Blog: Data Insights

Power BI Best Practices

August 13, 2020 - by Synoptek

In a world where businesses are struggling to turn data into actionable insight, Power BI is a powerful tool that sets the foundation for relevant, current, and critical insights. The robust data visualization tool helps discover insights hidden in business data, empowering organizations to create a data-driven culture.

Whether you’re new to Power BI or have been leveraging the tool to drive better business results, you should always strive to improve the performance and security of the tool. This post will discuss the best practices businesses should use for Power BI, so you can glean maximum value from the tool’s modern features and capabilities.


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Benefits of Power BI

Organizations looking to analyze large volumes of unstructured, ambiguous, and unorganized data can benefit immensely by adopting Power BI. The tool, through constantly updated applications and capabilities, allows teams to identify trends and patterns in data and leverage it to improve day-to-day functioning of the organization. With Power BI, businesses can:

  • Prepare data, build machine learning models, and unearth insights quickly from structured and unstructured data
  • Combine self-service and enterprise analytics on a single platform and meet visualization needs with speed and accuracy
  • Reduce the time taken to discover insights and increase collaboration between business analysts, data engineers, and data scientists
  • Easily integrate data from the tool with other tools including Excel and Dynamics 365 and make it easy to publish and share data across the organization
  • Use data from Power BI to automate workflows and build business applications using Power Apps and Power Automate
  • Get insight not just from past data but also from IoT sensors and social media interactions in real-time to make timely business decisions

10 Power BI Best Practices

Although Power BI has the capability to completely transform how organizations deal with and use data for business decision-making, maximizing ROI from the tool requires them to embrace certain best practices. Listed below are 10 Power BI best practices to follow:

1. Be Consistent with Your Dashboard Visuals

Power BI offers businesses with a range of different dashboard visuals that make it easy for users to understand data and use it to power their decisions. However, it is important to embrace formats that are easy to read and understand. Make sure to choose a format that best describes the data at hand. Also, make sure to be consistent with your scale, dimensions, as well as data labels.

2. Limit the Number of Visuals

Although you might be tempted to use a number of visuals in a bid to enhance access to insights, having too many visuals can slow the performance of your Power BI tool. A large number of visuals can also overwhelm users, restricting their ability to understand the data at hand and power decisions.

3. Enable Row-Level Security

A lot of data presented by Power BI is sensitive in nature; therefore, enabling row-level security (RLS) is a great way to restrict access to users based on their roles. With RLS, you can enable or disable access to critical business data and strengthen the security of your Power BI data.

4. Boost Report Performance

Power BI provides business users with a plethora of visuals that are highly dynamic and interactive in nature; hovering your mouse over certain parameters or clicking on certain sections will highlight data related to that element. However, having too many such interactive elements can impact report performance. Therefore, it is a good idea to limit or disable unwanted interactions between visuals and optimize the performance of your reports.

5. Leverage Filters as Much as Possible

Since Power BI visuals tent to present a large amount of data to users, allowing them to filter views to see only data that really matters is extremely important. With filters, you can show fewer elements to users, allowing them to avoid having to comprehend data which is not needed for decision-making.

6. Import Only What is Necessary

Although Power BI gives you the freedom to import data from a plethora of other enterprise systems and applications, it is a good practice to import data that’s necessary and keep the data model as clean and lean as possible. Blindly importing data from across the organization into your Power BI tool can not only impact its performance, it can also make analysis difficult.

7. Optimize the Data Model

Power BI’s data model supports the entire visualization experience and describe the different techniques by which data gets imported into Power BI. Since importing a lot of data can impact performance, it is important to choose a dataset type that’s most appropriate for your need and get rid of unnecessary rows and columns.

8. Constantly Monitor Performance

Given that Power BI deals with such humongous amounts of data, constantly monitoring performance is a great way to identify bottlenecks – especially if users face issues in querying data or viewing reports. Although monitoring should be done during design in Power BI Desktop, it is also advisable to do it for production workloads as well after the solution is Live.

9. Restrict Data Flows

Although it might seem tempting to create a single dataflow with all entities, transformations, and enhancements in one place, while dealing with large volumes of data, such an approach can dampen performance and cause memory issues. Make sure to split data flows to ensure reliable and responsive performance of your Power BI tool. Power BI Premium users can also use the enhanced engine that is scalable for much larger data volumes.

10. Embrace Categorization

Providing categorization for Power BI reports is a great way to ensure the required level of security while raising awareness amongst users. Categorizing data into high impact or low or medium impact data helps set a standard for sharing reports inside and outside the organization.

The Future of Power BI

As the business world looks to unearth quick and timely insights from their processes, employees, customers, and markets, Power BI ensures that business decision-making is a cakewalk. Built with unmatched AI and analytics capabilities, the data visualization tool is all organizations need to spot trends, identify bottlenecks, empower employees, and enhance customer experience. Although embracing certain Power BI best practices can help in maximizing value from Power BI investment, partnering with a Managed Services Partner is a great way to leverage proven expertise, experience, and knowledge of tools to meet customer demands and traverse a competitive business landscape.

Ready to invest in Power BI? Contact an expert at Synoptek today.

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