Review of Microsoft Power BI from an Analyst
March 03, 2022
Review of Microsoft Power BI from an Analyst
Analyst in Finance and AccountingInvestment Management Company, 51-200 employees
Score 8 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with Microsoft Power BI Embedded
I use Microsoft Power BI Embedded to import my raw Excel data, and turn it into visually appealing, interactive graphs that can help paint a clearer picture of our firm's position. It is used to create dashboards for quarterly reviews, as well as to show monthly performance. It is fairly dynamic and can be easy to use at times.
- It does a good job "acting" like Excel in the sense that once the data is imported, you can still go ahead and add/remove columns, filter rows, change data types, create calculated columns, conditional columns, etc. This makes it easier to learn.
- It does a good job of offering a clean and organized layout. For example, it is easy to switch between views and understand what each view is meant for.
- It is good with its data import functionality. You can import data from multiple sources (e.g. Excel, SQL servers, etc.). From there, you can use Navigator to choose/pick the data you want to import, as well as see a preview.
- Similar to how Excel has VBA, Microsoft Power BI uses PowerQuery (M/DAX). Though DAX is similar to Excel in terms of how it is written, I just think it's something that would be difficult for new users to figure out.
- Something I would like to see done differently in Microsoft Power BI is the ability to have presets for sorting/arranging of visualizations. Though it is nice to arrange the dashboard freely, it would also be nice to have preset arrangements based on visualizations (for those of us bad at making dashboards look appealing).
- With Microsoft Power BI, it is hard to show others your dashboard using the free platform (unless you show them from your computer/account). This can cause issues if your firm is trialing Microsoft Power BI before purchase.
- Its user-friendly UI (toggling views between Report, Data, Model)
- Field categorization (e.g. if you want Microsoft Power BI to know that a column has country names, you can categorize that column as such which can help when you add map visualizations later on)
- Visualizations - Microsoft Power BI's interactive data visualizations do a great job in presenting and conveying data in a much better way than normal Excel charts and graphs
- Microsoft Power BI has had a positive impact on our business objectives by allowing everyone to better understand the data that is being presented. Some people can process numbers and charts easily, but interactive visualizations can aid visual learners and just makes the dashboard look a lot nicer with the ability to dive deeper into the numbers (through visualizations). Thus, engagement and understanding have improved.
- One negative impact is that there is a rather steep learning curve since Microsoft Power BI's language (DAX/M) can be quite different from traditional Excel. Because of that, either you need to hire people who are specialized in Microsoft Power BI, or you need to account for the fact that they will need to be trained (or take time to learn it). Thus, there can be direct costs from hiring new people, or indirect costs through training/employee taking time to learn the software.
- Another positive impact of Microsoft Power BI is that it got us thinking about how we can be better as an organization in terms of laying out our raw data, organizing data, conducting research into better metrics we can track and report on, etc. Because Microsoft Power BI made the presentation/visualization (+ regular updating/maintenance) part of our dashboard easier for us, we were able to start thinking about additional metrics and additional ways we can improve our reporting.
We have previously used various Microsoft products when creating graphs, dashboards, etc., and then presenting those materials. We found that apps like Powerpoint or Excel still did a decent job in presenting the data in the form of visuals, but Microsoft Power BI just did a much better job with its interactive visualizations. It just made the data easier to comprehend, and allowed us to easily find trends, while also giving us the ability to dig deeper into the data through visualization.
Do you think Microsoft Power BI Embedded delivers good value for the price?
Are you happy with Microsoft Power BI Embedded's feature set?
Did Microsoft Power BI Embedded live up to sales and marketing promises?
Did implementation of Microsoft Power BI Embedded go as expected?
Would you buy Microsoft Power BI Embedded again?
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Microsoft Power BI is well-suited for firms that have a need for dashboard creation (e.g. KPI dashboards, financial dashboards, etc.) for the purposes of monthly/quarterly reviews, or even just to assess the financial health of their firm in a more visual way. Microsoft Power BI does a great job presenting interactive visuals to convey data better. Microsoft Power BI is likely less suited for firms that do not create or maintain dashboards, or for individuals/teams that are not a part of assessing the financial health of their company.