4 Benefits of Making Power BI Part of Your Digital Transformation
There was a time when business intelligence tools were costly in terms of expense and resources. Fortunately, that’s no longer the case. There are numerous tools available that enable you to use business intelligence and data analytics to make decisions—without breaking the bank or swelling the ranks of your IT department. One of these is Microsoft Power BI, a suite of business analytics tools for analyzing data and sharing insights that’s been making noise since it entered the market in 2014 because of its affordability and because it’s easy to use.
We’re a Bit Biased about Unbiased Data Analytics
10th Magnitude is partial to Power BI because it plays so nicely with our core tools, providing us with unbiased insights we can share with our customers. It also enables us to build solutions that start out as specific to one client, and then offer them to others, such as setting up centralized logging and alerting for a client’s SQL Server farms. Plus, anyone who needs reports can go build them; the days of waiting for a BI specialist to view data or author a report are mostly gone. Not only that, but BI specialists can now focus on the more complex and more data science projects. We’ve been enjoying its benefits, so I’m going to share the top 4 here.
1. Free Consumption Analysis, No Hosting, Deployment or Management Required
There are several content packs for Power BI, many of them free. Enterprise Agreement and Consumption Analytics are two popular content packs that can be used to analyze and assess your Azure spend. Basically, they provide the Power BI dataset and interface for querying the Azure Billing API without having to host, deploy, or manage any technical artifacts besides a Power BI Desktop file.
At 10th Magnitude, we took the dataset Microsoft provides when you implement this content pack and built visuals and data-driven storyboard scenarios. The biggest benefit? The people closest to the raw data can take it, make sense of it, share it, and collaborate with it. Here is a sample of one such dashboard:
2. Keeping IT Lean and Mean
Do you have a lean internal IT team? With Power BI, lean IT teams get analytics and access to the raw and modeled data for much of the Azure and Office365 services that they manage. As a result, they have streamlined IT systems and support. This is a glimpse of a workspace that our own lean internal IT team has access to:
Consider this common issue: people in the field trying to reset passwords and, due to PEBCAK (Problem Exists Between Chair and Keyboard) or consultant user errors, not being able to. With a data and analytics workspace, your IT support can be proactive. They can wake up in the morning, click the cell in the dashboard and immediately see what they need to fix first thing—and throughout the day. Here’s what this looks like for the 10th Magnitude IT team:
They might have alerts set up as well; however, all they really have to do is log in to PowerBI.com. More importantly, they have access to all this data that they can immediately operationalize; they don’t have to wait for someone to build something that collects the data. They just log in and start using and creating.
Content Packs for the Lean
With several Power BI content packs, your lean IT team can function like a resource-heavy enterprise machine. The following content packs are amazingly useful:
- Azure Enterprise
- Azure Activity Directory Logs
- Google Analytics
- Azure Consumption Insights
- O365 Adoption Overview
- Azure Backup
- Azure Security Center – Security Insights
- Azure Security Center – Policy Management
- Azure Audit Logs
Power BI and OMS: Mind Blown
By the way, if you use OMS and Application Insights, you should consider combining them with Power BI to create workflows for common IT support and T infrastructure management tasks or operational responsibilities. You will be amazed at the insights you will gain just by centralizing and analyzing logs. Implementing OMS and the standard event log collection is like finally having the IT department’s data warehouse or a consolidated and single source of the truth for all IT and application monitoring activities. You can learn more about it in this TechNet blog.
3. Score! Gamifying Sales and Automating Marketing
Does your sales team use Dynamics CRM Online platform for CRM and customer management? If so, you can use Power BI to kick their competitive natures into high gear. Power BI visualizations allow them to see how their quotas are doing and where they are relative to the rest of the team. If someone on the team closes a deal, the whole team can see and compare it to where they are with their quotas and what percentage the deal has added to overall sales goals. Basically, thanks to Power BI, your sales team can compete over a scoreboard. At 10th Magnitude, we’re feeling the benefits of a motivated sales team. To make this happen in your organization, simply log in to Dynamics CRM Online or a Dynamics CRM 2016 Implementation and follow the steps for connecting to Power BI.
As for marketing, if your team uses Marketo for managing workflow and process, PowerBI.com can make it possible for the marketing team to look at all marketing campaigns and determine which are at budget. In addition, marketers can select and score leads with a Dynamics CRM integration and, more importantly, track what marketing task or workflow the lead came from. All your team has to do is go to the Marketo content pack, get the dataset and use it to build what they want to see.
4. Operational Analytics
With Power BI, it’s possible to create a full-blown solution for operational analytics simply by extracting data APIs. This solution fully automates the ETL of data into SQL Data Warehouse. You then use Power BI query the SQL Data Warehouse to create datasets and visualizations. Do this, and it will quickly become a core component of managing your business. This is what it looks like for Azure.
Our conclusion? Help Us Help You Use Power BI
Joking aside, Power BI has come a long way. It’s gone from uncertainty and hesitant adoption to blowing its competitors away. In fact, Power BI is today’s centerpiece for all things data analysis and visualization.
Power BI is a very simple platform to use and manage once it is configured for your enterprise. But why do that yourself if you don’t have to? Power BI runs through our veins. At 10th Magnitude, not only do we need it to our jobs every day, but we also help customers make it a part of their daily lives. As you go through the digital transformation process, it is really the best tool for gaining insights across your organization.
So, if you’d like to kick the tires with Power BI or you’re sure Power BI is the right fit for your organization and not sure how to get started, reach out to us. We will help you put the right foot forward and ensure you are thinking about the rest of the Microsoft Cloud Services as you take on the Power BI journey.
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