Data visualization is a powerful tool for communicating complex data. It presents it in a simple, easily understandable format. But it is not enough to simply create a graph or chart and call it a day. To truly make use of information, it is important to create insightful reports. Reports that effectively communicate the story behind the data.
Insightful reports help decision-makers understand key trends and patterns. As well as identify areas of opportunity and make informed decisions. If analytics graphs and bar charts are only telling part of the story, it can lead people to wrong decisions.
Creating holistic and insightful reports requires the use of several data points. One tool that enables this is Microsoft Power BI.
What Is Microsoft Power BI?
Microsoft Power BI is a business intelligence tool. It allows you to connect many data sources to one dashboard. Using Power BI, you can easily model and visualize data holistically.
The platform has over 500 different data connectors. These connectors can tap into sources such as Salesforce, Excel, Azure, and more. Users can leverage pre-built report templates to save time in creating data-rich reporting. Teams can also collaborate and share dashboards virtually.
Tips for Designing Great Data Visualization Reports
Getting started in Microsoft Power BI entails:
- Signing up for the software
- Connecting your data sources
- Using its tools to create report visualizations
But creating great reports goes beyond that. Below, we’ll go through several tips and best practices for getting the most out of your Power BI output.
Consider Your Audience
You should design reporting dashboards with the end user in mind. What is it that this audience wants to see? Are they looking for bottom-line sales numbers? Or do they want to cover insights that can help target productivity gaps?
The use of clear and concise language and effective visualizations are important. These help to highlight the key takeaways from the data. Customize reports to the audience’s level of technical expertise and business goals.
Don’t Overcomplicate Things
Many times, less is more. If you find that your dashboard looks crowded, you may be adding too many reports. The more you add, the more difficult it is to read the takeaways from the data.
Remove all but the most essential reports. Look for ways to include different data sets in a single report, such as using stacked bar charts. Dashboards should show important data at a glance, so do your best to avoid the need to scroll.
Try Out Different Chart Types
Experiment with presenting your data in different ways. Flip between bar, pie, and other types of charts to find the one that tells the story the best. When building a new dashboard for your organization, get some input. Ask those who will review the reports which chart type works best for them.
Get to Know Power Query
Power Query is a data preparation engine. It can save you a lot of time in developing insightful reports. This engine is used in Microsoft tools like Power BI and Excel.
Take time to learn how to leverage this tool for help with:
- Connecting a wide range of data sources to the dashboard
- Previewing data queries
- Building intuitive queries over many data sources
- Defining data size, variety, and velocity
Build Maps with Hints to Bing
Bing and Power BI integrate, allowing you to leverage default map coordinates. Use best practices to leverage the mapping power of Bing to improve your geo-coding.
For example, if you want to plot cities on a map, name your columns after the geographic designation. This helps Bing identify exactly what you’re looking for.
Tell People What They Are Looking At
A typical comment heard often when presenting executives with a new report is, “What am I looking at?” Tell your audience what the data means by using features like tooltips and text boxes to add context.
Just one or two sentences can save someone 5-10 minutes of trying to figure out why you gave them this report. That context can get them to a decision faster. It also helps avoid any confusion or misunderstandings about the data.
Use Emphasis Tricks
People usually read left to right and from top to bottom. So put your most important chart at the top, left corner. Follow, with the next most important reports.
If you have specific numbers that need to stand out, increase the font size or bold the text. This ensures that your audience understands the key takeaways.
Use can also use colors to emphasize things like a “High, Mid, Low.” For example, a low level of accidents could be green, a mid-level in yellow, and a high colored red. This provides more visual context to the data.
Need Help with Power Bi or Other Microsoft Products?
We can help you get started or improve your use of Microsoft 365, Power BI, and more. Give us a call today to schedule a chat about leveraging this powerful platform.
This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.
Microsoft released the Windows 11 operating system (OS) over a year ago. It was largely well-received as stable and user-friendly. The OS is not a large departure from the Windows 10 experience. But it does offer a lot of enhancements over the older environment.
