Power BI Tutorial: Components, Usage, Operation – Learn from Experts

The modern business world is full of technology-driven tools that make various business sectors easier to manoeuvre. These tools facilitate the works of our technology professionals and offer powerful features to the point that it begins to feel impossible to perform certain tasks without a particular tool. One such category of tools is business intelligence tools. These software tools process large volumes of unstructured business data into streamlined insights, trends, and patterns used for decision-making processes.

While several BI tools are in the market, Microsoft’s Power BI has been a long-standing top contender. It is designed to quickly amass huge amounts of data and turn them into relevant information. The processed data is then presented on the famous, lucid Power BI dashboard and used to make well-informed decisions for the growth of the business. 

This Power BI tutorial is the ultimate guide for all you need to know about the tool. Further, we also discuss career prospects in data science in this article. So, read on!

What Is Power BI?

The first question we want to address in this Power BI tutorial is – What is Power BI? Originally called Project Crescent, the application was first conceived by the SQL Server Reporting Services team’s Thierry D’Hers and Amir Netz. Later, Microsoft changed the product’s name to Power BI, and it was released as part of Microsoft’s Office 365 in September 2013. 

Power BI is a suite of products pertaining to BI, BI reporting, and data visualisation built to benefit individuals and teams across businesses in various sectors. It is best understood as a BI solution, rather than a product, that allows the user to visualise data, identify insightful trends and share these outcomes with teams across the organisation.

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Why Do Businesses Use Power BI?

The popularity of Power BI among businesses is explained by its streamlined presentation and great distribution options and its integration with other Microsoft products and tools.

Here are some reasons why Power BI is so important for businesses:

  • Power BI comes with Microsoft’s legacy and assured quality. Moreover, it incorporates the best of some of the best BI tools in the market, such as Microsoft Excel and SQL SASS.
  • The Power BI dashboard is unparalleled when it comes to being the ultimate business intelligence dashboard. It combines various dashboards from different Microsoft products, shows their relations and presents reports in an easy-to-understand and easy-to-operate UI-UX design. 
  • Power BI dashboard is constantly rebuilt and updated with the latest technological advancements such as HTML 5.0, cloud computing, ML, smartphone applications and column databases.
  • Some aspects of Power BI, such as the custom visuals gallery, are kept open source for public contributions. This not only keeps it industry and community-relevant but also adds a lot of value for the people using it regularly.
  • Power BI has remarkable integration features with other Microsoft products and services, thus allowing data to be shared across teams within an organisation and embedded with third-party platforms. 

The Different Components Of Power BI

As mentioned above, Power BI is a suite of different BI and data visualisation products and applications. Some of the Power BI components are:

Power BI Service

Power BI service, also known as Power BI Online, is a secure cloud service hosted by Microsoft that allows users to view different dashboards, perform BI reporting and host other Power BI apps. This can be done both on a web browser and a mobile app. 

Power BI Desktop

The Power BI desktop complements the Power BI service in that data scientists use the former for extensive BI reporting that is then made available to the latter. Power BI desktop is free and self-service, and it is a robust BI reporting and data visualisation tool

Power BI Gateway

Power BI Gateway connects to over 70 on-premise or cloud-hosted data sources to maintain an unbroken data input to support the other functionalities.

Power BI Dashboard

Power BI dashboard incorporates all Power BI components, data and outcomes in a single-page visualisation, also known as a canvas. Power BI dashboard is where reports created on the Power BI desktop are published using the Power BI service.

Power Query

Power Query is the solution’s data transformation component that allows the user to identify, connect, merge and refine data sources as per the needs of the analysis. 

Power Map

Power Map is a 3D visualisation tool that allows the user to present the data in over a million rows of visualisation in a 3D format. It is available on Excel and Power BI and is especially helpful to depict spatial variables such as country, state, city, street or even latitude and longitude.

Power View

Power View lets the user create interactive visualisations such as charts, maps, graphs, etc. and is also available in Excel, SQL Server and Sharepoint beyond Power BI.

Power Pivot

Power Pivot is Power BI’s data modelling component that allows the creation of data models, calculations and establishment of relationships between the data.

How To Operate Power BI?

