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The Top 6 Common Misconceptions About Power BI

Andrew Quraishi | | May 13, 2019

Microsoft’s Power BI is one of the leading enterprise solutions for business analytics and data visualization. Despite its stature, however, we still see a number of misunderstandings about what Power BI can do and what it requires on the part of the customer. In this article, we’ll debunk 6 of the most common Power BI myths and misconceptions that we find among our clients.

1. Power BI will completely replace your existing reporting system

Power BI can add value to many different types of reports, and that’s one of its greatest strengths. However, it’s also true that the software is best suited for reports and analyses that benefit from highly visual representations.

In most cases, you’ll be better off if you think of Power BI as a supplement or addition to your current reporting toolset—not as a wholesale replacement.  Consider using the software primarily to report on your process, financial, or operational milestones. That said, the latest updates allow us to create and host paginated reports on both Power BI Report Server and the Power BI Service.

2. Power BI doesn’t require any thinking about scalability

The good news is that you can start enjoying the benefits of Power BI today on your current architecture. Like any reporting tool, however, users and consumers of data will consume additional resources on your existing server setup.

Before deploying Power BI, it can be highly useful to perform a comprehensive review of your existing architecture, so that you know what to expect when scaling out your reporting operations. For example, consider increasing the number of data reads for your OLTP production system. If you are looking for features not available out-of-the-box, find out how other cloud components can boost Power BI beyond your expectations.

3. Power BI reports are instantly exposed to everyone in my company

Power BI is a great tool to counteract data silos in your organization, but you have to put in the work to make it so. The silver lining is that you have complete control over the information that users and groups have access to.

More specifically, Power BI reports are shared internally through a number of controls. These include workspaces with defined members, security groups, and subscriber lists to specific published apps. Individual report users may even be limited to a row-level restricted report view.

4. Power BI gateways can be installed on autopilot

Power BI data gateways are software applications that facilitate access to the data within an on-premises network. While the gateway installation process itself is relatively quick and painless, you should also consider several factors before you begin:

  • Should the gateway be registered with a user account or a service account?
  • Where do the gateways reside on the current network?
  • How do I restore my existing production gateway to a new server location?
  • Do I need more than one gateway in my company?
  • Do I need connections to internal and/or external data sources?
  • Do I need data refresh failover capabilities?
  • Do I need alerts and gateway monitoring?
  • Who will administrate and maintain the gateway’s operations?
  • How (and how often) should I upgrade the gateway?

5. Power BI training programs aren’t useful

it’s true that Power BI is generally an easy-to-use application, even for non-technical users. However, the software is actively maintained by Microsoft, and new versions and features within the Power BI stack are rolled out frequently. Power BI users should be kept up-to-date about these latest developments.

Both developers and consumers can benefit from a structured basic Power BI training program, combined with pushing regular upgrades to users across the organization.

6. Power BI doesn’t allow for external support with our enterprise operations

Support for Power BI can be different than DBA support for an enterprise data server, but it is absolutely possible. Knowledgeable and experienced managed services providers like Datavail offer a variety of Power BI services.

Final Thoughts

When configured properly, Power BI has the potential to transform your business for the better, giving you sharper insights and stunning data visualizations. If you’re thinking about a move to Power BI, set up a consultation with a knowledgeable Microsoft partner like Datavail who can discuss the specifics of your situation.

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