2 min read

Power BI: my first impressions

By Mads Bender on 27 December 2022

Topics: D365FO PowerBI

Most people today know of or have heard of Power BI. Power BI is a simple software and with limited introduction you will be able to produce meaningful reports. It is then possible to dive deeper into the software and create very complex and beautiful reports, again with limited effort. This is one of the things I really enjoy with Power BI. It is an extremely powerful visualization tool.

My introduction

When I started working with it approximately 3 years ago, I had my reservation. At that point I had been using Paginated reports (Report Builder) for 2-3 years. Paginated Reports have lost support from Microsoft, therefore creating the switch to Power BI suddenly become a necessity.

At this point I had around 30 paginated reports that now had to be moved to Power BI. The thing is these two are not direct substitutes for each other and one should not see them as being substitutes.

Power BI versus Paginated Reports

In the switch I took a deep dive into Power Bi exploring the possibilities and the limitation. First the pixel perfect reports we had in paginated reports never got a replacement in Power BI. These reports need to display a high level of data details and enable an export to excel with immediate possibility for manipulation and sharing with internal and external stakeholders. Nonetheless, my immersion to Power BI gave me a lot of headaches and a very powerful tool in my toolbox.

Validation of Data

Personally, I have used it extensively for Python development. With most IDE you have the option to see your data on the fly in Python and you can slice and dice it to validate. I am very visual and since I have had a SQL sandbox to store tables in Power BI quickly became a tool for validation data manipulation and looking for errors in my development.

When to use Power BI

I use Power BI and it is a valuable tool in my toolbox, however you would not hammer in a screw and similarly Power BI is not a perfect tool for all problems. I personally see power BI to be best fitted to for the following problems:

  • Strategic and tactical.

  • Managerial reporting

  • Data exploration

I would be hesitant to use Power BI in the following situations:

  • Operational

  • Tables and matrix

  • Project planning

You can make reports that will solve these issues; however, I would say doing that then you would be hammering in your screws. It will work, but it is not the best use of your resources.

Continue learning with my articles posted in our blog and don't hesitate to contact me to share your impressions and questions. Happy reporting!

Written by Cittros team

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