How to Create Insightful Dashboards in Microsoft Power BI

By August 17, 2023 No Comments

Data visualization is a powerful tool for communicating complex data. It presents the data in a simple, easily understandable format. But it is not enough to simply create a graph or chart and call it a day there. To truly make use of information, it is important to create insightful reports. Reports that effectively communicate the story behind the data.

These type of reports help decision-makers understand key trends and patterns. As well as identify areas of opportunity and make informed decisions. And if analytics graphs and bar charts are only telling part of the story, it can lead people to wrong decisions.

Creating holistic and insightful reports requires the use of several data points. One tool in the suit of Microsoft Business applications portfolio that enables this is Microsoft Power BI.

What Is Microsoft Power BI?

Power BI is a business intelligence tool. It allows you to connect many data sources to one dashboard. Using Power BI, you can easily model and visualize data holistically.

The platform has over 500 different data connectors. These connectors can tap into sources of data from the Apps your business is already using such as Salesforce, Excel, Azure and many more. There is also the added advantage that users can leverage pre-built report templates to save time in creating data-rich reporting. And your employees can also collaborate and share dashboards virtually including via powerful integration with other Microsoft Products like Microsoft Teams.

Tips for Designing Great Data Visualization Reports

Interested in getting started with Power BI? Here are some tips and and best practices for getting the most out of your Power BI reporting and getting the 360 degree data insight you need:

Consider Your Audience

You should design reporting dashboards with the end user in mind. What is it that this audience wants to see? Are they looking for bottom-line sales numbers? Or do they want to cover insights that can help target productivity gaps?

The use of clear and concise language and effective visualizations are important. These help to highlight the key takeaways from the data. Also remember to customize reports to the audience’s level of technical expertise and business goals.

Don’t Overcomplicate Things

Many times, less is more with reporting data.

If you find that your dashboard looks crowded, you may be adding too many reports or data. The more you add, the more difficult it is to read the key insights in the data.

Remove all but the most essential highlights. And look for ways to include different data sets in a single report, such as using stacked bar charts. Dashboards should show important data at a glance, so do your best to avoid the need to scroll.

Try Out Different Chart Types

Experiment with presenting your data in different ways. Flip between bar, pie, and other types of charts to find the one that tells the story the best. And when building a new dashboard for your organization, get some input. Ask those who will review the reports which chart type works best for them.

Get to Know Power Query

Power Query is a data preparation engine. It can save you a lot of time in developing insightful reports. This engine is used in Microsoft tools like Power BI and Excel.

Take time to learn how to leverage this tool for help with:

  • Connecting a wide range of data sources to the dashboard
  • Previewing data queries
  • Building intuitive queries over many data sources
  • Defining data size, variety, and velocity

Tell People What They Are Looking At

A typical comment heard often when presenting executives with a new report is, “What am I looking at?” Tell your audience what the data means by using features like tooltips and text boxes to add context.

Just one or two sentences can save someone 5-10 minutes of trying to figure out why you gave them this report. That context can get them to a decision faster. It also helps avoid any confusion or misunderstandings about the data.

Use Emphasis Tricks

People usually read left to right and from top to bottom. So put your most important chart at the top, left corner. Follow, with the next most important reports.

If you have specific numbers that need to stand out, increase the font size or bold the text. This ensures that your audience understands the key takeaways.

You can also use colors to emphasize things like a “High, Mid, Low.” For example, a low level of accidents could be green, a mid-level in yellow and a high colored red. This provides more visual context to the data.

Need Help with Power BI?

We can help you get started or improve your use of Power BI? We have extensive experience of delivering business focused Cloud solutions from the entire suite of Microsoft Cloud business applications.

Contact us today to schedule a chat about leveraging this powerful platform.





Article used with permission from The Technology Press.