Power BI is comprised of numerous tools, techniques, and applications that enable a business user to transform otherwise random datasets into visualizations delivering valuable information. The collection of such visualization is known as the Power BI report, which a user share with other colleagues and others to make data-driven decisions.
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What is a Power BI Report?
Power BI reports are the data visualizations that provide a multi-perspective view of the information collected from varied data sources. A report has one or more visuals in the form of graphs, charts, and maps, known as tokens. A token in Power BI is a single visualization create by analyzing the data collected from varied sources.
Unlike dashboards, the Power BI reports could be of single as well as multiple pages, where authors can add or update customized visualizations. After publishing a report to Power BI Service, authors can share it with other users to help them make better decisions. The authors can provide real-time visuals by connecting the live databases with Power BI Service.
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What is Report Server in Power BI?
It’s an On-premises report server with a web portal, where users can host and manage their reports and other Key Performing Interfaces(KPIs) from any web browser. They can also host Power BI paginated reports and share them with others through power BI Service, email, and Power BI apps.
Power BI Report Server is built upon the SQL Server Report Service(SSRS) architecture. Organizations prefer report server as it provides a secure on-premise solution to store important reports rather than on the cloud. The power BI report server new features come pre-installed with Power BI Desktop, so you don’t update it again and again.
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Power BI Report Server vs Power BI Service
Below are the key differences between the Power BI report server vs Power BI service:
|Features||Power BI Report Server||Power BI Service|
|Deployment ||Either On-premises or hosted cloud||Cloud|
|Source data||On-promises and/or cloud||On-premises and/or cloud |
|License||Power BI Premium SQL Server EE||Power BI Premium or Power BI Pro|
|Release cycle||Once in 4 months ||Every month|
|Analyze in Excel ||No ||Yes|
|Email subscription for the paginated reports||Yes||No|
|Power BI Desktop||Optimized for the report server, can be downloaded from the report server only||Optimized for Power BI Service, can be downloaded from the Windows Store|
Report Designers and Report Users in Power BI
Depending on the role, you can either be a report designer/author or report user. A designer is the one who creates the reports for their use or shares them with other colleagues and designers. Whereas, a report user is a person who receives the report from designers or other colleagues.
A designer has all the permissions to create Power BI reports and publish them on Power BI Service. He can also collaborate with other designers and create reports for specific tasks. After creating, these reports can be shared with other users and colleagues of an organization who can apply filters, add viewpoints based on the rights they have for that particular report.
Power BI Reports Use Cases
Power BI is one of the leading Business Intelligence tools used by many industries for data analysis, visualization, and report generation. From education to Fintech, healthcare, and space, Power BI reports are used to share actionable insights with multiple stakeholders and business users, which leads to a better decision-making process.
Following are some of the use-cases of Power BI reports that make a difference in the way of seeing data.
- Financial Reporting
Fintech companies use reports to perform market research, improve product quality, track chief KPIs and increase revenue. Some of the well-known companies that use Power BI include Kabbage, Wealthfront, and Personal Capital.
With live reports, companies can understand complex financial data and get a birds’ eye view of the revenue statements. Mobile apps for trading stocks, cryptocurrencies, and insurance also use reports to generate portfolios for different stocks and currencies like Bitcoin.
- Sales Scorecard
Sales scorecards enable marketing teams to understand sales patterns for individual products. The managers can apply different filters and view performance based on products, units, and geography. Such information helps the decision-makers to make effective decisions and change their strategies accordingly.
- Inventory Stock Analysis
E-commerce websites use Power BI reports for inventory management to ensure the availability of the products before the customers order them. You can see real-time information and track the entire supply chain including orders placed, delivered products, lost sales, suppliers, damaged merchandise, and more.
The reports can also be customized to add more information and analyze the products with fewer orders or delays.
- Global Super Store
Reports for global superstores provide a 360-degree view of the store’s overall performance and sales based on various locations. The visualization and technical capabilities of Power BI help to understand the performance of each store with both high-level and detailed analytics.
