Dashboard-Report-in-Power-BI

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: 

    DashboardReport
    Sharing options availableNo sharing options (but users can subscribe to report pages instead) 
    One pageCan 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 pageUsers 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-onlyData can be changed 
    Automatically refreshes when data changesHas to be manually refreshed 
    Users can program email alerts based on the dataNo 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.

    An accounting dashboard allows you to see your data in an entirely new light. By enlisting the help of experts with experience designing these complex visualization tools, you’ll lead your company to financial success.

      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.

      Author: Devender (Dev) Aerrabolu

      Devender (Dev) Reddy Aerrabolu is the CEO of Tek Leaders. His goal is to help SMBs bring value from their data. Dev helped Tek Leaders grow from scratch into a $25 million enterprise by focusing on clients’ data needs.

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      power-bi-accounting-dashboard-best-practices

      Power BI Accounting Dashboard Best Practices

        What’s the best way to keep track of where your company’s money is going? Many accountants would probably say that spreadsheets are the fastest and easiest tools for the job. However, there is another that is even simpler and more reliable: Custom Power BI accounting dashboards. 

        This powerful visualization software gives you complete control over all company financials, from inventory and sales revenue to vendor invoices and detailed bank statements. Power BI’s accounting dashboards keep it all in one place so you don’t have to track it down. 

        To leverage this software, use Power BI accounting dashboard best practices. This guide will help you build an efficient and sleek-looking dashboard to help you run a lean business.

        Why Use a Power BI Accounting Dashboard?

        Microsoft’s Power BI is one of the best accounting tools because it helps users see financial information in complex new ways that standard spreadsheets don’t support. 

        You can manually enter sales revenue data into an Excel spreadsheet and display them in one of the basic charts or graphs available in Excel. However, these visuals aren’t as compelling, detailed, or customizable as Power BI’s visuals. They’re also harder to share, as you have to save and upload the graphics into separate slideshows or reports. You also can’t edit them on the fly without accessing the original spreadsheet, manually changing the data, and creating a brand new graphic containing the updated information.

        With a Power BI accounting dashboard, you can generate engaging visuals to help you understand your company’s sales, like:

        • Colorful pie charts showing opportunity count by region;
        • Detailed bar charts showing total revenue by sales stage;
        • Heat maps showing total revenue per branch;
        • Line graphs comparing projected sales to actual sales; and more. 

        There are more visual options in Power BI than there are in Excel, but these visuals are also much easier to share and edit. When you create a Power BI accounting dashboard, you can include data filters that automatically adjust the graphics as you remove or add data. Power BI also lets you generate reports or add graphics to slideshow presentations instantly. You won’t waste time saving graphics, manually inserting them into documents or presentations, and adjusting the size or layout to fit the page.

        Another benefit of Power BI for accounting is that you can continue using Excel, Power Query, and other Microsoft-supported accounting tools in tandem with the software. Power BI is simply a visualization generator that connects to data sources and displays data in an aesthetically-pleasing way. It makes it easy for accountants to balance the budget and identify potential financial trouble long before it impacts the company’s bottom line.

        How to Make the Most of Power BI Accounting Dashboards

        If you plan on using Power BI for accounting, you should follow these three best practices: 

        • Choose the right Power BI accounting license. 

        To use Power BI for accounting, you can sign up for a free account or upgrade to a Pro or Premium license. The free account enables you to create visuals and dashboards as well as store a limited amount of data in the cloud. The Pro version builds on the free version, allowing you to share and collaborate on dashboards with other Pro users in your organization. Meanwhile, the Premium version is much more advanced than either the free or Pro versions, allowing you to perform more detailed data analysis and store more data in the cloud.

        The license you choose depends on your needs. Most accountants will be perfectly happy with the free version, since it includes plenty of visual templates. However, if you are part of an accounting team or share information with a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) or a Chief Financial Officer (CFO), then a Power BI Pro license is a better choice. If you plan on only using Power BI for accounting, a Premium license offers more features than you’ll probably use. This is only the best choice if you store data on premise or require more cloud storage space. 

        • Clean up your data.

        The main problem with financial data is that it isn’t always well-organized or normalized. If you don’t clean your data first, then the visuals you create with Power BI will look messy. Cleaning up your spreadsheets and datasets take time, but it’s worth the extra effort because it enables you to produce cleaner-looking visuals and govern your data more effectively.  

        • Build project-specific dashboards.

        Once you have a Power BI accounting license and a system for organizing your data, you can start building custom financial dashboards. The best method is to build one unique dashboard for every project or department. This prevents dashboards from becoming too complicated or cluttered, so you can focus on issue at hand. 

        For example, you can use one dashboard to track overall company expenditures and revenue across all departments for a bird’s eye view of what’s happening. You can build more detailed dashboards tracking expenditures and revenue for each individual department or product to identify specific areas for improvement. 

        Here are some examples of effective Power BI accounting dashboards, by data type tracked.

        • Transactions: Type and amount, including debits and credits;
        • Invoices: Payment status and accounts receivable; 
        • Monthly ledgers: Company balance; 
        • Budget: Including projections and goals; 
        • International sales and vendors: Including exchange rate calculations; 
        • Inventory: By location and value. You can also use these dashboards to calculate depreciation; 
        • Total revenue: from sales by product or location;
        • Payroll: Payment timeliness and estimated salary offerings for future hires.

        The specific visuals you choose for each dashboard depends on what you want to track and how you prefer to organize the information. Because Power BI accounting dashboards are customizable, you can build them around your preferred workflow. For more specific tips on how to build the most effective dashboard, consult this detailed guide to dashboard database design.

        The Best Way to Create Impressive Accounting Dashboards 

        Power BI isn’t the only tool accountants can use to track and visualize finances. While this software is robust, it isn’t perfect for every business. 

        For example, you have to clean up your data and set up a secure data storage system of your own before you can start using Power BI for accounting. This is a major problem if you want to schedule data updates automatically, as you may inadvertently introduce errors into your visuals. It’s common to export blank cells or flawed data from Excel, which could ruin the look and accuracy of your visuals. Currently, Power BI doesn’t have a reliable system for cleaning up this data automatically. Another limitation of Power BI for accounting is that it’s difficult to tell where exactly each visual should go on the dashboard, particularly if you’ve never designed one before. 

        This is why many accountants choose to work with third party dashboard accounting experts to help them build the most efficient system possible. These experts can: 

        • Automate the data collection, storage, and normalization process so accountants never have to do this work themselves;
        • Create custom visualization dashboards based on the accountant’s workflow and financial strategy; 
        • Incorporate stunning Power BI visuals into these dashboards for a polished final look; and
        • Include more advanced data analytics, including predictive models to help accountants make better financial decisions. 

        An accounting dashboard allows you to see your data in an entirely new light. By enlisting the help of experts with experience designing these complex visualization tools, you’ll lead your company to financial success.

