As we introduced, Power BI is a solution created by Microsoft whose purpose is to allow the user to connect to various data sources (Excel spreadsheet, data lake, data warehouse, among others) so that this data can be collected, interpreted, and visualized.
This means that this tool consists of a collection of services, applications, and connectors that, based on the inclusion of metrics, allow transforming diverse data into interactive information that has some role in guiding and decision-making within a company.
Furthermore, it is worth mentioning that this Microsoft solution allows the sharing of the extracted information among the members of a company to take place in a much easier and more intuitive way, as we will see later.
Still, on the definition of Power BI, we can say that this is a Business Intelligence (BI) tool. Not by chance, its name already denotes this – “BI.”
For those who don’t know, Business Intelligence consists of an articulated process that unites the collection, mining, organization, interpretation, and visualization of data with business analysis.
This means that BI is oriented to guide managers in an organization to make more proactive decisions based on the interpretation of information extracted and mined from a large volume of data.
In this sense, as you can see, Power BI has Business Intelligence as its primary guiding principle since it uses this concept to operate the data and bring results to the business.
What Is Power BI For?
The primary function of Power BI is to guide decision-making in a business. It uses intuitive navigation and 360º vision, among other resources we will see later, to allow faster and more assertive data collection and interpretation.
This means that this solution is used to cross data from different sources – local and cloud – to contribute to effective and quality management in organizations.
In addition, as many of its processes are automated, Power BI indirectly contributes to the routine of professionals who work with data.
This is because the time spent collecting and crossing data can be used to create better and more elaborate strategies based on the information presented by the tool.
Understand How The Tool Works
In general, the operation of this Microsoft solution is quite simple. Initially, Power BI connects to the most varied sources (databases, data lakes, data warehouses, Excel spreadsheets, among others) to extract data that, based on user demand, can allow the extraction of important information.
From this collection, modeling patterns can be applied that allow the crossing of these data and, consequently, the creation of reports.
Afterward, the created report can be shared in the cloud and mobile applications so that other company members can view it and edit information as they see fit.
It is worth mentioning that the user who shares the report defines the people who will be able to view and edit it.
Want to know more? Then read on to find out, in the next topic, the essential elements on which the actions above take place.
Power BI Elements
The Power BI tool has three essential elements that, although they work in an integrated way, can be selected by users according to their demand: Power BI Desktop, Power BI Service, and Power BI mobile apps.
Power BI Desktop
Power BI Desktop, as its name suggests, is a Windows desktop application. To use it, download the application and install it on a local computer.
It is complete and ideal for obtaining rich, interactive reports and developing more practical and in-depth insights.
It includes some features, such as the Query Editor, through which you can connect to multiple data sources and combine them into a data model.
In this sense, this element is excellent for the user to automatically find patterns among the data through quick measurements, grouping, prediction, or clustering.
Power BI Service
The Power BI service, called Power BI Online, is an integral part of SaaS (Software as a Service). This means that this is a cloud-based service.
So, after the reports have been produced on the Desktop, they can be shared in the Power BI service, where editing and team collaboration can be carried out.
But, in addition, it is possible to connect to data sources from this tool, just like in the Desktop. However, in the cloud, data modeling is more limited.
Still talking about Power BI Online, I know that it is possible to create dashboards, share apps, analyze and explore data and explore reports in detail from the tiles displayed by the dashboards.
Power BI Mobile Apps
Power BI also can be explored through mobile applications. Thus, reports and dashboards created on the Desktop and displayed in the cloud are available in the mobile apps.
This means that it is possible to perform integration and access work from the Desktop and the cloud on mobile devices such as iOS (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, and Apple Watch), Android smartphones or tablets, or on devices with Windows 11.