What is Power BI? Microsoft Power BI is a collection of SaaS products, apps, and connectors that work together to turn your illegible data into beautiful, immersive, and interactive reports. Power BI can collect data from various sources when implemented, whether data is stored in the cloud or on-premises data warehouses. 

Power BI is not an industry-specific tool — with a user-friendly interface, Power BI is an ideal business intelligence solution for any sector. In this article, we’ll answer the question “what is Power BI?” and more.

Why do we need business intelligence?

All businesses (should) run on data. It’s easy for businesses to collect customer and business data, but the actual task is analysing. When used correctly, business data is excellent for helping sculpt decision making, compare year on year sales, and improve customer relationships. 

No matter the size of your business, you’ll always need to organise your data. Scalability is why Power BI has a scalable subscription model, and if you’re still struggling to navigate the new software, we’re ready to help with a suite of Power BI services and solutions.

Power BI has hundreds of connectors available to help businesses securely collect data from various sources to transform into reports. 

The custom connectors Power BI offers are capable of transforming your insights and helping your business by:

  • Improving the decision – making process
  • Boosting productivity by giving employees a centralised location to view data, rather than several.
  • Improving departmental performance – When data can be accessed in real-time, the performance of different departments improves.
  • Enhanced customer experience – data connectors also provide access to previous data of an organisation. Helping the company understand the changing customer needs and predict the best way to tend to them.

In the get data section of Power BI or Power Query, there are several connectors you can use for direct access to data sources. If the data source can’t be found in Power BI, users can create their custom connectors, which give the user permission to customise a code to their connection provider and reuse it multiple times.

Alternatively, you can use an on-premises data gateway to connect with multiple data sources. The Power BI gateway is software used to join and access the data stored in an on-premise system. On-premise data gateways are used to support the connection of single or multiple data sources to an on-premise data source on-premise.

If you’re struggling to get to grips with Power BI or are concerned you’re not getting the best from Power BI, we offer hands-on Power BI training. To help you optimise your system and get your team up to speed on the best processes and workflows for them. Get in touch for more information.

What is Power BI’s product offering?

When you purchase Power BI, you get access to three products that enable you to monitor your data and create reports in a variety of different ways. With our managed services, you can get the most out of these products and optimise them for better business processes.

There are three Power BI products: 

  • Power BI desktop – The free desktop application allows businesses to test out Power BI. You can connect, transform, and visualise your data.
  • Power BI service – Power BI service is the main product in the PBI offering and lets you send reports securely to your colleagues for collaboration.
  • Power BI Report server – This is the web portal that allows you to display and manage KPIs and reports. It’s very similar to the Power BI online service, but you can create paginated reports, mobile reports and KPIs.

There’s a reason that Power BI is the business intelligence tool for many companies. The different features allow for a variety of reporting and in depth visualisation. Let’s take a look at some of the main products that make Power BI so significant.


Microsoft Power BI components: 

  • Power Query – Let’s transform, combine, or enhance your data for more excellent value.
  • Power Pivot- Microsoft Power BI’s memory tabular data modelling tool. Use it to create data models that highlight essential business information for the future of decision making.
  • Power View – The core visualisation tool that allows you to create business charts, graphs, and any visualisation you can think of.
  • Power Map – A more complex data visualisation tool, power map creates geospatial maps.
  • Power Q&A – Microsoft Power BI’s very own search engine, type in your enquiry and Power BI will produce a reports-based answer.

Benefits of Power BI

Whilst the standard Microsoft Suite offers users a fundamental reporting and analytics tool in Excel, it can’t fuel better business outcomes. 

On the other hand, Power BI is made to be the perfect tool for detailed reporting and insights. Instead of fumbling your way through spreadsheets trying to understand rows of data, you can create user-friendly reports that provide better understanding and boost your decision-making ability. It’s ideal for any business size and any industry that needs help with data-driven decisions. 

Although we work with various businesses, we often find ourselves implementing Power BI solutions for insurance and manufacturing companies. Here are some of the top reasons they decide to implement Power BI in their business processes:

  • With Power BI’s machine-learning abilities, users can quickly analyse data like year-on-year sales to track trends and predict future sales.
  • Regardless of your subscription model, Power BI updates your information regularly, ensuring you always have the most up-to-date data. You can also set up custom alerts to display important metrics like stock levels to keep your team on their toes.
  • Power BI connects with many other management solutions, like SharePoint, Dynamics 365, and SalesForce.
  • While other platforms struggle with large amounts of data, Power BI thrives with massive datasets thanks to its cloud capability.
  • Keep your data protected in the cloud or on-premises with Power BI security features.

Power BI is easy to navigate for users familiar with Excel and has beautiful visualisation templates to make your data sing.

What is Power BI going to do for my business?

Power BI offers solutions fit for any industry. All businesses collect data to some extent, and Power BI helps you utilise your data for sales, marketing, and decision making. 

Over our 30 years as a BI integrator, we’ve worked with various clients in most industries. But more often than not, we find ourselves working with manufacturing and insurance companies to help them get the most out of Power BI. 

Whether it’s a proof of concept, ad-hoc consultancy, or a fully managed project, our Power BI services have you covered. The outcomes of our Power BI expertise range from quick launches and custom features to proven security and total integration. 

Microsoft Power BI is an accessible, intuitive, and friendly solution for all your data needs. Different businesses will need access to different levels of the visual analytics tool, but that doesn’t mean your team shouldn’t know the ins and outs of the platform.

As a Microsoft Gold Partner, we’re more than equipped to help your team navigate Power BI. Our tailored suite of Power BI services means you can access everything from quality training to Power BI integration. Our end-to-end services are unrivalled.

Is Power BI better than…

We should probably say that despite our Microsoft Gold Partner status, we are in no way biased towards the platform. As an independently owned BI consultancy, we believe in putting our clients above the products. 

As a business owner looking to invest time and money into a new tool, it’s wise to look at the pros and cons of each option. If you’re still unsure, we recommend looking at our posts comparing Power BI with Excel, SAP, Access, Qlik, and Tableau.

Make the move to Power BI

Looking to take the first step towards business intelligence, then trust the experts. With over 30 years of experience in the industry, we’re more than ready to help.

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