          If you’re an accountant looking to upgrade your financial data visualization system, contact Tek Leaders today. Our team of Power BI experts will help you build dashboards to balance the budget, project future earnings, track recent expenditures, and more. If you have questions about the data visualization services we offer, you can reach us by email directly.

          Author: Devender (Dev) Aerrabolu

          Devender (Dev) Reddy Aerrabolu is the CEO of Tek Leaders. His goal is to help SMBs bring value from their data. Dev helped Tek Leaders grow from scratch into a $25 million enterprise by focusing on clients’ data needs.

          Read more
          Data-to-Delight-CMOs

          Power BI for Marketing: Data to Delight CMOs

            Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) have colossal amounts of data at their fingertips. Some have too much data. Forced to work with long, daunting spreadsheets or dull pie charts and graphs, many CMOs find it nearly impossible to make all of their marketing data engaging and insightful. 

            This is why modern CMOs need dynamic, state-of-the-art visualization software to breathe life into their data. Power BI’s marketing features are among the best at finding complex relationships between data sets and displaying these patterns with dazzling visuals. When you use Power BI for marketing, you’ll be able to interact with your data like never before. You’ll leverage key marketing insights to captivate even the most elusive of audiences.

            Why You Should Use Power BI for Marketing

            Microsoft’s Power BI is a comprehensive visualization tool that displays complex marketing data sets (such as email campaigns, social media engagement stats, or keyword analysis) in a compelling visual form. there are hundreds of ways to gather data on your customers, products, and competitors. Many CMOs are stuck going through each one of these data sources on a regular basis and updating spreadsheets or charts by hand. This isn’t the best use of anyone’s time. 

            CMOs are creative and business savvy c-suite executives who should be focused on coming up with disruptive marketing strategies, not managing databases. By leveraging Power BI for marketing, CMOs save time and energy. They also make better decisions about the company’s overarching marketing strategy.

            The Most Powerful Power BI Marketing Tools and Features 

            To use Power BI for marketing, CMOs should consider investing in a Pro or Premium license, as this allows them to do more with their data. Power BI’s Pro and Premium services work by connecting to multiple data sources at the same time. You can export data from social media websites, automated mailing list services, paid keyword services, and more. Once your data is in the system, you can then create relationship models in Power BI by clicking and dragging one data set over another from the Manage Relationship tab. 

            After specifying which data sets you want to compare on a deeper level, you’ll select visual aids that best match the type of data you’re analyzing. For example, you could build a column and line chart to track how often your products are mentioned in news stories or blogs and compare this to how much traffic these stories received. 

            You’ll find a wide variety of templates like these in Power BI’s marketing visuals list. Or, if you’re skilled with graphic design and Power BI, you can also create a custom visual of your own. 

            Another great way to use Power BI for marketing is to build a visualization dashboard that contains multiple visual aids on a single page. You can even include filters that enable you to make changes to the data in real time or drill down to the key performance indicators (KPIs) that matter. With everything on one page, it’s easy to see what needs to be done to improve engagement or products.

            With Power BI’s marketing tools and dashboards, you can: 

            • Evaluate ad campaigns: You’ll see how well your paid keywords or PR stories are performing online and can compare this data to organic search results, news articles, or backlinks. 
            • Perform ad-hoc analysis: If another c-suite executive wants to see how a specific product is performing, it’s easy to pull this information up in Power BI within moments.
            • Get inside your customers’ heads: It’s difficult to know exactly what your audience thinks about a product without building complex marketing models to track these opinions. Power BI’s marketing dashboards enable you to look at every product from multiple perspectives and figure out exactly who buys them. You’ll zero in on your target audience and identify key demographics whose needs aren’t being met yet. 
            • Emphasize customer advocacy: More businesses are taking a customer-centric approach to marketing, and this is paying off. When customers feel cared for and supported, they’re more likely to remain loyal to your brand. CMOs can improve customer advocacy by tracking customer surveys, sales funnels, and other metrics with Power BI. 

            These are just a few of the tasks you can perform when you use Power BI for marketing. This is a flexible and comprehensive tool that CMOs can use for a wide number of tasks. However, Power BI’s marketing features have their limits. Some of the most innovation-oriented CMOs may need a visualization software tool that does more than just display marketing data in a compelling way.

            Should CMOs Use Power BI for Marketing? 

            Most CMOs love the simplicity and elegance of Power BI’s marketing visuals. The main limitation of this software is that it isn’t as useful for CMOs who perform predictive marketing analysis, automated data analysis, or who need help collecting higher quality data. 

            • Predictive marketing analysis is only available in Power BI if CMOs connect the software to another predictive database that uses machine learning algorithms or other advanced predictive modeling. This system may be time-consuming and costly to implement and requires some knowledge of data science. 
            • Automated data analysis is limited in Power BI because the system can’t be programmed to alert you when data falls outside of a normal range. You’ll have to look at each visual yourself to determine what it says and then brainstorm your own solutions. 
            • The quality of the data is variable in Power BI. The software can perform some basic data normalization, but it can’t recommend what types of data you should collect in order to get the best results. You’re also limited to analyzing smaller data sets, as the software can’t handle extremely large databases

            How can CMOs use Power BI for marketing without running into these hurdles? By hiring a third-party data analysis firm to build a custom marketing dashboard, CMOs can get all of the best features of Power BI without any of these downsides.

            A data analytics firm will start by performing a detailed marketing audit and determining what types of data you should be collecting. From here, the firm will set up an efficient system for collecting, normalizing, and storing this data securely. Once the data is stored properly, the firm will build you a custom marketing portal than contains multiple visual dashboards designed to analyze every aspect of your marketing strategy. You can also use this system to generate reports, create new visuals, and share your findings with your team. 

            A data firm can also connect these dashboards to a predictive analytics system designed to help you make more strategic decisions. And, the firm will program the database to update automatically and alert you to unexpected changes in real time. 

            These tools make it easy to perform the most advanced marketing analysis in moments. With help from a team of experienced data scientists, there are virtually no limits to what CMOs can achieve.

              Collecting and analyzing marketing data doesn’t have to be complicated. To get started, contact Tek Leaders today. Our marketing data experts will build a custom visualization dashboard for you that includes all of the most important insights you’ll need to engage with your customers. If you have more questions about Power BI’s marketing visuals and features, you can reach us by email directly.

              Author: Devender (Dev) Aerrabolu

              Devender (Dev) Reddy Aerrabolu is the CEO of Tek Leaders. His goal is to help SMBs bring value from their data. Dev helped Tek Leaders grow from scratch into a $25 million enterprise by focusing on clients’ data needs.

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              is-it-wise-to-use-power-bi-for-procurement

              Is It Wise to Use Power BI for Procurement?

