Insights in Power BI vs Excel

Today’s organizations deal with enormous amounts of data. Analyzing that data is a key to better performance and valuable business insights. What’s the best approach? Although Excel is useful for insight into early, raw data, Microsoft Power BI is more of a business intelligence tool that helps users visualize data from multiple sources

Here’s a rundown of the main benefits of Power BI over Excel.

What Power BI Does that Excel Can’t

Data Volume and Simplicity
Power BI can handle huge volumes and varieties of data, subject to design and environmental constraints. Tables can be loaded and correlated based upon communal fields. The Power Query Editor and the Data Modelling sections have easy-to-use, intuitive interfaces.

Data Connectivity and Auto-Refresh
Reports can be connected with heterogeneous data sources (discrete databases), infrastructure (on-prem, cloud), social media, CRMs, and the like far more efficiently with Power BI. The time consumed by the ODBC Driver of Excel for data import is at the high end compared with Power BI Workbook.

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

Reports and Cross-Filtering
Users can develop graphic reports easily, ensuring visually-appealing, professional results.

Cross-filtering is not available in Excel, it is in Power BI. This allows users to decide the flow for filtering data between tables.

Alerts and Emails
Once a dashboard is created, email alerts can be set up on KPIs eg, alert when inventory falls down, Creation of such alert and triggering an email when a condition is met is made very simpler. Where in Excel, we have to create macros using the VBA editor for sending an email or a reminder.

Other Features

Natural Language Query
NLQ lets users get answers through Power BI Service. This feature is useful to users who aren’t familiar with data models and have no time to play with reports.

Row Level Security
Adding Row Level Security (RLS) is a challenge in Excel. With Power BI, even non-coders can add RLS for different groups. RLS can be implemented to ensure that employees can only see data relevant to their local geography.

Download and Export of Dashboards
Users can download dashboards or export the reports to PowerPoint, PDF, or printers.

Power BI, Excel, or Both?

A data-driven world demands an efficient, effective data analytics tool. Companies are clamoring for data visualization and to do away with tabular reports containing hundreds of pages of numbers.

Business users can use Power BI without having to ask IT to analyze their data. Automation of dataset integration, ease of expansion into new data sources, rapid visualizations, and easily-deployable Row Level Security all make Power BI a necessity

To improve your data organization and analytics, contact Tek Leaders today. We create custom data storage, analysis, and visualization systems based on individual workflows and business strategies. If you have questions about how to use Power BI merge queries and other data analysis tools more effectively, you can reach us by email directly.

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Power BI Merge Queries vs Merge Queries as New

Microsoft’s Power BI is more than just a data visualization platform. You can also use it to perform deeper analysis and organize your data. One of its most useful analytics and organization options is the Power BI merge query. This tool enables you to merge multiple queries (or tables) to find connections between different data sets and reduce the number of tables you have to manage. You can look at your data from new perspectives.

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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.

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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: 

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.

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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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: 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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