Alternative Text Chris Booker | 20 March 2024 |

The Big Bets for Power BI for 2024

 

Power BI is a market leader in data visualisation. It can help your business transform its data into clear, intuitive, engaging graphics, reports, and dashboards to reveal and communicate actionable insights.

As a versatile application with depth, the better you understand and use Power BI, the more you can unlock its potential and maximise the value of your organisation’s data. To help you improve your Power BI utilisation and workflows, here we offer you our top five Power BI tips and advice for your data analysis and visualisation.

 

Tip 1: Clean your data

A timeless tip, but one of the most important ones when it comes to any form of data analysis and visualisation.

Your data analyses will only be as good as the data you use – the adage ‘junk in, junk out’ should never be far from your mind. If there are errors in your underlying data, it can compromise analysis and visualisation. And in the worst situations, problems with data can lead to the wrong business decisions being made.

Ensuring data is properly cleaned and processed before you use it is vital. To make sure this is done in a systematic way, introduce standardised data formats, with set layouts and consistent naming conventions, and standardised cleaning procedures. Make use of in-built tools in Power BI to do so, like DAX and Power Query (more on these below). Try to automate common cleaning tasks using Power BI’s scripting capabilities.

 

Tip 2: Master the art of data modelling

To get the most from your data, and from Power BI, you need to embrace data modelling. It involves building models that represent the structure of your organisation and the flow of data into and within it. Data modelling brings clarity to your business, provides comprehensive oversight, and allows for the development of analytics for business units and key performance drivers.

Embrace data modelling in Power BI by ensuring your data tables are properly related, and leverage star schema or snowflake schema designs. Invest time in understanding relationships, cardinality, and cross-filtering to create a robust data model that underpins your reports.

 

Tip 3: Embrace the power of DAX

DAX (Data Analysis Expressions) is the backbone of Power BI, and very much goes hand-in-hand with data modelling. DAX is the programming language used in Power BI to perform all calculations. And it’s what you’ll need to learn to create custom formulas, new fields, and new tables for your data modelling. DAX is versatile and powerful, and is essential in unlocking the potential of Power BI.

While it might seem intimidating at first, you can find a host of excellent resources online to help you learn DAX. Begin by taking the time to understand key functions in DAX, like CALCULATE, SUMX, and RELATED. Stick at it, and watch your analytical capabilities soar.

 

Tip 4: Unearth insights with Quick Insights and Azure

The end goal of using Power BI is to extract insights from your organisation’s data that can enhance operational effectiveness and drive competitive advantage. And whilst you can rely on your own expertise (and that of others in the business), to garner those insights, you also have powerful analytical tools that can aid you, like Quick Insights and Microsoft Azure.

Power BI’s Quick Insights feature is a hidden gem that automatically analyses your data to recognise patterns and generate insights. It can be a great starting point for discovering trends or anomalies that you might have overlooked in your own analyses.

Take insight generation a step further by integrating artificial intelligence into your modelling and reports with Microsoft Azure. Azure is a cloud based AI computing platform that can be integrated with Power BI, and used to analyse numerical data and even text, and to generate deep insights. Azure can add a new dimension of sophistication to your analysis and reporting, allowing you to extract the most valuable findings from your data sources.

 

Tip 5: Make powerful and intuitive visuals and reports

Another timeless tip, but a vital one. At its core, Power BI is all about communicating insights generated from your data through visualisations that are powerful and effective. And that clearly communicates the desired insight with nothing more than a quick glance.

Make sure the visuals you create in Power BI – whether they’re used in dashboards, reports, or one-page summaries – convey exactly what you need them to by:

  • Keeping it focussed – decide which one insight you need a visual to convey, and make sure each visual is focussed on just that one insight, with any extraneous information removed.
  • Keeping it simple – remove all clutter and any elements that aren’t needed to convey the desired information. And remove any report or dashboard features that users don’t require, as these can introduce unnecessary confusion.
  • Keeping the end user in mind – whilst you might understand a report or graphic because you have expertise and experience, remember to try and approach your work from the mindset of your end user. Think about what they specifically need from a dashboard or report, and make sure it delivers on that. Consult with your end users to see if you can improve and refine your visualisations.
  • Adding proper titles and axis labels – a simple step to take, yet an important one. A visual without a title or labels is instantly made useless, despite the value of the underlying data and the significance of the insight. Make sure you add titles and labels that are clear and unambiguous.

 

Bonus Tip: Explore Microsoft Fabric

Released in November 2023, Microsoft Fabric is a new, all-in-one, AI-powered data analytics platform that covers much of the data analysis workflow. Embracing the latest developments in artificial intelligence, MS Fabric allows users to manage and process data, run analytics and data science analyses, and present and visualise data.

Whilst Power BI is a world-leading data visualisation tool, Microsoft Fabric can offer more and caters for organisations that have broader data pipeline needs. Fabric may be the step-up that your business needs to unlock the power of its data.

 

 

Get the most from your data with DeeperThanBlue

The effective use of platforms like Power BI and Microsoft Fabric is crucial, but their potential will be squandered if your underlying data can’t be accessed in the manner required. At DeeperThanBlue, we work with you to make sure your data is properly stored and easy to access by the users who need it.

Get in contact with us to find out how we can help transform how your business stores, accesses, and uses its data.

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