What’s So Special About Power BI?

In previous blogs we showed how businesses were benefiting from Power BI in ways that were not possible previously.

What makes Power BI such a revolutionary analytical solution are  technology innovations that were introduced in Excel.

As Gil Raviv notes, Power BI, Excel, and SQL Server Analysis Services share the same analytics engine, Power Pivot, which was introduced as the PowerPivot add-in to Excel 2010. Power Pivot, says Raviv, is “a game changer in self-service BI.”

High-Performance Engine

Power Pivot is based on an in-memory technology called VertiPaq, which arranges data into columns and compresses it to speed performance. In-memory computing speeds processing by storing data in RAM rather than on slower-performing disks.

As Microsoft explains, Power Pivot is a data modeling tool that works hand in hand with Power Query, a data extraction and transformation engine that began life as Data Explorer. Power Query enables you to discover, import, and merge data from any number of sources, while Power Pivot enables you to model, manipulate, and operate on the data you have imported.

Power Query can be embedded in Excel or the Power BI Desktop, and the tool can load a data set into an Excel spreadsheet or into Power Pivot for data modelling.

Power BI Ecosystem

The story gets even better. The tight integration between Power BI and Excel, which extends to Azure, Office 365, SQL Server, and other Microsoft technologies, creates an ecosystem that makes Power BI a flexible and formidable analytical tool.

Power BI and Excel also share the Data Analysis Expressions (DAX) language, which can be used to create formulas to operate on your data. DAX runs on top of the VertiPaq engine, whose official name is the “xVelocity in-memory Analytical Engine.”

You can apply DAX formulas to columns of data to perform calculations. For example, you can use DAX to calculate anticipated sales based on a percentage increase over last year’s sales, or to calculate sales rank or customer rank by sales. You also can perform time analysis functions such as year-to-date sales, actual sales vs. targeted sales, and current sales.

Automating Analyses

Power BI provides a host of features to simplify and speed up analytical operations. You can use Calculated Columns, which are formulas that are applied to joined columns of data. For example, you can calculate profits by joining sales and costs columns.

You also can use Measures, which are formulas that are applied dynamically to perform calculations as you interact with your reports. Measures are typically used to calculate aggregations such as average sales amount or average sales by region.

You can use Power BI to track your business’s sales and marketing performance by creating key performance indicators (KPIs) that enable you to evaluate the current value and status of a metric against a defined target. The KPIs can be updated automatically and the data can be visualized for easy understanding.

You also can use Power BI’s Quick Insights feature to evoke a machine learning engine that will instantly apply algorithms to your data sets to discover hidden insights such as correlations, outliers, and trends.

Data Visualization

Another core strength of Power BI is the tool’s data visualization capability.  As Gil Raviv notes, Microsoft built an HTML 5 compliant visualization engine for Power BI that can slice and dice data in any direction and provide visualizations of the results.

Besides enabling a myriad of visualizations out of the box, Power BI has a library of custom visualizations users can draw upon. This highlights another strength of Power BI: the large and growing user community that contributes to the ongoing innovation centered on Power BI as it evolves.

Advanced Analytics

Power BI accommodates a wide spectrum of users, enabling novice users to work at a basic level, while enabling more sophisticated users to work within the Power BI Desktop to employ formulas and perform complex calculations and analyses.

Power BI enables small and mid-size organizations to gain the advantages of advanced analytics that were beyond their scope in the past. This includes visualizing predictive analytics that can employed using Power BI linked to Microsoft Azure Machine Learning.

Predictive analytics can be used to optimize marketing and sales initiatives, such as predicting how customers will respond to new products, as well as helping to identify the best channels and messaging for campaigns. Machine learning can help identify potential customers, personalize marketing approaches, predict customer churn, and much more.

Real-Time Analytics

As Microsoft explains, Power BI also lets you access real-time information, which can be used to identify trends, optimize pricing, and take advantage of market opportunities that arise. Power BI and Azure Steam Analytics can be combined to create real-time IoT dashboards for monitoring sensors. Uses include tracking and monitoring instruments, devices, packages, greenhouse environments, market fluctuations, and real-time monitoring of machinery data streams that can be analyzed to predict failure.

