Saturday 16 May 2020

An Insight into Power BI (1/3): Pros and Cons of the Business Intelligence tool

Power BI - An Insight
Power BI is the most popular name in the business intelligence domain developed by venerable name in the software industry the Microsoft.  Initially, the tool was developed for technical analysts and programmers but soon became accessible to decision-makers of the organization.  Big or small every business aims to establish its brand presence in the market as well as grow exponentially.  This is where the Business Intelligence tool plays a major role in making the right decisions for the business to achieve its objectives.

Regardless of the size of the organization, going for a BI solution is one of the major decisions. Typically, there are few objectives of the objectives a good BI solution is expected to fulfill such as:

  1. Analytics aiding better decision making
  2. Improved operational efficiency
  3. Improved cost savings
  4. Increased growth in revenue
  5. Increased competitive advantage
  6. Enhanced customer service
  7. Compliance and risk management

Business Intelligence tool has been a platform that was only accessible to large organizations. However, due to the disruption of cloud technologies and SaaS model, BI implementation is available even for smaller organizations.  Power BI is a cloud-based platform and does not require capital expenditure or inhouse IT infrastructure support.  Just like any other cloud services, the implementation of Power BI is rapid and trouble-free. In a nutshell, It is a powerful low-cost reporting and analytics platform.

Having said that, its vital for any organization to invest in time and effort in understanding all aspects of BI tool before investing in one.  That is exactly is the objective of this Power BI series. Power BI is almost as simple as an excel tool with some advanced features, however, some of its offerings may not be suitable for your unique business requirements.

Here are the top pros and cons of Power BI.

Pro: Affordability

Hands down, the big brand is accessible to the simplest merchant in the game. This has been the major advantage of Power BI. Its analytical and visualizations are affordable and are relatively inexpensive. Oh, did I mention, the Power BI desktop version is free of cost! You can download this tool and start creating your reports and dashboards on your computer.  However, if you want to use the Power BI cloud services and publish your reports and have additional features you can the cloud solution for just 9.99$ a month!  Its affordable compared to other BI tools.

Con: Table Relationships

Table relationships tend to have issues as the data size and relationship between the data elements grow.  While Power BI is good with tables of simple relationships in the data model, it may not handle complex relationships between tables well. Its often recommended to create a data model with outmost care by having a more unique field so that Power BI does not confuse the relationships when it comes to such tables.

Pro: Custom Visualizations

Custom visualizations are created by developers for specific use for their users/decision-makers.  Custom visualizations are even available in the marketplace for you to download and use. In additional to vanilla visualizations ( which should suffice the basic needs ) available in your Power BI, you may use custom visualization which are suited to your specific needs, such as KPS, Maps, Charts, Graphs, etc.

Con: Configuration of Visuals

You may not need to configure or optimize your visuals most of the time in the Power BI. However, if you want to, Power BI does not provide many options to configure visualization as per your requirements. This really limits the ability of the user to change the visuals.

Those are pretty good starters for a conversation about Power BI implementation. To make this article lean and easy to digest, I have split it into a series of 3 posts. I will come back to you soon with an update on next set of Pros and Cons of Power BI. Meanwhile, if you are looking for specific information on how Power BI can benefit your business, feel free to contact us here.

Srivatsan Aravamudan
Solution Consultant

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