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Power BI for the IT Guy (or Girl!)

Power BI allows IT to see data in a dynamic way, and not just in the typical static, Excel format. Because it integrates with Office 365 and Active Directory, it also allows for row level security, meaning you can create certain reports that only allowed individuals can see. Most importantly, it provides greater insights into the business by creating a story from your data. You become an author by taking numbers and letters from your data and turning them into stunning visuals that interact with one another.

User Management with Active Directory

Within Active Directory, Power BI has the ability to connect to the tenant and pull reports, including how many users are active, what devices they’re on, what subscriptions they have, and so much more. Gone are the days of logging into Active Directory and sifting through various views and reports to monitor users. With Power BI, you can log into a single platform to view charts and graphs on all necessary data – when users were first added, permission levels, mailbox settings – anything to do with Active Directory.

System Monitoring with Exchange

Power BI allows IT or Exchange Administrators to monitor the health of the Exchange account, from system outages and SPAM reports to how much data is consumed, who consumes the most, and how many emails have been sent and received. By connecting to the Office 365 Reporting Service, you are able to pull the stored information through an API utilizing your company’s Office 365 credentials for authorization. This provides a holistic view of what’s going on within the company and the ability to monitor the health of the entire account and the account of each user.

Usage Monitoring with Office 365

It’s critical to understand what subscriptions are available in your tenant, who has what deployed, and who is actually utilizing these tools. Let’s say you have 30 Dynamics 365 licenses and only five users are actively using it. You have three options here – lower costs by turning off unused licenses, train the 25 remaining users on how they should be utilizing the program, or address broken processes that are supposed to involve Dynamics but clearly aren’t at the moment. It all comes down to better ROI. Utilize what you have to the full extent, and only by those who need it.

Blending Information Together

We often collect data from multiple sources in business to create an analysis. For most, this task occurs month after month and becomes a time consuming, stressful process. With Power BI, you are able to take data from multiple sources and connect all of them to be displayed on one dashboard. You may take, for example, data from an Azure SQL database, merge it with a report from Excel, and have a web API pulling data from a survey service – you can display all of these on a single report or dashboard. If they all share a unique identifier, you can create relationships between these tables and have the visuals interact with one another. This allows for a powerful analysis of the data and maintains a real-time data connection, removing the need to manually pull and aggregate the data.

These are just a few examples of how Power BI makes a huge impact on IT. With a world of data at your fingertips, you have the chance to increase your company’s overall ROI, create a highly productive workforce, and simplify myriad processes for yourself, your team and the company.

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