Improve Decision Making with the Analytics Pane in Power BI

With the Analytics Pane in Power BI, you can quickly and easily make dynamic reference lines, which can be extremely helpful when analysing data and making key business decisions. From simple trend lines to more complex forecast lines, there are so many options to choose from!

First, find the analytics pane by going to the visualizations pane:

Power BI visualisations line

The Trend line

If your data “jumps” up and down it can be difficult to see if you have a positive or negative trend, so here a trend line is handy.

To add a trend line:

  • Select your visual
  • Click on the down arrow before the trend line option
  • Click add on the analytics pane

The settings/options will then appear and you will see the trend line on your visual.

Power BI visualisations line

With all lines, you have the option to change the colour, style, and transparency. If you change the Combine Series option in the Trend Line setting to Off, it will display a trend line for each subcategory, which is useful for drilling down into the data.

Combine series On:

Power BI visualisations line

Combine series Off:

Power BI visualisations line

The Constant line

A constant line can be very useful, for example if you have a target and you want to see at a glance if your values are below or above the target.

Power BI visualisations line

To add a constant line:

  • Select your visual
  • Click on the down arrow before the constant line option
  • Click add on the analytics pane
  • Enter the value for the constant line

The Min line

The Min line will add a line showing the lowest value on the visual, and again you have the options to change the colour, style, and transparency.

Power BI visualisations line

The Max line

The Max line shows the highest value on the visual.

Power BI visualisations line

The Average line

The Average line shows the calculated mean average of all the values you have on the visual, which is great for showing the variation.

Power BI visualisations line

The Median line

The Median line will add a line showing the median of all the values you have on the visual.

Power BI visualisations line

The Forecast line

The Forecast line is very useful, especially if your data displays seasonality. Power BI is very good at handling complex levels of periodic seasonality, the only limitation is your date table. Fortunately, if you have week number, financial year, financial quarter, financial month, or other periodic breakdowns in your date table, they can all be used to visualise seasonality and forecast very accurately.

Sometimes, you may look at your forecast and doubt how accurate it is. For example, in the visual above the forecast shows a decrease over the next 36 months, but this is wrong. The issue is that we haven’t received all the data for the last three months, and this is having a negative effect on the forecast. Luckily, there is an easy way to fix this – you can ignore points!

Power BI visulisation

In the example above, 8 points (8 months) have been ignored. This not only takes care of the issue, but also allows you to see how close your forecast line fits your actual values. This will give you a clear indication of the forecast line’s accuracy

Also, the confidence level is set to 95% and the seasonality to Auto. The confidence level is displayed on the visual by the grey area around the forecast line. Why Auto? This means if you change the visual, Power BI desktop automatically picks up the seasonality (4 if looking at quarters, 12 if looking at years).

Conclusion

Creating insightful scenarios in Power BI can help you make powerful business decisions quickly. The Analytics Pane and the amazing tools inside it are just one small area of this incredible application.

At STL we offer a range on Power BI training courses, for complete beginners to advanced users, so get in touch to find out more!

How to Facilitate Fantastic Virtual Training

Keeping participants engaged and interested throughout a virtual training session can be a challenge. If you suddenly find yourself delivering virtual training because of the Covid-19 restrictions, you may be wondering how on earth you can manage it.

Wonder no more! In this blog, we will share several insider tips from our training team that will help you wow your audience and ensure your next virtual training session is a huge success.

Facilitate rather than teach

Effective trainers know that in training the delegates should be the focus of the session. Nobody is there to watch the trainer show off their knowledge and best (/worst!) jokes.

To put it simply, “speak less and ask more.”

Ask questions and challenge your delegates to help them create new connections, consolidate their learning and find those coveted “AHA” moments. And whatever you do, avoid boring them to death with PowerPoint.

Use the chat window

To keep delegates engaged during virtual training you must adapt your communication skills. To achieve this with a large group, the best way to maximise two-way communication is by actively using the chat window.

Person Typing on a Laptop

Try asking delegates to answer a simple “yes” or “no” to statements you make,  or get them to list their top 3 ideas about a topic.

An essential feature at the start of any successful training is to clarify with delegates what challenges they face related to the topic. The chatbox is a perfect way to record these challenges, because at the end of the training you can go back as a group and reflect on whether those challenges have been addressed.

Use participants’ names

By simply using delegates’ names when interacting with them or asking questions, it can not only help you to build an emotional connection but also keeps their interest and attention. It also means they can’t fall asleep!

Woman in Black Blazer Sitting by the Table While Using Macbook

Test and check understanding

Use quizzes/polls or ask the group questions to double-check understanding and to ensure the key learning points really stick. It’s ok if participants feel a bit of pressure at times, as that will push them outside their comfort zone and help them to learn. Don’t be afraid to put them on the spot!

Use the power of your voice

There is nothing worse than listening to a trainer with a monotonous or flat tone of voice. Be sure to vary the tone, speed and volume of your voice throughout the session. Try to emphasise keywords, and use the power of pauses before and after key points to help your audience to process the most important messages.

Angry woman yelling into loudspeaker on blue background

Conclusion

Virtual training might seem like a whole new world, but in reality, it requires many of the same skills as face-to-face training. A good rule of thumb is to ask the delegates to engage and interact approximately every 3-5 minutes. Follow this rule, and our techniques above, and your virtual training delegates will be blown away!

If you want to practise your virtual training skills and get real feedback and coaching on your delivery skills, take a look at our Virtual Train the Trainer course, or our Virtual Training Delivery Skills for more experienced facilitators.