Microsoft Power BI Webinar – Full recording now available!

We recently hosted a webinar about Microsoft Power BI, showing businesses how they can use the tool to gain more for their data.

Microsoft Power BI is a data and analytics reporting tool which essentially brings together disparate data – anything from basic Excel spreadsheets to databases, including both cloud-based and on-premise apps. This is then presented in dashboards & reports with visual, easy-to-read graphs and charts, allowing users to drill down and gain valuable insights into business performance.

During the webinar we covered the following points:

  • What is Power BI?
  • Main features/benefits
  • Why would your business need Power BI?
  • How managers can make better decisions through dashboards and reporting
  • Demo: How sales teams can leverage Power BI
  • Various ways to visualise your data including drill-down capabilities
  • Live Q&A

View the full recording…

Click to view video transcript

Hello, good morning my name is Jess and I’m the Marketing Manager at PragmatiQ Solutions. Welcome to our Microsoft Power BI webinar this morning. In a second I’m going to hand over to our Technical Director Jamie Evans and he is going to go through the agenda and the demonstration with you.

The demo is going to run until about 10:30 and we will then have some time for some questions and answers. On the right-hand side of your screen you should see a Q&A panel this will stay open throughout the webinar. So, if you do wish to ask anything please submit your questions via this and everything will be answered collectively at the end.

Just to let you know this webinar is being recorded so that will be sent out to everybody via email this afternoon.

I will also pop a link shortly to our webinar survey in the Q&A panel so you should see that on the right-hand side in a minute. If you do wish to provide any feedback we’d be grateful and you can do so through here and this will be available until the end of the webinar, so just click on that link and it will take you to a separate survey.

I’ll now hand over to Jamie Evans.

Thanks Jessica. Hello everyone, good morning and welcome to this webinar where I’ll be introducing Microsoft’s Business Intelligence solution Microsoft Power BI. In the next 30 minutes or so I’ll be explaining what Power BI is all about and showcasing some of the key features and functionalities available. I’ll be hopefully making it clear to you how your business can adopt Power BI to gain those vital insights into your business data.

A little bit about myself…my name is Jamie Evans I am the Technical Director at PragmatiQ Solutions. We are a Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Power Platform Partner specialising in designing and developing Bespoke CRM systems and Custom Databases, with all of our solutions leveraging Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform.

Now obviously this session today is all about Power BI and that forms one of the applications in the Power Platform, alongside Power Apps and Power Automate. Over the years as a Dynamics 365 partner the majority of our projects come with a Power BI or a reporting piece and as a result we’ve built up a specialism internally in this area.

The agenda today is going to be split up into three sections. There is going to be a short presentation roughly 5 to 6 minutes long where we go into what is Microsoft power BI, some of the main benefits and features and we’ll also go through the reasons why your business might want to adopt Power BI and adopt a more streamline and automated reporting setup.

Then there will be a demo. We’ll get into the system and it’ll be a bit more hands-on and you’ll go through a sales scenario for a fictitious company. I’ll showcase some of the key features and functionality and then there’ll be a live Q&A as Jessica mentioned; where you’ll have a chance to ask some further questions.

Ok so what is Microsoft Power BI? Well, it’s a data and analytics reporting tool which essentially brings together data from one or multiple data sources. So, anything from a basic excel spreadsheet to a CRM database or a third-party add-on product such as an email marketing tool for example.

This also covers both cloud and on-premise setups and what it does is connects to those data sources and then the data can then be presented and visualised in dashboards reports which are very visual and easy to read. It is a cloud-based reporting tool as well where reports are designed and built and then published to the Power BI web service where then they can start to be shared around an organisation and users can access those dashboards and reports via a web browser, a tablet and or and the mobile app making it very accessible wherever you are located.

Just a brief word about licensing and Pricing. There is a free version which is really designed for personal use so you can build, connect to data sources and you can build your reports, but it has limitations. When you want to publish those reports and share them around an organisation the most common license is Power BI Pro and that one comes at £7.50 per user per month. For this, you then get the capability of being able to publish reports, share them around an organisation and collaborate on those reports within a business. It also comes with eight daily refreshes of the data as well so automatically refreshing the data eight times in a day; so fairly real time that you can get that data refreshed to Power BI. And then finally there’s a premium package as well and these are more bespoke packages for more complex reporting setups where an organisation might have large volumes of data, or they might need to have the data refreshed on a more frequent basis.