Making Power BI fully operational on your system requires a few simple steps:

  • The first step is to connect to various data sources that suit the needs of your analysis.
  • Once you load the data, the next step is to format the data per your needs. This means renaming tables, columns and rows, formatting for texts and numbers, etc.
  • The next step is to model the data. This means organising the data with calculations, metrics, and hierarchies so that it is easy to spot patterns.
  • After organisation, your data is ready for visualisation. This is where you can get creative and do some incredible BI reporting
  • Your visualisations and reports can now be published across the connected systems of your organisation through Power BI services and the real-time Power BI dashboard.

Mechanism of Power BI

In our Power BI tutorial, we will now explain how the tool is used. 

Connecting Your Data

Power BI or Power BI Desktop can be useful for connecting to different data sources like MySQL Server, Oracle, and more. Power BI lets you connect to data in two ways. You can either by uploading your file or by importing it. 

  • Importing Your File: You will have to start by viewing your file by fetching it in Power BI. Next, you will be able to interact with the file as you can with Excel Online. 
  • Uploading Your File: You are allowed to connect to the data in the workbook for creating reports and dashboards. 

Transforming Your Data

After your data gets loaded on the Power BI platform, you will be able to transform it according to your needs. Use the Transform menu when your purpose is data transformation. It includes different operations like counting rows, reversing rows, replacing errors and values, and pivoting and unpivoting columns. 

Modeling Your Data

Start by adding the data sources in the Power BI new report option if you want to model your data. Power BI will allow you to add calculations, functions, measures, relationships, and more. 

They will help you with better visualization and analytics to gain valuable business insights. This particular functionality of Power BI is referred to as data modeling. 

With the help of an efficient Power BI tutorial for beginners, you can conveniently learn data modeling for writing a query to files. It will enable you to complete various tasks within a small amount of time. 

Data Visualization

In a Power BI tutorial with examples, you will be able to comprehend the way of creating reports and dashboards. You will be able to build dashboards and reports in Power BI with the help of modeled data as per organizational requirements. Report creation in Power BI is possible in different ways. 

You can start by selecting a preferred field from a data or CSV file. After that, pick the tool that you intend to use for generating the required report. You are allowed to use a wide range of tools and even include a custom visual gallery for data visualization. 

DAX in Power BI

Once you start with a Power BI tutorial, you will definitely come across the term “DAX.” It refers to Data Analysis Expression. DAX can be described as a combination of functions, constants, and operators developed by Microsoft. 

You will find DAX in a wide range of data visualization and business intelligence tools. It can also be defined as a functional language because of the presence of full code inside the functions. 

DAX can help you manipulate data and define custom calculations applicable to calculated columns and fields. In other words, DAX will let you generate new information from pre-existing data in your model.

DAX comes with various functions that are similar to Excel. Therefore, you will be able to use DAX easily if you are familiar with Microsoft Excel. But DAX offers a higher degree of flexibility than Microsoft Excel. 

How To Have a Career In Data Science?

With a boom in technological innovations for business, the demand for skilled data-oriented professionals is also growing. And with the increasing demand, the competition gets even more challenging. Recruiters across companies, big and small, are on the lookout for data scientists and analysts who not only have a sound foundation in data science and are well-versed with the various data management tools in the market.

If you are new to data science and are aspiring for a career in this direction, then upGrad’s Executive PG Programme in Data Science is just what you should get started with. Offered in conjunction with IIIT-B, one of India’s leading research institutions, the program covers basic to advanced knowledge and practices in data science.

Further, it offers three unique specialisations in deep learning, BI and data engineering. upGrad’s reputation as one of India’s biggest online education platforms with a learner base of over 40000 paid students and 500000+ impacted professionals add to the program’s credibility. The hands-on learning experience and sessions with industry experts equip students with contemporary subject knowledge and expertise in industry-relevant tools and trends.

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Data science is one of the fastest-growing sectors in technology. With more and more businesses adopting data science innovations to grow their business, there is no doubt that the demand for data science experts will not die out any time soon. Hence, data science is the way forward for long-term job security, high returns, and a fulfilling career.

Who uses Power BI?

Many business and technology professionals use Power BI daily. This includes business and data analysts, data scientists, IT teams, developers, database administrators, and project managers. Known companies that use Power BI are Agile BI, Nuevora, Dell, CapeGemini and Data Bear.

How easy is Data Science?

Data science is also highly technical, like any other specialised field. However, with access to the right resources and knowledge providers, we believe anyone can be a data scientist.

What are the eligibility criteria for upGrad’s data science program?

A bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 50% or equivalent marks at graduation is the minimum eligibility criteria. An enrolling student requires no prior coding experience to be a part of this course.

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