Analytics is a hot topic today, which is hardly surprising since we live in a data-dominated age. It helps you to discover, interpret, and process data. Power BI is one of the popular analytics tools from Microsoft that helps you make better decisions. In this Power BI Tutorial, we’ll share some interesting information and insights on Power BI.
We request you to take some time and explore this thoroughly as it acts as a building block for learning Power BI.
Power BI Tutorial - Table of Content
If you are planning to become a Power BI expert, then you must know the following things during the Power BI Course.
First, let’s start by understanding what Power BI is.
When looking for the answer for “What is Power BI”, look no further than the tool’s creator Microsoft. The company defines Power BI as a collection of software services, connectors and apps that work together to turn your data into visually immersive and interactive insights.
The name BI stands for Business Intelligence, and the business world considers Power BI as the number one drag-and-drop tool in the industry. It lets you easily connect to your data sources, discover and visualise what’s important and share that with everyone.
Power BI consists of several elements and all that work together:
Power BI Desktop (A Windows desktop application)
It’s a primary authoring and publishing tool for Power BI. You can create brand new models and reports from scratch. It costs free.
Power BI Service (SaaS, i.e., Software as a Service)
Online Saas where Power BI models, dashboards, and reports are hosted. It costs 10 USD/user/month.
Power BI Mobile (for Windows, iOS, and Android devices)
You use this tool to view reports and dashboards on the Power Bl Service Report Server.
These three elements are designed to let you create, share, and consume business insights.
Apart from these, Power BI also features two other elements:
Power BI Data Gateway acts as a bridge between the Power Bl Service and on-premise data sources like Import, DirectQuery, Live Query.
Power BI Report Server hosts KPIS, paginated reports, mobile reports, & Power BI Desktop reports.
Data Analysis Expression (DAX) is a formula expression language used in BI and data visualisation tools. It's a collection of functions, constants, and operators developed by Microsoft to be used in Power BI.
DAX is used to manipulate data and define custom calculations used inside calculated fields and columns, working with relational data and performing dynamic aggregation. In simple words, DAX allows you to create new information from data that already exists in your model.
Power BI supports an extensive variety of data sources. It continually expands the data sources available to the Power BI Desktop and Power BI Service.
The most common data sources listed below:
Azure Cloud platform
Other data sources such as Active Directory, Exchange, or Hadoop.
Following are the reasons why Power BI is so popular and needed in the BI domain:
Access to large volumes of data from different data sources
Power BI can access vast amounts of data from multiple data sources to view, analyse, and visualise the data that cannot be opened in excel. Some of the critical data sources available for Power BI are JSON, CSV, XML, etc.
Exceptional excel integration
Power BI helps to collect, analyse, publish, and share Excel business data. Anyone familiar with Excel 365 can easily connect Excel queries, data models, and reports to Power BI dashboards.
Interactive UI/UX features
Power BI makes things visually appealing. Through drag and drop functionality, it allows you to copy all formatting across similar visualisations.
Turn insights into action.
Allows to gain insights from data and turn those insights into actions to make data-driven decisions.
Accelerate ample data preparation with Azure
Power BI with Azure helps you to analyse and share massive amounts of data. The azure lake helps to reduce the time taken to get insights and increase collaboration between data engineers, data analysts, and data scientists.
Real-time stream analytics
Enables you to perform real-time stream analytics. It fetches data from multiple sources to get access to real-time analytics.
Let’s learn about the components of Power BI in detail.
A Power Query is a data transformation and mash up the engine. It enables you to discover, connect, and refine data sources to meet your analysis requirements. It can be downloaded as an add-in for Excel or be used as part of the Power BI Desktop.
Power Pivot is a data modelling technique that lets you create data models, calculations, and establish relationships. It uses Data Analysis eXpression language (DAX) for building measures and calculated columns. The screenshot below shows the relationship diagram of Power Pivot.
Power View is a data visualisation component of Power BI. It allows you to connect to data sources and fetch data for analysis. It has many charts for visualisation in its list.
Power Map is used to visualise geo-spatial information in3D mode. Power Map works with Bing maps to get the best visualisation based on geographical latitude and longitude or country, state, city, and street address information.
Power BI Desktop
Power BI Desktop is a development tool for Power Pivot, Power Query, and Power View. With Power BI Desktop, you will have everything under the same solution, and it is easier to develop BI and data analysis experience.
Power Q&A lets you explore data in your own words. It’s the fastest way to get a solution from your data using natural language. There are some tips and tricks about building your data model to answer questions in the best way. Power Q&A and works with Power View for the data visualisations.
Now, in this Power BI Tutorial with examples, let’s learn about the architecture of Power BI.