Ok, so now we move onto some of the benefits and features. So, the first benefit is the data sources. I’m just going to switch to my next slide here where you can see some of the pre-built connectors on the right-hand side. There are many more as well, these are just some examples but you have the first-party Microsoft applications such as Dynamics 365, SharePoint access, Excel for example. Then there have already been some pre-built connectors for third-party apps such as Xero, Google Analytics, Mailchimp and many others. But if your application doesn’t have a pre-built connector not to worry, you can also build some custom connectors as well and connect to those data sources.

If I switch back to the benefits, the second one is to be able to schedule automatic refresh of data. I previously mentioned that one, but Power BI can connect to data sources and you can schedule automatically for the data to be refreshed up to eight times a day. That obviously can save a huge amount of time as opposed to having to export the data out of multiple systems and build those and put together those reports so you are saving a lot of time.

You can also transform and manipulate data easily and we find it’s very rare that the raw data coming out of a lot of these applications is in a format to be able to report on effectively. Power BI offers some simple tools to be able to manipulate that data and transform it before you start to visualise in the dashboards and reports. The best thing as well is that once the transformation rules are set, when the data refreshes it applies that every time so again, you’re saving huge amounts of time as opposed to putting reports together manually.

Finally, business intelligence and decision making. Obviously if the data can be transformed and visualised effectively, trends can be identified and key areas of weakness or improvement. Those key decisions can be made off the back of facts as opposed to a gut feeling about particular business and the way you’re operating.

And then we have the features. I won’t say too many words about this because we’ll be covering this in the demo, but you can drill down into multiple layers and levels of the data. It’s dynamic so it’s not static reports, you can go down a level deeper and see the underlying information it has good interoperability with other Microsoft applications.

So, as you would expect being a Microsoft application it works well with Teams, SharePoint and you can also embed these reports and dashboards into portals. As well artificial intelligence there are some capabilities to be able to ask the system some questions in plain language and get the responses back.

Finally, there is a marketplace full of visuals and chart types so if you want to explore further, they have extra different chart types. Some people are building these chart types and visuals specifically, for Power BI and they’re available on a marketplace.

So, why your business might need Power BI. If these statements are true; you might be spending large amounts of time putting reports together. It might be a weekly, a monthly or even daily task in some businesses and that can take a large amount of time to export that data and put those reports together. You might struggle to get an overview of your business operations; so you might have a complex application set up with multiple applications and it’s very difficult to get an end-to-end understanding of what’s going on your business without a connected reporting setup. Working with data requiring a high level of transformation and manipulation can also take a large amount of time. Doing that transformation every time that a report needs to put together, and like I mentioned there are some good transformation and manipulation tools within Power BI to do it automatically.

Then finally, you can’t trust the reliability of manual reporting so I’m sure we’ve all been there with excel reports, where a formula is incorrect or a value is in the wrong cell and that can just throw out the reporting totally so moving to a more robust reporting setup you can start to really trust the data that you are seeing a little bit about last slide and that’s about the demo and the scenario.

So, we are going to go through a sales scenario today. It is a fictitious company who sell office equipment and do office fit outs, and they have a national sales team working across the UK. And the dashboards and reports have been designed to help a sales management team to get an overview of the sales, revenue, leaderboards and lead analysis, for example.

Obviously, there’s a focus today around sales. But that doesn’t mean that Power BI can’t be used for other industries or the areas of the business. Of course it can, it can be if your business is a membership management company, or charities or financial services, for example, that it’s applicable for whatever business and whatever industry, and also other departments like operations and finance. Okay, so now I will switch to the demo. And we’ll go through the main features and functionalities.

So, I switch over to here, and this is Power BI, it’s a web-based application, so you access it via a browser. If you are familiar with Office, and you have a Power BI licence, you will have the Power BI icon available in the overview, and obviously click that you’ll get taken through to the Power BI web service. Before I go into explaining about some of the data and the charts and this particular sell scenario, I’m just going to show you some of the standard features of how you can collaborate and how you can work with Power BI, and then we’ll move on to the demo a bit more about the data.

So, in this screen, here, you can see a dashboard. Now when you do a Power BI setup, it consists of dashboards and reports. But the Power BI dashboard is designed to have the high-level key reports that you want to see a high-level overview based on the underlying reports. So, some of the key charts can be pinned on a dashboard that you can see from a high-level basis. But when you click on one of these particular charts, you go and get taken down to the underlying report where there’s a lot more information.

You can also view this in a mobile form. So, like I mentioned, the accessibility is good for Power BI, there is a Power BI app that is on any app store or, or the Google Store. And you can see here how the data can be visualised in a mobile form. And that just makes that data so accessible, it’s published in the cloud, you can access it wherever you are on the go, that becomes very powerful for people that are on the road regularly.

