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How to get the Most out of Power BI

This article discusses how you can combine the strengths of leading business intelligence and corporate performance management solutions to create easy-to-use, business dashboards and operational reports.

It’s an industry-known fact that 80% of creating impactful dashboards is not actually building the dashboard but collecting and organizing all the data sitting behind it.

Even if some CRM and ERP vendors claim that you get dashboards “out-of-the-box” because they have pre-built dashboards with direct links to their databases, this does not eliminate the fact that most organizations need to:

  • Combine multiple data sources for key dashboard charts or KPIs

  • Transform data (i.e. negative revenues from a GL does not look good in a chart!)

  • Enter budgets, forecasts or KPI targets to use along with actual data

So, what are some of the type of features and benefits that could help you get the most out of Power BI? This Microsoft technology quickly is becoming one of the world’s favorite business intelligence and dashboard solutions. A number of companies we have spoken to have expressed the following needs:

  • Faster implementations of Power BI

  • Easier implementations of Power BI

  • Less technical skills required to configure integrations and business rules

  • Model maintenance without having to call an expert

  • An easy way to combine and store data from multiple sources and then deliver it to Power BI

  • Additional features such as: Easy Data Input, Excel-formatted reports, currency conversion, etc.

While there are several good products on the market that solve some of these needs, Solver’s BI360 solution based in the Microsoft Azure cloud and its Power BI connector now covers all of them. Using BI360’s Gateway, ERP and CRM connectors you can easily load data from your various data sources into the BI360 data warehouse. The latest Power BI Desktop release makes it even easier to connect to BI360.

Through a user-friendly web interface, you can add attributes (e.g. add region to a cost center) to dimensions and currency conversion if you have international locations. Then, with a few clicks, expose the data to the API. Then, you move over to Power BI, where the free BI360 Connector allows you to easily pull data and dimensions from BI360’s data warehouse. Next, you can start building your dashboards in Power BI.

There is a good reason Gartner Group has separate definitions for Business Intelligence (BI) and Corporate Performance Management (CPM). Power BI is a strictly BI solution and Solver’s BI360 mostly falls under the CPM definition. Solver’s BI360 provides full-blown data entry forms and formatted reports that feed into Power BI to create great dashboards. Entry forms and reports are designed with a cloud-connected Excel add-in, giving business users a powerful and well-known formatting and calculation tool. With this, your organization gets the best of the BI and CPM worlds:

Users can get a single version of the truth with all the data housed in BI360’s cloud data warehouse on Microsoft Azure.

See for yourself and explore how customers rate BI360 on G2 Crowd, a comprehensive B2B product review site.

To summarize, BI360 provides a user-friendly Azure cloud-based data warehouse, budgeting and reporting solution with an easy integration to Power BI. Easily combine your data in the BI360 cloud-based data warehouse, enter budgets, forecasts, and KPIs into cloud-based input forms for your Power BI dashboards, and use BI360’s report writer to create highly formatted financial and operational reports, including currency conversion and consolidations. Microsoft recently release the latest version of Power BI desktop, which includes more information about how you can access BI360 straight from their app.

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