Microsoft has done an excellent job of making it easy and affordable for non-technical users and power users to gain the benefits of enterprise-grade analytics. And with the continual contributions of the Power BI community, the story grows better day by day.

MaxQ Technologies provides state-of-the-art Power BI solutions and incorporates Power BI within advanced business solution suites. Contact us to learn more about Power BI and how your business could benefit from a Power BI solution.

 


Power BI Gives Businesses Super Powers

Since Microsoft’s Power BI launched as part of Office 365 in July 2013, it has evolved at a rapid pace and blossomed into a full-blown feature-rich modern business intelligence tool.

In July 2015, Power BI had 45,000 users worldwide. Today that number has grown to more than 5 million users.

What makes Power BI such a compelling business tool is a combination of strong data visualization capabilities, ease of use, and affordability (starting at free, with a Pro version priced at $10 per user per month). Moreover, Power BI can be accessed from the cloud, run as a desktop app, embedded in applications, integrated with other business planning tools, and optimized for mobile devices.

BI Barriers Fall

Years ago, obtaining the capabilities that Power BI provides required complex and expensive systems that had to be implemented by specially trained data scientists. A data scientist would develop a design concept and hope it would deliver the results you desired. Because of the cost, complexity, and specialized skill requirements, only the largest enterprises with the deepest pockets could afford these types of BI systems.

Power BI has changed the game, enabling small and midsize organizations to perform analyses and visualize data in ways that previously were prohibitively complex and expensive. Rather than the long development periods required to build these systems in the past (often weeks, months, and years), users can get accurate and actionable results in only a few hours. Moreover, real-time updates can be used to enable business managers to leverage a continual flow of insights.

Seeing how Power BI has been deployed by real-life companies shows the benefits that can be gained, as well as the ease and speed with which a Power BI application can be set up and immediately begin delivering useful insights.

Real-Time Insights Pay Dividends

Pizza Express in the UK was able to gain real-time insights and improve its business operations by deploying Power BI. As part of its strategy to expand worldwide, the company migrated all its data to the Azure cloud, created a data warehouse, and began using the data to make decisions based on its customers’ preferences.

Real-time monitoring comes from a tool called Event Stream that was built using Microsoft Event Hub and Data Factory. Besides giving managers an up-to-the-minute view of the business, it allows Pizza Express to track customer activity and make personalized offers. While in the past, building a tool like this would have been complex and time-consuming, Pizza Express was able to set it quickly using ready-made Microsoft tools.

Power BI has enabled Pizza Express to aggregate sales, customer, and operational data that used to reside in different places. The system enables the management team to combine all its key performance indicators (KPIs) to gain a comprehensive look at the company’s sales data, customer preferences, and profitability. Thirty regional managers can access the performance data on mobile devices to view results by region, area, and individual restaurant.

As Pizza Express IT director Siobhan Fagan noted, having precise information on demand means the company can be agile, decisive, and respond much better to its customers.

Better Management Through Power BI

The use of Power BI by Howell-Jones, a law firm in the UK, shows how not only law firms, but many types of agencies, can benefit from Power BI. As Howell-Jones operations director Chris Cato notes, personalized dashboards with complex data could be spun up in minutes by non-IT staff to deliver insights throughout the firm. Team leaders could use Power BI to manage caseloads across entire teams, distributing work to maximize collective output.

The Howell-Jones management team was able to generate high-level visual reports that were updated in real-time, which they could drill down into to analyze all aspects of the business, such as lawyer’s workloads, fees vs. targets, billable hours vs. targets, time from enquiry to billing, cross-department work referrals, and more. In addition, financial insights that previously were available exclusively to the management team could be surfaced and shared around the business.

The marketing team could see real-time inquiries and divert spending to take advantage of opportunities as they arose. The marketers also could drill into the data to refine their strategy based on the results of individual campaigns, how initiatives converted to new clients, and the lifetime value of marketing investments.