Power BI architecture is a service built on top of Azure. There are different sources that Power BI can connect to. Power BI gateway is connected to on-premise data sources to get continuous data for analytics and reporting. Power BI services refer to cloud services that publish reports and data visualisations. You can stay connected to data from anywhere using Power BI mobile apps.
To have a better understanding of how Power BI architecture works, we’ve divided it into three phases:
1. Data Integration
The first step is data integration, and here the organisations need to manage data that comes from a wide variety of sources. This data can be in various file formats and extracted using servers, databases, etc. This data is then integrated into the standard design and then stored in a common area known as the staging area.
2. Data Processing
The next step is data processing. The integrated data is not up to the mark and needs some processing. This data is then preprocessed or cleaned, like removing missing values, eliminating duplicate values, redundant values from the data set, etc. So after cleaning the data, you need to apply some business rules. The next step is data transformation and then load the data to the data warehouse.
3. Data Presentation
So once the data is loaded and processed, you can visualise it in a much better way with various visualisations, like removing missing values, eliminating. The use of reports, dashboards, scorecards, etc., helps to represent data more intuitively. These visuals help businesses and users make business decisions based on the insights derived.
Let’s understand with a real-time example.
Suppose you are working for a company whose business largely depends on the covid-19 situation across various countries. So, you’ve been tasked to create a dashboard for the current covid status across different countries.
The first step is to understand what you are trying to achieve. First, you need to understand various parameters related to Covid, such as total cases detected, real active cases, number of deaths, number of people recovered, fatality rate, recovery rate, and so on.
The next step is data gathering or acquisition of data. For this, you should collect data from various portals across different countries. Apart from this, you can connect to multiple sources like Azure, Snowflake, SQL, etc., for the acquisition of data.
Once you’ve loaded data into Power BI, the next step is data preparation or data processing.
As discussed above, here, you deal with various aspects of data, such as missing values. Duplicate values, varying data types, etc. this is also known as data cleansing.
After this, based on your needs, you can create various visuals in Power BI. there are numerous charts you can make such as:
After this, you can also create reports and live interactive dashboards that will fetch the data in real-time and display the results.
This is how you execute your day-to-day tasks with Power BI.
By now, we are sure you started liking Power BI after knowing what it offers. And so, you would also want to know ist pricing and licensing costs. We’ll let you know the pricing of different versions with their features in this Power BI tutorial with examples.
Microsoft offers three pricing plans for Power BI:
Power BI Pro, available at a subscription price of $9.99 per user per month. This plan includes tools for data collaboration, data governance, a 360 real-time view for dashboards, and the freedom to publish reports anywhere.
The Power BI Premium, available at a subscription price of $20 per user and $4,995 per capacity of the month.
Till now, we’ve been discussing the role of Power BI in the data visualisation and business intelligence domain. Let’s see the certifications available for Power BI.
Analysing Data with Microsoft Power BI
Candidates for this exam should understand how to use Power BI to perform data analysis. The test measures your skills in collecting, modelling, visualising, analysing, and deploying data. The cost for this exam is $165.
Analysing and Visualizing Data with Microsoft Power BI
Candidates for this exam must be proficient in connecting data sources, visualising, and modelling data using Power BI Desktop and Power BI service.
The opportunities for aspirants who are aiming for a career in Power BI are very bright.
Here are some of the job roles ideal for people with Power BI expertise.
Power BI Developer
Power BI Analyst
Power BI Business Analyst
Power BI Data Analyst
Power BI Consultant
Power BI Architect
Power BI Software Engineer
Senior Business Intelligence Analyst
Senior Software Engineer
If you browse through popular job portals like Indeed and Payscale, you can find plenty of job listings with Power BI as the major skill. Also, Power BI stands among the highest paid IT professionals in the industry, with an average pay of $117,000 per annum.
The demand for Power BI jobs is rising because of Power BI’s self-service analytics abilities for better business decision-making.
Let’s discuss the role of a Power BI professional:
The primary duty of Power BI professionals is to convert raw data into meaningful insights through interactive and easy-to-understand dashboards and reports.
So the first and foremost task is to connect to a wide variety of sources.
Next, the transformation of cleansing of the data for data modeling.
After that, create visuals for clean and transformed data.
Next, you create reports that are nothing but a group of visuals
The final step is to share the reports with others using the Power BI service.
The demand for Power BI is not going to dip soon. Definitely, no other tool going to overcome the Power BI’s dominance in the coming years. One of the key things to this is that Power BI works and looks like an advanced version of excel, so people find it flexible and easy to use without much of a hiccup.
Therefore, the future looks bright and pursuing a career in Power BI will help you land a better and rewarding position in your career.
This concludes our Power BI Tutorial. Here, we have learned all the essential concepts of Power BI and saw how they work together.