Power BI is a collection of various Business Intelligence tools and techniques that allow a user to pull out valuable information and discover hidden patterns or relationships in the raw business data. Modern industries use Power BI to process huge datasets to discover hidden patterns and relationships between different variables. This helps them to track the business performance and see the areas where it needs to improve.
To learn more about the topic, check out this blog on What is Power BI?
Now, a dashboard is a single page collection of the data visualizations known as tiles, which can be used to show the crucial aspects or values of the datasets. Dashboards can be made by adding the visuals from the reports, which you can share with other users on the Power BI app and website. In this blog, we will be covering the following topics:
What is Power BI Dashboard?
Power BI Dashboard is a collection of data visualization that tells us a story through graphs and charts. Often called the canvas, dashboards are the single-page interface where the user can add custom visualizations, which gives the highlights of that story.
Power BI allows the user to create interactive dashboards by adding tiles to the interface. Tiles are the visualizations created by using two or more dimensions of the transformed data. A tile makes a dashboard look understandable and organized. It can either be a simple graph, or a complex and more informative visual, like a heatmap.
You can share these dashboards on different platforms through Power BI Service, where others can view them and get a quick into the business. Moreover, you can add the dashboards on Power BI apps and websites to get the live feed on your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Watch the video on how to build a Power BI dashboard:
Why Power BI?
Below are the reasons why enterprises around the world prefer Power BI over other Business Intelligence tools:
- Easy to connect with Data sources: Power BI brings the data together by connecting with both On-premises and On-cloud data sources, such as Excel spreadsheets, CSV files, OneDrive, Salesforce, Azure Data Warehouse, Google Analytics, Dropbox, SQL Database, etc. Power BI connectors enable the user to analyze massive datasets in minutes.
- Custom Visualizations: Power BI offers prepacked visualization, such as lines, maps, bar, columns, graphs, charts, scatter plots, tables, funnel, and waterfall. These visuals have customization options that enable the user to enhance the presentation and functionality of their dashboards.
- Native R integration: Power BI supports R, an open-source programming language used for statistical modeling, machine learning, data manipulation, and visualization. Power BI lets you integrate R and follow a drill-down approach to represent better relationships, patterns, hierarchies, and key matrices.
- Cortana Integration: Cortana is Microsoft’s digital assistant, which Power BI integrates with and allows the user to run voice commands in a natural language and access the dashboards. The visualization can be created by writing the column name with the visual you want to add it in.
- Power BI Apps: The app provides a glance at the dashboards and reports shared by other users. You can embed your Power BI tiles inside the applications to get live updates about your data on a mobile phone.
- User-Interface: Power BI can be used by anyone with a basic knowledge of Excel. Even a non-technical user can generate valuable information with the help of a Power BI sample dashboards. You can play with Power BI Dashboard templates and add custom visualizations to extract maximum information.
Check out the Power BI Interview Questions if you’re preparing for a job interview.
Power BI Components
Following are the Power BI components that play an important role in implementing the BI capabilities:
- Power Query: Power query allows the user to connect with different databases and extract valuable information to make better decisions. It’s a data transformation and mashup tool, which can also be included in Excel.
- Power Pivot: It’s a data modeling tool that utilizes Data Analysis Expression(DAX) language to create complex data models. It is used to create measures with numerical computations and establish relationships between varied data sources.
- Power View: Power View allows the user to create stunning visualizations with drag-n-drop features. Power View is available for SQL Servers, Sharepoint, Excel, and Power BI.
- Power Maps: These are mainly used to create 3-D visualizations and represent geospatial data in the form of maps. Power maps get the information about the latitude, longitude, city, state, country, or address and create a detailed map, such as bubble, filled, heat, and shape map.
- Power Q&A: After deploying the data model on the Power BI website, Power Q&A can be used to answer your questions about the data. It works with Power View so that you can ask the queries and visualize the data based on various constraints. For example, the number of customers in a particular city, or sales in different countries as bubbles.
- Power BI Desktop: It’s free software that can be used by a single user to connect different data sources, perform data manipulation, and create reports. For a small business, Power BI Desktop is the best way to perform data analysis and use it to make better decisions.
- Power BI Website: Power BI website hosts your Power BI files and is used to publish the reports and dashboards on the servers. Also, the user can connect various data sources and create reports and dashboards online.