New Doors Open  

As these case studies show, Power BI is a game changer, making possible analyses and visualizations that had previously been too difficult and too expensive for most businesses. While the examples above involve the hospitality and legal sectors, the same techniques can be applied to any type of business to realize similar benefits.

We’ll continue looking at how Power BI is unlocking new possibilities across various industries in future posts.

MaxQ Technologies provides state-of-the-art Power BI solutions and incorporates Power BI within advanced business solution suites. Contact us to learn more about Power BI and how your business could benefit from a Power BI solution.

 

 


4 Ways the Cloud Improves Supply Chain Planning

Supply chain planning used to be more of a guessing game, relying on intuitive managers that, basically, had the inventory and sales data in their heads or on spreadsheets. Advancing technologies have been changing how business processes are: managed, planned, and accomplished – shifting thinking patterns from managing inventory and sales to managing functions and tools within ERP systems. 2017 seems to be the year when a balance will emerge more distinctly; let’s discuss this more by examining 4 ways the cloud improves supply chain planning.

#1. Automation:

Manufacturers and distributors have many working parts to manage within their enterprise systems, including supply chain planning. The real-time functionality of cloud based software brings continuous adjustments, and specified filters determine automated functions to streamline purchasing and order management.

Automatic updates to SaaS, IaaS, PaaS systems also help managers and IT departments focus on strategy, rather than managing systems and tools. Effective supply chain planning depends on real-time numbers from a continuously updated system, including: historical business intelligence, special projects, discounts, engineered to order products, vendor costs, and more.

#2. Enhanced Integration:

Cloud based subscription software is easier to integrate into enterprise systems and gives more functionality with add-ons. This enhanced integration brings more flexibility to businesses with supply chain planning. For instance, if there’s a need for an order management add-on or a custom software solution for a project.

There’s no one size fits all solution for manufacturers and distributors; each business has unique supply chain planning needs according to their: clients, products, systems, and compliance/regulation requirements. Enhanced integration capabilities with cloud based software helps businesses adopt necessary tools and functions with more agility.

#3. Predictive Business Intelligence:

Again, the cloud provides real-time automation, enhancing a business’s ability to predict supply chain patterns and needs. Human intelligence augmented with predictive business intelligence, brings the best of both worlds for supply chain planning.

Planning and strategy have always needed business intelligence from data analysis. User defined formulas combining: past history, present demand, material specifics, and customized options – give managers actionable insights into: inventory, sales, times, costs, and needs, with real-time availability and updates. This streamlines supply chain planning with more precise predictions.

#4. Enhanced Collaboration:

Supply chain planning is a team effort for nearly all manufacturers and distributors, involving: sales teams, warehouse teams, executives, vendors, clients, accounting departments, etc. Cloud based software enhances collaboration between team members anytime, anywhere, and with any digital device. This expands remote capabilities, creates continuous planning development, and gives more tools for collaboration methods.

Modern businesses are using mobile devices to their advantage, at home and at the work place. Remote accessibility is a distinct advantage businesses have when using cloud based software solutions, creating efficiency and flexibility in the supply chain planning process, which is often time sensitive.

Using the expanded capabilities of the Microsoft Dynamics platform, including CRM software, businesses will have multiple methods of collaborating during the supply chain planning process. Cloud capabilities will enhance these tools with remote and real-time functionality, enhancing collaboration methods and planning effectiveness.

Summary

Cloud based subscription software is simplifying business processes and adding functionality with centralized integration. For businesses and organizations with many moving parts and large fluctuating inventories to manage, this is streamlining day-to-day tasks, including supply chain planning.

 

Through automation, integration, BI, and mobile computing, managers now have optimal organizational tools with cloud based software solutions.

Max Q Technologies has certified expertise with Microsoft Dynamics and Acumatics products and can help manufacturers and distributors to: choose, implement, and manage the right software solutions for their unique business’s needs.

We also develop custom software solutions with top developers and industry expertise across all fields. We’re offering to be a comprehensive technology partner with nearly 30 years experience, for businesses that want to take advantage of cloud software for supply chain planning and more. If interested in learning more please contact us today.