You also got a possibility of adding a dashboard theme as well. So, there are some standard themes that come out box, you have the light theme, dark theme, where you can see there, it just makes the data pop out a little bit more. And you’ve also got a possibility of uploading your own theme if you want to make it fitting with your own branding, your company branding, for example.

Okay, so let’s look at some of the sort of high-level features. For example. We’ve also mentioned here, on a dashboard level, we have some artificial intelligence capabilities. So if I was to click on ask a question about your data, and then pop in a question, which will be the “total leads by accounts industry”, for example, then it comes back with it reads that information and knows what I’m asking. And it can go away and pull back the results straightaway instantly there, I can then pin that visual everyone to have it as part of a dashboard, for example, or I can even extend it further. And I might say “Actually, I want to actually turn this into a tree map”. And what it does is then represents the data in a different forms. So really using making it easy. If you’re able to query the data to find certain information you do need, you do need to get familiar with the way that you ask the questions. Once you’ve got familiar with that, it’s very easy to find that information. And you’re not just limited to the reports that are already prebuilt and the way the data is designed, you can ask those questions to query the data and get it in the format that you want.

Okay, so that’s the Power BI capabilities there. So, now onto the artificial intelligence capabilities. And now if you if we go into the data in a little bit more detail, and about the sort of sale scenario. So this, like I mentioned before, this is a dashboard is the high level overview of a lot of the reports. But if I was to click onto one of these reports, it then takes me down on one of these charts, it then takes me down to the lower level. So for example, if I was to click on to new leads trend, for example, it then takes me down to a lower level where you can see that we have a pate pages here and there’s a lot more visuals and reporting going on, on those particular pages. Now this one here for this scenario, we have a lead analysis page, we have sales performance, we have a win loss analysis, sales pipeline, and sales, leaderboards. So, these pages are can be designed, you can have as many pages as you want really here, and you can split your data out into different sections. What you also have is common on all pages, is you have this filter option here. Now, this filter option is really good to be able to filter the either this, this particular page or filter on all pages. So this works well for when you want to baby view the data based on a physical period, maybe a fiscal quarter might be a month might be a year, where you might want to take data in for several years to be able to look at the differences between that data. And you can play that filter across all pages. So, the user has the flexibility to be able to change that on each page. So, making the filtering possibilities, very easy to work with.

What you also have as standard with most Power BI reports, you can actually switch this off, but it’s a really nice feature is that that the forms are dynamic and interactive. So, for example, the reports are dynamic and interactive. If you are to click on a certain option, for example, if I were to click on the amount of cold leads that we have currently open, you click on it here, the rest of the charts get on this page get filtered by that particular criteria. So, I can see on the map here, the cold leads and where they are located in the country, for example. Likewise, if I was to click on warm here, then show me the warm leads the warm leads in the country and filter the rest of the data. So, I can see trends on warm leads, for example.

Okay, I’ll go through the different pages to showcase some of the chart types and explain what the they are good for, and how this can help a sales organisation. But before I do that, I just want to go through some another standard feature that you get on most chart types is that you can drill down to a lower level of the data. So here we have a chart that is showing leads open leads by source. And if I wanted to drill down further and actually see, okay, we have this word of mouth lead source, I want to see what sales representatives have these leads assigned to them. So, who the most who the busy with getting the name out there of the business and doing their job effectively. So, if I click on this little option here to drill down, it then becomes active to drill down. When I click on the chart, it then takes me down to the next level. And I can see that actually six have been assigned to Jessica, six have been assigned Aqib and six to Diana. So, I can see how that split is. And that can work with any option here, we can take it down to a lower level and drill down into the data. So, like I mentioned before, there’s a real benefit there. Because you’re not just got those static reports, you can go down at a lower level as well. So, some really nice nice features there too, to be able to filter the data at a lower level.

Okay, so some of the chat types here, we have obviously a card which is quite good just to get some high level information and to sum up some of the figures. So for this particular lead, we have conversion rates, we have lead qualification rates and these can all be put together by so calculated fields in the backgrounds, we would use the data there, sum it all up, and then create some calculated fields to present that information.

Obviously, when certain filters are there, you can see that the rest of those calculations get filtered as well. So, again, some nice filtering possibilities. We have standard bar charts and line charts. We have pie charts, for example. But there are also some ones that track trends well and visualise trends. And we have the sort of funnel option here as well, where it orders, orders & leads by industry by the ones that are most popular as well. If I click down to the next option here where we have sales performance, you’ll see some other options here where we have a sort of a trend going on here to plot the currency sorry, the revenue over a certain periods as it goes on in the months for example. We have a tree map to show the pop popular industries by one revenue and the proportion of that revenue across those different industries. We have a donut chart so we can see the revenue that’s been one How has that been split across the territory so we can see here, South East is doing pretty well and also the Midlands.

