Business intelligence is the engine that drives any hard-working businesses. It helps chief executives and managers make more informed business decisions and, as a result, can save business significant time, money and resources. However, many organisations find it difficult to easily access the right business intelligence at the right time. This is where Power BI can help.

Watch our webinar to find out more about Power BI and how it can help your business save time, save money and become more effective.



Good afternoon, everybody, and welcome to today’s session. We’re going to be talking about empowering your business with Power BI, and the number of people have registered today to hear all about what Simon has to share with us and what the art of possible is with Power BI.


So, my name is Danusia Jolliffe.


I am the Marketing and Customer Services Director here at TVision. I’ve been with the business, nearly seven years, and looking after the marketing team and the customer service team. So, I help out and organise with the webinars, and I’m really pleased today to say that Simon here, the Analytics Director at Hopton Analytics is joining us. Simon.    


Thank you. So, little bit about me, my name is Simon Devine. I’ve been working with data for a number of years and also with operations.


So, my interest really is in both of those, how can we use the data to better help organizations be aware of what their information offers, and also to provide insights into that data?


What we’ll be looking at today is an introduction into how it can help, also, the main benefits and features of Power BI.


How we can use it in the real-world environments, and a demo with Q and A with, so, you can see Power BI, live and in action, there’s a question. So, Simon, on that note, if anyone does have any questions, I’ll be monitoring them as we go along. So, Simon can do the demo for you. Either put them in the chat or in the question box, and I will ask at the appropriate time. So please feel free to ask questions as we’re going along. Sometimes, if you leave them to the end, kind of like you lose your train of thought. So, I’ll make sure I don’t interrupt Simon, but if anyone does ask, I’ll just pop that question out, if that’s OK?


Fantastic, thanks for that. That was just literally what I was going to say.


So, so what is Power BI? And forgive me if you are already aware of it and using it, but we’ll start from the beginning and we’ll definitely ramp up in what’s possible, so what is it? So, for me, it’s an interactive reporting platform.


Nice and simple. BI is, can also be called data analytics, or Business Analytics, or BI, or, back in the day, reporting.


And, really, what we can do with Power BI, why we can use it, is, it’s a cloud based, visual analytics tool.


One of the things we get from that is the ability to use the tool, anywhere on any device, to really get to visualize our data, with speed, with efficiency and also with accuracy.


Power BI’s drag and drop feature, which we’ll look at later as well, means that it isn’t something that you need to be an out and out developer to use, so anybody within the organization with the right permissions can start to tailor their reports to suit their needs. And we’ll see some of that in action as well in a while.


So, one of the things that we’ll be looking at, is how you can use existing applications, content packs produced by TVision/Bevica to analyse the data that you’ve got. Or you can create your own, and you can do this with speed to start to pull information directly for your systems, many different systems, really, really quickly.


So, some examples of data sources would be the likes of Dynamics, Business Central, Dynamics NAV, Salesforce, Dynamics 365, Google, really, the options are


unlimited, and we’ll look at some of those in a little while as well.


So, some of the features. You can connect and combine multiple data sources. It’s rare that we find the data source that we can’t connect to out of the box, but most of the time, even those, we can bring them in. And the combining different data sources is also where the power is. You can imagine you’ve got a historical data source, may be an historical ERP system and you still want to pull that data in, so you can do forecasting and analysis on. You could do that. You’ve got data that comes from a complete other warehousing system. No problem. We can bring that in.


You really can start to use Power BI to bring all of these things together.


You can automatically schedule refreshes.


So, what does that mean? It means your data or is going to be up to date, you not having to manually export data, build reports, distribute them, the data it will be up to date as often really as you want, either instantaneous using direct query or every half hour even.


If you want. We can transform and manipulate the data easily. So, if you’re not from, if you’ve not got Power BI or similar already, you’ll be used to taking the data out, perhaps adding columns, especially if it’s in Excel, if Statements, Manipulation, all that, all that sort of thing. With Power BI, we do that once, when we create your reports and your dashboards, and from then on, it’s taken care of. No need to repeat that.


And, what we’ve got with business intelligence and decision making. Once we’ve got that data, once it’s transformed, we can identify trends, areas of strength, areas of weakness, and give you the ability to make decisions from the insights that it provides.


