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How to create and use a Power BI dashboard

Posted by Alfie McDonald on October 24th 2022

What is Microsoft Power BI?

Power BI is Microsoft’s business intelligence platform and data visualisation tool. Bringing together a suite of software services, apps, and connectors, Power BI transforms Excel spreadsheets and other forms of unconnected, raw data into visually stimulating reports and dashboards.

The stars of the show are vivid and informative visualisations: charts, graphs, infographics, maps, and more. This way, valuable but potentially confusing information becomes clear, actionable business intelligence. Best of all, that information is available for everyone, including non-experts. Data is no longer exclusive to IT specialists and analysts – Power BI fundamentally democratises data accessibility.

What is a Power BI dashboard?

A Power BI dashboard is a single page, often referred to as a canvas. It displays charts, graphs, headline statistics, and other visualizations known as tiles. The tiles should be organised to make the dashboard clear and user-friendly. Each tile is clickable, acting as a link to the related report or dataset.

 

A dashboard can either link to several reports or highlight different aspects of a single report. A well-designed personalised dashboard shows only information essential to the user, organised for ease of use. It transforms the complexity of raw data into clear, compelling visualisations, built around smart analytics and actionable insights.

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How does a Power BI dashboard work?

Power BI does what data specialists often can’t: take information from reports or datasets and condense it into graphics and charts that communicate clearly. These visualisations are then pinned to the Power BI dashboard. They are known as tiles and act as a “shop window” for the underlying data.

This allows you to instantly connect your data, sift out the relevant information, and model it to provide the insights and analysis you need.

It puts business intelligence and insights into the hands of the people who need it, without the requirement for day-to-day specialised support.

Examples of Power BI charts and visualisations

A vast array of creative options are available to bring data to life. Here are just a few examples:

  • Comparison: comparing data between different categories.
  • Over time: representing the spread of data over a given period to identify trends and track changes.
  • Correlation: used to show any relationship between two or more variables.
  • Distribution: showing how frequently values occur in a dataset.
  • Part-to-whole: showing the breakdown of elements that add up to a whole.
  • Ranking: ordered lists based on selected data points.

The benefits of Power BI dashboards

Dashboards give you the power to continuously monitor all aspects of the business, including:

  • Analyse reports and view the most vital metrics at a glance.
  • Connect multiple datasets or reports from various data sources, such as Excel, CSV, Oracle, Azure, and SQL.
  • Quickly transfer all queries, data models, and reports to Power BI without learning a new application or language.
  • Customise dashboards to meet any requirement for any enterprise.
  • Embed Power BI into applications to provide a unified user experience.
  • Instantly share dashboards with colleagues.
  • Provide business intelligence for all stakeholders and create a data-driven culture.
  • Make data beautiful and compelling with clear, actionable insights.
  • Keep data secure and meet your compliance standards. Power BI can alert users and consumers to sensitive data that needs careful handling.
  • Access Power BI on desktop and mobile, download the Power BI app across iOS, Android, and Windows mobile devices.

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How BCN can help you make the most of Power BI dashboards?

At BCN Group, we are a Microsoft-certified partner, and we share Microsoft’s cloud-first vision. As a Microsoft Solution Provider with four designations, we have designed and delivered hundreds of successful Power BI solutions for various clients.

A recent example of BCN’s Power BI expertise in action is detailed in our IMI case study. It demonstrates how we enabled the Institute for Motor Industry to take its financial reporting forward by visualising insights from Sage 200 through the implementation of Power BI. It was so successful that the IMI then decided to replicate the process across sales, marketing, and other business functions.

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