In Business Intelligence, Power BI is a suite of various Business Intelligence tools and techniques designed to analyze raw business data and convert that into actionable insights. These tools include Power BI Desktop, Power BI service, Power BI apps, and more.
Developed by Microsoft, Power BI offers BI capabilities with such a simple interface that even a non-technical users can create interactive dashboards on their own. There are hundreds of data visualizations that a user can apply to different data sets and create visually interactive dashboards.
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Why Power BI?
The following are the reasons why Power BI is considered to be one of the best business intelligence tools in the world:
- Easy to connect with data sources: Power BI supports a myriad of data sources that make it easier for a user to align data sets from different sources and use them to create compelling reports. It has 70+ connectors that can be used to extract data from sources such as Azure Data Warehouse, Google Analytics, OneDrive, Dropbox, Excel, CSV, and SQL databases.
- High performance: The pivot data modeling engine is a columnar database in Power BI that significantly compresses the size of original data sets from around 1GB to 200 MB, improving the performance metrics.
- Custom visualization: Power BI comes with a ton of predesigned data visualizations that can be leveraged to create interactive reports. However, we can also give the reports an extra touch by adding custom visualizations created and shared by in-house developers on the Power BI community.
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- Advanced analytics with R integration: R, the programming language, features thousands of packages dedicated to data mining and visualization. Data scientists use R for complex data modeling, machine learning, and statistical computing.
Power BI allows us to directly import data models created in R to the dashboards and convert them into visualizations.
- Cortana integration: Power BI also supports Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana, which enables a user to verbally ask questions about the data and access the dashboard content. Mobile users can even create different views by simply speaking or typing their queries.
Now, let us have a look at some examples of Power BI projects that you can create and add to your portfolio. You can also use these projects to practice and get hands-on experience of the various tools used for data visualization.
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Power BI Project Ideas
Although every project requires different data sets and a new approach, you can divide your project workflow into roughly four stages. They are as follows:
- Connecting data sources: The first step in any Power BI project is to add raw data from different sources and collect that on a single Power BI interface. The data can be streamed from multiple sources such as Excel spreadsheets, CSV files, local databases, SQL servers, etc.
- Data transformation: Once the data is connected to Power BI Desktop, the next step is to transform the data based on the business requirements. In data transformation, we define the relationship between different variables, remove redundancies, add default values, and create new columns through calculated fields.
- Data visualization: The third stage is to convert the transformed data into graphical representations such as charts, graphs, maps, etc. Data visualization makes it easier for a user to comprehend complex numbers and use them to make informed decisions. In Power BI, you can create stunning visualizations with simple drag-n-drop features.
- Building the dashboard or reports: The last step in your project is to assemble all visualizations on a single interface like tiles. A single page of visualizations is known as a dashboard, while multiple pages are eligible to create a report. These reports and dashboards are now ready to be published and shared with other users via the Power BI service.
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Based on your level of expertise in Power BI, we have listed a few Power BI projects that will help you to enhance your knowledge and improve your portfolio. If you are a newbie, then check out the projects for beginners, while the intermediate and advanced users can go through the list of Power BI live projects.
Power BI Projects for Beginners
As a beginner, your main focus should be on improving your data analytics and visualization skills and learning how to apply different techniques to make your reports more interesting. For that, we have listed a simple project in Power BI that shows the performance of a company product.
Marketing Campaign Insights Analysis: a robust marketing campaign is a great way to reach consumers, clients and leads. Your campaign data analysis can provide you with valuable insight into your target audience, marketing channels, and budget. This will provide you with the basic do’s and don’ts of your next campaign. This is where the role of Power BI is invaluable.
This project showcases the efficiency of various marketing campaigns. This project can be used to access the success of marketing campaigns and several other activities carried out under this management. The beginner-level project can be done with the Marketing Analytics dataset which provides deep-insight into the customer’s profile preferences and channel performance. The dataset can be used for EDA, statistical Analysis, and visualizations.
A power Bi dashboard can consist several types of visualizations including bar-charts for category wise expenditure, smart features that highlight the key aspects of the campaign, bubble charts showcasing customer-wise spending.
such as Bar Charts for category-wise expenditures, Smart Narratives for highlighting key aspects of the campaign, Bubble Charts for customer-wise spending, Column Charts for campaign success rates, Cards for highlighting individual insights, etc.
Financial Performance Analysis: Microsoft Power BI is used for financial analysis to gather and analyze KPIs (Key Financial Indicators), charts, and financial statements. The purpose of this BI project is to optimize financial reporting in a firm that provides accounting services to clients seeking timely delivery of critical financial reports. Through this analysis, you will be able to access reliable financial reports quickly and efficiently. Multi-company financial datasets may be utilized for this project.
