Power BI VS Excel: The advantages of Business Intelligence

Date 29/09/2021
Category Big Data

We all know and have used Excel sometimes, but what about the Business Intelligence tool Power BI? Probably, you may have only heard about it, which would mean you haven’t used it yet and probably aren’t aware of its advantages. The Microsoft environment includes many useful tools for any work environment and has been created for data analysis and its subsequent visualization. This way, applying Business Intelligence is within anyone’s reach.

Advantages of using Power BI over Excel

Looking at Power BI’s main advantages is essential to understand its features:

  • Access a great number of data origins: The comprehension skills Power BI has over Excel are very significant. This allows analysing and visualizing types and numbers of data that a spreadsheet can’t handle.

  • Detect data trends in a quick and simple way: It contains time intelligence features and makes working with big numbers of data very easy. It allows visualizing the data at any level and with a good level of granularity.  
  • Its interface is very natural and intuitive: Dashboards can easily be made with a good modelling work. To design them, you only need to know the analysis needs of your business and the main indicators you want to highlight. You can let your creativity roam freely without losing sight of your main goal, you set the limit.

  • Complete integration with the Microsoft world: Charts can be exported to a PowerPoint presentation or a Word document. Currently, a tool called “Paginated Reports” can be found within the platform and it’s very useful if you want to print the report you are developing.
  • Viewing versatility: Dashboards can be seen from any device if we choose the right settings. This way you can be up-to-date with anything going on in your business from anywhere through a smartphone or a tablet. The only requirement is having an account to publish the dashboard and share it with your team. Teamwork is one of the main advantages offered by Microsoft.  

How is Power BI better than Excel?

Power BI’s philosophy follows automation. Among its features, it includes scalable and dynamic designs. The main requirement is having all the data sorted at the source and connecting it to a dashboard that updates when new data is generated. When we design a dashboard, it must tell a story that the user can understand to obtain the data they need for the decision making process.

Unlike Power BI, Excel can’t handle large numbers of data in such a quick manner. Switching tools is usually a hard and slow task for some users, which is why Microsoft has integrated Power BI features within Excel. This doesn’t change the fact that users will end up understanding that Power BI is the future of data analysis.

Big Data applied to your Dashboards

The predictive capabilities of Excel aren’t that precise. Power BI corrects this with the integration of programming languages such as R or Python. In addition, it allows creating maps if we introduce coordinates or zip codes, which can be useful in case your company operates abroad or in many points of the same country, adding more depth to your analysis.

What they have in common is the syntax used for calculations. The main languages used in Power BI are:

  • DAX to create calculated columns and carry out the calculations.
  • M to work in the model’s transformation.

Excel uses just one language to make calculations with the data, it doesn’t allow data debugging or cleansing like Query in Power BI. This makes filtering and analysing the data in Excel a lot more complicated.

Previous knowledge is required to develop a dashboard, but not to read the data the visuals show. We need to know how to interpret the story told by the data, that way we will be able to make better decisions later.

The correct application of Business Intelligence can mean an important quality leap in all your processes and when defining future strategies. Power BI’s key factor is not the size of your company, but the volume of data it manages. If you want to know your business’ story through a dashboard, don’t hesitate to contact us. Analysing your data will always be beneficial for your organization.



Marta Camarero