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About Power BI

I’ve prepared numerous spreadsheet reports over my career; many not fully utilized, and many generating more questions than answers.

I’ve also seen many ERP systems that work great as a database, but lack a dynamic interface or ability to quickly gain insights.

Microsoft took aim at this challenge with the release of Power BI. Power BI brings modern report automation and empowers the business person to share customize insights clearly, at scale, and on-demand.

Power BI is a cost-effective way for businesses of all sizes to turn data into direction by removing complexity, engaging others, and acting towards positive change.

Too good to be true? I’ve demonstrated Power BI to many business owners and have witnessed firsthand the difference between ‘explaining’ a spreadsheet versus ‘exploring’ insights together. Power BI helps us gain trust faster, paving the way for open dialogue and a positive outcome.

For many businesses Power BI is their first clear view at meaningful insights, absent of complex spreadsheet or a legacy ERP system.

Whether you are looking to automate a manual spreadsheet process, wanting to display custom KPIs on the big screen, or supplementing your ERP with drill-down insights, there’s an opportunity to make your data work for you and tell a better data story.

Below are examples of sample reports and features to help share your data story.

Income Statement Reader

The classic income statement is one of the most trusted documents in business. By publishing the income statement online, we track the business daily, identify changes, and drill into transaction detail all from one page.

Open the report by clicking on the image below. Then follow the bulleted steps below.

  • Scroll down the main statement to the ‘Repairs and Maintenance’ line. You’ll notice an increase in expense over prior year highlighted in red.
  • Click on the label ‘Repairs and Maintenance’ to highlight just this line. Notice the panel on the right filters to a list of repair amounts by month.
  • Click on the + symbol on October to reveal the issue. We have a capital project entry mixed in with our repairs and maintenance.

With the ability to review the statement and dig into details if needed, we understand the issue well enough to simply ask for a correction.

For those looking for a data-mining version of General Ledger transactions, we provide a monthly drill-down version that allows locating summarizing by Month and Year, GL Account number, or if needed, drill down to a document number or even to a specific dollar amount!

Retail Analysis

The report below is a retail sales and margin report for a fictitious sporting goods store. In the report we are able to filter the single page to show us various insights by store location, brand, department etc.

The report below is similar in that it features both a matrix table and chart visuals. The multiple line chart on the right of the screen calls out high and low points between different product groups. Accessories sold the most overall, and Shoes sold the least overall. Within each graph we also call out both high and low points in each individual product group.

Retail Comparison

This report lets the report user dynamically choose their item table row labels as well as chart values on the fly. For example, we can stack (and expand) any number of row labels from the large slicer on the left side of the report. For example, choose the Customer Segment checkbox, then Customer Name (Name) checkbox. The table in the middle displays our labels, allowing us to drill down to view grouped customers by their specific customer segment.

Next, we can choose the measure values we see displayed in bar and line combo chart in the lower right of the report. Use the slicer boxes above this chart to choose what to view in your graph, then choose to hide either the bar or line labels for easier reading.

Daily Moving Average

Understanding how our business changes over time has never been more important. This daily moving average report allows us to view sales trends at different time intervals. From day-to-day changes all the way up to a smoother 90 day average, this graph helps us understand the impact of changes in the market.

Thank you for visiting Story BI, please don’t hesitate to contact us on how we can add value to your data story.

Mark Walter, CPA – Story BI – mark@storybi.com

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