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The project outlined here can also be applied to the migration of traditional financial reporting from Excel to BI dashboards, allowing customers to track their financial health and productivity more effectively. In this project, Power BI data visualization options can be utilized for three scenarios as given below:
- Funnel charts, combo charts (such as column charts, waterfall charts, line charts) for the summary page or overview page;
- Cards, Funnel Charts, and Combo Charts (such as Line Charts and Column Charts) for the income statement page;
- Cards and Tables for the balance sheet page.
Customer Churn Analysis: A major challenge that modern enterprises face is customer migration (churn). Churn, or customer attrition, is the act of customers stopping purchasing from a business or interacting with it. What can we do to overcome this challenge? The idea is to know the reasons why customers churn, the factors that impact that, so that appropriate measures can be taken to retain them. This is where Power BI comes into play.
Through this Customer Churn analysis project, one can uncover what causes your customers to stop using your product or service. Business leaders, managers, or analytical users can use this Power BI project to analyze regional business growth and the profit distribution among customers. With the right visualization and data structure, they can receive extensive data. As part of the project, regional cash inflows will be considered, as well as product-specific churn over the course of time. To complete this beginner-friendly project, you will need the customer segmentation dataset. In this project, Power BI data visualization options can be utilized for different scenarios as given below:
- Combo Charts, Bar Charts, Line Chart, Cards, Tables, etc., for overview page.
- Column Charts, Bubble Charts, Point Maps, Tables, etc., for the customer segmentation page.
Sales and product manufacturing: In this project, we have used a sample data set from Microsoft Power BI and visualized it to show the profit by product, sales, and other key influencers, which may impact the performance of the company.
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As discussed earlier, the sample data set has to be connected with Power BI Desktop to filter out irrelevant data, then visualize and export filtered data in the form of dashboards. You can check out the complete process of creating this dashboard in our Power BI dashboard tutorial.
You can use the same data set to create more Power BI sample projects and advanced visualizations.
You can find a lot more sample projects like these and data stories in the Power BI community.
Below are a few more Power BI projects for beginners that you can get from Power BI documentation and practice by yourself:
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- Sales and Returns: In this project, the authors have created a report on the sales and returns of a company that sells Microsoft products. By analyzing the report’s content, the company can implement a drill-down approach and the stakeholders can modify their approach to achieve the desired results.
Below is the resulting dashboard that you will get after performing all operations:
- IT Spend Analysis: Organizations keep a record of various resources that they have spent during projects. These records can be analyzed through Power BI and used to effectively manage the resources for upcoming projects and make more profit.
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Creating a project like IT Spend Analysis, which is already being used, will improve your portfolio. A project like this will leave a positive impression on your resume and let the recruiters know that you have really good knowledge about the problems being faced by an organization.
You can use similar metrics in your dashboard to make it more informative:
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Power BI Real-time Projects
Power BI enables a user to connect live data sources to their dashboard. It also helps make on-point decisions through live feedback. These dashboards are very helpful, especially for the situation where you have to make split-second decisions based on the situation.
Although real-time projects look cool and provide live information in the form of visualizations, they also require a lot of skills in data analytics and knowledge of the Power BI server. You can only publish live dashboards if you have access to the Power BI server, which is a paid tool. So, if you have it, then take look at these fancy Power BI projects ideas you can make:
- Airport Authority Performance dashboard: The aviation industry saw huge growth in the number of passengers traveling around the world. Right now, there are more than 5,000 airplanes up in the sky around the world taking passengers or cargo to various destinations. However, maintaining these flights requires a lot of planning and real-time decision-making capabilities.
This is where tools like Power BI come into play; airport authorities use Power BI dashboards to track the number of planes taking off and landing at the airport. Power BI also helps airport authorities to set alerts if something goes wrong.
Thus, you can create these projects and see how Power BI functions in real life.
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Below is an example of a Power BI Airport Authority Performance Dashboard:
- Covid Analysis dashboard: As we all know, Covid-19 had a devastating impact on the entire human civilization. The sudden outbreak in all countries forced global leaders to take drastic measures in order to prevent the virus from infecting the larger population.
The Covid Analysis dashboard uses a heat map with a bunch of tables to show the number of Covid-19 cases around the world. It is a great project and makes you aware of the current situation. Below is the screenshot of the Power BI dashboard created for Covid analysis:
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- Climate Change dashboard: Climate change is yet another hot topic that grabs global attention after the occurrence of any major disaster, be it hurricanes, flash floods, rising sea levels, forest fires, or a rise in average global temperatures. This dashboard utilizes a variety of tools and data sets to show that climate change is real.
By the end of this project, you will have a better understanding of how two seemingly different data values can affect the entire system and how to find such relationships.
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So, these are the top Power BI project ideas that you can work on to improve your data analytics and visualization skills. Power BI offers a plethora of tools and features that allow a user to create interactive dashboards and share them over the internet. On Power BI, you can also collaborate with other users and stakeholders to work on separate projects.
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