- Power BI Service: This component of Power BI enables the user to share the reports and dashboards on the cloud which can be accessed by other members of the enterprise. Power BI Service connects with other components and allows you to connect with the data from any location.
- Power BI Application: Power BI Apps provide a live view of the dashboards and reports published on the cloud. It helps the user to gain insights by executing queries in a natural language.
Now that you’ve understood what a Power BI dashboard is and its importance, let’s compare it with the Power BI report and see how different they are from each other.
Learn more about Power BI from this Power BI Tutorial!
Dashboard vs. Report in Power BI
Following are the key point that establishes a difference between Dashboard vs. report in Power BI:
|Pages||Dashboards are only single-page visualizations.||Reports can be of single or multiple pages.|
|Data Sources||Tiles can be formed from multiple reports or datasets. ||Only a single dataset can be used to create the reports.|
|Filtering||Slicing or filtering is not possible.||Filtering, highlighting, and slicing can be performed.|
|Alerts||Set alerts for emails.||No option to set an alert for emails.|
|Accessing tables and fields||Not allowed to access dataset tables or fields.||Allows to view and access dataset tables, fields, and values.|
|Applications||Used by modern businesses to create single-page visualizations for their customers, stakeholders, and managers.||Used everywhere from small businesses to big enterprises to analyze sales, resources, or project performance.|
Applications of Power BI Dashboard
Enterprises from different fields and businesses working on projects use Power BI to extract valuable insights from the raw data. They use Power BI Dashboards to get real-time access to the data, check the performance of the project team, discover what’s important, and make data-driven decisions. Below are Power BI dashboard examples that help various industries to track the information and make better decisions:
- Airport Authority Performance Dashboards
Airport authorities have to continuously monitor parameters such as flight changes, delays, cancellations, and emergencies so that quick decisions can be made to avoid any mishap.
Dashboards provide detailed information about the airport operational activities that help the airport authorities discover the bottlenecks, evaluate operational processes, and identify the areas of improvement.
- Global Superstore Dashboards
Supermarkets use dashboards to get information about sales, profit, demand, customer satisfaction, product availability, and store performance. They provide an overall picture of the sales performance that helps the managers to set performance targets, track key performance indicators(KPIs), and take appropriate actions to improve sales.
- Cancer Analytics Dashboard
The cancer analytics dashboard provides a quick summary of cancer patients in different countries. It helps scientists and researchers to understand the mortality rate of cancer patients based on various factors like areas, age group, gender distribution, etc.
- Customer Analysis Dashboard
Businesses around the world use the Power BI sales dashboard to perform sales analysis and find out the total profit they made. It also helps them understand customer behaviors and percentage growth.
With some modifications, a business can also use these dashboards on their apps and show their customers how good the product is, or its sales around the globe. In addition, it increases your customers’ confidence and encourages them to buy your product or service.
One of the best Power BI dashboard examples is the HR analytics dashboard. It gives a bird’s eye view of the company’s human resources including the following metrics:
- Employee details
- New joiners
- Employee satisfaction score
- Workflow management
- Recruitment KPIs
- Functional operating expense
- Labor cost
- Profit vs. compensation
- Demographic statistics
- Headcount statistics
- Financial statistics
- Annual leave report
With the Power BI financial dashboard, companies can track their employees’ performance and improve their productivity.
- Energy usage and cost dashboard
Power corporations use them to calculate the total energy usage and surge in demands so that they can ramp the production accordingly. It also shows the data about the areas consuming more energy, which in turn helps to upgrade the equipment and avoid any failure.
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So far, we have learned how different industries use dashboards to highlight various insights and take real-time decisions to improve their functionality. Now, let’s discuss how to create dashboard in Power BI and connect with different data sources.
How to create Dashboard in Power BI
Power BI provides an easy way to build reports or dashboards and publish them on the cloud using Power BI Service. Even a non-technical user can use the Power BI desktop and connect data from varied sources, transform as per the requirements, create visualizations, and share them with others as reports. If you want, you can check out the Power BI sample dashboards on the official website, which saves your time and effort.