 

 


Business Intelligence Software: Benefits to Combining Internal and External Data

Business Intelligence

Finding business intelligence software that gives you a complete picture of everything in your business isn’t always easy to find. It’s one reason maybe you’ve waited to invest in BI software, even though you’re realizing doing too much guesswork about business reality isn’t smart.

In today’s more competitive business climate, not knowing everything about your business can end up hurting you in the long run. All it takes is overlooking one tiny piece of information, and it could snowball into a bigger problem financially.

Going with a “gut feel” about your company should never be a way to envision the future. More so, when customers demand quicker responses in services you provide, you have to make quicker decisions.

BI brings all of this to you, frequently using real-time technology. The problem is that while you may have insight into internal issues, should you also look externally?

When you integrate an internal and external view of your company, you get a wider view since outside situations could directly affect what happens internally.

The Online World as an Outside Source

Placing the Internet into the business intelligence equation, you have a vast digital world to explore in how it affects your business. The challenge behind this is far too much BI software out there ignores data from the Internet.

So much is happening online you need to explore, including your own role in marketing. Social media alone has many areas to explore, including how your content performs there and how people interact during conversations. More so, you can get an idea of which social media channel works the best with your content so you eliminate the ones not working as well.

One danger about social media is spreading yourself too thin and not properly targeting the right demographics. BI can study metrics there, plus other places where you’re not directly involved. For instance, BI could scan industry message boards to see what people are talking about and if they happen to mention your company.

Exploring outside databases from financial or marketing research companies could bring deeper insights as well, though it’s not always easy to gather this or put in a readable form.

Remember, offline environments are just as valuable. Looking at variables out in the real world could end up shaping things more than anything you find online.

Using BI to Understand Nature

You may not think something as simple as the weather could apply to your business, and yet it can when it comes to something like logistics. Getting products delivered on time matters when related to weather.

Studying BI on weather patterns and other acts of nature gives you a better idea of how to prepare and the best days for deliveries.

Metrics on Populations in Specific Regions

As part of your marketing efforts, you want to know what regions to target if doing offline advertising. Looking at the analytics behind the populace you sell to gives you more variables on the neighborhoods they live in, what their incomes are, and even what crime statistics are.

All of these potentially give you deeper insight into the people you market to and how your products help them solve problems.

Socioeconomic Factors in Determining Business Success

If you own a brick-and-mortar business depending on in-person visitors, analyzing socioeconomic factors about your area determines what kind of customers you’ll attract.

Studying this before you even open your business doors gives you insight into where you should locate, or if you need to move to a different region.

Contact us at MaxQ Technologies, Inc. so we can help you with reliable business intelligence software in finding thorough data.


The Superb Combination of Power BI, IoT, and Azure Stream Analytics.

Power BI

If John Greenough, who is a Senior Research Analyst for BI (Business Insider) Intelligence is to be believed, there will be an astounding 24 billion devices comprising the IoT by the year 2020, according to an article by John Greenough and Jonathan Camhi titled How the ‘Internet of Things’ will affect the world.  This monumental development now in play is being called the next Industrial Revolution and is expected to generate $6 trillion worth of spending over the next 5 years.

For the business management or high-tech professional in the line of decision making the question naturally becomes, how is value generated from the use of hundreds, thousands, or even millions of sensors, from automated and internet-enabled machinery on assembly lines, in supply chains and throughout transportation networks, from continuous video feeds emanating from countless intelligent devices, etc.  A big part of the answer lies in turning all of this data into a form that the human mind can readily comprehend.  Herein lies the genius of Microsoft Power BI.

Power BI has about 5 million users and features excellent graphic visuals that turn live data into rich displays.  And Power BI just received an extremely useful and powerful update with the addition of Azure Stream Analytics, which acts as a bridge between Power BI and the IoT.  “By integrating Power BI, Microsoft’s business intelligence and analytics product, and Microsoft’s Azure Stream Analytics, it is now possible to create interactive, live dashboards that offer users an up-to-the-minute overview of their IoT device deployments,” according to a blog by apacciooutlook.com titled Azure Stream Analytics Integrates with Power BI; Converts IoT Data into Real-time Insights.

