What is Business Intelligence?

By Nick Church, 24/06/2021

Business intelligence (BI) is a term used to describe software and services that transform data into actionable insights and enable strategic and tactical business decisions. BI tools provide users with the ability to analyse data sets and present their findings in reports, summaries, dashboards, graphs and charts. Through this information, you can derive detailed intelligence about the state of your business.

What is Power BI?

There are many different BI tools - Tableau, QlikView, Looker and Google Analytics are just a few of the more well-known reporting tools out there. They all have their own unique USPs, but in essence they do the same thing - present your data in aggregated visuals allowing you to interrogate and explore your business in a way you just can't do using other tools

PowerBI, much like the above, is a BI tool developed by Microsoft and designed to enable the exploration of your data. It taps into Microsoft's rich history of BI development tools to provides a powerful solution that both beginner and expert can quickly use to develop insightful reports. However, what really sets PowerBI apart is its integration into the O365 environment - if you're an O365 user, PowerBI just works, whether that be security groups built into your existing setup, integration with Teams for interactive discussions or dynamic excel files leveraging data from PowerBI data models, PowerBI can do it all.

The PowerBI service also immediately lets you share reports you’ve built, so you won't need to spend any time and resources building a solution to share your data. Add to that a relatively inexpensive licensing model, monthly updates and an active and engaged user community - it's clear that PowerBI is a solution that deserves serious consideration for any BI project.

Why Power BI?

Whoever said "a picture tells a thousand words" has probably been reincarnated as Business Intelligence developer. Visualizing your data in PowerBI enables you to turn millions of rows into simple graphs that can enable the report user to ask complex questions of data they didn't even know they wanted to ask. PowerBI can visually bring your data to life and immediately tell you to where to focus.

PowerBI also wants to help you! There are algorithms built into PowerBI that will look through your data and highlight exceptions you didn't even know were there - this is available immediately "out of the box", you simply switch it on and PowerBI does the rest.

When you understand your challenges, then you can make decisions. Businesses are often complex machines – we can’t just make decisions on hunches which often don’t bear resemblance to reality! We need to be able to test our theories against data and PowerBI is one way to achieve that.

Who uses Power BI?

Put simply - anyone! It doesn't matter how big or small your business is, PowerBI offers a solution that is appropriate for you. If your business only uses excel to store information - no problem! PowerBI can load all that data into one place, merge it together and produce simple, clean and concise reports that summarize everything in one go.

Your business operates in 4 continents, with hundreds of employees and multiple contractors? Great - PowerBI is a global solution used by 97% of the FTSE 100 with a user community of over 2m people. If you have lots of different users in lots of different places accessing reports in lots of different ways, PowerBI will scale according to what you need.

We at Dolphin Solutions are passionate about data and want to help you grow your business through informed and insightful decisions. If would like further assistance, please contact us.