We also have a gauge here as well, which is a good thing for sales managers to get an overview of this shows here that you have. It’s one word for revenue and one for estimated revenue. So overall, for this particular period, the estimated revenue being has been 3.2 2 million, but actually the one revenue was only 2.8 6 million now that is good information for the for managers to see that when their sales personnel are estimating opportunities and what the money that’s going to come in, so the forecast reporting, they are slightly out on their estimations from the actual money that is brought in from those deals, you can also plot certain trends as well. So not only do you have your figures in bar charts, you can plot certain trends on there, as well, to get an overview of how to visualise the progress there or to highlight areas that need improvement.

If you go over to the next one here, where we have the win loss analysis, this is also another good example here, where of trends plotting certain trends for one revenue and loss revenue, the averages, so you can see that on the on the charts. But what you can also see on the left-hand side here is there are some on page slicing that you can do as well. So here we can limit the industry, we can actually select certain territories, or even down to the sales person as well the owners of these opportunities. So for example, if I wanted to see the Midlands, and I wanted to say for consulting, for example, then I can filter the opportunities based on the Midlands, and then also go a further step and say only want to see the opportunities that have won or lost for the consulting industry in the Midlands, then that leads me on to another nice feature that comes with Power BI is to be able to bookmark certain filters as well. So, if you are looking at these reports regularly, maybe daily, maybe weekly, and you don’t want to have to filter the information. Every time you come in, or you’ve got a particular campaign that’s going on in a particular focus on a certain industry, what you can do is you can set a meet those filters on the on the reports from the pages. And then you can set those as bookmarks. So, for example here, I’m at, say, social services, for example, in the Midlands, and I can go and click a bookmark, and I’ll add a new personal bookmark and say, Madeline’s social services, I’ll just put social, click Save. And then if I was to then remove these filters, and go to buy bookmark, core social, you’ll see then those filters are applied there. So that’s a nice, nice way of filtering the data, but making it easy for the user if they are using the same types of filtering every time.

And then as all of these onto another functionality that is been introduced, and adds good value for collaboration, is the commenting. So, if I click on comments on a chart, so a sales manager might be looking at this information and going, something doesn’t quite add up to me here. What is this figure all about? whatever that might be, what they can do is they can actually leave somebody else in into the organisation and say, app, for example, to go water, what is this figure about, for example, and I’ll click Post. And then that comment has been added, Stewart will get the notification to say that he has been commented on a particular Power BI reports. And then when Stuart comes on to this particular report, he will then see it in this particular format, because there’s no filters on there. But that might be no good for him to be able to really identify what the sales manager was talking about. And so then he can click on this particular option here to bookmark it. And it will take him to exactly where he was looking at when he saw that particular figure making it a lot clearer. And then that you can then communicate back and forth with that person and charts over the reports are really aid in that collaboration between teams and also departments as well.

Okay, so we have just to showcase some of the other functionalities that are available. If we go on to the pipeline. We have some other chart types here with the funnels and also plotting trends. So, you can see sales pipeline by expected completion by month so we can see the months ahead for the pipeline. And also, we can identify within that pipeline, what stage the opportunities are as well. Are they close to being closed are they you know, very early on in the process. So you can see that split there, which creating good visuals for estimating revenue that is going to land in the future.

And the last one I want to show is the option to be able to add grids on here as well so you’re not just limited to charts. You can also add grids on here as well. Well, so for example, if I wanted to see the sales leaderboard, and I can see that Diana’s done quite well, this particular period, if I click on her ones here, we can then see that we have the results here filtered based on the based on opportunities, one by Diana. So we can see the information here, the revenue, assign the actual revenue, and the time, etc, then when that was done, so some opportunities to view the data in more visual and so in a grid form to get some details behind the data as well.

Okay, so if I switch back to lead analysis, just our main screen, when we’ve got one wants to share, go through now some of the export capability. So, we often get asked the question, okay, it’s great to have these reports. But I need to put this information into a management pack, I need to set out my directors or the board, for example. So, what Power BI I’ve done it there quite some good functionality to be able to export to PDF, or to PowerPoint presentation as well. What you can do is, if I click the PowerPoint option, it will then start to create a PowerPoint presentation. Now that can take a couple of minutes to download. So is when I created earlier, where we can where you can see here that we have the all of the pages that have been put out to a PowerPoint page. If I click through, for example, we can see the different reports here and the different pages of those reports. So, it’ a really easy way to be able to get a management report to be able to present to the board or senior directors, for example.