“Devices are becoming smarter and more connected, and the expectation of what can be done with the data generated and collected from these devices continues to evolve both in the commercial and consumer spaces. Whether you are doing health monitoring, building or home automation, social media analytics, application monitoring, energy management, manufacturing, etc., there are millions of events or messages being generated from devices from which you need to gain real-time insights,” according to comments derived from a speech by Dipanjan Banik, Bryan Hollar, Richard McCormack, Clemens Szyperski, and Todd Van Nurden titled Gaining Real-Time IoT Insights using Azure Stream Analytics, AzureML and PowerBI.  The devices which generate events or messages can include things like internet-intelligent sensors, tracking devices, and alerts in appliances and in machinery, to name but a few of the myriad possibilities.  Of course, there are intelligent cars, airplanes, and even entire ‘smart cities’ currently under development, with an untold number of internet-intelligent devices built-in.

One of the things that makes all of this up-to-the-minute information rendered in the graphical format of Power BI so great is that oftentimes problems can be spotted immediately, greatly shortening the response time.  Ryan CrawCour, a program manager at Microsoft Azure Stream Analytics, states:  “This (adding the power of Azure Stream Analytics to Power BI) will dramatically reduce the latency and time to action on your most important business metrics,” from an article by Pedro Hernandez titledMicrosoft Power BI Visualizes IoT Data From Azure Stream Analytics.  A good implementation can conceivably upload, process, analyse and display all manufacturing and other procedural data instantaneously, regardless of physical location.  So “Intelligent systems enable users to parse vast quantities of data from multiple disparate sources and then display the data visually in a way that helps business trends to stand out,” according to Brien Posey in an article titled Microsoft’s Power BI puts business users at forefront.

In the world of software development, APIs that feed data into Power BI are being built left and right, because “data is exploding and the ability to take that and do interesting things with it so you can provide more productive apps is the opportunity everyone wants to embrace,” according to James Phillips, here quoted in an article by Mary Branscombe titled Embedded Power BI Microsoft cloud apps could all turn into platforms.  Software developers like Carl de Souza, writing in an article titled Why I Love Power BI, Top 10 Reasons, love Power BI because of its ability to easily create great visualizations, share reports, run on a wide variety of mobile devices, refresh data according to schedule, and pull data from many different sources, among other great advantages.

The future is shaping up to be an amazing arena of great challenge as more billions of intelligent devices come online and the data continues to flood in at volumes that are so vast and from so many disparate sources that it boggles the human imagination.  Microsoft Power BI and Microsoft Azure Stream Analytics will continue to be right in the thick of this intense and unprecedented wave of development that’s poised to change the world forever.

For more information, please contact us.


Power BI embedded to offer greater compatibility, accessibility

Power BI

Microsoft’s youngest member of the company’s collection of programs for businesses, Power Business Intelligence (BI) will allow for integration into mobile applications.

Microsoft made this announcement during its build conference in San Francisco earlier this month. With the introduction of its embedded capable version of the software, the company hopes that more people, particularly application developers, will be able to use the software. This version will utilize the company’s Azure Stream Cloud service and it is targeted toward independent software vendors.

“You can now take the Power BI data visualization and reporting functionality, and directly integrate it within your own applications,” Scott Guthrie, executive VP of Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise business, said during the conference.

Power BI Embedded through the Azure Cloud would be priced in line with other applications that are currently available on the platform.

Power BI was introduced to the Office 365 platform in 2014. It supplies data analytics capabilities and users can create visualizations and data reports across their organization. Guthrie also noted during the conference that application developers can utilize the embedded version without having to require end users to be aware of the software as a part of their application experience.

According to Microsoft, there are approximately five million Power BI subscribers as of March of this year. With this announcement, the company anticipates that user base will grow as access increases.

MaxQ Technologies, Inc. specializes in reselling technological solutions for multiple industries including manufacturing, distribution, consumer goods and professional services. I Feel free to contact us for your business technology needs.

