power BI

Bring Your Data to Life With Power BI

In 1986, Atlanta Hawks rookie Spud Webb amused fans by entering the NBL’s annual slam-dunk contest. At 5 feet 7 inches, he stood a foot shorter than the average player. Webb, though, had to work harder and smarter than other players just to reach this elite level. Astonishing the sporting world, he took out the contest, and became a legend of the game.

For small businesses, competing with well-resourced corporations can feel similarly mismatched, so like Webb, it pays to focus on the techniques that tip the game in your favour. Trying to match big enterprise IT budgets may not be realistic, but small players shouldn’t be afraid to reach high.

Power BI is a tool that will help. Think about it. Until recently, while big business had spending power, small business had the advantage of knowing their customers better. With the advent of analytics, big business was able to hit back. Their enormous data volumes give deep insights into customer behaviours, patterns and motivations.

That kind of data crunching didn’t come cheap, and it took a lot of expertise. Microsoft’s Power BI, though, has levelled the playing field for those with more modest means. It is a business analytics tool that analyses data and extracts meaningful insights into everything from customers and markets to logistics and staffing.

Most businesses have all sorts of data, and Power BI brings it together. From Salesforce and Excel to Facebook – in fact, more than sixty apps can be quickly integrated. You can see your entire business in a single dashboard, and make connections or spot opportunities in moments. Performing queries is easy – and results are available in well-designed graphic options.

The basic Power BI package is free, while pro users get some great additional tools. It is also designed to be easy to use, so users don’t need to be data engineers to get results. Having said that, it can be worthwhile getting your IT partner to help you to get started and show you how some of the possibilities can be realised in your own environment. A little consulting will probably give you a lot more value and get you results faster.

What can you do with all this information? How about more accurate prediction of buying patterns, so you can have the right stock on the shelf, while avoiding overstock elsewhere? Or maybe identifying where you need to tighten up spending, and where you will get more value investing your resources. Even unearthing strong supporting information about which products or business locations will bring you greatest returns.

Of course, you may be already gathering and reporting much of this information already. Power BI just pulls together the diverse information very quickly – no more running overnight reports that are out of date before they finish printing. When you have the information quickly, you get to use the agility that small and mid-sized businesses are known for. Thanks to well-supported business decisions, you don’t have to be huge to make your next venture a slam-dunk.

For more information about integrating Power BI in your own environment, talk to the friendly Smile IT team.