What Is Power BI? - History, Architecture, Uses And Everything In Between
Data Science

What Is Power BI? – History, Architecture, Uses And Everything In Between


Modern companies rely on data, and we’re creating more of it than ever before.

However, accumulating mountains of digital data is useless unless and until companies are able to make sense of it. This is where business intelligence software enters the picture.

Considering installing a platform to assist you in extracting meaningful, actionable information from your data? You have arrived at the correct location. In this article, we’ll go through the fundamentals of Microsoft’s main business intelligence product (Power BI) highlighting everything you must know about Power BI, including what it does, what it can do for your organisation, its history, architecture, uses and much more.

Let us get started!

What exactly is Power BI?

Power BI is the umbrella term for a collection of cloud-based applications and services that enable companies to collect, organise, and analyse data from a range of sources via a graphical user interface.

Power BI and other business intelligence solutions may be utilised for a wide variety of reasons.

Primarily, Power BI reports gather and analyses data, transforming it into actionable insights, frequently via the use of aesthetically attractive and easy-to-process charts and graphs. This enables power BI users to create and share concise and actionable snapshots of their organisation.

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Power BI links to a variety of data sources to create reports, ranging from simple Excel spreadsheets to databases and cloud- and on-premise-based applications.

Power BI is a catch-all name that refers to a Windows desktop programme called Power BI Desktop, an online SaaS (Software as a Solution) service called Power BI Service, or mobile Power BI apps for Windows phones and tablets, as well as iOS and Android devices.

Because Power BI is based on Microsoft Excel, the learning curve from Excel to Power BI is not as steep; anybody who can use Excel can use Power BI, although the latter is considerably more powerful than the spreadsheet equivalent.

History of Power BI Service

Ruler and Dhers Netz of Microsoft’s SQL server coverage services team conceived Power BI.

It was created by West Chadic George and dubbed Project Crescent in 2010.

It was included with SQL Server Codenamed Mount McKinley in 2011.

In September 2014, Microsoft released the first preview of Power BI.

On 24 July 2015, the first version of Power BI was launched. It was constructed using Excel Add-ins such as Power Query, Pivot, View, and Map.

What is the purpose of Power BI?

Microsoft Power BI is used to generate reports and uncover insights from a business’s data. Power BI can interface to a broad variety of data sources and “tidy up” the information it receives to make it more digestible and understandable. Other users can then access and share the reports and visualisations created from this data.

Power BI enables users to see not just what has occurred in the past and what is now occurring, but also what could occur in the future. Power BI has machine learning capabilities, which enables it to recognise trends in data and utilise them to generate educated forecasts and perform “what if” scenarios. These estimations enable users to create projections and plan for future demand and other critical indicators.

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The Architecture of Power BI

Integrating Data:

An organisation must work with data that originates from a variety of sources and is stored in a variety of file formats. The data should be retrieved from a variety of sources, which may include several servers or databases. This data is consolidated into a single standard format and stored in a centralised staging location.

Processing of Data:

At this point, the combined data is not yet ready for display due to the data’s processing requirements. This information has been pre-processed. For instance, the data collection will be cleansed of redundant and missing values.

When the data is cleansed, the business rule should be applied to it. You may then re-import that data into the Data Warehouse.

Presentation of Data

Once the data has been imported and processed, it may be displayed considerably more effectively using the many visualisation tools available in Power Bi. The usage of a dashboard and report enables a more intuitive representation of data. This visual report enables business end-users to make informed business decisions.

Why are people drawn to Power BI Web Service?

For organisations seeking greater reporting and analytical capabilities than Excel provides, Power BI is the next step in business intelligence. Businesses may use Power BI to gather, analyse, and display data from throughout the organisation, providing them with a deeper understanding of their operations and performance and enabling them to make more educated choices based on actual facts.

