How power BI is used to perform Data Analysis

Ridelink Series

Written by Nkinzi Aalia on July 13, 2023


Data analysis is a vital process that involves transforming, manipulating, and refining raw data to extract meaningful and relevant information. Its purpose is to support decision-making in business contexts by providing valuable insights and reducing associated risks. To effectively communicate the findings, various visual representations such as charts, photos, tables, and graphs are commonly employed.

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Microsoft's Power BI (Business Intelligence) suite is a comprehensive collection of software services, connectors, and apps designed to integrate diverse data sources and generate interactive, visually engaging insights. By facilitating seamless connections to various data repositories, whether they are simple Microsoft Excel spreadsheets or hybrid data warehouses hosted in the cloud or on-premises, Power BI empowers users to quickly access and analyze critical information, as well as share it with relevant stakeholders.

Power BI serves not only as a tool for personal report creation and data visualization but also as an analytics and decision-making engine for group projects, divisions, or entire organizations. 



Originally known as "Project Crescent," Power BI was initially made available in July 2011. It later evolved into Power BI for Office 365 (now Microsoft 365) and was officially launched in September 2013. Subsequently, in July 2015, Power BI was released as a standalone product, incorporating additional features like enhanced security settings and enterprise-level data connectivity. 

Continuously evolving, Power BI receives regular updates and enhancements, ensuring its users benefit from the latest improvements and features. To access the most recent version, users can download it from the Power BI website or the Windows Store (exclusive to Windows users).


Power BI is a self-service data analytics tool primarily used by data analysts and business intelligence professionals to create data models and distribute reports within organizations. However, it is also accessible to non-analytical users.

Power BI is utilized by both department representatives and management. It helps marketing and sales reps with reports and forecasts, while providing management with insights into individual staff and departmental progress.

Administrators have access to an admin site in Power BI for setting up implementation, tracking usage, and managing licenses.


Power BI offers several features that enhance data analysis:

1. Quick insights: Users can quickly generate data subsets and run automated analytics on them.

2. Hybrid deployment support: Power BI tools have built-in connectors that enable connections to various data sources from Microsoft, Salesforce, and other vendors.

3. Common data model support: Power BI supports a standardized and extendable collection of data schemas, including relationships, entities, and attributes, through the common data model.

4. Self-service data prep: Business analysts can easily ingest, transform, integrate, and enrich large datasets using Power Query within the Power BI web service. This data can be shared across multiple Power BI models, reports, and dashboards.

5. Cortana Integration: Users can use natural language queries to interact with data and receive results through Cortana, Microsoft's digital assistant. This integration is particularly popular on mobile devices.


Power BI consists of three main components: a Microsoft Windows desktop application, an online SaaS service, and a mobile app.

The workflow typically starts in Power BI desktop, where reports are created. Reports are then published to the Power BI service, where users can build dashboards and create new visualizations. Shared reports and dashboards can be accessed by users through the Power BI mobile app. The order of these steps may vary depending on the specific use case.


Power BI Desktop is a Microsoft Windows application used for data modeling, dashboard creation, and report generation. It is currently available only for desktop PCs and not for Mac.

The application provides the capability to connect to various types of data sources through built-in connectors. These data sources can include files (Excel, CSV, PDF, etc.), databases (SQL Server, Access, PostgreSQL), Power Platform services (Power BI datasets, Data flows, Data verse), Azure services (Azure Synapse Analytics SQL, Azure SQL Database), online services (Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, GitHub), and other sources (web, Python script, Microsoft Exchange).

How Power BI Desktop is used to perform data analysis:

The result of data analysis is an interactive report where a user can click on elements within the report to filter through the data and focus on only information they find relevant to them. This makes the report come to life and deliver value for various needs within a company.


Power BI Service, also known as Power BI Online, is a cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) platform used for developing, viewing, and storing dashboards and reports. It offers limited functionality compared to Power BI Desktop.

Dashboards in Power BI Service display tiles that can be clicked to open reports for further exploration. Reports and dashboards connect to datasets, which consolidate relevant data in one place.

A key feature of Power BI Service is the ability to control sharing of work. Users can create workspaces for collaboration on reports and dashboards, and these can be bundled and distributed as apps. Datasets can also be shared for others to use as a basis for their own reports.

Building Blocks in Power BI.

Power BI consists of the following fundamental building blocks:

  1. Visualizations: These are visual representations of data, such as charts, maps, and slicers, used to visually represent data in Power BI reports. They can be simple or complex, conveying insights and information.

  1. Datasets: Datasets are collections of data used by Power BI to create visualizations. They can be a combination of various data sources, filtered and combined to provide a comprehensive set of data for analysis.
  2. Reports: Reports are collections of visualizations that are related to each other and appear together on one or more pages. Reports allow users to create multiple visualizations and organize them in a way that tells a cohesive story.

  1. Dashboards: Dashboards are created when a report or a collection of visualizations is shared. They are a collection of visuals presented on a single canvas and provide quick insights into the data or story being presented. Dashboards can be shared with others for interactive exploration.
  2. Tiles: Tiles are individual visualizations within a dashboard. They are rectangular boxes that hold a single visual and can be arranged and resized within the dashboard. Users can interact with tiles in reports and dashboards but cannot change their arrangement or size when viewing shared content.

In summary, Power BI's building blocks include visualizations, datasets, reports, dashboards, and tiles, allowing users to create, analyze, and share data insights effectively.


The Power BI mobile app allows users to access and interact with reports, dashboards, and data on their mobile devices.

Highlights of using the Power BI mobile app on different devices:





Users can view reports in a special mobile layout, add Power BI to Apple Watch, and utilize the Q&A virtual analyst for inquiries.



Reports and dashboards are presented in the same format as they were formatted in the Power BI service. Data alerts can be set to notify users of changes beyond set limits. Power BI Report Server and Reporting Services KPIs and reports are also accessible.



Users can filter reports by geographical location, scan QR codes to directly access reports or dashboards, and mark favorites for quick access. Reports and dashboards on Android tablets are displayed in the format designed for the Power BI service.


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The Power BI mobile app for Windows provides additional functionality. Users can pin a dashboard to the Windows start screen, run Power BI in presentation mode on Surface Hub, and utilize other features available on Windows 10 or later versions.

The Power BI mobile app enables users to access and interact with Power BI content on various mobile devices, offering tailored features and capabilities for each platform.


Power BI is a potent data analysis tool that has enabled data analysts at Ride-link to convert unprocessed data into useful insights. The tool has also enabled our customers to find insightful information, make data-driven decisions, and improve our performance because of its user-friendly interface, powerful visualization capabilities, advanced data modeling features, and flexible collaboration possibilities. 



Frank- July 31, 2023, 1:41 p.m.
This is a very informative piece on Power BI