Some of the features that we can look at, drill down. So, can imagine there, we’ve got a list of account managers or salespeople with sales and we want to drill in to find more information.


You can do that without the need to open a brand-new report, or something outside of the system.


We can do it all within the same data and inter-operability with other Microsoft apps.


So, as you’d expect, Power BI, as it is a Microsoft application, plays well with Teams, and can live within Teams, SharePoint, PowerPoint, any, any really, tools that you’ve got can live with and work with really well.


The AI feature is really neat.


So, one of the things that we’ll look at today is how, perhaps you’ve got a report that’s already built, and it’s designed in a specific way, and you want to ask one simple question of it, traditionally, that would then have been a request to a developer to write a new report or change it.


Now, with Power BI, you can use Q and A to have, literally speak in English, and it will produce the report or the query that you’re asking for.


And we’ll see that live. And the marketplace, which is any number of additional connectors, or reports or dashboards that are available to you, some from…


Simon. Yep. Someone has asked, is there a limit to the number of dashboards you can have, or that you would recommend?


Recommended, is an interesting one.


So, I suppose recommended depends upon what you can consume, and how much.


One of the things you do have is, that even though you might have, let’s say, in the organization, 100 different reports or dashboards, you would provide access only to those reports or dashboards that people would need. So, that’s a neat way of restricting access right down.


I suppose, in terms of a limit to how many people would have, I tend to build them in a function.


So, I’d have a sales report with a dashboard, maybe a procurement one with the dashboard, and so, I wouldn’t have reports and dashboards that are point specific, and we’ll see in a second how you can use perhaps one report to do multiple things.


Thank you.


So, the Marketplace has a load of different connectors, which can speed up and simplify how we connect and pull our data in. So, as I just mentioned, there’s at least 126 different connectors. Now, for the most part, this isn’t something you need to know. Really, it will take care of itself, but they include connectors for NAV, Business Central, D365 Sales and Marketing, Google, Salesforce, SharePoint, Excel, really important.


As even if we are using Power BI. I don’t think it’s practical for most businesses to say that, they’re just going to stop having Excel as a data source. And, when we implement Power BI, we take a practical approach on that it’s not possible. So, let’s see how we get on. So, why might you need it? So, if one of these rings true, then then it’s definitely worth us speaking. So, you’re spending a lot of time and money pulling reports together.


You’re struggling to get an overview of business operations apart from manually generate reports, perhaps every week, month or quarter, your data requires high level of manipulation to give you the insight that you need or you’ve trust issues. So that reporting has come inconsistencies.


It needs to be doing regularly, you find errors, and then have to go back and have that corrected.


And none of those are things I’d say you’d look at and say, well, that’s, you know, a terrible thing that these sorts of things happen in a lot of organizations, and that’s why we work with quite so many, is because we recognize these. If you’ve got these, then it’s absolutely worth us speaking.


Content Packs, what are these, well to us Content packs are pre-canned, I suppose, you’d say, pre-written applications or reports, where we’ve already worked, and we recognize that there’s something that can add value. And so, as an example, accounts receivable, you’re one, aged debt, you’ll want to be able to drill into the invoice, you’ll want to be able to see things by customer. You want to see overdue amounts. And that sort of thing is, is what we’ve produced as content packs. Again, that’s of interest. We’d love to be able to talk to you about it.


So, apologies for going on for quite a long just to begin with, but what we’ll do is we’ll jump straight into a demo, if we may.


So, I mentioned Power BI is a, is a tool that you can consume from any device. I’m looking at this via a web browser. There’s apps for Android and for iOS, as well. So, you really can consume it on any device.


Here what I’ve got are favourites, that are important to me.


So, the ones that we’re going to look at today is demo data or sales. So, I’ve got two things right now that I’m going to look at. Sales Dashboard and the Sales Report.


So, if I open my sales dashboard, the first thing I see is key pieces of information that are relevant for me.


Because this is a dashboard and how it’s designed, it will flex suit see the size of the screen you’re working on – which is really neat. So, I don’t just have to have it in a fixed format, equally, if I was looking at this and saying, that’s good but actually, for me, that’s less important. And I want that to be much bigger. I can design this to suit my needs.


