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What is Power BI? And Its Features?

Power BI is becoming the leading self-service platform for self-service business intelligence, and for data professionals, it is a must-have tool

What do you understand by Power BI?

The Power BI tool converts data from diverse sources into interactive dashboards and business intelligence reports. Power BI suite offers multiple software, connectors, and services: Power BI desktop, SaaS-based Power BI service, and mobile Power BI apps. Data can be consumed and BI reports can be built with the help of these services.

To create reports and view dashboards, the Power BI desktop app is used, Power BI Services (Software as a Service - SaaS) is used, and Power BI mobile app is used.

What makes Power BI so special?

There are several reasons why Power BI is so popular and needed in the BI domain:

1. Multiple sources of data access

There are multiple sources of data that can be accessed by Power BI. Data that cannot be opened by Excel can be viewed, analyzed, and visualized using this program. Power BI supports Excel, CSV, XML, JSON, and PDF, among other data sources. In Power BI, data is imported and cached using powerful compression algorithms.

2. An interactive UI/UX

By using Power BI, you can make things visually appealing. With its drag-and-drop functionality, you can copy all formatting across similar visualizations.

3. Extensive Excel integration

By using Power BI, you can gather, analyze, publish, and share Excel business data. Excel queries, data models, and reports can easily be accessed through Power BI Dashboards in Office 365.

4. Azure accelerates big data preparation

By combining Power BI with Azure, you can analyze and share massive amounts of data. Data scientists, data engineers, and business analysts can collaborate more effectively by using an Azure data lake.

5. Take action on insights

Data-driven business decisions can be made with Power BI by gaining insights from data and taking action on them.

6. Stream analytics in real-time

Stream Analytics can be performed in real-time with Power BI. You can access real-time analytics by getting data from multiple sensors and social media sources.

An overview of Power BI features

There are several features of Power BI, including:

Power BI Desktop: With Power BI Desktop, you can build reports by gaining access to data easily, and it is free to download and install. Building a report with a Power BI desktop does not require advanced report design or query skills.

Stream Analytics: Stream analytics is Power BI's primary advantage. With Power BI, you can analyze real-time data from factory sensors and social media sources to make timely decisions.

Data from multiple sources: Power BI supports multiple data sources, such as Excel, CSV, SQL Server, Web files, etc., to create interactive visualizations.

Customized Visualization: In some cases, Power BI's default standard may not be sufficient when dealing with complex data. Alternatively, you can access a library of custom visualizations tailored to your needs.

How can Power BI On-Premise help you?

Power BI services are great, but are they available on-premises?

However, Power BI does offer flexibility to organizations that primarily work on-premise, despite its inability to operate as a private, internal cloud service. With Power BI and Power BI Desktop, you can securely connect your on-premises data sources. On-premises functionality will grow as Microsoft rolls out new features.

What is the difference between the Power BI Desktop and Power BI Service?

AspectPower BI DesktopPower BI Service
FunctionPower BI Desktop is a free application that's downloaded and installed on your local computer. It's primarily used for creating Power BI reports, dashboards, and data visualizations.Power BI Service is a cloud-based platform provided by Microsoft that allows users to publish, share, collaborate, and access reports and dashboards created in Power BI Desktop.
ImplementationIt's utilized during the initial stages of creating reports and dashboards. Users connect to various data sources, transform the data, model it, and design visualizations using a drag-and-drop interface.It's used for sharing and consuming reports and dashboards created in Power BI Desktop. Users can view reports, interact with visualizations, and explore data in the web browser or via mobile applications.
Dashboard CreationUsers can create interactive visualizations, design dashboards, and perform complex data manipulations before publishing the reports to the Power BI Service.While users can't create reports or dashboards from scratch in Power BI Service, they can perform simple edits, create new visualizations from existing datasets, share content, set up data refresh schedules, and manage access permissions.
AnalyticsPower BI Desktop provides powerful tools for data analysis, allowing users to create relationships between different data sources, apply business logic, and build complex data models.Power BI Service includes functionalities for scheduled data refreshes, sharing options (internally and externally), security settings, collaboration tools, and access to additional features like natural language queries and AI-powered insights.

Therefore, Power BI Desktop is where the creation and design of reports and dashboards take place, while Power BI Service is the platform where these creations are shared, viewed, and interacted with, offering collaborative and management features on a cloud-based platform. Both components are critical for a comprehensive Power BI implementation, where the Desktop serves as the creation hub, and the Power BI analytics services can help easily enable sharing and consumption of reports and dashboards.

READ MORE: 7 Best Practices To Make Effective Power BI Dashboards

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