                When you run a business, you want to get the best deal from vendors. How do you know whether you’re getting goods or services at the lowest possible price? Is there another vendor out there that can offer you a better deal or faster shipping?

                This is where expert data analysis can help. By performing a detailed cost-benefit and cost-utility analysis, you’ll sign contracts with the most reliable vendors in your industry. Microsoft’s Power BI is one of the best tools for visualizing this type of data. It displays extensive vendor comparisons to help you make the right decisions.

                However, there are a few limits to using Power BI for procurement purposes. Let’s look at the pros and cons.

                The Benefits of Using Power BI for Procurement 

                Although Power BI is a simple visualization tool that displays sets of data in detailed charts or graphs, businesses can also use it during the procurement stage to select the best vendors for raw materials or operational services. The main benefit of using Power BI for procurement is that it makes this complicated and time-consuming process much faster and simpler.

                During the procurement stage, managers have to determine which goods or services the business needs to operate or manufacture products effectively. To do this, managers first gather a list of potential vendors or suppliers that can provide them with these raw materials or services.

                Not only are there often hundreds and sometimes thousands of vendors to choose from, but it’s also hard to judge which vendor has the best offer at face value. Procurement managers usually spend hours researching individual vendors, including:

                • Analyzing the quality of the service and the value that they will bring to the business;
                • Negotiating price;
                • Reviewing proposals and contracts;
                • Discussing transportation, shipping, and other logistical details; and more.

                Managers who use Power BI for procurement are able to see all of this data on a single page and even compare multiple vendors at once. Managers can build custom Power BI dashboards that generate visuals based on procurement-related data sets, like material cost or estimated time to delivery.

                With the Power BI software, procurement managers can:

                • Compare prices and discounts offered by hundreds of vendors to find the best deals;
                • Show what times of the year vendors usually offer the deepest discounts so that managers can schedule re-orders or negotiate new contracts at these ideal times;
                • Determine which vendors can ship products or materials the fastest; and
                • Gather real-time performance data on current vendors, including delivery reliability, product and service quality, lead time, and net margins.

                The advantage of using Power BI for procurement is that you can begin using it as soon as you sign up for a Power BI Pro or Premium account. It doesn’t require any special training or knowledge of data analytics. Procurement managers simply select the visuals they want from a set of Power BI visual templates and upload their procurement data into the Power BI cloud system.

                With this tool, managers can quickly see which vendors deliver the best products at the lowest price. They can also share these visuals with upper management to justify working with a reliable vendor over an inferior competitor.

                Another benefit of using Power BI for procurement is that it helps managers check in on the vendors they already use. It’s common for vendors to change their products or services in an effort to cut back on costs. This may lead to an inferior product or delivery delays. By tracking how vendors are performing every month and frequently comparing current data to this past data, procurement managers will ensure that their vendors are holding up their end of the bargain. You’ll avoid working with vendors that cut corners.

                However, while there are many advantages to using Power BI for procurement, it’s not the most advanced system for comparing and tracking vendor performance. There are plenty of limitations to this software that procurement managers may find frustrating.

                What Power BI Can’t Do 

                The main downside of using Power BI for procurement is that procurement managers still have to make most of the decisions on their own. It’s more of an optimization tool than robust decision-making software. Power BI makes data more readable, but it won’t perform any complex calculations for you. You still need to collect quality data and process this data before you upload it into a visual template.

                One area in particular that procurement managers may miss with Power BI is the lack of predictive analytics. For example, the price of raw materials like metals tends to fluctuate over time. Vendors may charge you more for these materials in the future due to these changes in the material’s market value. A powerful predictive analytics software could track the historic price of the material and calculate accurate projections of what the price of this material may be in the near future.

                Power BI is not a predictive analytics tool. It can only display the data that you supply. You have to use a combination of Power BI dashboards and predictive analytics software to perform these types of complex calculations. The Power BI software can still help you share this predictive data with your team or compare it to other data sets in visual form, but if you want to maximize your data, then you will need more than just Power BI for procurement.

                Should You Use Power BI for Procurement? 

                If you are just looking for a simple visualization tool to help you organize your vendor data and track the procurement process, then using Power BI for procurement is a very wise choice. It features some of the most compelling visuals on the market and is easy to learn, even if you have no experience with this type of visualization technology.

                However, if you’re looking for a tool that does more than just display procurement data, then Power BI isn’t the best option. It’s extremely limited in scope when used on its own.

                For more advanced data analysis, you should consider hiring a third-party data analytics firm that can create a detailed procurement portal for you. Data experts will build a custom visual dashboard that is as simple to use and as visually compelling as Power BI dashboards. However, unlike standard Power BI dashboards, these dashboards will also be linked to powerful machine learning algorithms and other predictive analytics software that can help you make more reliable procurement decisions.

                Procurement is complicated because markets and costs are so inconsistent. When you deploy algorithms that are designed to drill down and identify hidden market trends, the procurement process is much less unpredictable. You won’t have to change your strategy after you lose an important vendor or a vendor suddenly charges more for its products or services. Data analysis can help you predict many of these events in advance, giving you more time to take precautionary steps or start shopping for new vendors.

                With the combined forces of Power BI visuals and predictive data analytics, you’ll master the procurement process and run a lean, efficient operation.

                If you’re looking for a simpler way to analyze vendor services, contact Tek Leaders today. Our team of data analysts and procurement experts will help you build an efficient system for comparing all of your industry’s leading vendors. We’ll also provide you with the tools you need to keep track of your margins and vendor performance so that you can maintain low overhead and get the most from your investments. If you have more questions about whether you should use Power BI for procurement purposes, you can reach us by email directly.

                Author: Devender (Dev) Aerrabolu

                Devender (Dev) Reddy Aerrabolu is the CEO of Tek Leaders. His goal is to help SMBs bring value from their data. Dev helped Tek Leaders grow from scratch into a $25 million enterprise by focusing on clients’ data needs.

                Read more
                is-a-cio-dashboard-in-power-bi-right-for-your-organization

                Is a CIO Dashboard in Power BI Right for Your Organization?

                  Visualization dashboards help CIOs interpret data so that they arrive at the right conclusions every time. CIOs use these tools to replace guesswork and arbitrary IT staffing levels. The best results come from CIO dashboards in Power BI that track preferred KPIs and are built around existing workflows.

                  By designing a well-organized dashboard, you will lead your IT teams confidently and inspire them to achieve more.

                  What Can a Power BI CIO Dashboard Do? 

                  Microsoft’s Power BI is a platform for visualizing data. Users connect Power BI to a data source and upload their data into a visual template of their choice. There are hundreds of visuals available, designed to analyze data from many different angles.

                  To save time, users can also create dashboards in Power BI that display multiple visuals on one page. With these dashboards, you can filter your data by type or range and the visuals will change automatically based on your inputs.

