Power BI for Enterprise Reporting:
6 Questions to Ask
Power BI is the most widely used enterprise data visualization tool. With its advanced data preparation features, self-service friendliness, and affordability, Power BI’s is rapidly penetrating the data visualization market.
Businesses of all sizes use Power BI for making data-driven decisions.
In this blog post, we’ll share six questions to help organizations evaluate Power BI for enterprise reporting.
Here are those six questions –
- Does your business have an analytics-ready single source of truth?
- Are Power BI connectors available for your business’s critical data sources?
- Does Power BI Align With Your Business’s Regulatory Compliance Needs?
- Is your Business Skeptical about the Cloud?
- What’s the User Count?
- Which Power BI Plan Meets Your Business Needs? Pro or Premium?
Let’s now look at them in detail.
Does Your Business Have an Analytics-Ready Single Source of Truth?
The major obstacle for data analytics is data preparation. The bitter truth today is the time spent on data preparation is a lot more than the time spent on analyzing it.
Data is often scattered across multiple operational systems. These data must be stored in a single place, with appropriate relationships set up between each dataset.
The question is if your organization already built a single source of truth?
Most organizations today have set up a single source of truth in the cloud or on-premise. However, they face challenges in the data distribution.
From a security perspective, the organizations still face the overhead task of setting up access to the right set of data for each stakeholder.
It’s only when appropriate data governance policies are implemented in your single source of truth, it’s analytics-ready.
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If your answer to this question is a confident “Yes”, you’ve already finished the major part of the job for your organization to get started with Power BI!
You’ll just have to connect Power BI to that data source (say SQL Server, Snowflake, Azure Data Warehouse, etc), with an appropriate data source authentication setup.
If you answered “Yes” to this question, you can even skip the next question, and jump to the third one! If not, the next one is the most important question for you.
Are Connectors Available for Your Business’s Critical Data Sources?
If you’re choosing Power BI at an Enterprise level, it’s impossible to force the users to rely on excel exports from data sources.
It is essential to list out your critical data sources, and check if Power BI connectors are available for those data sources.
First, you have to ask if your organization is a Microsoft shop. If yes, you’re already halfway through! As a Microsoft product, Power BI comes with native connectivity options for most (if not all) of the Microsoft applications.
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Even if you’re not a Microsoft shop, you can simply download Power BI Desktop and check if it provides access to the data sources you have. Power BI comes with many native connectors for market-leading non-Microsoft products.
If you can’t find a native connector, you can still choose other options like ODBC, Blank Query, etc, or get custom connectors as well. However, when choosing a custom connector that’s not Power BI certified, you must ensure the connector doesn’t violate your organization’s data governance policies or compliance needs.
Does Power BI Align With Your Business’s Regulatory Compliance Needs?
Regulatory compliances can never be ignored. You must list out the set of regulatory obligations your company has, and ensure if Power BI is capable of meeting those demands.
Of course, Power BI is compliant with major industry-specific requirements such as HIPAA for the Healthcare industry.
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Though, as a Microsoft product, Power BI is capable of meeting your business needs in terms of regulatory compliances, it’s always good to check the same with the Power BI team, before getting started with Power BI for your enterprise reporting.
Sometimes, there are chances that Power BI doesn’t provide any specific provision for meeting certain Geography-based, or industry-specific, or business-specific compliance requirements. In such cases, you may consider evaluating the workaround options.
Is your Business Skeptical about the Cloud?
Though many enterprises have switched to cloud Data Warehousing in recent years, due to their flexibility and ease of use, some businesses are still skeptical about the cloud.
The answer to the question, if your business is skeptical about the cloud, will help you make the choice between Power BI Service or Report Server.
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When you use Power BI Service, you publish and share reports securely in Power BI’s cloud infrastructure. This will also help you narrow down to the right Power BI pricing plan for your organization.
What’s the User Count?
At an Enterprise level, businesses must have a clear idea of the following numbers, in order to make the right choice on the Power BI pricing plan:
- Number of Power BI creators – BI developers, Data Analysts
- Number of end-users (or report consumers) – Business users
These numbers will not only give you a clear picture of the best pricing plan but also help you plan your resources accordingly when getting started with Power BI.
Further questions like who are the end-users, what decisions do they struggle to make, will help to estimate the deadlines for your dashboarding process.
As pointed out earlier, the creators will spend the most time making the data analysis-ready.
Which Power BI Plan Meets Your Business Needs? Pro or Premium?
When choosing between Power BI Pro and Premium, you may want to consider the data volume limitations in each of these plans.
When choosing Pro, you spend $9.99/user/month. From a pricing standpoint, the Pro plan is a good choice for businesses when the licensed headcount is not more than 500.
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Recently, Power BI came up with a per-user plan for the Premium plan as well. It costs $20/user/month. You can opt for this choice if you have less than 250 users.
The Premium plan also unlocks Power BI’s advanced AI and ML features. However, if the above 2 choices are not good, you can go ahead with the Premium plan at the per capacity basis. The capacity model gets you an exclusive computing resource allocated for your organization’s use.
The answers to the 6 questions will help you determine if Power BI is the best choice for your enterprise reporting needs, and also help make the right choice between Power BI Pro and Premium.