All you need to know about Microsoft Power BI - What is Power BI? How does Power BI work?

If you are running an organization, you will definitely come across a lot of data on a day-to-day basis. It could be the accounting data, supplier data, customer data, sales data, etc. But, data cannot help you grow your business unless you analyses it and interpret it the right way. That’s precisely why you require business intelligence tools like Microsoft Power BI.

 Microsoft Power BI is a collective name for an arrangement of cloud-based applications and administrations that assist companies with grouping, overseeing, and dissecting information from an assortment of sources, through an easy-to-use interface.

 It can be utilized for a large number of purposes. Fundamentally, Power BI arranges information and cycles it, transforming it into clear bits of knowledge, frequently utilizing outwardly convincing and simple-to-deal with diagrams and charts. This permits you to create and share clear and valuable previews of what's going on in your business.

 The tool interfaces with a lot of information sources, from essential Excel accounting pages to data sets, and both cloud-based and non-cloud-based applications. Power BI is something of an wide term and can imply to either a Windows work area application called Power BI Desktop, a web-based SaaS (Software as a Service) service called Power BI Service, or portable Power BI applications can be used on Windows mobiles device and tablets, just as for iOS and Android gadgets.

 Power BI is based on the establishment of Microsoft Excel, and hence, the expectation to learn and adapt from Excel to Power BI isn't unreasonably steep; any individual who can utilize Excel can utilize Power BI. But, Power BI is a tool that really remarkable when compared to Excel.

 Are you looking to use Microsoft Power BI? Well, we utilize Microsoft Power BI tool because it is an automated solution to help streamline the processes for our clients by delivering a repeatable workflow for data analytics, leading to deeper insights and visualization.

 If you want to learn more about Microsoft Power BI, you are at the right place. In this article, we are going to discuss everything about Microsoft Power BI including: 

  1. What is Microsoft Power BI?
  2. What is the history of Power BI?
  3. What does Power BI do?
  4. Why do people use Power BI?
  5. Who uses Power BI?
  6. What are the different types of Power BI tools?
  7. What are the components that make up Power BI?
  8. What are the key terms used in Power BI?
  9. What is the architecture of Power BI?
  10. How do we use Power BI?
  11. Frequently asked questions about Power BI

 Let’s get started. 

1.What is Microsoft Power BI?

 Microsoft Power BI is a platform that provides tools to aggregate, analyze, visualize and share data. The platform is more relevant for non-technical users.

 Do you use Excel at your workplace? Then, you will definitely find Power BI’s user interface fairly intuitive with that of Excel. The platform is also deeply integrated with other Microsoft tools making it a versatile, self-service tool. And guess what? Given all these features, you won’t require much upfront training to use Power BI!

 If you are the owner of a small to medium-sized business, you can use the free version of Power BI. But if you own a large organization, you can go ahead with the Power BI Plus version. 

2.What is the history of Power BI?

 The first version of Power BI was released six years ago on 24 July 2015. The platform was conceptualized by Ruler and Dhers Netz of the SQL server coverage services team at Microsoft. Power BI was then designed by West Chadic George in the year 2010 and named as a Project Crescent. It was bundled with SQL Server Codenamed Mount McKinley in 2011 and Microsoft unveiled the first preview to Power BI in September 2014. 

3.What does Power BI do?

 Microsoft Power BI is used to run reports. It is also used to run surface insights dependent on the data the organization holds. The platform can associate with a wide scope of informational collections and cleans up the data it is provided. This helps everyone to process and perceive the data a lot better. The reports and visuals created from this information would then be able to be imparted to different clients.

 Power BI also assists clients with seeing not exclusively what's occurred before and what's going on in the present, yet in addition what may occur later on. The platform also has AI abilities, which means it can spot designs in information and utilize those examples to make informed expectations and run "consider the possibility that" situations. These evaluations permit clients to produce figures and set themselves up to fulfil future needs and other key measurement

4. Why do people use Power BI?

 If your business gets data or information via various resources and teams, you must be using Excel extensively. But, as mentioned earlier, Power BI is a platform that offers even more easy-to-use features than Excel. It is even more useful because the platform is integrated with several other Microsoft tools.

 Here are a few reasons and scenarios in which people utilize Microsoft Power BI: 

  1. Power BI is cloud-based; hence, its users can access cutting edge intelligence and powerful algorithms. These are updated on a regular basis too!
  2. Power BI can process large amounts of data. Other platforms may struggle to process them. So, if you own a business that requires some big data interpretation, Power BI might be the right tool for you.
  3. Data is always better when it’s visualized well. Power BI has inbuilt templates that can help businesses visualize data in the best possible manner.
  4. Microsoft Power BI helps you set alerts on KPIs. This will help your business to stay updated on the latest metrics, etc. This is one of the primary reasons for us to use Power BI. We wouldn’t want our clients to miss out on any updates.
  5. Power BI has an intuitive interface that helps users navigate easily.

 So, these are a few reasons why people use Power BI in their workspace.

 Now, let’s look at why you should probably use Power BI.

 5. Who uses Power BI?

 Mostly, business analysts and data scientists use business intelligence products. But Power BI is a platform that is extremely easy to understand and navigate. This makes it accessible and easy to use for any individual in a business. They could be from a non-technical background and still make the most of Power BI. This is a big differentiating factor.

 But, how you use Power BI depends on your job role. Power BI can produce custom dashboards relying upon what information is significant, and what data you need admittance to.