                  A CIO dashboard in Power BI is made specifically to help CIOs perform their daily tasks and make big-picture decisions. The dashboard features data and visuals related to the company’s IT strategy and technological needs.

                  Why do CIOs need a dashboard like this? Today’s CIOs are expected to do more than ever. They must:

                  • Manage IT staff schedules and performance;
                  • Balance the budget;
                  • Hire appropriate IT experts in every field;
                  • Oversee software patches and security rollouts; and
                  • Educate themselves on innovations that will drive the company forward; and more.

                  CIOs often take most criticism when things go wrong with IT. One misstep or bad decision can have lasting consequences. This is why more CIOs are relying on tools like CIO dashboards in Power BI. It helps them to stay on top of staffing needs and to delegate tasks to individual team members. Data-driven CIO decisions are less likely to involve costly mistakes.

                  Creating a CIO Dashboard in Power BI 

                  Make a list of all of your responsibilities at the organization. You should make at least one dashboard for every task. These may include:

                  • Data logs: You can connect your CIO dashboard in Power BI to Microsoft’s Azure Activity Logs. This allows you to see how your data is being used and identify problems immediately. In Power BI, this information is displayed in a chart of your choice and is automatically updated whenever the SQL database is refreshed. You can check this log every day for potential issues.
                  • Compliance states: Power BI linked to Intune Data Warehouse enables you to see device configurations and whether these devices are fully compliant based on your organization’s standards.
                  • IT troubleshooting: CIO dashboards in Power BI can be designed to include data about server status, security issues, and devices requiring software patches. You can see which devices or hardware are currently posing a problem and get them fixed before they lead to excessive downtime or security breaches.
                  • Sales, market trends, and budget: There are many visual templates for tracking these metrics in Power BI. Sales, market trends, and budgets affect the IT department and determine how much the CIO can spend on upgrades.
                  • IT project tracking: CIO dashboards in Power BI include Gantt charts that can track project progress and show whether teams are meeting deadlines.
                  • Assessing current IT strategies: CIOs can keep scorecards or track KPIs for new staff members or third-party vendors to ensure that the services they provide are actually bringing value to the organization.
                  • Downtime analysis: When the system goes down, a dashboard can track when and why it happened and identify downtime trends that CIOs can use to prevent it from happening again in the future. 

                  If you’re still unsure exactly how to organize your CIO dashboard in Power BI, break your tasks down into one of the following categories and keep similar tasks together on a single dashboard:

                  • Portfolio management. This includes project budgets, schedules, deadlines, staffing, staff performance, and project risk analysis.
                  • IT health. This includes data or tasks related to downtime and uptime, training, maintenance, software patches, hardware upgrades, and changes that will reduce operational costs.
                  • Troubleshooting and customer satisfaction. This is any data related to customer surveys, how long it takes for customers to receive help from IT staff, and how quickly IT staff can fix problems.
                  • Big picture decisioning. Working with upper management, you can identify the core business principles that your organization follows and track overall IT performance to test whether it aligns with those drivers. For example, if your organization wants to respond to customer inquiries within 24 hours, CIOs can track this metric and ensure that IT staff are also following this company-wide guideline. This is also where you can analyze the budget to determine whether you have the resources you need to introduce a new IT strategy.

                  You have so many possibilities when you build a CIO dashboard in Power BI. However, the system does have its limitations.

                  Should You Make a CIO Dashboard in Power BI?

                  The main limitation of Power BI is that it only tracks data after the fact. When something happens, Power BI logs it right away, but if you want to find out whether something will happen, you’re out of luck. This is a problem for CIOs because they have a responsibility to come up with forward-thinking solutions.

                  For this reason, many CIOs are hiring third-party dashboard experts to link CIO dashboards in Power BI to predictive analytics software. This gives them the power to make accurate predictions. By combining Power BI visuals with machine learning algorithms, CIOs can:

                  • See how easy or difficult it would be to change the IT strategy;
                  • Analyze hardware or software vulnerabilities and limitations; and
                  • Project future budgets and technical requirements; and more.

                  While CIOs should incorporate CIO dashboards into their workflows right now, they must also consider future needs. By discussing their options with a data analytics firm, CIOs can maximize the use and ROI of this technology.

                  Are you looking for an easy way to manage your IT staff and make better data-driven decisions? Contact Tek Leaders today to learn more about our dashboard services. Our team of Power BI experts can build a custom CIO dashboard that tracks data in real time and can predict the outcomes of your decisions. To get a free audit of your current IT strategy, you can reach us by email directly.

                  Author: Devender (Dev) Aerrabolu

                  Devender (Dev) Reddy Aerrabolu is the CEO of Tek Leaders. His goal is to help SMBs bring value from their data. Dev helped Tek Leaders grow from scratch into a $25 million enterprise by focusing on clients’ data needs.

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                  how-can-you-use-power-bi-for-production

                  How Can You Use Power BI for Production?

                  Production lines involve thousands of daily details. From assessing operational risk to calculating each product’s contribution margin per machine hour, product and operational managers need a simple tool to do it all.

                  Power BI for production is one of these streamlined tools. It lets managers create responsive dashboards for overseeing complex product portfolios and improving manufacturing efficiency.

                  In this guide, you’ll learn how to build a clever Power BI dashboard that includes all of the visuals and features needed to grapple with your production data.

                  Power BI for Production

                  Power BI is a visualization tool, but it can do more than just display data in a chart. You can also use the software to build custom production dashboards that display multiple pieces of information on a single page. This lets production managers see all of their data at a glance.

                  Power BI for production is a robust tool that lets managers see customer behavioral data alongside operational data. This helps them make better decisions about how to manufacture products in the most efficient and customer-friendly way possible.

                  Managers who are short on time never have to hunt for customer surveys or balance production budgets by hand. Power BI automatically pulls data from an on-site source or cloud warehouse and generates compelling visuals in the dashboard. All the manager has to do is publish the results and invent an action plan.

                  Another benefit of Power BI production dashboards is that you can configure them to filter data you’d like to see at any given moment. Production managers can analyze operations at a specific plant or by product. They can also see which customers buy which products by comparing demographic information to average sales.

                  The goal is to find opportunities for your organization to grow and to refine products so that your customers are more satisfied with the results. It makes your passive data more actionable.

                  To use Power BI for production, you need to build a custom dashboard that fits your products, staff, manufacturing process, and customer base. This requires some knowledge of the Power BI system, but it’s fairly easy to learn, even with little-to-no experience with data analysis and visuals.

                  Building an In-Depth Production Dashboard 

                  Start by making a list of all of the data you currently collect on your customers, products, staff workflows, and manufacturing process.

                  You may not be able to include all of this information in a single dashboard, since cluttered dashboards are more difficult to navigate and use. Instead, you should build a few dashboards based around the insights you need.

