Data Visualization and Power Business Intelligence (Power BI)

Data Visualization and Power Business Intelligence


What is Data Visualization?

Every day a huge amount of data is generated. This data can even vary in nature and structure. A business, for example, can have data on sales revenue, marketing performance, customer interactions, inventory levels, production metrics, staffing levels, costs, etc. But with so much data to sift through, it can be difficult for people to see the story it tells. Data visualization helps you turn all that granular data into easily understood, visually compelling—and useful—business information. Data visualization is the graphical representation of information and data. By using visual elements like charts, graphs, and maps, data visualization tools provide an accessible way to see and understand trends, outliers, and
patterns in data. In the world of Big Data, data visualization tools and technologies are essential to analyse massive amounts of information and make data-driven decisions.

Hidden within your data lie important insights that can help drive the business forward. But the challenge is that you can’t always connect the dots by looking at raw numbers alone. When you look at your data presented in a visual format, patterns, connections, and other insights emerge that would otherwise remain out of sight.

Data Visualization Examples

Our eyes are drawn to colours and patterns. We can quickly identify red from blue, and a square from a circle. Our culture is visual, including everything from art and advertisements to TV and movies. Data visualization is another form of visual art that grabs our interest and keeps our eyes on the message. When we see a chart, we quickly see trends and outliers. If we can see something, we internalize it quickly. It’s storytelling with a purpose. If you’ve ever stared at a massive spreadsheet of data and couldn’t see a trend, you know how much more effective a visualization can be. It’s hard to think of a professional industry that doesn’t benefit from making data more understandable. 

Every STEM field benefits from understanding data —and so do fields in government, finance, marketing, history, consumer goods, service industries, education, sports, and so on. While we always increasing talk about data visualization there are practical, real-life applications that are undeniable. And, since visualization is so prolific, it’s also one of the most useful professional skills to develop. The better you can convey your points visually, whether in a dashboard or a slide deck, the better you can leverage that information. Skill sets are changing to accommodate a data-driven world. It is increasingly valuable for professionals to be able to use data to make decisions and use visuals to tell stories of when data informs the who, what, when, where, and how. While traditional education typically draws a distinct line between creative storytelling and technical analysis, the modern professional world also values those who can cross between the two. 

Best Data Visualization Tools

Today, data visualization tools run the gamut from free versions you can access with a browser to feature-rich platforms that integrate with a wide variety of mainstream business applications. One such tool is Power BI, an interactive data visualization software product developed by Microsoft with a primary focus on business intelligence (BI). Power BI offers cloud-based services for interactive visualizations with a simple interface for end-users to create their own reports and dashboards.

Power BI was first conceptualized by Ruler and Dhers Netz of the SQL server coverage services team at Microsoft. It was further designed by West Chadic George in the year 2010 and named Project Crescent. In 2011, It was bundled with SQL Server Codenamed Mount McKinley. Microsoft unveiled the first preview to Power BI in September 2014. And finally, the first version of Power BI was released on 24 July 2015. It was based on Excel Based Add-ins like Power Query, Pivot, view, and Map. Today Power BI comes across as one of the most powerful and efficient data visualization and analytical tool. Some of the many advantages it offers include pre-built dashboards, real-time updates, secure and reliable connection to your data sources in the cloud or on-premises, integration with both Python and R coding, etc. Moreover, it is backed by artificial intelligence and machine learning.

This tool, however, currently has some disadvantages in terms of sharing the reports made and certain types not being compatible with it. These are likely to be overcome in the future as Power BI is further developed.

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