The thing with dashboards is, you can subscribe to them as well. So traditional reporting, perhaps you want your sales figures delivered to your inbox at 5 PM every evening or 9 AM the following morning? Or you want your debtors to be delivered on email on 9 AM every Friday, for example.


You can do that by subscribing to these dashboards and that will then take care of itself.


Another thing you’ve got as well is the ability to comment.


So, I can on here, say, I wish to add a comment and you can bring other people into this discussion.


I can find Danusia, can we discuss this please.


And Danusia will now receive that as a, as a, as a comment. We can do that with Teams as well. I’m just using the inbuilt comments here, but Teams works in exactly the same way.


Danusia will now have that. And if she replies, I’ll see that.


Another neat feature that we have, is the ability.


Is the ability to create alerts. So, perhaps we want to know if our, in fact let’s pick Net Promoter.


We want to know if our Net Promoter Score drops below 50.


And we want to be told on email and within our app, if we got it. Creating an alert is that simple. And now I’ve added a new alert to tell me if something happens – positive or negative.


And it’ll send me an email, and, via my iOS or Android app, they’ll send me a pop up on my phone or tablet as well.


All of this is standard, and we’ve not actually done anything yet, that is outside of what you’d be able to get up and running pretty quickly.


So, one of the things you might want, you might be looking at this and saying, OK, I can see the open opportunities by salesperson. I want to see some more information.


So, what you do is you just click, and what we do is we drill into the report. So, you’ve moved from a dashboard to a report.


So, the first thing to say is that the design of these is entirely up to you.


There’s no set way of doing it. It can be developed to suit, you, your branding, your preferences. Everything is bespoke for you.


Or can be. So, this first one I’m looking at, is I’m looking at GP.  Actual, in progress, target and number of opportunities.


I’ve got tables, so these are just high-level numbers that I can see.


With Power BI, one of the things that you can do straight out of the box is.


I can chat. As I mentioned, I can export that data.


So, based upon permissions, I can drop that straight out into Excel.


No problem at all.


I can, on any of these, look at this data and say, OK, I can see that perhaps I want a bit more information.


So, I talked about drill through before, and all of this is easily developed. So, there’s nothing that is set-in stone, so we can add this or not, to suit you.


So, I want to drill through there and see perhaps opportunity detail where there is no opportunity stage recorded.


No problem at all.


None luckily, I can get right down to the to the detail straight off. And you see what we do here. The reason why we do it like this, is we wanted to be as limited number of clicks as possible, really, to start to get to the information.


Because this is Power BI as well, this is great, but it’s not static.


So, I can say, I just want to know where we’re the preferred supplier.


And you’ll see straight off the data’s flex, I now have a smaller number of opportunities.


I can see which ones we’re preferred supplier for, as the data flex is there, and also whereabouts in the country perhaps they are.


Now, this is good and perhaps I like what I’m seeing, but I don’t want to see a donut chart. No problem. Again, given permission, so it’s entirely up to you whether you offer this to your consumers of the data, I can personalize this.


So actually, I want to see a simple stacked bar chart.


And that’s what I want to see. Now I’ve changed my view of the data, and that’s pretty important. As well, as my view, and not everybody else’s.


I have filters down the side.


So, from here I can say I just want to look at a specific customer or a specific sales person perhaps.


And my data will flex.


Or I can just use the eraser and get rid of that as a selection.


I can have multiple tabs or sheets.


So, I just want to look at opportunities that are going to close this month, or have closed this month perhaps. So now I’m looking at that detail.


One of the things that I mentioned is the ability to drill through or down.


So, I can use this little turn on drill down button here – and when I click that, and I say, I just want to look at April, that’ll now filter my data.


So, I’m just looking at specific sales for a specific person, and you can do that pretty much anywhere that that it’s designed.


Which is cool.


So, I mentioned as well, the ability to add comments in the same way you can do that for a dashboard. You can do that for a report as well. So where is that useful?


Perhaps you’ve clicked on a set of options.


So, I’m just looking at sales of chairs for April. Same principle, I can send Danusia a message, can we discuss April sales of chairs.