                  For example, customer demographic information and satisfaction ratings can be used to determine:

                  • The customers’ average interest in a product by location, age, sex, or income. You can use a heat map or pie chart to analyze this information.
                  • How long it takes your customers to move through the sales funnel. Using a Gantt chart, you can create a set of milestones for staff as they guide customers through the funnel. You can compare how long it takes customers to move through each step for continuous improvement.
                  • Patterns in customer satisfaction ratings. You can’t please everyone, but if multiple customers are complaining about the same thing, it’s a sign you need to improve your product. Power BI’s color-coded bar charts can show what percentage of customers were satisfied with a particular aspect of a product compared to those who were dissatisfied.

                  By breaking these insights up into three different dashboards, you can drill down to the information that really matters to you. In general, managers should focus all of their dashboards around one of three central aspects:

                  1. Internal operations, including staff schedules, budget, manufacturing details, plant performance, and materials.
                  2. Market analysis such as competitor market shares, industry trends, and product compliance regulations.
                  3. Customer relations, including satisfaction scores, pain points that aren’t currently being addressed, and target audience analysis.

                  You should have at least one dashboard for each of these three aspects. This helps you to stay on top of all of the details that matter and to lead your team in the right direction.

                  Making a custom dashboard in Power BI isn’t always as easy as it first appears. If you’re unsure which visuals to use to present your information in the clearest way possible, then building a dashboard may be a struggle.

                  The Best Way to Use Power BI for Production 

                  The best method for using Power BI for production is to hire a data analytics firm to help you create dashboards from scratch.

                  Many of these firms partner with Power BI to help production managers visualize their data. They start with questions about your workflow and responsibilities. Data scientists look carefully at the type of data you collect and offer suggestions on how to improve it. They may suggest  collecting additional data for better results. The result is a series of dashboards that analyze and display your data from multiple perspectives. Data analytics firms also check in with you periodically to ensure that the system is working well, and to make adjustments as needed.

                  Data experts know how to collect and report actionable data. They can take the vaguest production goals and translate them into detailed and user-friendly analytics.

                  Hiring experts is a must if you want to do more than just visualize your data. Power BI can only display your data in charts and graphs. It can’t dive deeply into the information to identify hidden patterns, or project results based on predictive modeling.

                  A data analytics firm can combine these features in your Power BI visual dashboards. From a single location or portal, you can quickly generate visuals based on existing data or generate visualizations of future outcomes. You can predict what may happen if you make a change to your production line or introduce a new product. You’ll no longer take a shot in the dark and hope for a positive result. You’ll know.

                  Contact Tek Leaders to learn more about how you can use Power BI for production. Our data analytics experts will help you create effective dashboards and integrate them into a secure, user-friendly portal for complete production line management. If you have more questions about our tools and services, you can reach us by email directly.

                  Author: Devender (Dev) Aerrabolu

                  Devender (Dev) Reddy Aerrabolu is the CEO of Tek Leaders. His goal is to help SMBs bring value from their data. Dev helped Tek Leaders grow from scratch into a $25 million enterprise by focusing on clients’ data needs.

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                  should-you-use-power-bi-for-predictive-analytics

                  Should You Use Power BI for Predictive Analytics?

                  How risky is that business loan? Should your company add another branch in a new location? When will your stakeholders make a return on their investments in your company? Predictive data analysis answers questions like these, using historical data to make reliable forecasts.

                  To make the most accurate predictions, you’ll need a powerful statistical data analysis tool. Power BI for predictive analytics lets you assess trends and forecasts visually for a glimpse into your company’s future.

                  Can You Use Power BI for Predictive Analytics?

                  Predictive analytics is the process of analyzing big data, identifying patterns, and producing models that forecast future outcomes. There are many ways to perform predictive analytics. You could hire a statistical data scientist to manually create predictive models, or download predictive analytics software that uses machine learning algorithms to automatically process your data. 

                  But can you use visualization software like Power BI for predictive analytics as well? The answer is slightly complicated.

                  Power BI is a visualization platform for displaying your data in graphic form. It’s mainly used to generate visually-compelling reports and to look at your data from multiple perspectives. Its predictive modeling capabilities are pretty limited, particularly if you’re only using a standard Power BI Pro or Premium license and no other tools. Power BI cannot perform any predictive analysis on its own. It can only display the data it’s given.

                  However, Power BI can be adapted to perform advanced predictive analytics. You just have to connect it with a more robust analytics tool first. Once you have a comprehensive predictive analytics system up and running, you’ll be able to make very accurate models from your data and present them in stunning visual form.

                  How to Use Power BI for Predictive Analytics 

                  If you want to use Power BI for predictive analytics, you must link your Power BI account to another predictive data analytics tool. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use Power BI and Microsoft’s Azure software in tandem.

                  Azure is a cloud computing system that stores and analyzes big data. The platform includes multiple tools, one of which is Azure Machine Learning Studio. This tool uses machine learning algorithms to identify patterns and make predictions about future trends. It also learns from your past data to make more reliable forecasts every time you use the system. To tie an Azure account to a Power BI account, you can:

                  1. Connect Azure to your data source or store your data in the Azure system
                  2. Drag your data sets or modules into Azure’s predictive model creator
                  3. Give Power BI permission to access the models and send this data through Power BI
                  4. Generate visuals of the models using one or more of the visuals available in the Power BI gallery.

                  You are essentially analyzing the data twice. During the first round, Azure runs the data through machine learning algorithms based on the type of predictions you want to make (e.g. budget forecasts or market projections). Once this process is complete, you’re left with a new set of data like any other you would upload to Power BI. The only difference is that this data is predictive rather than historical.

                  What makes this system so effective is that it combines the power of predictive modeling with user-friendly visual aids. Most laypeople struggle to read and understand complicated predictive models. They need charts or other graphics to help them make sense of the information. Power BI offers some of the most compelling, detailed, and polished visuals on the market. When you use Power BI, your predictions will not only be trustworthy, but they will also be easy to share with your entire organization.

                  Is Power BI and Azure the Best Predictive Analytics System? 

                  Although a combination of Azure and Power BI for predictive analytics is a dependable system, it may not be the best option for every organization. The main problem with using Power BI for predictive analytics is that someone on your team will need to be familiar with the R programming language and the Azure platform.

                  First, you have to access your data from Azure SQL and then use R to extract this data. Next, you must send this data to the Azure ML web service so that it can score the data. From here, you’ll send the data back through Azure SQL and use R once again to send this data to Power BI’s system. Once you’ve reached this point, just publish the data to Power BI and refresh the data through the gateway. Now all that’s left to do is to generate visuals.

                  If you’re unfamiliar with R programming and Azure,this process is far from simple. It’s also quite time-consuming, even for those who know their way around R and Azure. You’ll have to repeat the entire process for every new prediction or model before you can start generating visuals and reports. This is why many organizations choose to hire third-party predictive analytics experts to build user-friendly systems customized to their workflows and needs.

