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Power BI for Small Businesses – the Perfect Fit

It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data”- Arthur Conan Doyle

Over the past few years, organizations have realized that data, whether big or small has a story to tell. However, data by itself can hardly make any difference. It is only when intelligence is applied to the data, it delivers tangible value. Many large organizations, having realized the importance data-driven business intelligence, have adopted it and made it an integral part of their business process to stay ahead of the competition and have a positive business impact. However, building an infrastructure that leverages analytics and provides powerful insights can be an expensive proposition. While this is something that large enterprises can manage, it can be quite a challenge for small businesses who have to work with limited budgets and resources to capture, store, analyze, and extract insights from large volumes of data. At the same time, small businesses realize that in order to rise above their competition they need to leverage data-driven business intelligence.

So what can small businesses who do not have the bandwidth to invest in data scientists and IT infrastructure that can pull and analyze data from different sources do? The answer comes in the form of a business intelligence solution from Microsoft called Power BI. With Power BI, small businesses can aggregate, explore, analyze and visualize data with greater speed and efficiency with the help of easy-to-use dashboards. Power BI is an intuitive centralized hub that allows small businesses visualize data and spot trends that would otherwise go unnoticed. It helps in generating interactive reports in the form of graphs, unified charts, statistics and maps and presenting them in an easy to use dashboard for the stakeholders. The tool has features that provide hybrid development support, quick insights, API’s for integrations and also enables customizations. In this blog, we take a look at a few ways as to how Power BI can help small businesses make a big impact.

Data Ownership

With Power BI, small businesses can bring all their data together from multiple data sources and use it for visualizations. With this tool, even the non-programmers can construct their ETL (extraction, transformation, and load) functions easily. Power BI makes it simple for businesses to aggregate their data from across multiple systems and view it in a single application, irrespective of where the data is coming from. Instead of doing in-app analytics for every single application run by the business for data insights, Power BI provides the advantage to visualize all the business data and monitor it on one dashboard.

Easy and Timely Access To Insights

Data by itself is of no use – it is only when this data is used to glean timely insights that it provides real business value. In the intensely competitive business landscape, to leverage data for business benefit, small businesses have to ensure that they get timely insights from their data. Not only that, these insights have to be visualized and presented in a format that can be understood and actioned quickly. Power BI enables all this and more by not only providing the insights and visualizing them but also presenting all the relevant insights on a central dashboard for easy access and action. Further, Power BI promotes data sharing by enabling sharing of personal dashboards with authorized Power BI users or sharing of snapshots of reports with the concerned individual or team using Power BI apps. This quick access to important and relevant data helps small businesses become more agile and adept at tapping opportunities.

Predictive Forecasting

Small businesses need to capitalize on opportunities and manage risks in order to be successful. To do so, they need to assess and predict future business performance. The Power View feature in Power BI gives small businesses the ability to make the data work to predict the future data series and stay on top of the opportunities that lie across the bend. Once the Power BI dataset is modeled, it allows the end users to simply drag and drop the data into the required data fields and generate insights easily.  Since the Power BI is hosted on the Cloud, it becomes even more suited for the mobile workplace that demands anywhere, anytime access.

Ease of Use

Using the Power BI tool is also easy and does not require small businesses to invest too much of their time and resources on understanding its mechanics. Since the Power BI intelligently understands how data fields are related and the nature of the data, it can easily interpret the data and represent it in the best manner. The reports and dashboards have a simple and consistent interface that can benefit the new data explorers and at the same time, it has the capability to service experienced hands looking for powerful analysis features with Power BI Designer or Power Pivot.

Power BI levels the technological playing field for small businesses and gives them the benefits of large scale IT without the added burden of high cost and infrastructure complexity. Considering its plug and play set up and low cost, it provides small businesses the opportunity to leverage data and improve their bottom line by gaining access to sophisticated data analytics and use the data in the same way as enterprise-class firms.

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