- Climate Change
Climate Change is real and responsible authorities must be aware of the alarming rate at which the changes are happening. Here, reports can be used to connect the data from different laboratories and observation centers and convert them into visualizations. These simple visualizations will help them understand climate change.
- Cancer Analytics
Reports provide a detailed summary of cancer patients in a particular area, country, or the entire globe by visualizing the data from hospitals and medical associations. With the help of these reports, you can calculate the mortality rate and the frequency of cancer patients in different age groups.
- Power BI reports for Claims, Billing, and Collections
The report builder helps retail owners to create billing reports and identify claim patterns to losses to reduce the risk of fraud. To keep the customers satisfied, the process of claim cancellation and billing should be efficient.
- Fantasy Players Comparison
A lot of application has been launched during the NFL season where players could make their fantasy football team and earn rewards if it wins. These applications use paginated reports to give ratings to each player based on their performance in past matches. With all information on one platform, the user can easily find out the details he wants and make better predictions about the upcoming season.
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Now, let’s move forward and create our first report on Power BI Desktop.
How to create a report in Power BI
Power BI reports can be created by either Power BI Desktop or Power BI website. Microsft offers both free and paid versions of Power BI tools. The Power BI Desktop is free software that a designer can use to connect different data sources, visualize the data, and create reports out of it.
However, Power BI reports cannot be shared with other users or published on the Power BI service. Whereas, the pro version allows the reports to be published and shared on Power BI Service, website, and mobile applications. You can also convert them into paginated reports through the report builder.
For this guide, we’ll be using Power BI Desktop to create our first report and then publish it on the Power BI website. This Power BI report creation step-by-step procedure is divided into 5 main steps.
Check out this blog on Power BI Desktop to install the software on your system.
Preparing the Data
Data preparation involves connecting Power BI
- After you’ve installed Power BI Desktop for connection with the report builder. Launch the software and select the option Get data from the Home tab of the welcome screen.
- Select your data sources, locate the file in your system, and load it into the system.
- Now, you can either transform your data based on the requirements or directly load it to the interface. Transforming your data means removings unnecessary columns, redundant values, and giving default values to the columns with null cells.
- After data transformation is completed, click on the Load button and the selected data will reflect on the Desktop interface.
Power BI Report Builder
The Power BI Report Builder is a stand-alone application that can be downloaded from the Microsft download center. The administrator of your organization has to share it on your account, which you can confirm from the report server. The report builder is used to authorize paginated reports in Power BI and publish them on the website. Therefore, it’s important to install the app on your computer and create better Power BI reports.
Designing your Report
The next step is to visualize transformed data in the form of charts, graphs, maps, etc. Select the report view from the toolbar on the left side.
- Now, select the figure you want to create from the visualization panel and the data variables from the Fields toolbar on the right side.
- Similarly, you can add more visualizations and dimensions to make your report more interactive. You can add more fields in the shared axis, column series, and tooltips to establish a relationship between them.
Publishing the report to Power BI Service
- Once the designing part is over, it’s time to move forward and publish your report on the Power BI website. So, click on the publish button and select the workspace.
- The Desktop will redirect you to the Power BI Website. The interface would look something like this:
- Select the Power BI reports from My Workspace and the interface will open the reports’ list. From there, you can select the one you want to share or customize.
- From here, you can create paginated reports and dashboards, or directly share them with your team, and others by selecting.
Modifying existing Reports
Microsoft also provides Power BI sample reports published by different organizations from their datasets. It’s a directory where you can find hundreds of Power BI reports and dashboards of different categories. Also, you can modify some of them and learn more about the process. However, these Power BI report examples can’t be modified on Power BI Desktop. Therefore, you either have to use the website or install the report server from the Power BI report server download option available in the product section.
Power BI is fairly easy to use compared to other Business Intelligence tools. Even a non-technical user can understand the framework and start making Power BI reports from day one. Moreover, you can collaborate with other designers and developers to work on individual Power BI reports and create highly customized visualizations.
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