 It's essentially utilized by business knowledge experts, who use it to make information models and reports which are then shared all through their association. Not all organizations will have the scale or the need to help a full-time information virtual tool. So, Power BI is regularly utilized as a self-administration device by different parts of the business to investigate progress and transform up knowledge into their group's knowledge base.

 You can feed any information in Power BI. So, you can basically report anything. While the platform is famous among almost all the departments in a business, finance, marketing, HR, sales and operations tend to use it regularly because of the operational feasibility.

6.What are the different types of Power BI tools?

 There are mainly five different types of Power BI tools. Let’s understand each of them a little better.

 The different types of Power BI tools are: 

  1. Microsoft Power BI Desktop
  2. Microsoft Power BI Service
  3. Microsoft Power BI Data Gateway
  4. Microsoft Power BI Report Server
  5. Microsoft Power BI Mobile Apps


  1. Microsoft Power BI Desktop

 Power BI has a primary authoring and publishing tool. The Microsoft Power BI Desktop is the tool. This tool is used by developers to create reports from scratch. It also helps them create brand new models. And the best part is that you don’t have to pay anything for this tool. It’s free! 

  1. Microsoft Power BI Service

 This is a paid tool and you need to pay about $10 per month to use it. Online Software as a Service (SaaS) where Power Bl data models, reports, dashboards are hosted. Administration, sharing, collaboration happen in the cloud.

  1. Microsoft Power BI Data Gateway

 The Power BI Data Gateway tool works as the bridge between the Power Bl Service and on-premise data sources. The on-premise data sources can be Direct Query, Import or Live Query. They are Installed by the Power BI admin. 

  1. Microsoft Power BI Report Server

 It can host reports that are paginated, KPIs, mobile reports, & reports from Power BI Desktop. It is updated every four months. It is installed and managed by the IT team. The users can modify Power Bl reports or other reports created by the development team. 

5. Power BI Mobile Apps

Power BI mobile app is available for Windows, Android and iOS. It can be managed using Microsoft Intune. You can use this tool to view reports and dashboards on the Power Bl Service Report Server.

Now that you know the different Microsoft Power BI tools, let’s look at the different components that make up Power BI. 

7. What are the components that make up Power BI?

 There are several apps that make up Power BI. Each of them has its own unique features and characteristics. For the same reason, each of these apps has a major role to play in the functioning of Power BI.

 Here are the components that make up Power BI: 

→ Power Map: This is a visualization tool that helps to create immersive 3D visuals.

→ Power Query: This is a data connection tool that helps you transform data, It also helps you to combine and enhance data from different sources.

→ Power Pivot: It is a data modelling tool for creating and developing data models.

→ Power View: Want interactive visuals, charts and infographics? The Power View tool is what will help you create them.

→ Power Q&A: Want to ask questions about your data in plain language? The Power Q&A is what will help you do the same without any hassle. 

8. What are the key terms used in Power BI?

 There are five key terms used in Power BI. They are: 

  1. Visualizations
  2. Data sets
  3. Reports
  4. Dashboards
  5. Tiles

 Let’s look at what each of these key terms represents: 


 When you look at a report or paper, you may not want to read a lot of text. You can make it visually informative by using different charts, infographics, etc. That’s why visualization is a key term in Power BI. 

Data sets

 You need to import or connect to a data set. You can rename, refresh, remove and explore data sets to make sure you have everything you need. 


 You can create reports of one page or several pages using the Power BI platform. It can be created from scratch, you can import them, customize them, etc. 

→ Dashboard

 The dashboard is a collection that contains zero or more tiles and widgets. It is used to represent a customized view of some subset of the underlying datasets. 


 It is a single visualization found in a report or on a rectangular dashboard box that contains each visual. 

9. What is the architecture of Power BI?

 Microsoft Power BI architecture is quite simple and clear. The platform is made to make it easy for people in business to come up with reports and visualizations. Hence, the architecture of Power BI is simple too.

 It starts with data integration followed by data processing and finally, data presentation.

 What is data integration?

 If you own a business, you will definitely be aware of how data comes in from various sources. The information ought to be extricated from an alternate source which can be from various servers or data sets. This information is then put together into a standard format in a common staging area.

 What is data processing?

 In data processing, the incorporated information is as yet not ready for perception. The data needs to be pre-processed. This information is pre-handled. During data processing, redundant values, missing values, etc. will be eliminated.

 The business rule ought to be applied to the data when the information is cleaned. You can stack that information back to the data warehouse.

 What is data presentation?

 Once the data is loaded and processed, it can be visualized much better with the use of various visualization that Power Bi has to offer. You can represent data more intuitively by using a dashboard and a report. This visual report helps business end-users to take business decisions based on the insights. 

10. How do we use Power BI?

 We use six tools to make sure that our clients’ reports are automated, processed and delivered on time. These tools also help us to ensure that the reports we send across have the right visualizations - charts, infographics, images - that help our clients understand the most relevant points quickly without having to spend a lot of time.

 The six tools we use include the Microsoft Power BI tool. The automation tools we use are: 

→ Alteryx

→ Blue prism

→ UIPath

→ PowerApps

→ Tableau

→ Power BI

→ Laravel

 Our automation solution will help you streamline the processes - it could be invoicing, vendor reconciliations or anything else, we will be able to help you. We will also be able to deliver repeatable workflow for data analytics, leading to more insights and visualizations.

 Need help with automation at your business? Feel free to reach out to us so that we can analyses the requirement closely and suggest the perfect solution for you.