Microsoft Power BI, offering small businesses the opportunity to compete with the enterprise-level corporation

Power BI

Power BI, how to level the playing field for your small business.

Small to medium-size businesses often struggle with implementing company-wide analysis programs due to the high cost associated with big data reporting and assessment. In the past, these types of planning software packages required lots of money to purchase and roll out. On top of that, a business owner had to spend money on training someone to be able to read and interpret the information provided.

Microsoft Power BI, offering the same level of performance analytics the big companies use for a fraction of the cost.

Power BI is a cloud-based, business data analysis application. Geared specifically for the small to medium business, Power BI makes big data analytics available to the business owner at a fraction of the cost of other resource tracking/planning softwares. No matter the size of your company, the importance of big data and programs that analyze it correctly is essential. Collecting, assessing, and interpreting data from all pertinent business activities is the way to move your company forward quickly. From sales to production, manufacturing and delivery, Power BI gathers information from all departments on a daily basis, then presents that information to the user.

Easy to use, easy to understand.

Power BI implements a series of user-friendly dashboards and color-coded spread sheets designed to be user friendly and easily understood. By connecting users to a broad scope of data pertaining to all aspects of their business, it allows for rapid analysis and the ability to focus on areas of concern immediately. Power BI runs the analytics daily, there is never a lag time for fresh data.

Top benefits of Power BI.

  • Your data belongs to you. No longer do you have outside companies storing your data and providing it only after a lengthy request Your marketing data, lead and website tracking data, sales data are all kept in-house and available at the touch of a key. This kind of “information immediacy” and internal resource tracking allows your company to make quicker decisions, resulting in faster turn-around and reduced costs. With Power BI you own the data, you mine it yourself and perform the analysis of that information on-site and in-house.
  • For a small business to stay competitive and ahead of the curve requires quick responses on important business decisions. From determining the best products to carry based on market analysis to selecting the best suppliers based on cost and quality analysis, quick decisions are key. The faster an informed decision is made, the sooner you can move product to market. Power BI gives your company the back-story on all data interpreted with the express intent of helping you make the right decision. When you know which markets are growing and where demand is flourishing, you can take advantage of that dynamic instantly.

Because Power BI runs its analytics daily, any deviation in performance will be reported to you. Whether it be marketing shifts, sales force lulls or inventory movement above and beyond regular patterns When you are made aware of an issue at the moment it occurs, you can focus your energies more closely on resolving an issue. Being this agile and resilient in the milieu of a small business is key to success.

  • Low- Cost.Power BI offers “enterprise- level” data analysis at a fraction of the cost. Because it is a cloud-based service you pay a low monthly fee and enjoy all the benefits the big companies pay thousands for. As a small business, anything you can leverage to enhance your bottom line helps you stay competitive.

Summary.

Big data; collection and analysis is no longer reserved for the larger companies. Smaller companies need to take advantage of every resource they can in order to stay competitive in the modern business world. Power BI was created with small to medium sized businesses in mind to level the playing field. When you are ready to move your company into the data fast-track please contact us.


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.


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.

 


An Introduction to PowerBI

An Introduction to PowerBI

 

In his TechRepublic article, “Microsoft Power BI Brings Big Data to the Little Guys,” Tony Bradley neatly describes Power BI :

 

“Power BI enables users to search data within their own network, or access data from public sources. Users can query in plain English and easily convert the results into interactive charts or maps to put it into context that can help guide business decisions.”

 

Microsoft originally launched Power BI as part of Office 365 in July 2013.  In late July this year, it became generally available and by that time had gained 45,000 users in 185 countries.   The July updates included“new chart types, a refreshed desktop application, and support for collaboration in groups on shared sets of data.”  Microsoft Corporate Vice President James Phillips said that once the service reached general availability, the pace of launching new features would increase.  In fact, Microsoft is adding new features weekly.  Phillips also said that soon Microsoft Power BI will “offer the ability to make custom visualizations.” 

 

The major advantage of Power BI over competition in analytics products is the ease of use.  “A major point of pride at Microsoft is that you can get started and get productive within 5 minutes of creating your Power BI account, creating charts and “slicing and dicing” your business data in cool and interesting ways …”

 

Trek Bicycle availed itself to the benefits of using Power BI.  David Peterson, Enterprise Collaboration Manager at Trek began using “a Microsoft Power BI workbook daily as a way to efficiently manage and track Helpdesk activity and customer service requests, including how many customer “tickets” – customer requests – are open and for how long.”  With the visual help of charts and graphs, he was able to view his data in a way that increased his reaction time.  This greatly accelerated his ability to make his team more efficient and productive.

 

MaxQ Technologies, Inc. would like to hear any questions you may have about Power BI or any other services, so please, contact us. Thanks.