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The following are some of the primary advantages of utilising Power BI:

  • Businesses can import massive amounts of data into Power BI that would be impossible to process on many other systems.
  • Integrated machine learning capabilities can analyse data and assist users in identifying usage trends and making intelligent forecasts.
  • Utilizing sophisticated templates, data may be displayed to assist organisations in making sense of their data.
  • Due to the cloud-based nature of Power BI, customers have access to cutting-edge intelligence capabilities and sophisticated algorithms that are updated on a regular basis.
  • Users may construct dashboards to easily obtain the data they need.
  • Alerts may be configured for KPIs to keep users informed of critical metrics and measures.
  • Power BI’s simple design makes it far more user-friendly and navigable than complicated spreadsheets.
  • The platform interacts with a variety of other major business management tools, including SharePoint, Office 365, and Dynamics 365, as well as non-Microsoft products such as Spark, Hadoop, Google Analytics, SAP, Salesforce, and MailChimp.
  • With data security being a major concern for modern organisations, Power BI provides data security by allowing for granular control over access both internally and externally.

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Types of Power BI tools:

Now, we’ll examine the various Power BI tools.

Several critical Power BI tools include the following:

Power BI Desktop

The primary authoring and publishing tool for Power BI is the Power BI desktop. It is used by developers and power users to construct whole new models and reports from scratch.

Fees: None

Power BI service

Online software as a service (SaaS) platform for hosting Power Bl data models, reports, and dashboards. Cloud-based administration, sharing, and collaboration are all possible.

Pro licence: $10 per month per user

Power BI Data Gateway

The Power BI Data Gateway connects the Power BI Service to on-premise data sources such as DirectQuery, Import, and Live Query. Bl Admin install it.

Power BI Report Server

It supports paginated reports, key performance indicators (KPIs), mobile reports, and Power BI Desktop report. It is updated four times a year and is installed/managed by the IT department. The users have the ability to edit Power BL reports and other reports developed by the development team.

Power BI Mobile Apps

Power BI has a mobile app for iOS, Android, and Windows. Microsoft Intune may be used to manage it. This tool allows you to see reports and dashboards that are stored on the Power Bl Service Report Server.

What additional products does Microsoft provide in the area of business intelligence?

Power BI is a subset of a wider family of business intelligence (BI) tools developed by Microsoft, which includes the following:

Microsoft Azure Data Services

Azure Data Services enables customers to rapidly develop intuitive apps that include artificial intelligence, leveraging a variety of tools, technologies, and deployment choices.

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Machine Learning Server

Microsoft Machine Learning Server is a highly configurable server for analysing large amounts of data, developing AI-powered applications, and revealing insights using Python and R.

Analytics Platform System

Microsoft Analytics Platform System is a data warehouse and analytics platform for Big Data. Through SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse, the service provides customers with broad data integration, lightning-fast query processing, scalable storage, and simple-to-use maintenance tools.

Microsoft SQL Server

Microsoft SQL Server is a relational database management system. It is similar to a spreadsheet in that it is used to store and manage huge amounts of data in rows and columns. SQL Server organises and retrieves data as requested by other programmes using SQL, a standardised programming language. SQL Server’s recent releases include performance optimization, real-time analytics, and data visualisation.

Is it possible to modify Power BI?

Power BI is extremely configurable, allowing customers to create their own dashboards and user interfaces. Additionally, customised reports are simple to generate. With our extensive collection of completely configurable, open-source data visualisations, you can see data your way.

The custom visuals SDK enables you to create amazing visualisations using well-known JavaScript frameworks such as D3, jQuery, and even R scripts. On-the-fly testing and debugging, and packaging into redistributable bespoke visualisations for usage across all Power BI products. You may share customised graphics generated within your business, distribute them to clients and consumers, or publish them on AppSource.

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Microsoft’s Power Platform provides organisations with a plethora of Power tools. However, Power BI is the most well-known. Microsoft Power BI has aided in making more strategic business decisions for many firms.

The aspect of this programme that is enjoyed the most is the intelligence with which it pulls data from sources and displays it to us in charts and graphs. This technology is utilised by a large number of other businesses, I hope this blog on what is Power BI will further inspire you to adopt it.

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