How Power BI helps you automate your business
Power BI is great analytical tool. However, it might be used not only for creating insightful reports and dashboard. Its features and integration with Power Platform can drive automation of data related processes in your organization driving straight from insights to actions.
Examples of possible automation that can be achieved with Power BI:
1. Report automation
You create report only once, then it’s refreshed with fresh data automatically
2. Triggering Power Automate flow with with Power BI
You can set an alert on your dashboard that will trigger a sequence of actions saved in Power Automate (e.g. automatic sending emails with reward and scheduling meetings when your team achieves their sales targets)
3. Embedding Power App in your reports
With Power apps you can create simple applications that drives processes in your companies. It can be placed within reports and be fully interactive with the data you show in your reports. How you can leverage that? Below you can find some examples:
- Report that tracks items stored in your warehouses with built in application that dispatches items between them or directly to your clients
- Report analyzing sales of your products with application which can promote your best salespeople
- Report for employers that shows their workload, effectiveness and absences with built in app to request vacations
- … and many more
This article is part of the series where I will discuss how you can leverage Power BI to automate your analytical processes.
Classical Excel reporting
Organizations, quite often, rely on Excel when they analyze their data. The typical workflow whilst working with excel looks as follows:
- Extracting information from data sources (databases, web applications, public data) to excel format.
- Manual data cleaning with basic Excel features and formulas.
- Making calculations to compute KPIs on every possible aggregation level (e.g. dates, months, product categories)
- Creating static charts that give some value to the business.
- Saving Excel file to share it with others.
- Copy-pasting the most important information and charts to Power Point presentation.
- Whenever there is new data coming, the process is repeated over and over….
This process can be very robust, if you have experienced Excel specialist on the board.
However, it creates couple of problems:
- Your reports are created from scratch every time you need to have fresh data
- It requires you to have Excel specialist on-board all the time. His temporary absence can cause you problems
- That person’s work cost you money and instead of spending their time on more valuable activities they do the same thing most of their time
- Additionally when people run on repeatable tasks they are more prone to errors giving you incorrect outcomes
- When excel files are shared you don’t have control over them. You can never be sure if someone edited the file and outputs of data analysis might be wrong.
- Whenever you want to share insights you need to copy and paste file content to email or Power Point presentation
In Power BI you create a report only once!
Power BI uses a way simpler flow:
- Directly connect to your data sources with Power BI
- Transform, clean and aggregate data with Power Query User Interface.
- Create relationships between imported tables.
- You analyze data with interactive visualizations and create calculations if necessary.
- You publish your interactive report to Power BI, where you can share it with others.
- If needed you can directly export your report to Power Point or PDF
- Whenever new data is coming, you only press refresh button (or you schedule refresh at interval needed)
As you can see, the process has the same number of steps, but once you have report designed, you don’t need to do anything!
Key benefits of this flow are as follow:
- You create report only once, after that it can be refreshed automatically!
- You can delegate your staff from repeatable tasks to more analytical ones that will bring you more value
- You can be sure that no-one will mess with the report
- Reports are interactive, clicking on an element will filter other charts
- Your data is safe and will not leak outside your organization
- Sharing is easy as Power BI is fully integrated with Microsoft 365 tools like Sharepoint, Teams, Power Apps and Power Automate
- You don’t need to hire full-time Power BI specialist, you can outsource that to external company that will develop a report for you and it will be kept up to date as long as you want for no extra cost
And lastly Power BI Desktop is free! So testing and exploring the solution does not cost you anything.
If you are interested in Reporting Automation and you want to find out how to bring more value to your business from your data, please book a free 1h consultation session writing at firstname.lastname@example.org