Benefits of Using Power BI 

Power BI is Microsoft’s powerful business intelligence tool. It’s a fantastic tool for visualising data, offering a range of benefits for analysts who want to be able to present their information in a more digestible way. Of course, there are other tools for visualisation, so why should you choose to use Microsoft Power BI instead of anything else? There are some key benefits that it offers you that you won’t find elsewhere, so it’s worth taking the time to learn how to make the most of its features. Here are some of the benefits of using Power BI for your data. 

Imports from a wide range of data sources 

You can collect data using a variety of tools and sources. When you need to use that data, you can sometimes struggle to import it into the tool that you’re using to create visuals. This is where Power BI differs from your other options. It has been created to integrate with outside sources using its Open Database Connectivity It also pairs with cloud applications, such as Google Analytics, Salesforce, MailChimp and hundreds of other applications. Even smaller applications can be connected so you can bring in data from your favourite places. 

Powerful visualisation engine 

When you create visuals from your data, you want everything to work well. Having to deal with glitches or visuals that just aren’t clear enough for you will impede on performance for you and your team. Power BI features a powerful visualisation engine which is D3 based and HTML 5 compliant. It gives you clear and beautiful ways to visualise your data, and an intuitive interface that makes it easier to drill down into your data by date or other metrics. Power BI is built to offer top performance that works for you every time, without any problems. 

Large choice of visualisation techniques 

Use Power BI to easily visualise your data in different ways
Visualise your analytics

Being able to efficiently visualise your information in whichever way that you feel is a great plus. Power BI offers different techniques for visualising your data, with a large visualisation library that you can choose from. If that’s not enough, Microsoft has made the visualisation source code available so that you can also create your own options for visualisation. These can be shared too, so the library of visualisation possibilities can keep growing, creating more and more options. Customisation doesn’t stop there, as you can also customise your dashboard to suit your needs.  

Integrate with other Microsoft applications 

Integration with other Microsoft applications offers another bonus for many. Microsoft apps like PowerPoint and Excel are core staples of almost any office’s software suite. They’re often key to presenting data and storytelling, so it’s important that they can communicate with other applications. Fortunately, Power BI is compatible with other Microsoft apps, helping to improve productivity through seamless use. Integration with other things like cloud services also comes in handy. 

Power BI provides a powerful tool for anyone who wants to visualise their data in a variety of ways. It gives you everything that you need to view data in new ways. 

Forecasting in Excel 2016

Forecasting is important in many circumstances to be able to do effective and efficient planning.

The future electricity needs forecast vital to planning building more power stations; scheduling employees in a call centre next week requires forecasts of call volume; just imaging how much forecasting the planners behind London 2012 Olympic Games must have done. Forecasts can be needed months or years in advance, or only a few minutes beforehand. Whatever the situations or time horizons involved, accurate forecasts are vital part of preparation and planning. Learn more about Excel training spreadsheet.

A key step in forecasting is knowing if something can be forecast accurately, or if it is better just tossing a coin. Good forecasts capture the authentic patterns and relationships which exist in the historical data, but do not replicate events from the past that will not happen again.

In all businesses where data are collected and employees make use of the data the capability to forecast may be required. It doesn’t really matter if it is sales figures, expenses, man-hours, growth, market shares etc. to create a budget you need to forecast.

WhatIf Analysis

Excel offer a lot of tools to do accurate forecasts based on historical data and analysis tools as the What If Analysis tools to help predict the future.

Some of the useful forecasting tools in Excel are:

  • For trend analysis you can use the Trend function and to visualize and calculate trends, Excel charts can show trends and the equation for the trend. You can calculate the accuracy of the trend or Excel can provide you with this information in a chart. The Trend function will only return a accurate result if you work with linear data.

forecast trend

  • For forecasting of linear data you can use the Forecast function. The Forecast function can forecast any number of periods into the future.
  • If you work with exponential data you can use the Growth function to forecast and an exponential trends can also be visualized in a Excel chart.

forecast exponential

  • the Solver tool in Excel can be a huge help if you want to forecast seasonal data.
  • The Analysis Toolpak provide us with Exponential Smoothing, Moving Average and Regression which are all tools we need for creating the right forecast model.
  • The Scenario Manager and the Goal Seek tools can be a great help to get a accurate forecast.
  • Excel also has all the options and functions to measure the accuracy of our forecast to make it possible to continuously develop our forecast model to get a very precise forecast.

Forecasting Chart

In Excel 2016 Microsoft has made it much easier to forecast. Microsoft has added the Forecast Sheet tool to Excel. This tool can give you a forecast in few seconds.

In Excel 2016, select your two corresponding sets of data and go to “Data>Forecast>Forecast Sheet”. In “Create Forecast Worksheet” box, choose either a line chart or column chart, pick an end date, and then click “Create”.

Forecast Sheet dialog

For more advanced options click “Options” in “Create Forecast Worksheet”. Here you can set “Confidence Interval” and set how you want Excel to handle seasonality in your data. You can include statistics in your forecast worksheet and change the input range if needed.

Forecast Sheet expanded dialog

In the “Fill Missing Points Using” list, you can tell Excel how to handle missing data. “Interpolation” will calculate missing data.

In the “Aggregate Duplicates Using” list, select how you want Excel to calculate duplicate entries.

 forecastETS function

Best STL offer a Forecasting & Data analysis course where all the different methods & models are explored. It is a selection from our Office 365 training London courses.

Excel is an amazing tool also when you need to forecast.