Power BI for Finance Executives

Proposing a brilliant new financial strategy takes a lot of work. Finance executives have to assess everything from company-wide objectives to financial performance metrics. The process takes time—something that most financial executives don’t have in abundance.

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The Best Visualization Dashboard Builder

What if you could build an elegant and complex visualization dashboard at the touch of a button? Some tools give you the power to do just that. The best visualization dashboard builders allow you to create multiple charts and other graphics to organize your data—often without writing any complicated code. 

However, there are hundreds of visualization dashboard builders out there and only a handful of them are generate truly groundbreaking visuals and insights. To find the most innovative and intelligent visualization software, let’s compare five top dashboard builders. 

Five Innovative Visualization Dashboard Tools

A visualization dashboard is a tool that helps you organize and display data in a visual format, such as a chart or graph. Most dashboards contain multiple visuals on a single page and can track everything from key performance indicators (KPIs) to project timelines. What makes these dashboards so useful is that they are infinitely customizable; you’re only limited by the visuals and tools each dashboard software supports. 

But this is where the dashboard creation process gets a little tricky. Some dashboard builders don’t have as many visualization options as others. Many also place a limit on the size of the data sets you can use or number of visuals you can display on a single page. 

This is why it’s important to weigh all of your options and find the tool that offers you the greatest number of benefits and the fewest restrictions. These five popular visualization dashboard building tools are the most robust and have very few flaws.

  1. Microsoft Power BI
  • Available for desktop or mobile users.
  • Offers a free license, a Pro license for $9.99 per user per month, or a Premium license for $4,995 or more per month. 
  • Includes hundreds of detailed visual templates and custom visuals
  • Choose a dashboard template or create your own custom layout. 
  • Make any dashboard a featured dashboard that automatically opens for every user. 
  • Link dashboards to Power BI reports to slice and dice data or drill down through the data to identify trends. 
  • Export multiple small data sets (although there is a data size limit). 
  • Easy to use, even if you have no experience with data science, visualizations, or dashboards. 
  1. Tableau
  • Available for desktop or mobile users.
  • Offers a personal desktop license for $35 per month, a professional desktop license for $70 per month, a server license for $35 per month, or an online license for $42 per month. 
  • Includes a number of visuals that you can add to the dashboard from a dropdown list (however, custom visuals are harder to add). 
  • Create your own dashboard by dragging and dropping different visuals or objects onto the page. 
  • Link dashboards to Tableau sheets for more detailed data analysis. 
  • Make interactive dashboards to share with other Tableau users. 
  • Export very large data sets. 
  • Requires some knowledge of dashboard design and data science, but is easy to use once you get over this initial learning curve. 
  1. Sisense
  • Available for desktop or mobile users (although mobile users may have fewer dashboard creation options). 
  • Offers custom pricing models depending on your business’ needs. 
  • Includes visuals in the form of widgets that you add to the dashboard page. 
  • Customize the appearance of the widgets using the app’s Widget Designer or adjust the layout of the dashboard’s visuals. 
  • Make interactive dashboards. 
  • Export very large data sets. 
  • Has a slight learning curve at first, but once you learn how to use the visualization dashboard builder, it’s easy to design new dashboards on the fly. 
  1. Zoho Analytics
  • Available for desktop. There is a mobile app; however, you may only be able to view dashboards from a mobile device. 
  • Offers licenses for $25 for two users per month or more expensive plans for as much as $485 per month for 50 users. 
  • Includes visual widgets that are automatically populated from reports linked to your Zoho Analytics account. 
  • Resize or change the order of visuals on the dashboard. 
  • Create custom themes using an HTML editor. 
  • Export some large data sets, limited to 100 MB or 100,000 rows. 
  • Not as customizable as some of the other options on this list and may require some knowledge of HTML. 
  1. iDashboards: 
  • Available for desktop or mobile users. 
  • Offers custom pricing options that vary by user. 
  • Includes a list of custom visuals. You can also embed other graphic elements into your dashboards (such as a company logo). 
  • Make interactive dashboards that drill down through your data to display more detailed information. 
  • Export small data sets (users may struggle to export large data sets or tables). 
  • The drag-and-drop feature makes it easy to create dashboards without writing any code. 

