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Introduction to Microsoft Dynamics Power BI

Introduction to Microsoft Dynamics Power BI
Microsoft Power BI

Being able to analyze information and present it is a meaningful way is an important skill for modern organizations, the importance of which has skyrocketed in recent years. This is where Microsoft’s free tool, Power BI, has stepped in, allowing users to bring data to life, and present it in the way that best suits them.

What was once a series of Excel add-ins which eventually came to be known as Power Pivot, Power View, Power Map and Power Query, Power BI began its life over two decades ago before becoming the iteration that was released as a cloud-hosted, freemium application in 2015.

But what is Power BI? If you’re a Dynamics user, you may have seen it—it’s embedded into all new 2016 Dynamics products, and is on the homepage in Dynamics GP 2016. Knowing this, it’s the solution that many users are looking for: a robust, agile application designed to make reporting within Dynamics easier and faster. This is why our parent company, Wipfli LLP took a deeper look at Power BI in a recent webcast, aptly titled Improve Your Financial Performance With Microsoft Power BI.

In this webcast, experts Barb Bell and Mark Harrington discussed the application, providing a demo of how it works, and answering the following:

  • What is Power BI?: Power BI is a cloud-based business analytics service that turns data into visually immersive and interactive insights. Focused on the end user, Power BI features focused dashboards and allows users to easily connect to data sources, visualize what’s important, and share that with anyone or everyone you want.
  • What Data Sources Does Power BI Use? Power BI draws from a wide variety of sources, including SaaS Solutions like Marketo, Salesforce, GitHub, and Google Analytics; Organizational content packs including corporate or external data services; Azure services including Azure SQL, Stream Analytics, and dozens more; Excel Files; and Power BI Desktop files including Data from files, databases, Azure, and many other sources.
  • Who Benefits from Power BI? No matter the department, each can use the data they need to build stunning reports. Finance, Marketing, Sales, HR, IT, Operations, can pull in data as needed to productively and easily organize data how they see fit.
  • What Are the Price Points? Power BI uses a ‘freemium’ model:
    • The free option offers 1 GB of data and many of the features including the ability to create, view, and share dashboards, author content on Power BI Desktop, explore data using natural language, import data from your choice of sources, access data on mobile, and publish as needed.
    • Power BI Pro, priced at an affordable $9.99/user/month offers a higher data capacity limit (10 GB), faster refreshes (hourly vs. daily in free), the ability to consume streaming data, a fully interactive way to consume live data sources, and the ability to access on-premises data. Additionally, the Pro option offers improved collaboration, access to organizational content packs, access control and sharing through the data catalog, and row-level security.

Learn more about how to leverage Power BI to pull detailed financial data from Microsoft Dynamics GP and other sources to monitor KPIs and drill into the detail to discover why and where opportunities exist to improve performance by watching Improve Your Financial Performance With Microsoft Power BI on the Wipfli website.

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