Yet with several improvements and a free upgrade for Windows 10 users, it still lags in adoption. As of November 2022, Windows 10 still owns the lion’s share of Windows PCs. It has a 69.75 percent usage share as compared to 16.13 percent for Windows 11.
People are slowly upgrading to the newer OS. But it’s natural for some to take a wait-and-see stance. They want to make sure it’s worth the time to upgrade. Additionally, no one wants to have to relearn their computer desktop.
The good news is that Windows 11 has a similar workspace feel to its predecessor. But it packs a lot of great productivity and security benefits that Windows 10 lacks.
Here are some of the coolest features in this current Windows OS. After taking a look, you may choose to go ahead and take the plunge into the Windows 11 universe.
Most people are working with more than one app open at a time. It’s not unusual to need to reference two different windows while doing side-by-side work. Switching back and forth between apps can be tedious. It’s also time-consuming.
Approximately 68% of app users say that switching between apps costs them at least 30 minutes per day. Trying to size two windows next to each other can also be frustrating. You lose the scroll bar or can’t get to the menu items unless you resize.
Enter snap layouts. This nifty feature in Windows 11 solves the multi-app problem. Simply hover over the maximize icon at the top of any window to get access to a snap layout.
Choose the area you want for the active app, and it will snap into place and allow you to choose apps for the other slots.
Need to find a document, website, image, or app quickly? Use the Windows 11 master search. Just click the search icon on your desktop. You’ll get a search bar that will populate results from the entered keyword.
As an added touch, Microsoft populates fun topics into the search bar daily. Learn more about James Webb Space Telescope, Coffee Day, or other fun subjects.
Once you enter your keyword, you can further refine your search. Refine it according to the type of search result you want. (apps, documents, web, etc.).
Clipchamp Video Editor
In the latest Windows 11 update, Microsoft gifted users with a free video editor. The new Clipchamp app makes it easy to edit videos. You don’t need to download any extra software.
Clipchamp has a lot of the features you’d expect to have to pay for. These include templates, effects, video resizing, green screen, and more.
MS Teams Video, Audio & Text Messaging
Video calls have become the norm since the pandemic. But not all video software is easy to use. Most of us have had to wait on someone late to a call because they were struggling with the app.
Windows 11 comes with Microsoft Teams preinstalled. This gives you a simple click-to-call experience. You can easily invite someone to a video or audio call. The person does not need to have a Microsoft account to connect with you. This makes things easy on both sides.
Another great feature of the Teams app in this OS is the fact that you can use it for SMS messaging. Instead of having to drag out your phone, just text someone from your desktop.
Windows 11 has some great accessibility features. They’re designed to help ensure everyone can use their computer as they want. Those with disabilities can enjoy these features. As well as those that like the extra flexibility they offer.
Four of the newest accessibility features in the OS include:
- System-wide live captions
- Focus sessions
- Voice access
- More natural voices for Narrator, Windows’ built-in screen reader
Collections in Microsoft Edge
Microsoft Edge is the default browser for Windows. It’s worth checking out if you haven’t yet. Especially because of a feature called “collections.”
If your bookmarked favorites are becoming a mess, you’ll love this Edge capability. If you click the “plus” icon at the top of an Edge browser window, you’ll get the collections panel. Add a collection subject and click to add webpages.
You can see a preview of what you’ve added, and everything is nicely organized. Collections are easy to access and easy to delete when you’re finished with them.
Microsoft Defender SmartScreen
Phishing remains the biggest online security threat. It’s used to enable many forms of cyberattacks, from ransomware to credential theft. A significant number of phishing messages send users to malicious websites. You often don’t know until it’s too late that you’ve landed on a malware-laden site.
Windows 11 includes Microsoft Defender SmartScreen. This app helps protect you from those dangerous phishing sites. The app checks URLs in real-time against a dynamic list of reported phishing sites. It will warn you if a site is potentially dangerous.
Want an Expert to Help with Your Windows 11 Upgrade?
It can be intimidating to upgrade your system’s operating system. Why not get a pro to help? Give us a call today to schedule a chat about a Windows upgrade.
This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.