COVID-19 has brought new economic challenges for companies worldwide. As businesses adapt to different working and customer behaviour changes, they need data and clarity to plan their next steps. Power BI can help them navigate the way forward. Proven business intelligence technologies have a strong track record of enabling more dynamic and exploratory responses to guide businesses through difficult times. Microsoft Power BI is one such technology. With the benefit of years of analytics experience, Microsoft is ready to deliver the next generation of insight, immediacy, and power at a time when you need it most. Power BI enables you to respond intelligently and effectively, adapt to the current business landscape, and save on costs.

Business intelligence and analytics are crucial to your COVID-19 response. Dashboards and visualizations that worked for your business in the past may now be a source of frustration for your C-suite. A consequence of remote working is that executives who relied on middle managers or business analysts for information and updates must now engage with business data directly.

Your business can respond to this unprecedented situation with the help of various analytics technologies:

Reports and Dashboards 

Every business uses a range of reports that are updated daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc. Many are in a standard tabular format, typically to conform with regulatory standards. Although these conventional views of your business provide a record system, they are often insufficient for analysis. 

Dashboards, such as those you build with Power BI, can prove much more useful, especially those that feature well-designed visualizations of the key metrics that your business needs to track. For example, an increase in order processing time will probably be recorded in your reports, but executives could easily overlook it. However, a Power BI dashboard can draw their attention to it with an appropriate chart, colour, formatting, or even a pop-up alert or message. Power BI Dashboards can help executives monitor your changing business’s essential aspects without requiring them to examine data in detail.

Business Intelligence

A significant data point in a dashboard signals the need to examine the data further. Executives might need to go deeper into the information or widen their view to compare departments or geographies. With COVID-19, there is less socialization and interaction between employees. As a result, executives are waking up to just how little direct engagement they have with the data that drives their businesses. Self-service business intelligence tools like Power BI can empower executives to do at least some of their own analysis.

Augmented Intelligence

Even with self-service tools, you can’t expect executives to become expert analysts overnight. However, there are ways you can bring expertise to them. One approach is called augmented intelligence. This type of analytics is not a replacement for personal insight, but augmented intelligence can enhance your team’s human abilities to make, explore, and share discoveries. Power BI is a pioneer when it comes to bringing augmented intelligence into business intelligence. Users can explore root cause analysis with smart visualizations or query data using natural language.

Machine learning

Human beings and machine intelligence excel at quite different tasks. Machine learning can work at a scale and speed that makes it powerful for analyzing complicated processes. Simultaneously, humans live intuitive and empathetic lives, developing the ability to understand complex problems. Data science may tell you all the complicated ways COVID-19 impacts supply chains, production, and sales, but human insight, working with the same data, can connect seemingly unrelated impacts. Your business can learn how market sentiment, employee morale, and the challenges of working remotely will make an impact, which will shape your response. Another advance is automated machine learning, in which artificial intelligence can assist data scientists and business users alike by building advanced analytic models for them. Many businesses—especially those without a specialized team—will find this an impactful first step toward the hot topic of data science.

Data Science 

Data science enables automated insight with a depth and scale beyond the abilities of human analysts. Advanced analytics used to be under the domain of large enterprises, but today even small businesses need scalable insight about their online presence, e-commerce platforms, and social media interactions. Data science differs from business intelligence in several fundamental ways. For example, a data scientist is mostly concerned with running experiments to see what discoveries can be made using data. If the experiments yield exciting results—perhaps a way of predicting successful products or detecting patterns of fraud—the data scientist may simply present their findings. But more often, they will put their experimental model into production where the rules they found in experiments will apply to millions of new transactions, products, customers, and other real-time sources of data. Another significant difference is that data scientists tend to work with raw data rather than data that has been cleaned and transformed for business needs. For example, a sales dashboard probably includes data that has been integrated and consolidated from multiple sources, removing duplicates or abandoned transactions. But a data scientist may be interested in raw data to find patterns and create processes that make future sales more efficient.

Power BI is an extraordinary resource that will support every decision-maker in your business as they engage directly with data. They can explore, report, and communicate with a more significant impact than ever before, whether they are tasked with monitoring your business, investigating issues, developing innovative insights, or building data-driven apps for collaboration.

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