                  The Benefits of a Custom Predictive Analytics System 

                  A custom predictive analytics system can automatically perform all of the tasks that Azure normally would, generating accurate models based on your historical data. To make this system, data experts ask which types of models you’d like to create and run your data through machine learning algorithms designed for those specific tasks. All of the predictive modeling is done for you. There’s no need to learn R commands or practice using the Azure platform.

                  These firms can also handle visualizations. Experts will build you a user-friendly dashboard where you can quickly generate Power BI visuals or other detailed graphics and charts at the touch of a button. Because your predictive models are already connected to this dashboard, making new visuals is lightning-fast.

                  Predictive analytics models are only useful if you keep them current and use them in your reports consistently. If they’re too difficult or time-consuming to create, then your managerial team will be less likely to create them— or to consult them when they make their decisions. By outsourcing this process to the experts, you’ll build a system anyone can use, with the most innovative predictive technology.


                  Do you want to make the most accurate business decisions possible? If so, contact Tek Leaders today. Our team of skilled predictive data analytics and machine learning experts will help you design an efficient system for modeling your data and creating compelling visuals to support it. If you want to learn more about using Power BI for predictive analytics, you can reach us by email directly.

                  Author: Devender (Dev) Aerrabolu

                  Devender (Dev) Reddy Aerrabolu is the CEO of Tek Leaders. His goal is to help SMBs bring value from their data. Dev helped Tek Leaders grow from scratch into a $25 million enterprise by focusing on clients’ data needs.

                  October 15, 2019

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                  power-bis-marketing-dashboards

                  Power BI’s Marketing Dashboards: Should Your CMO Use Them?


                  Detailed data analysis
                   and modern business intelligence (BI) tools help CMOs create proactive strategies that drive sales and guide customers through the sales funnel quickly and painlessly.

                  Many of the most knowledgeable Chief Marketing Officers use Power BI marketing dashboards to manage it all. This cloud-based visualization tool takes complex sets of marketing and customer data and distills them into insightful graphics for use in report generation and strategizing.

                  But is this really the best tool for CMOs, or are there better options? Let’s look at all of the pros and cons.

                  What is a Power BI Marketing Dashboard? 

                  Microsoft’s Power BI is a system of visual aids and data analysis tools that users can generate and view in the cloud. What makes this such a compelling tool for CMOs is that it’s very customizable and open-ended. CMOs have access to an enormous gallery of visual templates, many of which are designed specifically for tracking marketing strategies, customer behavior, and sales. All the CMO has to do is upload the organization’s data into the system and select the visual aids they find most useful.

                  A Power BI marketing dashboard takes this process to the next level. It lets CMOs generate multiple visuals on a single page so that they can view their entire marketing strategy at a glance.

                  In Power BI, you can choose to either generate one visual or report at a time, or to build your own custom dashboard that includes multiple graphics and data filters. The look and function of Power BI marketing dashboards varies based on personal preference. Some CMOs may need separate dashboards for digital marketing vs. other channels, as the metrics the visuals display are very different.

                  However, to make and use a Power BI marketing dashboard, CMOs first need to be familiar with the Power BI system and also must learn how to design these dashboards so that they display every visual properly.

                  How to Build a Power BI Marketing Dashboard

                  To create a customizable Power BI marketing dashboard, CMOs need a Power BI Pro or Premium license. This lets create new dashboards and share them with others in the organization. Another benefit of having a Pro or Premium license is that CMOs can upload more data to the system, meaning their visuals will be more detailed and accurate.

                  After signing up for Power BI, CMOs can then follow these steps to set up their own Power BI marketing dashboard:

                  1. Give Power BI permission to access and upload the organization’s data.
                  2. Generate reports for each data set and publish the reports to the Power BI platform.
                  3. Select the Dashboard option from the Power BI homepage and create a new dashboard.
                  4. Go back to the homepage and click on Reports and then Edit Report.
                  5. Generate marketing visuals based on the data in the report; you can select these from the visual gallery and customize them to fit your needs.
                  6. After the visual is complete, hover over the visual and select the Add to Dashboard option (the thumbtack icon).
                  7. Go back to the dashboard editor and move the visuals around the page as needed.
                  8. Publish and share the dashboard with your peers or use it to come up with new marketing strategies.

                  Which visuals should the CMO include in the dashboard? It depends on the CMO’s needs at any given time. Some possibilities:

                  • Overall marketing strategy: A simple flowchart will show what you plan on doing to improve the organization’s marketing strategy moving forward. You can also use Gannt charts to track your progress and document important milestones.
                  • Sales funnels: Use visual aids to show how your customers move through the sales funnel and identify areas that need improvement.
                  • Target market and demographics: Generate pie charts and other visuals that identify who your target audience is and whether you should start targeting other customers.
                  • Industry shares and competitor comparisons: Analyze how the organization is performing vs. its competitors using detailed comparison visuals. You can then use this information to either improve your marketing strategy or advertise your organization’s advantages over competitors.
                  • Marketing channels and advertising: Use charts and other visual aids to determine which advertising channels have the best results so you can focus on spending time and resources on the most successful strategies.
                  • Budget: Analyze your marketing budget from multiple perspectives using Power BI’s many budget tracking visuals.

                  With so many options, a Power BI marketing dashboard is a dynamic and valuable tool for CMOs. However, there are also a few downsides to using Power BI to create marketing strategies, so keep this in mind before you rely too heavily on the system.

                  Are Power BI Marketing Dashboards the Best Tool for CMOs?

                  A Power BI marketing dashboard is designed for CMOs who already know which metrics they want to track and which visual aids will best display these metrics. Ideally, the CMO will also be familiar with how to build a dashboard in Power BI and arrange the graphics in a way that is both visually compelling and informative.

                  The main problem with Power BI marketing dashboards is that they are too open-ended for some users. Many CMOs don’t have graphic design or data science backgrounds, so they may be unsure of exactly which visuals to include in the dashboard and how to arrange them in a way that makes the most sense.

                  Another limitation of a Power BI marketing dashboard is that it’s not capable of performing very detailed data analysis or handling large sets of data. If a CMO wanted to assess the risk of a proposed promotional sale, Power BI’s visuals aren’t the best tools for this type of risk modeling. The CMO would need a system that also uses machine learning to generate predictive models and translate them into visual form.

                  The Dashboard CMOs Should Use Instead 

                  One alternative to Power BI marketing dashboards is a custom dashboard built by data scientists with experience in data analysis for marketing, including predictive modeling. Unlike a Power BI dashboard, which can only display the visuals offered in the Power BI gallery, a custom dashboard can include Power BI visuals as well as visuals from other tools like Tableau. A data analytics firm will also integrate machine learning algorithms into the system so that CMOs can accurately predict the outcome of various marketing campaigns.