Now the neat thing about that is when Danusia opens her note, the data will automatically filter to the selection that I’ve seen when I’ve asked that question. So, for collaboration with other people, that’s fantastic.


We’ve had a question saying: Are the different information tabs, individual pages?




Um, yeah, they are.


So, each one of these in effect, is a separate page within the system, or within the report.


It’s a bit like, in fact, what I’ll do to answer that question I’ll show you how, again, with permissions, you can change quickly how your report looks and works. So, I’m just clicking edit. I can click Edit because I have permission. And the first thing you see is tabs down the bottom. That’s pretty much like Excel.


In actual fact, in Power BI, when you display them, they don’t display as tabs along the bottom, they display down the side, but, that’s just what they are. So, if you look there, that’s a different tab, and, and so on.


So that’s how that works. This edit features really neat.


So, here if I wanted, I can minimize that. I can say that’s great.


Now I want a new, um, top visual, here’s all the standard visuals and I’ll show you how many more there are. So, from here, then I can decide what data I want to bring in. So, I want to bring in it by account.


Select my field, drag and drop and that then adds it.


So, let me just talk about the visuals that we can have, as well. Sorry.


So, other than all of the standards, and I’m not going to talk you through them now, but we can absolutely go through them in more detail later, if you wish.


There are a remarkable amount of standard, mostly free, some aren’t, some are paid for, but quite a lot of available visualizations, that literally if I’m interested in one.


So, the Chord there from Microsoft, this loads it.


I can add it to my report, and we’ll see there that visual is now available. So that, again, takes away the need for development.


You don’t have to do any of that yourselves, OK?


Does that answer the question there sorry.


I’m guessing. Guessing I did.


So final thing. So, we’ve got that. We can see that we can flex the data.


We can see we can share it, collaborate with others. We can see, in a web browser, we can, if we’re, if we’re the owner and if we have permissions, we can edit the application so that everybody can see an updated version without any, any need for serious development. Course, if you want to change the model, you do that using the Power BI Desktop app, but it’s the same, literally is the same tool.


You can bookmark elements, so I always know when I go in, I’m only interested in preferred supplier, negotiation and 1 of 2. Brilliant. I’ll add a personal bookmark.


So, 5 to 7, sales ops, I can make that my default view, or I can just have it.


So then when I open my bookmarks, we can say 5 to 7, and the flex is my data, as well.


So, I mentioned the ability to look at natural query or ask questions in English. So, what we’ve got there is fantastic. I can see detail, I can drill down. I can export to Excel, I’ve got everything I want. I might have specific questions that are relevant to me.


What we can do is build these in a way that you can ask questions in English.


So, I want to see total sales in 2020, by customer.


For April, read on a map.


And it can flex the data for me.


I could have said as a table, I could have said all account managers. I could have said, sales stages 7 to 5 to 7. It could have been, show me all stock locations for this product. It could be, show me my slow-moving stock and their location.


Whatever you can imagine, if we build the data model well, you can access all of this data. And really it.


This Q&A feature removes the need for massive amounts of development or bespoke reports. So, the earlier question there which was, how many reports and dashboards can I have?


Using Q and A well, you can really reduce the amount of dashboards that you need.


OK, so, next bit, if I may.


So, what we’ve looked at there is reports and dashboards, great.


We’ve looked at alerts, we’ve looked at bookmarks, we’ve looked at drill downs, we’ve looked at Q and A. And this is great, but sometimes, you just want Excel. And I think that’s the beauty of Power BI, is, Microsoft is, they recognize that sometimes you’re just going to want to see the data and play with it. No problem at all, again, with the right permissions. So, we can disable this by user, by team, by report even. What I can do is, I can come here and say, I want to analyse that sales data in Excel.


Now, what it will do is open up an Excel tab. And here, what I can say is, I’m going to want Account Manager, I’m going to want perhaps, sales value.


Maybe month.


So, why is that useful?


We’re using exactly the same data that we see in our dashboards and report, so to come back to an old, but still very valid statement. We are, we’ve got one version of the truth. This Excel report will be as up to date as dashboards. In fact, if you save it and then share it, providing it’s still linked back to Power BI, it’ll always be as up to date, and we’re not actually having to have different ways and different mechanisms of providing reports. It’s a really neat feature.