 


Power BI: Fixing Problems

Power BI

If you’re new to Power BI from Microsoft, then chances are good that you’re going to encounter some issues with using the program exactly the way you want. Here are some problems you may encounter as you make your way through the program, including some solutions as to how you can potentially solve them.

Lack of Access to Reports While on the Go

Power BI has been often thought of as primarily a desktop application. In general, the reports that Power BI generated was being read in a thoroughly immobile situation like at your office or in a conference room. But if you need to view reports on the go for whatever reason, the service has recently updated to allow for mobile reading.

It’s available in the Windows 10 mobile app as well as the app for iPhone and reports are that it will shortly appear in the Android app as well. In the app, this is accessible from the menu icon with three lines in the top left corner next to where it says “My workspace,” for example. This involves opening the tile when you’re in focus mode and then hitting the option to open the report you want.

Trouble Forecasting Sales

Using modern computing technology such as Microsoft BI to predict and manage sales is one of the more popular ways to use it. You can do this in Power BI using something called Cortana Analytics. According to the site, this gives you 95% accuracy when it comes to reporting. Once you activate the prediction you gain access to a number of different visualizations such as predictions per person in terms of money earnings so you can see a comparison.

Trouble Comparing Groups in Graphic Detail

There are plenty of tools for doing a very basic comparison between two groups, but if you want a visualization that has a significant amount of specificity. One option is to use the gap analysis visualization that was recently announced from Microsoft. The tool specifically helps show how two groups are different when it comes to multiple different traits and categorizations. That way, you can see instantly whether one group performed better in one particular category over another group, how much better the first group did in terms of the gap in performance, and so on.

This also includes the ability to organizing the gaps however you want, such as showing which category gap between the two groups was the largest.

PowerBI gap analysisDifficulty with Showing Shopping Behavior

Obviously, the crux of just about any business is going to be the shoppers or clients. In the case where shopping is done online or in another information-rich environment, it’s important to focus on the possibility of accurately depicting the behavior of the consumers of your products in visual form. After all, this is often useful for both intra-company external use. One option for doing this inside of Power BI is called the Sankey Bar Chart. The chart makes it easy to show important aspects of the process such as drop-off.

So, when you’re trying to figure out exactly where a major drop-off for your product is, this chart is useful. It works through a bar chart that quickly shows the difference between various stages of any process like your shopper’s user experience. Each of the bars will be connected since each of them represents a different part in the process. The connections between the bars will show what exactly is dropping off. That way, viewers can figure out what the problem is in their process and immediately put effort into correcting the issue. Creating value for viewers is the important thing in the process, after all.

PowerBI Sankey Bar Chart

Data integration Issues

If you’re having trouble figuring out how to easily get all of your data or the data of viewers into the program, one thing that you can now do as of approximately a year ago is combine Excel BI and Power BI Designer. Essentially, Excel is a program you can integrate with Power BI. If you have the 2013 version of the program, you can use Excel Workbooks to publish whatever you want right into Power BI. This also lets you share any analysis, data, or other types of visualizations with other people also using Power BI.

If it so happens that you don’t’ have a version of Excel such as Excel 2013, this doesn’t mean that you’re completely out of luck, however. You can instead use a similar reporter-creating tool inside of the software. It’s possible to import data from other sources this way directly and then model it and publish it straight to the service that Power BI provides.

Lack of Universal Data Access

Power BI now has the ability to allow you to access cloud services directly from it. So, if you previously had difficulty with importing and streaming data due to using a different program or a version of Power BI that didn’t work well with this, you will be able to use these new capabilities

Falling Behind Competitors Due to Time Lapse

Many options for metrics often have a lapse between when you first activate them and when they portray the metric. This is one of the advantages of Power BI, specifically that you can portray everything in real-time on your dashboard. It means that you can fix any issues that come up in your business exactly as they occur without a delay.

For more information on Power BI and related topics, please contact us today.

 


Power BI illustrates the path of progression through Microsoft Office on-the-go

In a world fueled by growth and progression, efficiency has been on the front lines of booming businesses for the past several years. When speed and efficiency count, PowerBI’s ability to display eye-catching visuals within Microsoft Office keeps you on track for what matters — the success of your company.