These are only a few of the visualization dashboard builders available on the market, so there may be other tools that better suit your needs. However, for most businesses, one of these five is usually the best option, as they are well-established in the data analytics industry and are known reliable customer support. 

Although all of these tools are advanced, you’ll need to consider the pros and cons of each before you make your decision. 

Auto-refresh keeps the data in sync with the connected source. Refresh Now and Scheduled Refresh option keeps all reports updated.

What’s the Best Visualization Dashboard Builder?

What’s your budget?
Power BI is the only software that offers a free license, but if you want to share your dashboards with other Power BI users, then you’ll have to pay for a Pro or Premium license. Still, the Pro license is less expensive than any of the other five software options on this list. Zoho Analytics is the next most affordable option. Tableau is more expensive than either Power BI or Zoho Analytics, but also comes with a number of additional features that may be worth the higher price. Sisense and iDashboards both offer custom pricing options, so it’s wise to ask for an estimate from them before you make a final decision.

Do you need to analyze large data sets?
If you only work with small amounts of data, then Power BI, Zoho Analytics, and iDashboards are all fine options. They cost less than services that support larger data sets. However, if you need to build dashboards from large sets of data, then either Tableau or Sisense are your only out-of-the-box options.

Do you have a data science or graphic design background?

If you don’t have any experience working with data, writing basic code, or designing engaging web pages or infographics, then some of these visualization dashboard builders will be tough to navigate. Tableau, Sisense, and Zoho Analytics have some of the highest learning curves, whereas Power BI and iDashboards are typically very easy for anyone to use. 
Keep in mind that these five tools aren’t the only options you have for designing effective visualization dashboards from scratch. You can also hire a third-party data analytics company to create a custom visualization dashboard builder based on your workflow.

How to Build Robust Visualization Dashboards

Although visualization dashboard builders are designed to work straight out of the box, the reality isn’t always as elegant or streamlined. Unexpected costs, steep learning curves, and data limitations make switching to a new piece of software difficult.

If none of these dashboard builder options meet your needs, or you’re looking for alternatives to self-service dashboard builders, consider hiring a third-party data analytics firm. They can take a close look at your business strategy and operations to create the best possible dashboards for every data set you’d like to analyze.

In some cases, hiring a third party is a better option than buying a software license because the third-party system is built specifically for your business. You won’t have to worry whether you’re missing key features or paying for more than you’ll actually use. Another benefit is that the system is inherently simple. It’s built around your workflow and experience level, meaning you won’t waste time learning how to use it. With help from visualization dashboard experts, you’ll create spectacularly-detailed visuals without lifting a finger.

To get a custom visualization dashboard of your own, contact Tek Leaders today. We specialize in creating robust and visually-engaging dashboards that are designed to track all of your most important KPIs and generate insights that have the greatest impact on your bottom line. If you’d like more information about the custom dashboard services we offer, you can reach us by email directly.

Author: Shashank Reddy Tummala.

Shashank is the COO of Tek Leaders inc.He helps SMB’s to achieve their goals in their journey of Digital Transformation.

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Dashboard vs. Report in Power BI

Dashboards and reports in Power BI are very similar tools in appearance, and they both perform many of the same visualization and data analytics tasks. Even users that have years of experience with Power BI may be unsure whether to build a dashboard or report for a given project. 

However, if you want to generate the most accurate insights, you need to understand the differences between dashboard vs report in Power BI. This guide will help you decide which tool is right for you. 

The Differences Between a Dashboard vs. Report in Power BI 

A dashboard in Power BI is a single page that displays the most important information from one or multiple detailed reports. You can think of Power BI dashboards like headlines in a newspaper—they’re designed to show you the most important information and insights so that you can make decisions quickly. 

This is also why Power BI makes these dashboards shareable. They’re perfect for presenting complex information in its simplest form so you can share insights with upper management or your teams. 

