Imagine this situation.
Maria had plenty of data from her mid-size retail business. She shifted a major chunk of work online this year after the pandemic struck. And now consolidating the data from all the channels—emails, e-stores, physical shops, social media, CRM, and texts—is posing a big challenge.
Data has blown out of proportion, and analyzing it is a nightmare. During the quarterly review, when she dives deep into the spreadsheets, she loses the focus and lands up with bewildering figures. Despite on-time and right dispatch, some of the deliveries are late, incorrect, or undelivered.
Why? She couldn’t figure out the reasons yet. Because the spreadsheets don’t help identify the delivery issues.
That’s when data visualization for business comes into play. Upon using the right analytics approach, you can force data to talk about the past and even the future. With the right analytics tools like Microsoft Power BI, you can start making inferences that lead the right actions.
Why Data Visualization for Better Business Decisions?
If Maria had an advanced analytics system in place, a dashboard and a detailed report, she could have spotted the issue. The dispatch had problems reaching the areas that were secluded, and the commute was impacted due to the high number of infections.
The legacy system couldn’t merge data from various data sources. She wasn’t able to correlate the customer complaints with the distribution system.
If only she had well-organized analytics in place.
Organizations these days are flooded in data but are still starving for the right insights due to the lack of the right data visualization tool. Data makes sense only if you can:
- Filter the useful numbers,
- Cut the noise from the datasets,
- Present data in an appealing way,
- Make sense of the numbers and history,
- And finally derive meaning leading to decisions.
Visualization with data correlates the disjointed sets of data. Using analytics tools and a well-planned BI strategy, you can weed out the junk, and your focus broadens on the right data.
When you can correlate different datasets, data that earlier looked like a swarm now tells you what happened. With the right tools to present numbers to the decision-makers, you can reveal the hidden insights. Therefore, convincing them to make a choice and take action becomes easier.
A data visualization tool like Microsoft Power BI empowers you to start small but with a bang.
How to use Microsoft Power BI for Better Decision Making?
Power BI, undoubtedly, is a class apart when it comes to visualization tools. It not only caters to your data analysis and presentation needs but also manages basic data-wrangling.
Let’s see how you can start making decisions using Power BI solutions.
Power BI comes in both on-premise and cloud versions. Although the cloud version bundles more facilities and features, the on-premise version is not bad to start with.
With the on-premise version—Power BI Desktop—learners and new developers can start their analytics journey. They can connect data with this version and start experimenting. However, enterprises should go for the cloud version to reap the full benefits.
This is because the cloud version allows you to create more sophisticated visualizations and functionalities. Connect with your on-premise or the cloud datasets or all. Quickly create reports and refresh them automatically to get insights. Create dashboards and distribute them to your audience.
Power BI also offers an OS-agnostic mobile version of the tool.
Power BI offers a variety of licenses.
The Pro license gives you the capability to share the visualizations with your audience. Although this has a single user capacity, you need to pay $9.99 per month. This version best suits self-service BI capabilities.
Use this to: Create and publish your ad-hoc analysis. Test and decide the next step.
Add Premium license of the tool to allow anyone in your organization to consume the best analytics. With administration at your disposal, you get dedicated cloud space and compute capabilities. Big data and Azure availability helps you to utilize Microsoft’s resources. Share your dashboards with any user outside the organization, too.
Additionally, empower your product by integrating Power BI for visualization. Microsoft offers Power BI Embedded for this purpose. This saves you from hiring an analytics team. At the same time, you can offer insights to your users and employees.
Data Prep and Modelling
Microsoft Power BI is capable of consuming data from diverse datasets. Data from spreadsheets to traditional relational databases to social media and email, this Gartner’s Magic Quadrant leader collates data from all sources. You can even bring in your data from a spreadsheet into an already-designed model.
Merge datasets from the cloud and on-premise centers. For the basic data preparations, you don’t need to invest in a separate extraction and loading software. And for complex data synthesis, you can integrate tools like Microsoft SSAS and SSIS with Power BI.
Handling many-to-many relationships are easy in Power BI. You can roll back your steps in transformation by seeing each step happening behind the curtain.
Power BI offers top-class visualizations. And we’re not just talking about beautiful dashboards. You can make interactive reports with QnA based features. Also, you can use the expand and collapse feature for eye-catchy reports.
Alternatively, you can build complex calculations at the runtime, which are not available to you in the Power BI reporting model. You can reflect your brand using themes, color palettes, and other customizations in the Power BI dashboards. Sliders, maps, etc. enhance the utility of the visualizations. Paginated reports allow you to share and print reports without formatting issues—best suited for epic-length reports and invoices.
Moreover, advanced reporting with R-based design takes the visualization to a new level.
When we are talking about advanced tools like Power BI, we can’t not discuss data storytelling. Creating appealing visuals and distributing them is a great step. But if you wish to step up your efforts, include storytelling with data.
Storytelling is weaved into our neural fabrics for centuries. With Power BI, don’t just show a pie chart, show the context, annotate them for better understanding. Display the numbers against benchmarks and make the graphs consumable and comprehensible.
Imagine what Maria would understand about growth if the dashboard only shows 170 deliveries to various locations?
You need to see the daily variation to realize the growth. Highlight the rise in green and decline in red. Display the percentage and deviations wherever possible. Similarly, spot-light the trends.
Wouldn’t it be easy for Maria to know how much has her business expanded over the last year? The takeaway? Don’t just show the numbers, let your data show the growth and changes.
Before you Leave
Maria could finally make her data talk clearly and to her advantage. Power BI showed some useful insights that were hidden in the sea of jumbled data.
Do you have a growing business like Maria’s that collects data but is unable to use it for benefits? If you have been thinking about how and why Microsoft Power BI for business decision making, we hope this post solves some of your doubts.
If you have decided to employ the power of Microsoft in your business, contact us today to start a discussion.