Simon. Simon, someone’s asked the question saying, you’ve mentioned security and permissions. Is that internal? Can you share all of this externally as well?


So, there are mechanisms to provide external access.


So perhaps you have customers who you want to give a secure copy of your information about them, the best way of doing that is where, what you do is, you give them access to, to a specific Power BI report, and they use that Power BI licenses. OK, thank you. Perhaps, I’ve probably not done a fantastic job of explaining that, but what it does is, you give them access. Security kicks in at your end, which limits what they can see, hundred percent. But they’re consuming their Power BI license to view this data.


Cool. Thank you.


There are other things you could do if it’s properly public domain data then you can just share freely.


But if this is business data, you absolutely would never do that. That’s okay, thank you.


So, just to recap, we’ve looked at how we can consume the data.


We’ve looked too predefined, a predefined report there. But equally, I’ve dragged a new visual, and we could create that.


It’s interactive, contact sensitive, we’ve seen that work.


I showed how you could share and collaborate with others.


Email alerts. We didn’t see one come through, but that’ll just work, just as I said. We set an alert and that works.


And, as a tool, generally, we think it’s familiar. Such as Outlook, Excel, it’s a familiar Microsoft product.


OK, so, so what, again, what we just looked at, and I haven’t shown, actually, is the mobile.


But, again, we can go through that if you want 1 to 1, and we’ve shown how we can do dashboards. So pricing.


So, it’s important to say these are accurate as of now, but from Jan, from April, sorry.


There’s an expectation that Microsoft will increase their prices by 9%, so just be aware of that.


So, what we looked at today was the Pro License, Power BI Pro. £750 right now, per month.


For collaboration, mobile access, refreshes the data eight times a day, as standard. But we talked at the very start about perhaps using direct query to be literally split-second bang up to date. That’s absolutely possible. Exporting files, so you can, you can run a Power BI report within PowerPoint, or you can export PDF, which is static, or export to PowerPoint as static.


The model size limits, aren’t for the most part, going to be an issue.


But we can talk about them as when we look at your data.


And if you’ve got Microsoft E5, 365 licenses, you’ve already got Power BI.


If not, you can simply add it on for the £750 per user per month. We then go to Premium. So, the middle ones, I think’s the important.


Out of the two premium types, so what does premium give you? Slightly more advanced AI.


Many more refreshes, and a much bigger, model. Data Model. But again, importantly, you can mix these within your organization. There are some limitations as to how it works, but they won’t cause friction in how you use it.


If you’ve got over 200 and odd Power BI users, then premium per capacity might be the way to go. It’s a fair, it’s fair bit of money.


But there’s no requirement for consumers of this to have licenses.


They just, they just get it.


Which is pretty neat.


So, sorry, I appreciate I’ve already gone over. But, so what next?  If you’re interested, the approach that we take that works really well is, we’ll provide some free consultancy, remote via Teams, where we’ll talk about options? We’ll look at the data that you’ve got. We’ll discuss what we might be able to do based upon the needs and the requirements that you tell us. Off the back of that, we would build a program of work with recommendations for implementation and/or training.


I appreciate we did go through that at a pace.


Um, thank you for listening and asking questions as well. Is there any more questions that I can answer now?


Someone did say, how quickly can you go from the, we’ve got this idea internally, to seeing it? I mean, I know how long is a piece of string, but a rough guide.


So, it’s a good one, actually. So, in actual fact, let’s say you say I’ve got, I’ve got an idea. We’ve got this data.


We want to be able to see this data and flex it.


Usually, within a matter of hours, we’ve connected to the data source.


We’ve extracted it, and we’re starting to get insights to turn it into a fully-fledged report. Or dashboard takes a little bit longer. Because what we look to do is work with you to identify more, a broader range of requirements.


So, it’s not just one-point solution, but pretty quickly is the answer in terms of how quick to go from, nothing to something.


Great. So, as always, thank you so much Simon. It’s was always great to have an external speaker just to give us that business point of view. As with all of our webinars the link is sent out, and now, within a day or so. And the information is also put on our website. So, thank you very much Simon for attending. Thank you everyone else for joining us today, and we’ll will speak soon, I’m sure.


All right, Thank you so much.