Earlier this year, Microsoft released a short eBook titled “Top 10 Reasons Why Customers Choose Power BI”. Based on their own research it provides some interesting takes on why they’ve had 6 straight years of triple digit paid growth since its launch, with Power BI is now being used by 97% of Fortune 500 companies.
Our Director of Professional Services, John Gamble, gives his take on Microsoft’s top reasons why customers choose Power BI:
#1 Seamless user access
‘Microsoft has long been the best at interoperability between its own products. By and large, they just connect to each other and work. With Power BI and 365, however, Microsoft have taken this to another level.
Due to the pandemic, the use of Cloud based office and collaboration software has grown exponentially with many organisations reacting quickly and bringing forward digital transformation plans.
M365 and Teams have been crucial in helping organisations pivot to operate online. We have seen this in the Channel Islands and C5 have now helped many of organisations make this switch.
From a Power BI perspective, reports and data sets are now available directly in Teams with user access being seamless between the applications.
Excel connects directly to Power BI data sets too, providing a second great interface to your business data. If configured, M365 Security can be applied protecting your data when it leaves Power BI.
All of this is intended to aid collaboration and drive the use of data in daily activities. It’s fun when we train people on this aspect and then see them using the Power BI App in Teams on calls.
#2 Connect to data from anywhere
Recognising that a modern business relies on many sources of data is a strength of Power BI that we called out in a previous blog.
At the time of writing, we highlighted Power BI had 149 native different connectors to many online and on-premise data sources, which I’m sure has grown since. Recently we’ve had some fun working with data connections which expand this range even further, so this is one we strongly agree with. Also, even if there isn’t a native connector, if there’s an API then tools like Azure Data Factory or Power BI Data Flows will be able to connect with the right credentials providing more access to data. Oh, and with all of these, the automated refresh scheduler is built in! No more running data pipelines on your laptop.
#3 Work faster and spend less
In the eBook this reason focuses on integration with Azure Synapse Analytics. Whilst this integration is undoubtedly impressive – you can manage your Power BI estate from within the Synapse workspace and catalog it with Purview – it’s the cost of Power BI that really makes it stand out.
Desktop is free, Pro licensing (required for sharing) costs £7.50/user/ month, and Premium per user is £15/user/month. It can be even cheaper when factors such as 365 E5 licenses are purchased or for very large estates Premium is licensed on capacity level rather than user basis.
#4 Go from Insight to Action
This item builds on interoperability, focusing on integration with the Power Platform. We have built dashboards for clients with Power Automate features built in so that users can act or perform tasks quickly and easily.
In one instance we have configured a button on a Power BI dashboard to enable users to retrieve the latest financial positions directly after they have completed a reconciliation exercise. The report shows any differences between the bank and payment provider.
Once resolved the user can request a refresh using Power Automate to kick off an Azure Data Factory job to access APIs and refresh data sets. Not a single line of code is required.
#5 Keep data secure and extend governance
We talked about this one extensively in a previous blog article here. If you are simply using your analytics tool to produce more spreadsheets unprotected on file systems and user devices, then you’re missing a trick.
With Power BI and M365 Information Protection, even if you export your data from Power BI the data is still protected in line with the user access rights you apply.
Other reasons included:
#6 Find answers faster
#7 Make decisions on the go
#8 Lean on Cloud maturity
#9 Innovation through user feedback
We love this one. This has been a feature of Power BI since the beginning when Microsoft opened its doors to the user community and said words to the effect of: “right, what do you all want.” A website at: Ideas (powerbi.com) was launched where anyone can log a feature request or vote for others.
The best ideas then filter up, get reviewed and in many cases are implemented. Based on feedback from our customers we’ve logged requests for features, voted for others and happily advised when new one’s have been released. The on-premise report server was a big one that started out as an idea.
Listening to the user community has helped Microsoft drive a product that users want. It’s great to see they have extended this “ideas” feature into the Power Platform as well.
#10 Create a data driven culture
If you’re interested in reading further, you can find a link to the eBook here. If you want to discuss Power BI further, then please get in touch.’
For more information about how you can use this feature to protect your most valuable asset, your data, please get in touch with our Compliance and Data teams by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +441534 633 733.