Data is an invaluable asset for any business. Unfortunately, not all businesses harness the power of their data and thus it remains an untapped goldmine. This is where Microsoft Power BI can make all the difference. Power BI is a powerful data visualisation and analysis tool that helps you unlock the potential of your data. When an organisation has been empowered on how to use Power BI “the right way”, the investment into Power BI training enables the organisation to unlock the latent potential of making data driven decisions.

Power BI, a tool for answering questions

answering questionsPower BI is a Business Intelligence (BI) platform from Microsoft that helps you turn your data into meaningful insights. It’s an easy-to-use, cloud-based tool that allows you to quickly and effectively analyse and visualise your data. It has a wide range of features and the rapid pace of updates improving the functionality is mind-blowing. With Power BI, you can easily turn your data into actionable insights that will help you make better decisions. More importantly, when setup correctly, Power BI can allow consumers to be in the “driver’s seat” and use it to get specific answers to important business questions. Without needing to be “tech savvy”, end-users can ‘throw’ all types of questions and Power BI can use it to unlock new insights into their business.

Essential Power BI concepts and best practices

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Before you start using Power BI, it’s important to understand the essential concepts and best practices. This is where Power BI training adds the most value. Primarily, it’s important to have a plan and a vison for BI within the organisation and a plan for your data. This ‘big picture’ is what should drive all smaller actions. Starting with the end in mind ensures that the solution is built upon a solid foundation that would not constantly need changing as reporting requirements evolve. You need to decide what questions you want to answer, what data you need to answer them, and how you’re going to model this data into a reusable data model for the entire organisation. Once you have clear outcomes, you can start to identify the various data sources needed for your solution.

The focus of Power BI Training
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The biggest obstacle to organisations maximising the value derived from Power BI lies in not first getting their all the data needed modelled together in a manner that can easily be used across the entire organisation. Often, they either don’t know why this is important, or they simply don’t know how to do it correctly. Power BI training that focusses on “tips & tricks”, or “tip of the iceberg” concepts like formatting visuals or enhancing the design appearance, may be viewed as ‘cutting edge’ training, however, these types of courses often miss what organisations most need.

Analysts should be taught the fundamental data modelling concepts and know how to ensure that the Power BI data models used in the organisation are efficient and follow best practice. Power BI training should focus on key concepts that empower analysts with best practices to use their data to answer questions within Power BI. This type of training empowers analysts with the correct thinking processes needed to setup their Power BI environment correctly and to ensure that they are working from a solid foundation.

Evaluating Power BI within an organisation

The ability to reduce “hand holding” between IT and end-users or analysts and end-users should be a hallmark of Power BI within the organisation. Can, without the need for any ‘expert help, end-users within an organisation use Power BI to ask specific business questions and get rapid insightful answers?

To further evaluate the value added by a Power BI solution, businesses can consider the following factors:

  1. Improved decision making: Does the Power BI solution help the business make better, more informed decisions based on data?
  2. Enhanced communication: Does the Power BI solution effectively communicate insights and findings to stakeholders, improving communication and collaboration within the organization?
  3. Increased efficiency and productivity: Does the Power BI solution save time and effort in data analysis and visualization tasks, allowing employees to focus on more high-value activities?
  4. Enhanced data literacy: Does the Power BI solution help employees develop skills and knowledge related to data analysis and visualization, improving their overall data literacy?
  5. Return on investment (ROI): Is the Power BI solution providing a good return on investment, considering the costs of implementation and maintenance as well as the benefits it is providing?

By considering these factors, businesses can evaluate the value added by Power BI training and determine whether it is providing a good return on investment.

Having provided training to hundreds of organisations over the past 6 years, the Data Bear team has constantly evaluated and improved their Power BI training courses to ensure that they focus on empowering organisations to use Power BI with a solid best practice foundation and are thus able to get the results they need.