With a simple user interface, you can create some of the best Power BI dashboards that will not only show you the insights of your data but reveal the relationship between different variables. For this guide on Power BI create dashboard will build a dashboard in Power BI Desktop using Contoso manufacturing sales data as our sample dataset. You can download the sample data from Microsoft’s website.
To create a dashboard, you first have to install Power BI Desktop on your PC or laptop, which you can do by checking out our blog on Power BI Desktop. Now, let’s create a dashboard in Power BI in four main steps:
Step 1: Connect with data sources
Power BI can connect with different types of data sources like worksheets, cloud services, local databases, and CSV files. Power BI provides more than 110 specific connectors like GitHub and can even connect with website URLs to extract tabular data.
Sometimes, the data gathered from various sources is not well structured or contains redundant values. So, to structure it, you have to transform it, meaning that you can rename rows or columns, delete rows with null values, change the data type, and create a relationship between the variables.
To connect the data in Power BI, follow these steps:
- Open Power BI Desktop and select Get Data from the ribbon at the Home tab.
- Select Excel as your dataset and locate the sample workbook you’ve downloaded.
- A dialog box with all the columns and rows in your data will appear on the screen. Now, you can either transform the data based on the requirements or directly use it by clicking on the load button.
Step2: Transforming Data
Data transformation and modeling is an important part of data visualization as it helps the user to define a relationship between the variables, rename columns, and remove redundancies. You can customize your data using the Power Query editor by following these steps:
- From the Home tab of the editing panel, select the Transform Data option.
- Now, click on the Custom Columns from Add Columns, a dialog box will appear where you can rename a column and create the custom column formula.
- Click on OK to successfully create the custom column.
- Now, click on Close & Apply to save all the changes.
- You can also hide several columns by clicking on the Hide button in the report view.
Step3: Visualizing the Data
- Navigate to the Visualizations panel on the left side and click on the key influencers.
- In the visualization pane, drag the Profit variable from the Fields pane and drop it to the Analyze By option. You can add more columns by checking the box beside the column names such as Product, Units Sold, Discounts, Segment, etc.
- Now, add a new page from the bottom left corner and add a custom column chart from the visualization page.
- As you did for the previous visualization, drag Product from Fields to Shared Axis in the visualization pane, Profit to Line values, and other columns to the Column values.
- Repeat the above instructions to add more visualizations as per your requirement.
- Save your report in the local disk before moving on to the next step.
Step4: Build the Dashboard:
Till now, you’ve been working on Power BI Desktop and creating visualizations. To create the dashboards, you need to pin the visuals from the report in the Power BI service(online). To do so, carefully follow the instructions given below:
- Click on the publish report option from the ribbon in the Home tab, the report will open in your web browser.
- Now, go to page 2 of your report and click on the pin icon at the upper right corner of your column chart visual.
- A dialog box will appear where you can pin the visual to a new dashboard and give it a name.
- You’ll get the notification of your visual being successfully pinned to the dashboard. From there, you can either create a phone view or go to the dashboard and more tiles.
- Return to the first page of your report and select the options for the key influencers’ visual.
- Click on the Pin to a dashboard and add that to an existing dashboard by clicking on the pin live button.
- Again, a message will appear confirming that your visualization has been pinned. You can view the dashboard by clicking on Go to dashboard button.
- Your dashboard is now live and the visualization will update automatically after the report gets refreshed. Similarly, add more visuals as tiles on your dashboard.
- At last, resize the visuals based on both web and phone through the option at the bottom-right corner of each visualization/tile.
- Now, you have your first dashboard ready to be shared with other users. To share the dashboard, click on My workspace from the navigation pane on the left side.
- Type the names or emails with whom you want to share the dashboard, determine the user permissions, and click on the share button. Also, you can select pre-built dashboards from the Power BI dashboard gallery and play around with them.
Also, Read – Why Power BI is a Revolutionary Business Intelligence Tool?
In this blog, we learned about the Power BI dashboards and how different industries use them to get a glance at critical measures. Also, the data visualization is refreshed whenever there is a change in the report or new data has been added.
Creating a dashboard in Power BI is a fairly easy and straightforward process. Even a non-technical person can connect with varied data sources and use the dashboards to make data-driven decisions. You can also change the existing Power BI dashboard design by adding visualizations from the published reports and make it more informative.
For more information on Power BI, visit our Business Intelligence Community.