What’s new? With the January release of PowerBI mobile updates, the program becomes more user-friendly with not only Windows 10 users, but iOS users as well.

In a world where lugging around that heavy laptop for work outside the office becomes more obsolete due to the payload of advancing tablets, PowerBI’s decision to also advance their program’s tablet payload has been a well-received revision.

According to a recent WinBeta article, some of the iOS updates include things such as:

Real-time data support

No longer will the program need constant refreshing. It will do it on its own automatically so you can keep your focus wherever else it’s needed, and the updates are sent directly to your mobile device!

Offline Indicators

Rather than wondering why nothing is coming through to your mobile device only to discover you’ve lost connection, you will now receive a notification when the connection has been lost.

Indefinite access to cached data

Cached data will always be at the ready whenever you need to access it while offline.

Along with several others.

The PowerBI team has made great strides towards mobility, making their program more tablet friendly within the Windows 10 and iOS community. With stunning visuals and to-the-point data displays, this program is sure to propel any booming company in a positive direction. For more information, contact us.


Business Intelligence Software Trends to Watch for In 2016

Since technology is moving forward so quickly these days, it’s important to make sure you stay on top of it whenever a new year turns over. Business intelligence software is an area that’s particularly strongly influenced by new trends. Here are some trends coming up in the new year that you should take advantage of to ensure that your company doesn’t get left behind by competitors who make use of superior ways of analyzing, automating, and otherwise utilizing the inevitable new upgrades.

 

Self-service Data for Non-specialists

It’s a fact that people are demanding more and more immediate data access from the Internet due to many new people entering the workforce. The new arrivals to the workforce are going to be even more Internet-savvy and even more focused on the immediate access of data than ever before.

Not all businesses have dedicated analysts to figure out data. Many people are having to put on many hats at work these days. As a result, it’s going to be critical in 2016 for there to be the availability of data that’s easy to access and easy to understand even for those who don’t spend their lives doing this.

In other words, 2016 will be the year of the layman. Businesses that have internal structures for data analysis are going to have to adapt and find services that have an advanced UI that allows for easy entry. This basically means that the playing field will quickly become more equalized so that everything is easier to access for everyone.

Visualization Will Be Big

Obviously, pictures always have been and always will be important, including to BIS and analytics, but this is shaping up to be a big year for visualization. More and more organization are taking data and putting up in visual format to get a greater understanding out of it. This is an increasingly common trend among both experts in the field and those who aren’t It will likely continue into the new year.

It’s just a fact that the intense improvement of visualization in data will give those who use it a big picture advantage over those that don’t. It also helps with speed since you can often absorb data much more quickly if you need to make up or down type decisions. The more you work in an industry where this is the case, the more this trend can help you and the more you have to lose if you don’t make use of it.

Automation

The advancement of automation marches on and business information software is going to benefit. One of the main automation trends that will be increasing this year is combining analytics with automated actions. You’ll be able to use services and software that can analyze data trends and then perform simple actions based on the outcome of that analysis, automatically. After all, there are often situations where time is of the essence and if you’re confident enough in your analytics and the risk is worth it, automating tasks such as inventory replenishment could very well be worth it.

Getting constant reports automatically based on whatever parameters you set is another trend with BIS and automation that you can expect to continue as the year 2016 continues. Staying on top of market data in volatile industries such as the Tech Sector is going to be particularly important if your aim is to avoid being left behind.

Cross-platform Integration

The trend of different data sources of various media being totally separate is quickly changing. Everything is becoming integrated and combined. It’s tough to have a hundred different data sources since you often have to translate them from one form or file type into another in order to properly understand everything that’s happening. It’s going to be increasingly possible to combine and translate data sources with better and better integration methods.

Cloud Data and Analytics Synergizing

Companies are putting more of both analysis and data in general on the cloud. This makes everything easier to access and easier to integrate with all systems. For example, if you wanted to do an analysis of market trends put against information from your inventory or sales data, since both data sets can be stored on the cloud, integrating them and spinning out the results you want is going to get continually easier as time goes by, especially in 2016.

