“Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine,” Peter Sondergaard, Gartner Research
Data tells stories and companies of all sizes, right from startups to large enterprises, have realized the power of data. Data within itself is of no value unless it is analyzed to derive actionable insights.Therefore, it does not come as a surprise that several large organizations around the world have already invested heavily in big data and data analytics and have started seeing its positive business impact. Armed with the relevant and real-time data, companies are able to make more informed decisions that have the capability to impact the company’s bottom line. IDC predicts that the big data and business analytics revenues worldwide will grow from $122 billion in 2015 to more than $187 billion in 2019.
However, when it comes to startups and small organizations, they often do not have the time and budgets to invest in an expensive Big Data and Analytics infrastructure or platforms. Implementing BI tools is a task for startups typically due to its high license costs, set up of centralized data warehouse, and lack of BI knowledge. While they do value the importance of data-driven business intelligence, they do not have the bandwidth to invest in expensive infrastructure or Data Scientists. So what can the small businesses do to leverage the power of big data? The answer is Microsoft Power BI. Microsoft Power BI allows startups and small businesses to gather, analyze, and visualize data to draw actionable insights. It helps companies create rich dashboards by utilizing the existing data sources. These dashboards can also be published on multiple devices. There are several other benefits, as listed below, of Power BI for startups.
Using Power BI, companies can generate, view, and monitor various reports, trends, graphs, etc. considering many aspects within the organization – all from a central location. This gives the stakeholders a broader view of the overall performance of various processes in the organization. Several real-time alerts can be generated as a part of the dashboard which can help the management to identify any problematic areas and take proactive measures to mitigate the risks which are at a higher stake for a startup.
Ease of Use:
Another challenge which startups usually face is investing in training costs for complex BI tools. In that sense, Power BI is a tool which can be easily used (and eventually mastered) by data analysts. The reports and dashboards offer a very simple interface allowing any business user to explore and understand the data. At the same time, with features like Power BI Designer or Power Pivot, advanced users can perform the powerful analysis.
Power BI allows startups to bring together data from multiple data sources such as databases, files, and web services and use it for analysis. Even the non-technical users can aggregate data from multiple systems and analyze it through a single application.
Power BI has a wide range of visualizations to display reports. These visualizations help to present the data in multiple formats like Pi-charts, bar charts, etc. and enable the management in better decision-making and areas to focus on. Since Power BI is now available as an open source project on GitHub, it assists startups to easily create high-quality custom visualizations with minimal investments.
Ease of Integration:
Microsoft Power BI can be easily integrated with various Big Data sources to collect and analyze huge amounts of data. Power BI includes Power Query and Power Map which can be easily combined with Big Data analytics using Office 365 suite. Power Query helps in enhancing the BI experience through its ability to extract the data in Microsoft Excel and further utilize it and break down as needed. On the other hand, using Power Maps startups can plot geographic data and analyze it in a 3D view.
For any startup, it is important to know how their products or services are specifically performing in the market with respect to the competition. Power BI can be effectively used to identify trends and patterns, new opportunities, success rate, and user preferences which help startups in their quest for growth. Although business analytics can provide deeper and powerful insights it is also important that the data should be clean, well-transformed, comprehended, and correlated.
Power BI gives startups the benefits of large-scale big data tools without the added burden of complexity and high cost infrastructure. It’s easy, plug-and-play setup offers the startups an opportunity gain access to data analytics and derive tangible business impact.