                  Data scientists help you migrate to a cloud storage system for all of your data as well, so that the custom dashboard can access everything—the custom dashboard can process far more data than Power BI. This means that your marketing strategy will be based on the entire picture, not just a slice of it. 

                  By hiring a data analytics firm to build a custom dashboard of visuals and other marketing aids, organizations can provide the marketing team with the innovative tools they need to grow the company’s share of the industry. CMOs will find the perfect strategy to capture customer attention and strengthen the company’s brand.


                  If you’re a CMO looking for a powerful way to create forward-thinking strategies, contact Tek Leaders today. Our team of data scientists will ask about your workflow and goals, then design a custom dashboard you can use to generate visuals and keep your team on track. If you’re curious about how a Power BI dashboard compares to our customized dashboards, you can reach us by email directly.

                  Author: Devender (Dev) Aerrabolu

                  Devender (Dev) Reddy Aerrabolu is the CEO of Tek Leaders. His goal is to help SMBs bring value from their data. Dev helped Tek Leaders grow from scratch into a $25 million enterprise by focusing on clients’ data needs.

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                  Can You Use Power BI for Project Management?

                  Organizations are demanding more of their project managers than ever. Many organizations are looking for managers who are up to date with the latest technology and can complete projects at an accelerated pace with near-perfect efficiency. That’s a tough set of standards.

                  How can project managers keep up with these modern demands? Using Microsoft’s Power BI for project management, they can visualize their projects from a bird’s-eye view and see precisely what needs to be done to achieve these goals. To harness the strength of Power BI for project management, you’ll need to learn how to use this software to perform all of the tasks you need.

                  How to Use Power BI as a Project Management Tool

                  Power BI isn’t a project management tool per se. It’s first and foremost visualization software that generates engaging graphics and charts from sets of data.

                  For this reason, many managers aren’t even aware that they can use Power BI for project management. However, with some configuring, the software can make it easier to stay on top of tasks and keep everything organized.

                  Use Power BI’s Gantt Charts to Track Projects 

                  One way that you can use Power BI for project management is by creating visuals that assist with managerial tasks. For example, Power BI has detailed and customizable Gantt charts—a timeline bar chart that shows every step required to complete a project.

                  Using one of Power BI’s Gantt chart templates, you can add your own task names, start dates, and due dates (or projected completion dates) for multiple projects. You can also create more detailed charts with a percent completion for each individual task, phase, or project, which you can then share with upper management.

                  Gantt charts are essential for project managers because:

                    • The charts display important historical performance data that you can share with others in the company or with stakeholders. CEOs, CFOs, and investors often like to see proof of progress. These charts are a sleek and polished way to show them what your team has achieved. Power BI’s professional-looking visuals are designed to be used within the organization and for more formal presentations.
                    • You can analyze your progress at every stage and adjust future deadlines or staffing levels. If a team misses a deadline or isn’t making as much progress as expected, the chart will show you exactly how far behind they are. You’ll also be able to see whether other teams are further ahead and reassign a few employees to pick up the slack.
                    • The charts are easy to create. You can select a Gantt template from the visual gallery and start adding your data in moments, without fiddling with any formatting.
                    • You have control over who sees the information. You can make multiple charts to keep your teams focused. A comprehensive chart shows the entire project at a glance so that everyone sees how it’s progressing. You can then create discrete charts for individual teams so they can hit their own deadlines. With Power BI’s sharing capabilities, there’s no confusion over what everyone should be doing at any given moment.

                  View Other Power BI Visuals and Reports

                  You can also use Power BI for project management by looking at the shared visuals or reports your colleagues create with the software. For example, accountants may have their own Power BI visuals showing budget projections for the next two quarters. If the accounting department shares these visuals with you, then you can make sure your future projects fall within this projected budget. When you’re more informed of what’s happening at the organization at every level, you’re more likely to get your project proposals approved quickly.

                  Power BI works so well for project management because it gathers all of the organization’s data in one place. This is important for project managers because data allows them to keep a finger on the pulse of the organization. By collecting and visualizing this data in Power BI, you’ll see everything from upper management’s big picture plans to individual employees’ progress reports.

                  The Limits of Power BI for Project Management 

                  Although you can and should use Power BI for project management, it’s not designed specifically for the task. You can’t rely Power BI by itself to manage your teams.

                  One limit of Power BI for project managers is that the standard visuals are relatively limited in features. You can’t program the Gantt chart to change the color or percent completion of individual tasks based on additional data or rules. If you wanted a specific task to turn green whenever another task is marked as complete, there’d be no simple option to do so with the standard Power BI Gantt templates. You would either have to design your own custom visual from scratch or use another tool like Excel that offers greater control over conditional formatting and data validation.

                  Power BI also can’t handle direct communications between team members. Data and visuals are shared across the organization, but project managers still have to train teams on how to find the information and stay updated.

                  For these reasons, this software should be part of a more comprehensive system of managerial tools.

                  Should You Use Power BI for Project Management? 

                  Using Power BI for project management can be a good move, as long as you have other software and systems to fill in the gaps.

                  Many project managers hire data experts to build custom management platforms and dashboards using a combination of Power BI and other software tools. These expertly-crafted systems operate as one-stop-shops for all of your managerial needs. You can:

                  • View reports from all of your subordinates; 
                  • Generate your own reports for upper management;
                  • Request resources from upper management, including budget and staffing needs; 
                  • Track subordinate schedules and performance over time; 
                  • Create Gantt charts and other project visualization aids; 
                  • Share information and assign tasks directly to your team in the cloud; 
                  • Prioritize projects and calculate risk using detailed data analysis tools
                  • Perform audits of past projects to refine the system; and more.

                  You can access the platform or dashboard from your desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or phone. You can select any of the tools or options above, depending on what you need. Whether you want to see how a project is going on the Gantt chart or you want to create a new report for an upcoming meeting with the CEO, you can perform these tasks in moments.

                  Moreover, because the platform is built around your workflow and preferences by expert data scientists and programmers, you won’t spend hours learning how to use this new system. You’ll have more time to work with your teams in-person.

                  To lead a team and get projects done on time and under budget, managers need as much support as possible. A comprehensive platform like this which includes multiple visuals, data analytics, reporting, and communications tools will help project managers steer their teams in the right direction.


                  If you’re looking for a comprehensive data and visualization management system, contact Tek Leaders today. We build customized platforms and dashboards to help managers organize large amounts of data and use it to improve project efficiency. If you have more questions about using Power BI for project management, you can reach us by email directly.

                  Author: Devender (Dev) Aerrabolu

                  Devender (Dev) Reddy Aerrabolu is the CEO of Tek Leaders. His goal is to help SMBs bring value from their data. Dev helped Tek Leaders grow from scratch into a $25 million enterprise by focusing on clients’ data needs.

