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5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Power BI

Updated: Jul 7, 2023

Microsoft’s Power BI goes far beyond simple data visualization. Discover how to get more from the solution with these five tips.

power bi data

Every day, businesses worldwide generate 2.5 quintillion bytes of data. Yet, despite the enormous amount of data generated each day, much of it goes unused by businesses. This is primarily due to teams lacking the tools needed to properly visualize and understand large datasets.

To help businesses regain control of their data, Microsoft created Power BI, a robust data visualization tool used by more than 5 million users worldwide. The solution empowers business teams across industries to bring data to life by centralizing all business data onto a single platform. Power BI seamlessly connects to a myriad of data sources, enabling businesses to make smarter, more informed decisions that drive growth, performance, and innovation.

With the solution being continuously named a leader in business intelligence and data analytics, Power BI enables organizations to visualize, measure, and manage data like never before.

Because the solution features a number of data visualization tools, it can be difficult for organizations to get the most from their Power BI investment. Below, we’ll review five ways in which business teams can enhance the functionality and performance of the solution, ensuring they get optimum use from Power BI.

1. Keep it Simple

Power BI features dozens of data visualization tools—interactive dashboards, real-time reports, data charts, views, and more. While users may be tempted to utilize numerous views, reports, and tools, it’s more import to keep reports simple and easy to read.

Most readers are not trained data analysts, meaning they likely can’t make sense of complicated or lengthy reports. In many cases, the complex slicers or data views are lost on readers which can ultimately render the report unhelpful.

To ensure time and resources aren’t wasted, it’s important to reports simple. When building dashboards, build them with the end-user in mind. Think about the most common questions or answers users have and pin them to the top. This ensures readers don’t have to go digging through numerous charts or graphs to find answers.

Power BI also features a drill-through page where authors can limit visuals to only include what’s necessary. For example, users can display a summary of results on a report and allow users to click the drill-through button to access crucial details. The tool can also be used to provide a more holistic view of data, providing users with the big picture.

2. Utilize Alternate Layouts

Power BI features a number of formatting tools that enable users to create a clear, visually stunning report that meets readers’ unique needs.For example, an easy way to change a report’s layout is by modifying the canvas size. Users can utilize custom settings to display data from a specific time period or preset range. Another example is using the Power BI mobile view to create mobile-friendly reports. This ensures reports are readable from popular mobile devices like iPhones or Android devices.

3. Include Hierarchies

Hierarchies are an ideal way to delve deeper into data in a single view while still maintaining simplicity. For example, a program manager may need to look at overall performance and time reported in a specific month while a project manager may be more interested in a weekly view so they can understand what’s happening on a deeper level.

Rather than creating multiple reports for specific users, Power BI’s hierarchies allow users to set specific dates and times, such as year, quarter, month, week, or day, that users can then delve deeper into based on their needs. Additionally, users can easily navigate from one report to another without switching platforms or views.

4. Use Filters

Filters are one of the most powerful features of Power BI as it can be used to quickly organize data based on specific conditions. Users simply select the values they want to filter by within the fields column and refine results based on the entered criteria.

Power BI features several methods for applying filters, enabling users to organize data in nearly limitless ways. Below are four types of filters users should utilize to better visualize data:

  • Visual-level: These filters only sort data for a specific view, whether it be a chart, card, table, etc. This is particularly useful for users who want to provide readers with background data that’s used only for filtering.

  • Page-level: This filter applies all changes to every element on the page.

  • Report-level: Users who have to journey through multiple pages to see data can do so easily with this filter. The filter provides a different view for each page, allowing users to see data changes in the same context.

  • In-canvas filters (slicers): These are available in both single or multiple section dropdowns or checkboxes. By default, these filters only work on specific pages though they can be synced across pages.

5. Tell Stories with Data

Business data should tell a story. It should clearly show readers how data is changing and why. The Timeline Storyteller enables report creators to do just that by creating a linear list of dates and times and displaying them in a variety of ways. This includes spirals, grids, circles, or other custom shapes. Users can also create a chronological list, an event sequence, and more to best represent data.

Power BI then builds a custom timeline based on the inputted information. This can then be used to tell a clear story of business growth, demand, or other performance indicators.

Make the Most of Power BI with JourneyTEAM

The tips mentioned above can all help business teams enhance the performance of this robust data visualization tool. They ensure report authors are making use of the numerous tools and features included within the solution and building reports that promote action.

At JourneyTEAM, we help business users create powerful data reports that drive decision making and that tell a story. Our extensive knowledge of Power BI and other Microsoft tools allow us to help businesses teams get more from their data than ever before.

To learn more about how we can hep your organization, contact a representative today.