What you can also do with the exports PDF is not just have it at the moment, you can also filter the information before you actually send it out to a PDF or PowerPoint. So for example, if I wanted to just show a certain territory, or I was a manager and assert for a certain sales team, you could filter on that information, and then take it out to PowerPoint. So some good possibilities there as well. And then for a for other options with to aid sort of collaboration and automation, you have this subscribe option as well, where you can subscribe to a particular page. So as click subscribe here, add a new subscription. And I can define that I want to receive an overview of this report on a particular basis. So it could be daily, it could be daily to be able to receive it. And what it does is it sends you an email with a snapshot of the particular report at that moment in time. So it might be your set it that’s just before the data is being refreshed. And then you’re going to get an email sent with that report in there as an image. So you can see an overview of that information. And that’s been sent to you automatically. And then if you click it, it then takes you through to the report itself.

Okay, so one of the last things I want to show you around some of the features and functionalities is the different chart types. So I mentioned that there is a whole marketplace of chart types and options and, and yeah, chart types and, and graphs. So if I go to Edit here, and click Edit, and then we see we have some visualisation options. These are the standard ones that are out of the box. But you also have an option here to go and get more visuals. So if I click on the get more visuals, I then get taken to App source, which is Microsoft’s marketplace for applications. There’s also a Power BI section for visuals. And you can see in the list, there are a large amounts of visuals that people have been designing for Power BI that can be adopted by your organisation. So you could add them here. And then you’d be able to then add them to your charts. There’s also a possibility as well, if you’re that way inclined to build your own chart types and publish them, but that it gets obviously a little bit more complex. And you’d obviously have to have some specific needs to be able to do that as well but that is a possibility.

Okay, so I’m going to that’s the sort of end of the demo showcasing some of the features and functionalities. I’m now going to switch back to the presentation. So if anybody, has any questions or queries about Power BI or looking to adopt it within your organisation, please reach out to us on or you can call us on 01908 038110, or you can also reach out to us on email at [email protected]


At the end of the webinar, we opened the floor to questions. Please find all the questions and answers below…

We want to give our salespeople access to the data, but don’t want them to see each others. Can we control the security?

Power BI has its own approach to security called Row Level Security. It gives the user the ability to add granular filters to individual tables excluding any rows that they don’t want visible based on actual values in the row itself. So for example, in this scenario, we would set up security roles to filter all the tables to only show rows where the salesperson is the current user. Once those roles are set up, all you need to do is assign it when you share the report around the organisation.

Can you export the underlying data to excel?

Yes, every visual comes with the option to export out to excel all the data that make it up.

Can Power BI interface with Zoho ?

Yes, while a prebuilt connector for Zoho does not currently exist, Zoho does have an API which Power BI can connect to and pull data from. Since Power BI allows users to create their own custom connectors, any application with a rest API can be connected.

Why do I have to sign up with my work email?

Since Power BI is a Microsoft application, signing in with your Microsoft 365 account will instantly have it linked up with the rest of your organisation, allowing you to share with other users, and connect to other applications easily.

Is academic and non-profit pricing available for Power BI?

Yes, like all Microsoft cloud applications, discount rates are offered for qualifying academic and non-profit organisations.

Is Power BI available on-premises?

Yes, Power BI does have an on-premise version called Power BI Report Server, which allows you to build and distribute reports within the organisation. If your organisation is on-premise but planning to move to the cloud, it’s good to know that the Power BI on-premise solution is cloud-ready, so can easily be transitioned. You can build reports with the confidence they won’t need to be entirely rebuilt in the future.

My organisation uses G Suite, but I wouldn’t need to share reports. So we don’t have access to 365 but Power BI looks good for my own purposes. Will we need to invest in 365 as well in order to access Power BI? (Can you use Power BI without a Microsoft 365 license?)

You can sign up to Power BI without a Microsoft 365 account, however, you will be limited to the free version only. This would mean restrictions around collaboration, but you can still use it for personal report building.

The export to PowerPoint is only on the browser and not on the BI desktop?

Yes, the option to export to PowerPoint is only available on the web version of the report.

I have several clients can I have several Power BI setups that each client can see but not the others?

Yes, Power BI has the concept of a Workspace to completely separate entire datasets and reports from each other. You could create a workspace for each client and share the workspace out to both internal and external (guest) users.

Want to learn more about Power BI?

If you’re interested in Power BI, you can head to our webpage and find out more information.

If you’d like to speak to a member of our team, please ill out the contact form below and a member of our team will be in touch shortly, or if you’d prefer, email us at [email protected] or call us on 01908 038110.