By comparison, a Power BI report is much more detailed—and harder to share. These reports consist of many visuals like pie charts, heat maps, and tables. You can slice data, dice it, filter it, or compare multiple data points to reveal hidden patterns. 

Going back to the newspaper analogy, if a dashboard is the headline, then a report is the news story underneath it. While these reports take longer to read, they also provide you with more information than dashboards. 

In addition to these basic differences, there are a few more subtle differences between dashboards vs. reports in Power BI: 

Dashboard Report
Sharing options available No sharing options (but users can subscribe to report pages instead) 
One page Can contain multiple pages 
Displays information from multiple reports or data sets  Only displays information from one data set at a time (but looks at it from multiple angles)
Hides data set fields from the page Users can click on data set fields for a more detailed view 
Limited visuals available (displayed as widgets)  Users can include any Power BI visual or create their own custom visuals 
Data is read-only Data can be changed 
Automatically refreshes when data changes Has to be manually refreshed 
Users can program email alerts based on the data No alerts are available 

These aren’t the only differences, but they are some of the most important. To help you decide, consider what you would like to do with your data and select the tool that best supports those goals.

When Should You Use a Dashboard vs. Report in Power BI? 

Deciding whether to use a dashboard vs. report in Power BI is easy once you know what each tool does.

You should use a dashboard if:

  • You are a C-suite executive who needs to look at the bigger picture;
  • You want to share information in a meeting;
  • Upper management wants to know how the company is performing overall;
  • You and your team don’t have time to generate or read multiple reports;
  • You’d like to summarize a particularly complicated report or data set;
  • You want to track daily key performance indicators (KPIs);
  • You don’t want to refresh your data manually;
  • Project managers or sales managers need to receive alerts based on the data (like an email alert when a sales goal is reached);
  • You and your team want to quickly track progress toward certain goals from a mobile device (by making it a featured dashboard, it will be the first dashboard displayed in the Power BI app).

Many users default to using a dashboard because it’s the easiest to build and doesn’t require any computer science or data science knowledge.

However, if one or more of the statements below is true, then you should use a Power BI report:

  • You need to interact with your data to find hidden patterns or trends;
  • You aren’t sure what the next step is and you want to use data to drive the decision (reports are ideal for coming up with new business strategies);
  • You have time to drill down through the data;
  • Your job requires you to examine the data (e.g. an accountant, data scientist, or marketing strategist).

Even the simplest dashboards rely on more detailed reports to function properly. A dashboard can only display the information it’s given, and the information comes from complex data sets and reports. It’s not a question of whether you need a dashboard vs. report in Power BI—it’s a question of which tool is right for each individual task you have to perform. That’s why virtually all businesses use a combination of dashboards and reports to achieve their goals and operate efficiently.

What’s the Best Way to Generate Reliable Insights? 

The main reason people use Power BI is to leverage data and make better business decisions. Some businesses use multiple dashboards to ensure everyone stays on the right page. Others create more reports to discover new insights.

However, even if you use the perfect combination of dashboards vs. reports in Power BI, this approach still has limitations. For example, if you’re not collecting the right type of data or the quality of your data is poor, then it doesn’t matter how many dashboards or reports you create. Your insights will be flawed.

This is why it’s important to create an effective system for collecting, storing, normalizing, and governing your data. Third-party data analytics firms specialize in this type of work. They can also build custom Power BI dashboards and reports for you based on your staff’s workflow and your business strategy. These firms can also set up predictive analytics models that you can export to Power BI, so you can think ahead and make better decisions about your company’s future.

Generating accurate insights is a complex process that involves looking at historical data, real-time data, and projections to identify the best possible path to success. When you combine the robust visuals of Power BI dashboards and reports with powerful predictive modeling and tight data governance, you’ll come up with novel solutions and strategies to drive your business.

To make the most of your Power BI dashboards and reports, contact Tek Leaders today. We specialize in comprehensive data analysis systems. We offer secure storage, automatic normalization, custom Power BI dashboards and reports, and predictive modeling using innovative machine learning technology. If you’d like a free business strategy audit, you can reach us by email directly.

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