Digital Transformation Today

Power BI: Your Getting Started Guide

If your organization is cravinginsightful data analysis and your current system isn’t cutting it, Microsoft’s Power BI business intelligence software offers a simple and convenientsolution. Keep reading to learn how easy it is to get your business upand running with Power BI.

1. Discovery Mode

Before you start gaining newinsights with Power BI, you need to do some critical thinking about thestructure of your organization and the benefits the software can bringto your business:

  • Determine the functional area of your business that you’llbe focusing on, whether it be sales, marketing or finance.
  • Alsoestablishthe key metrics that you want to concentrate on, like revenue or lead generation.Don’t try to do too much at once at the outset.
  • Figure out who exactly willbe using your Power BI solution. One vitally important user group willbe your company’s “spreadsheet jockeys,” analysts who pull the data togetherand form conclusions. But you should also consider executives like yourCEO and CFO who will be consuming these reports and analyses.
  • After establishingyour users, find out what their needs are. How often do they require analyses,and in what form? What topics are most important to them? Are they comfortableviewing reports on mobile devices?

2. Mock-ups

The second major step inthe process is creating the design of your BI solution. Here, you canstart to mock up some dashboards and put them in front of your target users.Use can use a process called a “think aloud” exercise where users verbalize their thoughts as the move through the mock up. They will share their thoughts and ask questions, which will give you an indicatation of their needs as well as potential usability issues.

Incorporate as much user feedbackas possible in your system design. You can also build spreadsheetswith actualsample data and analyses.

3. Build Connectors

Once you’re comfortablewith these two steps, you can start using Power BI ServiceConnectors – either pre-built or custom — which let you pull live data from various sources to displayin your dashboard. Identify both your internal databases and Excel spreadsheets,as well as any external data sources using the pre-built connectors (e.g. Salesforce, Marketo). After building the connectors, test themthoroughly to ensure that they’re working properly and pulling the datathat you want. Verify that the visualizations display properly on multipledevices and device types, like desktops, tablets and smartphones.

4. Go Live

Afterbuilding the solution, the final step is to train the power users andend users in the use of the system, and then go live. As long as you’rerealistic in your scope and disciplined enough to keep the end goalsin mind, the process should last roughly two weeks from beginning toend.


How does Microsoft Power BI compare to other businessintelligence solutions? For one, it’s incredibly simple to get startedbecause you can download the desktop software for free. Once it’s downloaded,you can follow the steps above or hire a qualified consultant to do themfor you.

If you prefer three-ring binders and spreadsheet printouts overthe latest iPhone, then a Power BI solution might not be for you. But ifyou’re a fan of mobile technologies and are searching for the app that cangive you business analytics with the same accessibility and conveniencethat you get in your consumer life, then you owe it to yourself to givePower BI a try.

Ready to join disparate data, visualize it, and glean transformational insight? Click here and we’ll visualize your data for free.

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