Mobile Analytics Becomes Its Own Category

In the past, people were combining the desktop and mobile analytics, always using one in the context of the other. But, due to the fact that mobile units are on the rise so much, there’s a good chance that mobile analytics is going to stand alone in 2016. Projections have mobile ad expenditure being at 40.5% in 2016 and this is projected to rise to over 65% by 2018.

Customers are using mobile more and more, and they are increasingly consuming more and more of the Internet through mobile devices, so advertisers are shifting their responses to match. This means that you should do the same if you want to stay competitive within your field, regardless of what it is. This applies both to being able to get analytics from mobile devices and also being able to analyze data from mobile transactions, such as those that relate to your inventory.

After all, there’s every reason to believe that those who purchase products or services from your online store using a mobile phone are going to be different than those who do so using a more traditional approach such as a desktop computer. The patterns are going to be different. They’re going to require a different approach to inventory control. For one thing, it’s likely that mobile users are going to make more split-second decisions than PC users. They may make more decisions based on impulse. Depending on how much of your business is based on impulse buys, it could make a lot of sense to have dedicated software and analytics for mobile. It’s now true that 80% of Internet users own a mobile device now, which also points in one direction.

Data from the Internet of Things on the Rise

Now, it won’t just be human actors that are tracked in terms of useable data. Physical objects are making their way onto the Internet and their trends can be tracked as well. This has plenty of implications for analytics and other business information software arenas such as inventory management. For example, if you can track how automatic web-connected objects are using resources, you can figure out how to tweak your own inventory in cases where they are connected. A refrigerator might connect to the Internet to automatically order more food when it detects its own is low, for example. If you have access to tracking this information and you’re a provider of this type of product, this information will be of use to you.

Overall, 2016 will be a great year of watching analytics combine with other new trends such as standalone mobile use and the Internet of things. It’s a good idea to get started on your strategies for conquering these trends now as a result.

For more information on BIS and other related topics, please contact us today. This will be the best method for getting a jump-start on the new year.


Our Answers to Your Power BI Questions

Power BI

If you have used Power BI, you have experienced the vibrant new avenue to streamlining data and finding opportunities to improve business daily. If you have not used Power BI to its fullest potential yet, or you are experiencing questions regarding the platform, MaxQ Technologies, Inc. specializes in finding solutions to your questions. We are here to provide support so your business can perform to its maximum capacity, so we have researched your Power BI questions to provide you with more insight into utilizing this product to its utmost ability.

How do Power BI and Power BI Pro differ?

As you have probably learned, Power BI is a new product that allows you to more easily and vividly organize your company’s data so you can visualize the trends and business tactics as they work. It provides a whole new level of organization so you can push business to a new plane of success. If you have heard of Power BI Pro, you may be wondering what this investment can do for your business that Power BI cannot. Power BI Pro also provides these vital new features while also offering more storage space (10GB instead of 1GB), live data control, hourly data updates instead of daily updates, and team collaboration using Office 365 Groups. These properties allow you to more easily interact with your data finds to grasp more control over the direction of your business. Find more differences between the two here.

 

Will Power BI work on my phone?

If you are trying to keep up to date with the latest changes in data, you may be wondering if Power BI is compatible with your mobile device. Power BI does have apps supported by Android, iOS, and Windows phones downloadable for free so you can more easily monitor business trends on the go.

 

What information do I need to install Power BI?

The free version of Power BI is available for use with just your Web browser and work email address. For more control over data visuals and report creation, you will need to download the Power BI Desktop– which is also free.

 

What data sources does Power BI connect to?

Data sources that work with Power BI are nearly endless. You can collaborate with data sources from Excel and other Microsoft platforms, Salesforce and similar service providers, Azure SQL Database, SQL Server Analysis Services, Office 365 groups, and some SSAS data sources depending on inherited privileges, in addition to many more. Keep in mind that access to some of these data sources is limited to Power BI Pro.

 

For more answers to your questions concerning using Power BI, contact us. We will find a solution to whatever your business data collection question may be.