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                  should-you-use-powerbi-and-azure-analysis-service

                  Should You Use Power BI and Azure Analysis Services?

                  Power BI and Azure Analysis Services are dynamic visualization and modeling tools that can help you generate key insights for your business. But are they the best systems for the job? In this guide, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of using these two systems in tandem, and offer essential tips on choosing the best data analysis tools for your business.

                  Power BI and Azure Analysis Services

                  What is Azure Analysis Services? 

                  Azure Analysis Services is a platform as a service (PaaS) offered by Microsoft. You can use it to generate and manage data models in the cloud. At its core, the service provides a semantic layer for your organization: It takes complex sets of data from a server or other storage source and breaks it down into models that are easy for a layperson to understand.

                  The service works by connecting to a data source, usually the SQL Server, a Microsoft-operated data management system. From here, it creates custom models based on what you would like to test or predict. Microsoft offers three different tiers of Azure Analysis Services that each connect with a different SQL Server and have a different uses for your business:

                  • Developer tier: This connects with the SQL Server Developer edition. You can use it to develop basic test models. However, you’re limited by low processing power and reduced Query Processing Units (QPUs)—a metric for measuring current compute load capacity. You’re also only alloted three gigabytes of memory.
                  • Basic tier: This connects with the SQL Server Standard edition. Use it to create robust tabular models, ideal for production-focused data analysis. Within this tier, you can choose between a B1 or B2 service. The first offers 10 Gb of memory and the second offers 20 Gb of memory. Besides the memory limits, it also doesn’t support multiple partitions or perspectives.
                  • Standard tier: This is used for advanced data modeling, and connects with the SQL Server Enterprise edition. It can handle flexible data models, real time updates, and multiple users. This tier includes six subtiers that vary in cost and complexity. The higher the sub-tier is, the faster the processing power and larger the memory limit. The highest sub-tier, S9, supports 400 Gb of memory.

                  All of these tiers can also connect with Microsoft’s Power BI, a powerful data visualization tool. To generate the most detailed and user-friendly reports, you should use Power BI and Azure Analysis Services together.

                  Connecting Power BI to Azure Analysis Services 

                  When you connect Power BI with Azure Analysis Services, you’ll generate engaging visuals from Azure’s complex data models. There are four basic steps to this process:

                  1. Create a new model in the Azure Analysis Services platform;
                  2. Sign into your Power BI desktop account;
                  3. Add the name of your Azure server in the Power BI desktop settings; and
                  4. Start generating new visuals based on the connected Azure Analysis Services model directly from the Power BI desktop app.

                  The combined services let you generate powerful visuals and share them with others quickly, without showing them the internal structure of the original data model.

                  Data models generated from Azure Analysis Services are both detailed and easy to understand. However, they’re not as visually-appealing or elegant as Power BI’s custom visuals. Your IT team or managers can use Azure Analysis Services to organize the data and generate accurate models. When you’re ready to share your results with your team or support important business decisions in a meeting with shareholders, you’ll use Power BI to break the model down into visual pieces that are even easier to digest.

                  Although Power BI and Azure Analysis Services help you find out precisely what your data means, the systems also have a few limitations.

                  The Cost of Power BI and Azure Analysis Services  

                  The main problem with using both Power BI and Azure Analysis Services is cost. While Power BI can be free, the Pro and Premium versions cost an additional $9.99 per user per month and $4,995 per resource per month, respectively.

                  As for Azure Analysis Services, pricing is assessed by the hour. Generally, you’ll pay an estimated: 

                  • $96 per month for the Developer tier;
                  • Between $313 and $627 per month for the Basic tier; and
                  • Between $591 to $5,920 per month for the Standard tier.

                  Your precise costs depend on which sub-tier you purchase, how often you use the system, and where you are located. 

                  If you also sign up for a SQL Server license, your monthly costs may increase even more. Developer and Express SQL Servers are both free. However, you can only use them for testing and development. If you want full data intelligence capabilities, including data governance and greater cloud storage security, then you have to buy an Enterprise or Standard SQL Server license. 

                  To do so, you must license the server and buy a separate Client Access License (CAL) for every individual user. The Standard server license costs $931 and each CAL costs $209. Or, you can license processor cores, with a minimum of four cores per server. Just one Enterprise processor core costs $7,128. One Standard core costs $1,859. 

                  It all adds up quickly, particularly if you’re planning on buying Power BI Pro or Premium along with Standard Azure Analysis Services and an Enterprise SQL Server license. While this would give you full control over your data and let you generate powerful insights, it’s not the most cost-effective choice for many businesses.

                  Should You Use Power BI and Azure Analysis Services?

                  Using Power BI and Azure Analysis Services is the right choice for businesses that can afford the upper-tier licenses or only need to use the low-cost versions of each tool (e.g. the Developer tier of Azure Analysis Services or Power BI Pro) for just a handful of users. It may be out of the price range for smaller businesses or those that require advanced data analysis and increased data security. 

                  You can get all of the same advanced data analytics by hiring a third-party data analysis provider instead. These data analytics firms provide:

                  • Data modeling, including support for tabular models and real time updates;
                  • Detailed and beautiful visualizations that connect to these data models; 
                  • A user-friendly portal from which you can generate models, visuals, and reports; 
                  • Cloud storage and computing from an off-premise server; and
                  • Reliable data security, including encryption and user authorizations.

                  All of this comes at a comparably lower cost, depending on the vendor you choose and your organization’s specific needs. You also won’t have to buy core processors or manage any servers yourself.

                  Another benefit of hiring a third-party firm is that the process is less complicated and time-consuming compared with using Power BI and Azure Analysis Services in tandem. A third-party firm saves you from having to find the right system for your needs. Sifting through the various versions and tiers of Power BI, Azure Analysis Services, and the SQL Server is a challenge for many business owners, especially those without in-depth data science knowledge. Letting specialists do the job means no one needs to learn all of these separate systems or connect them manually.

                  When you hire a data analytics firm, you simply tell them what you want to learn from your data and their team of data scientists will create the right models, visuals, and dashboards for your needs. They’ll also help you migrate your data storage system to the cloud safely and seamlessly. With their help, you’ll create insightful data models and compelling visuals at the touch of a button.


                  To create the most accurate data models and visuals, contact Tek Leaders. We provide our clients with all of the tools they need to gain valuable insights from their data, including advanced data analytics tools, predictive modeling, visualizations, reports, data governance, secure storage, and more. If you have more questions about how our services compare with Power BI and Azure Analysis Services, you can reach us by email directly.

                  Author: Devender (Dev) Aerrabolu

                  Devender (Dev) Reddy Aerrabolu is the CEO of Tek Leaders. His goal is to help SMBs bring value from their data. Dev helped Tek Leaders grow from scratch into a $25 million enterprise by focusing on clients’ data needs.

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