Power BI – An Optimal Self-Service BI Tool

A modern self-service business intelligence approach means providing transparency and access to information, not only for management but also for business users. Power BI as a self-service BI tool can give your organization the capabilities it needs to empower your employees to make informed business decisions.

The Evolution of Modern Self-Service Business Intelligence

A few years ago, the ability to make data-driven decisions based on business intelligence (BI) was mostly limited to top management. The organization’s IT team would be tasked with creating reports using their enterprise’s data as requests would arrive from the company’s leadership. A lot of factors complicated this traditional BI approach, especially when it came to other business users in the company:

  • Lack of awareness of the existence of data

  • Lack of knowledge on how to access the data

  • Expensive data storage and BI software

  • Lack of user-friendliness of BI tools

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Today, data is all-pervasive. Every user creates it and is aware of its existence. Some are highly motivated to find ways to leverage a BI tool and create something meaningful out of it. Management ultimately wants to not only make data-driven decisions, but also enable business users to create their own reports and analytics given their intimate familiarity with the data and business rules in their respective areas.

Modern self-service BI has taken much of the burden from IT departments and has put the power in hands of the business users. This creates a cost-effective and efficient BI space with more valuable insights than ever before. If implemented correctly, self-service BI can bring great value to a company and boost its performance.

Power BI as a Self-Service BI Tool

Power BI is a data analytics software and application package offered by Microsoft. It is a user-friendly tool that allows users to quickly analyze information they need and share it within their business network. Additionally, it is powerful enough for advanced users to perform high-level analytics as needed. The package lets you assess your data and offers the following capabilities:

  • Data connection and transformation based on the business logic

  • Creation of data models and relationships

  • Dashboard and report creation

  • Natural language query mechanism that allows users to ask basic questions about their data

  • Sharing data, reports, and other artifacts within your business network (internal and external) using the online cloud platform

Why Use Power BI?

Every business intelligence tool is different with varied features to assist organizations in meeting their business needs. Of course, it depends on what is important for your company. Here are a few reasons why Power BI is the industry leader and a great option:

  • Create attractive visualizations with easy drag and drop features

  • Good for businesses of all sizes

  • Available in different versions and pricing options

  • Makes everyday analysis easy for business users

  • Integrates with other Microsoft products such as Azure and other Power Platform apps. Also integrates with services external to Microsoft.

  • Easy and quick to learn

  • Large community of users for help and support

  • Access, create, and distribute data in a secured fashion

  • Functionality available for advanced analytics

Daily Power BI Reports That Business Users Can Create

  • Customer analysis – profits based on region, demographics, service type, etc.

  • HR analytics – employee count, number of active employees, new employees, satisfactory score, etc.

  • Sales scorecard – sales based on location, sales and profit comparison, sales comparison against the previous years

  • Social media monitoring and analytics – sentiment analysis, web sources, geolocation, online influencers, etc.

  • Executive insights – new product launch, sales, business expansion, etc.

  • Attendance tracker – for business administrators to track productivity of their employees

  • Team performance – top employees, achieved goal vs target goal, etc.

  • Inventory stock analysis – in stock, running out of stock, and out of stock inventory, and product comparisons based on shelf life, etc.

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Benefits of Using Power BI as a Self-Service BI Tool

  • Allows users to create a report once and generate future reports by scheduling automatic, daily data retrieval from the data source

  • Enables and empowers business users to create their own insights, thereby reducing dependency on a few experts

  • Reduces waiting time for reports, enabling quick decision-making

  • Better and more useful insights as data lies within the hands of the user who understands it better than a generalized IT department

  • More users create more insights, thereby providing a competitive advantage to your organization


There is a significant shift towards self-service BI in recent years. The Power BI adoption process requires an in-depth understanding of the entire data management system. With the right framework, training, and governance, organizations can gradually move from a controlled BI approach to a managed self-service BI approach and achieve tremendous insights and, thus, success for their business.

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