Why Businesses Need Power BI Reporting


Business intelligence systems are therefore being adopted to make reporting quicker, easier and more productive, including the use of dashboards. One of the best is report authoring tools is Microsoft PowerBI.

What are Why Businesses Need PowerBI Reporting?

Data dashboards visually track, analyse and display key data points for your organisation and its processes. As a central location for businesses to monitor and analyse performance, they are the most efficient way to track multiple data sources, in real-time, to spot and react to urgent issues.

They answer important questions about your business, through quick analysis of manageable chunks of visual information. While standard reports merely share information, Power BI dashboards monitor and analyse data in real-time.

What benefits do business dashboards offer?

  • Accessible to all: Dashboards use easy-to-read visualisations like tables, charts, colours and symbols to highlight key points quickly to everyone, at all times, via the cloud
  • Accountability and rapid trouble-shooting: dashboards show you both problems and the information you need to solve them, by the department and across the business
  • Better informed decision-making: to help improve business performance and your bottom line.
  • Better strategic integration: by showcasing both company and department performance, dashboards open dialogue to improve cooperation and strategy discussions and develop a common consistent measurement language across the organisation
  • Customisable: you can build a dashboard for your stakeholder’s specific requirements
  • Gamification: improve key metrics by displaying them across the organisation to create healthy competition (e.g. among sales teams), or motivation to pull together (such as on projects), to hit and exceed targets.

Types of PowerBI dashboards

There are 3 main categories of the dashboard:

  1. Operational – real-time metrics for daily data, providing a comprehensive snapshot of performance for quick analysis and rectification of issues.
  2. Analytical – using past data trends to assist future decision-making. Deeper level interactive data for analysts to provide the best strategic direction.
  3. Strategic – track performance in relation to your key performance indicators, to better align actions with strategy.

Efficient reporting using PowerBI dashboards

To track all available metrics individually from their source takes time and resources that would be better spent on analysis and data-driven decision-making. Additionally, silos or biased reporting structures may result in key decisions based on only partially accurate information.

Using PowerBI reporting through dashboards, however, you can place all this data in a single place. PowerBI dashboards connect to your files (such as Excel spreadsheets or Google sheets), ERP’s, CRM’s, HRM, Project management systems, Finance systems, Inventory management systems, third-party services and APIs and put the data in a single place. From here, you can generate visualisations or undertake deep analysis with the data at your fingertips.

This time saving allows analysts to use their expertise more profitably, thinking about the final output and analysis.

 Why move your reporting to PowerBI dashboards?

  1. Above all, PowerBI dashboards save time: they gather and process data and then build and share reports automatically.
  2. They can be accessed by as many people as required simultaneously.
  3. Analysts have their time freed up to build the best reporting and provide the best analysis because they do not constantly have to deliver information to stakeholders on an ad-hoc basis.
  4. They simplify end-of-period reporting as users can distribute and see data in real-time without preparation (please refer to our blog on “How Can Power BI Improve Your Month End Review?”)

Through PowerBi reporting, you can see every element critical to making decision-making both individually and as part of a bigger picture in one place. This provides the clarity to pick out the most important data points, gain the best insight and make the optimal decisions.

In short, every important choice can be based on complete and reliable information.

Other advantages include:

  • Integration with other systems: easily adapt your analytics and reporting capabilities.
  • Customised data for stakeholders: information dashboards and BI reports can be customised to meet the exact need of any organisation and be embedded in existing applications
  • Secure, real-time reporting: automatic data refresh means reports always have the latest data for users
  • Vast storage: the cloud version of PowerBI eliminates memory and speed constraints, enabling data to be found swiftly
  • Voice enquiries covered: connect to cloud voice and cognitive services, such as Cortana, for ease of use, including when on the go.

Does Your Business Need PowerBI Dashboards?

Almost every organisation would benefit from streamlined reporting to keep track of internal and external KPIs. Consider these elements and the increased risk they pose to your business:

  1. You are looking to grow and improve but cannot find the data to inform you on how to do it.
  2. One factor is you cannot see all of your data in one place.
  3. You, therefore, can’t gain business insight from the data you are currently tracking.
  4. As a result, you are lagging behind your competitors.

If any of these are true or at risk, the ROI from your current data analysis methods is low.

You need PowerBI reporting and dashboards.

How to implement PowerBI reporting

The first critical step to good dashboards is identifying what key information must be included.

As we have seen, one of the key benefits of PowerBI reporting is you have all possible data available at your fingertips. You can therefore tailor your reporting to the needs of your business, division or even individual team, but here are some recommended areas:

  • Financials – connect directly with cloud accounting software to display your financial results in real-time
  • Work in progress – key updates on sales, project process and other business goals
  • Cashflow – be exactly aware of your financial position to make the right liquidity decisions
  • Key business drivers – the key activities that drive your business results (e.g. salespeople, web visits, leads, conversions and pricing. See our blog on discovering your key business drivers.
  • Risks – identify business weaknesses and flag them to key personnel quickly and clearly so they can mitigate them.

Following this, also consider how many dashboards you need. Should different business units have different dashboards? Or perhaps different key drivers or products need highlighting individually to ensure risks are flagged and corrected ASAP?

Building a PowerBI dashboard

A helpful way to think of this is using a question-answer format. For example:

  • What products generate the most revenue, and why?
  • How do we replicate this success elsewhere?
  • Is our marketing funnel attracting customer visits, website traffic, etc.?
  • Have we delivered/received more or fewer calls than a comparative period?
  • Where is website traffic coming from?

It is also critical to be aware of your key business drivers, as these will influence the data you need to show and the analysis you will want to provide.

Finance process assessment and improvement

If your business needs to move to PowerBI reporting, there are likely to be other areas you can improve as well. Take our free assessment on a framework for finance excellence and see how we can help you grow.

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