We live in a world driven by data. Big or small, it permeates every industry, department and working process.
There’s just one problem. As an SME with limited time, resources and technical expertise, how do you make the most of the data you collect?
Studies suggest that over 50% of businesses lose sales opportunities due to the lack of necessary information. And that’s worrying – not just because of the missed opportunity, but because those businesses probably do have the data they need; they just don’t know where it is or how to use it.
Thankfully, we have some fantastic tools at our disposal in the digital age, and Microsoft’s Power BI solution could be the answer to your data woes.
What is Power BI?
The ‘BI’ in Power BI stands for ‘business intelligence’, which tells you all you need to know about this popular software platform developed by Microsoft. It enables businesses to analyse data and present it in an engaging way that helps directors, managers and ground floor staff make informed decisions.
Raw data is cumbersome, confusing and voluminous, but a power BI tool is capable of turning what might otherwise be an enormous spreadsheet full of numbers into a business intelligence dashboard you can easily explore.
What might I find within my data?
Your business has probably already harvested a significant amount of data, but it’s understandable if you’re wondering why you should use a BI intelligence tool to dig into it.
After all, what are you likely to find that’s going to help grow your business?
Data contains a wealth of information for businesses that are willing to interrogate it. It aids growth by supporting decisions with insight gathered from customers, products and the marketplace.
Let’s consider the following areas in which data mining (as it’s often referred to) can be of major benefit to SMEs:
- Website. Your website’s engagement metrics (the number of page views, average time on site and speed with which people come and go, for instance) provides deep insight into how your online presence is performing and whether or not you’re attracting the right kind of audience
- Marketing. How did that last campaign really perform? What ROI did the Facebook advert you ran last month generate? Are there any changes in customer sentiment or buying trends you should be aware of?
- Sales. Do you really know how the sales team is performing? By digging deeply into sales data, you can discover how healthy your business on the books is, the best channels for income generation and who your most profitable customers are
The above only scratches the surface, but the analytical information exposed by BI systems will help you focus on core business areas, better manage human resources and gain a comprehensive overview of your customers’ journeys.
Here’s why Power BI will help you make sense of business analytics:
It makes your data accessible
We’ve talked a lot about gathering data in this blog, but even that can be a challenge for businesses that run multiple systems. Thankfully, Microsoft BI tools connect to around sixty common business solutions – many of which you may already rely on.
Whether you use MailChimp for your email marketing campaigns, Google Analytics to measure your website’s performance or an SAP solution for your operations, it’s highly likely Power BI will integrate and enable you to pull data into a single dashboard.
It’ll slot seamlessly into your business
Power BI is a cloud-based application which means it doesn’t need it’s own server infrastructure within the four walls of your business.
What’s more, if you already use Office 365, Power BI will feel very familiar, thanks to common user interface elements and the fact it integrates seamlessly with 365’s range of apps.
This also means Power BI has a very simple learning curve. If you’ve used a Microsoft product, you’ll be familiar with the ribbon bar and manner in which you make your way around the application.
For interrogating data without having to sift through complex spreadsheets, this ease of use is vital if you’re to find meaningful insight.
It feels like Excel, but it’s not Excel
Spreadsheets have their place in business, and if you’re comfortable working with queries and enjoy the process of working with data in that format, few tools do it better, but Power BI takes Excel’s approach to number crunching and makes it approachable for everyone.
Data interrogation is mobilised
The rise of remote working has put a greater emphasis on tools that enable employees to be productive, no matter where we happen to be. It should therefore come as no surprise that Power BI works flawlessly on mobile devices.
The ability to quickly call upon a report while in a meeting, or refer to specific data during a weekend bout of catch-up now requires nothing more than a mobile device and an accompanying app; no complicated server infrastructure, software installations or logging in via a VPN.
Can you imagine trying to interrogate data held on a spreadsheet on a smartphone screen? No, neither can we!
You can go deeper, if you need to
It would be fair to assume that Power BI’s focus on making data interrogation accessible for all has resulted in a lightweight application, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Chances are, there will be people in your organisation who have the skills to delve more deeply into the data you collect. And, while they could just as easily turn to spreadsheets, Power BI includes tools that power users will love. It also includes Power Query, which lets you generate code that can be used to transform data.
Modern businesses that are grappling with digital transformation and trying to understand increasingly complex customer journeys need tools that encourage data interrogation.
It’s therefore reassuring that we live in a world that offers software such as Power BI. These solutions are inspiring, and cleverly combine self-service data reporting tools anyone can use with enterprise-level data mining features for power users.
The data your business collects contains a wealth of critical insight that will help you deliver unforgettable customer experiences and plan smartly for future growth. If it’s currently sitting within inaccessible databases and countless spreadsheets, maybe it’s time you took advantage of a tool like Power BI to unlock its potential.
Reveal hidden business insight with Power BI from Microsoft
At PragmatiQ Solutions, we’ll work with you to understand your data analytics needs on either a corporate, democratised, or end user level. We’ll then help you use Microsoft Power BI to remove the guesswork from the analytical side of your business.