutions, reach out to us at business@techcronus.com, and we’ll promptly assist your organization.

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