Power BI is a business analytics service provided by Microsoft that allows users to analyze and visualize data from various sources, including cloud-based and on-premises data sources. With Power BI, users can connect to multiple data sources, transform and clean the data, create interactive reports and dashboards, and share their insights with others. Power BI offers a range of features, including data modeling, data visualization, and collaboration tools, making it a popular choice for businesses looking to gain insights from their data.
Types of Power BI Services
Let’s look at the various types of Power BI services:
1. Power BI Desktop
Power BI Desktop is a Windows application that is used to build data models, create interactive visualizations, and design reports. It is installed on the user's local system and allows them to connect to various data sources, including Excel workbooks, SQL Server databases, and cloud-based data services like Azure SQL Database, Azure Data Lake Storage, and more. Power BI Desktop offers a wide range of tools and features to help users create rich, interactive reports, including a drag-and-drop canvas, built-in visuals and custom visuals, and the ability to write custom calculations and expressions using DAX (Data Analysis Expressions). Once the report is built, it can be published to the Power BI service for others to view and interact with.
2. Power BI Web Service
Power BI web service is a cloud-based service that allows users to build interactive reports and dashboards, collaborate with others, and share their insights with anyone in their organization. The web service is accessed through a web browser and offers a wide range of tools and features, including data modeling, data visualization, and collaboration tools, making it easy for business users to analyze and share their data.
Users can create and edit reports and dashboards in the Power BI web service, connect to multiple data sources, create relationships between data, and use a variety of built-in and custom visuals to create compelling visualizations. They can also share their reports and dashboards with others in their organization, allowing them to collaborate and explore the data together.
In addition, the Power BI web service offers a range of additional features, including natural language query, the ability to create alerts and notifications, and the ability to schedule data refreshes. Thus, the Power BI web service is a powerful tool for business users looking to gain insights from their data and collaborate with others in their organization.
3. Power BI App
Power BI App is a mobile app version of Power BI that allows users to view and share reports and dashboards on their mobile devices. The app is available for iOS, Android, and Windows devices and can be downloaded from the respective app stores.
With the Power BI App, users can access their reports and dashboards on the go, view and interact with the data, and share the insights with others. They can also receive alerts and notifications when new data is available or when a specific threshold is reached.
The Power BI App also offers a range of features that are specifically designed for mobile users, including the ability to view reports and dashboards in landscape or portrait mode, pinch-to-zoom functionality, and the ability to access the app with a touch or face ID.
Steps in Working of Power BI
Here are the steps involved in the working of Power BI:
1. Connecting the data
Power BI offers a wide range of data connectors that allow users to connect to a variety of data sources, both on-premises and in the cloud. These connectors include:
Cloud-based data sources: Power BI can connect to various cloud-based data sources like Azure SQL Database, Azure Data Lake Storage, Azure Cosmos DB, Azure Analysis Services, and more.
On-premises data sources: Power BI can connect to on-premises data sources like SQL Server, SharePoint lists, Oracle Database, SAP HANA, and more.
Big data sources: Power BI can connect to big data sources like Apache Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS), Apache Spark, and more.
Web data sources: Power BI can connect to web-based data sources like JSON, XML, HTML, and more.
File-based data sources: Power BI can connect to various file-based data sources like Excel workbooks, CSV files, Text files, and more.
The ability to connect to a wide range of data sources is one of the strengths of Power BI, as it allows users to bring together data from various sources and create comprehensive, integrated reports and dashboards.
2. Data transformation
Power BI offers a range of data transformation capabilities that allow users to clean, shape, and transform their data before visualizing it. These capabilities include:
Data shaping: Power BI allows users to shape their data by filtering, sorting, and grouping it to create a more meaningful data model. Users can also merge, append, or join tables to combine data from multiple sources.
Data cleaning: Power BI provides various tools for data cleaning, such as removing duplicates, filling missing values, and correcting errors.
Data transformation: Power BI offers a range of data transformation capabilities, including the ability to create custom calculations using the DAX language, pivot and unpivot data, split columns, and extract data from unstructured sources using Power Query.
Data modeling: Power BI allows users to create relationships between tables, define hierarchies, and create calculated measures to create a robust data model that supports complex analysis.
Therefore, Power BI's data transformation capabilities allow users to create a clean, robust data model that accurately reflects their business data. By shaping, cleaning, and transforming their data, users can create insightful reports and dashboards that help them make informed business decisions.
3. Data Modeling
Power BI offers a range of data modeling capabilities that allow users to create a robust data model to support their analysis and reporting. These capabilities include:
Data relationships: Power BI allows users to create relationships between tables to enable drill-down and slice-and-dice analysis. Relationships can be established based on primary and foreign keys or by using DAX formulas.
Hierarchies: Power BI allows users to create hierarchies within tables, which can be used for drill-down analysis and organizing data.
Calculated columns: Power BI allows users to create calculated columns using DAX formulas, which can be used to add new dimensions to the data model or perform calculations on existing columns.
Calculated measures: Power BI allows users to create calculated measures using DAX formulas, which can be used to perform complex calculations and aggregations on the data.
Time intelligence: Power BI provides time intelligence functions that allow users to perform calculations and comparisons over time, such as year-to-date, quarter-to-date, and rolling averages.
So, the Power BI's data modeling capabilities allow users to create a robust data model that supports complex analysis and reporting. By creating relationships, hierarchies, and calculated columns and measures, users can gain deeper insights into their data and make more informed business decisions.
4. Data Visualization
Data visualization is one of the core features of Power BI, and it offers a wide range of visualization options to help users create meaningful and compelling reports and dashboards. These visualization options include:
Basic charts: Power BI provides a range of basic chart types, such as bar charts, column charts, line charts, and pie charts.
Advanced charts: Power BI also offers advanced chart types, such as scatter charts, waterfall charts, bullet charts, and funnel charts, among others.
Maps: Power BI includes mapping capabilities that allow users to visualize location-based data on maps. It supports different map types such as bubble maps, heat maps, and choropleth maps.
Gauges and cards: Power BI allows users to create gauges and cards to display key performance indicators (KPIs) and other summary information.
Custom visuals: Power BI also supports custom visuals, which are created by third-party developers and can be downloaded and used in Power BI reports and dashboards.
We can say that Power BI's data visualization capabilities allow users to create compelling reports and dashboards that provide actionable insights and help drive business decisions. The visualizations can be customized and interactive, allowing users to explore and interact with their data in various ways.
5. Data Publishing
Power BI allows users to publish their reports and dashboards to the Power BI service, where they can be accessed by others in their organization or shared with external users.
After the report is published, it can be accessed by others who have permission to view it. Users can also share the report with others by sharing a link or embedding it in a web page or SharePoint site.
In addition to publishing reports, Power BI also allows users to schedule data refreshes, set up alerts, and manage access to reports and dashboards. Power BI's publishing capabilities allow users to easily share and collaborate on data reports and dashboards.
We can conclude that Power BI is an amazingly powerful tool in the world of data analytics. Hope you got an overview of Power BI and enjoyed reading the blog!