Top 15 Power BI Development FAQs Answered by C9

28 Jun, 2024 |

Are you an Australian business owner or executive looking to harness the power of data analytics? You've probably heard about Power BI, but you might be wondering if it's the right tool for your business. Well, you're in luck! We've compiled the top 15 frequently asked questions about Power BI development, answered by the experts at C9. By the end of this article, you'll have a clear understanding of how Power BI can transform your business decisions and why partnering with C9 for ongoing management and support is your best bet for success.


1. What is a Power BI developer?

A Power BI developer is the wizard behind the curtain, transforming raw data into stunning, interactive visualisations that tell a compelling story. These professionals are experts in using Microsoft's Power BI suite to create dashboards, reports, and data models that help businesses make informed decisions. At C9, our Power BI developers are not just technicians; they're strategic partners who understand your business goals and translate them into actionable insights.


2. What programming language is Power BI?

Contrary to popular belief, Power BI isn't built on a single programming language. Instead, it uses a mix of technologies:

- DAX (Data Analysis Expressions): The primary language for creating calculations in Power BI
- M (Power Query Formula Language): Used for data transformation and preparation
- SQL: For querying databases
- R and Python: For advanced analytics and custom visualisations

Our C9 developers are proficient in all these languages, ensuring that your Power BI solutions are robust and versatile.

3. Which skills are required for a Power BI developer?

A top-notch Power BI developer needs a diverse skill set:

- Data analysis and visualisation
- DAX and M language proficiency
- Understanding of data modeling and star schemas
- SQL knowledge for data extraction
- Familiarity with R or Python for advanced analytics
- Strong problem-solving abilities
- Excellent communication skills to translate technical concepts into business language

At C9, we pride ourselves on our team's comprehensive skill set, which goes beyond technical prowess to include deep business acumen.


4. What is the role of a BI developer?

A BI developer wears many hats:

- Data Architect: Designing the structure of data warehouses and data models
- ETL Specialist: Extracting, transforming, and loading data from various sources
- Report Creator: Developing interactive dashboards and reports
- Data Analyst: Interpreting data and providing insights
- Consultant: Advising on best practices for data-driven decision making

With C9, you're not just getting a developer; you're gaining a partner who understands your business needs and tailors BI solutions accordingly.


5. What is Power BI used for?

Power BI is the Swiss Army knife of data analytics tools. It's used for:

- Creating interactive dashboards and reports
- Analysing large datasets quickly and efficiently
- Sharing insights across organisations
- Forecasting trends and predicting outcomes
- Monitoring business performance in real-time
- Connecting disparate data sources for a unified view

Imagine having all your critical business metrics at your fingertips, updated in real-time. That's the power of Power BI, and that's what C9 delivers.


6. What is the difference between Power BI and BI developer?

This is a common source of confusion:

- Power BI is the tool, the software platform created by Microsoft for business intelligence and data visualisation.
- A BI developer is the professional who uses Power BI (and often other BI tools) to create solutions for businesses.

Think of Power BI as the instrument and the BI developer as the virtuoso. At C9, our BI developers are masters of Power BI, but their expertise extends far beyond just one tool.


7. Is Power BI better than Excel?

It's not about which is better; it's about using the right tool for the job:

- Excel is great for ad-hoc analysis and smaller datasets.
- Power BI excels at handling large volumes of data, creating interactive visualisations, and providing real-time insights.

Many of our clients at C9 use both tools synergistically. We can show you how to leverage the strengths of each to supercharge your data analysis capabilities.


8. Is Power BI free?

Microsoft offers a free version of Power BI, but it has limitations:

- Power BI Desktop is free for individual use.
- Power BI Pro, which allows for collaboration and sharing, has a per-user monthly fee.
- Power BI Premium provides dedicated cloud compute and storage resources for larger enterprises.

At C9, we help you navigate these options to find the most cost-effective solution for your business needs. Our managed services can often save you money in the long run by optimising your Power BI usage and infrastructure.


9. Which is better, Power BI or Tableau?

Both Power BI and Tableau are excellent BI tools, but they have different strengths:

- Power BI is more cost-effective and integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft products.
- Tableau has a reputation for slightly more advanced visualisation capabilities.

In our experience at C9, Power BI is often the better choice for Australian businesses due to its lower cost, easier learning curve, and strong integration with Microsoft's ecosystem. However, we're proficient in both and can advise on the best fit for your specific needs.


10. Does Power BI need coding?

One of the beauties of Power BI is that you can create impressive dashboards and reports without any coding. However, to unlock its full potential, some coding knowledge is beneficial:

- DAX for advanced calculations
- M for complex data transformations
- R or Python for custom visualisations and advanced analytics

This is where C9's expertise becomes invaluable. We handle complex coding so you can focus on interpreting the insights and making informed decisions.


11. Why is Python used in Power BI?

Python integration in Power BI opens up a world of possibilities:

- Advanced statistical analysis
- Machine learning models
- Custom visualisations not available in standard Power BI
- Text analysis and natural language processing

Our C9 developers are skilled in leveraging Python within Power BI to provide you with cutting-edge analytics capabilities that go beyond out-of-the-box features.


12. Which is better, SQL or Power BI?

This is like comparing apples and oranges:

- SQL is a language for managing and querying relational databases.
- Power BI is a business intelligence platform that can use SQL (among other data sources) to create visualisations and reports.

In many cases, you'll use both: SQL to manage and query your data, and Power BI to analyse and visualise it. At C9, we ensure seamless integration between your SQL databases and Power BI reports.


13. Do I need SQL for Power BI?

While you don't necessarily need SQL to use Power BI, having SQL knowledge can be advantageous:

- It allows for more efficient data extraction from databases.
- You can write custom queries to shape your data before it enters Power BI.
- It's useful for optimising performance when dealing with large datasets.

Don't worry if you're not a SQL expert – that's what the C9 team is here for. We handle complex data management so you can focus on the insights.


14. Is Power BI built on SQL?

Power BI isn't built on SQL, but it works harmoniously with SQL databases:

- Power BI can connect directly to SQL Server and other SQL-based databases.
- It uses its own in-memory engine (VertiPaq) for data storage and querying.
- DAX, Power BI's formula language, has some similarities to SQL but is distinct.

Our C9 experts are adept at leveraging both SQL and Power BI's native capabilities to create the most efficient and powerful BI solutions for your business.


15. Will AI take over Power BI?

AI isn't taking over Power BI – it's enhancing it:

- AI-powered features in Power BI, like Quick Insights and Q&A, make data analysis more accessible.
- Machine learning integration allows for predictive analytics and anomaly detection.
- Natural language processing is improving the way users can interact with data.

At C9, we're at the forefront of integrating AI capabilities into Power BI solutions, ensuring our clients have access to the most advanced analytics tools available.


Empower Your Business with C9 and Power BI

Power BI is more than just a tool – it's a gateway to transforming your business through data-driven decision making. But like any powerful tool, its true potential is unlocked in the hands of experts.

That's where C9 comes in. Our team of skilled Power BI developers doesn't just create reports; we craft tailored BI solutions that align with your business goals. We understand the Australian business landscape and the unique challenges you face.

By partnering with C9 for ongoing management and managed service support, you're not just getting technical expertise – you're gaining a strategic ally in your data journey. We handle the complex technical aspects, allowing you to focus on what you do best: running and growing your business.

Don't let valuable insights slip through your fingers. Let C9 help you harness the full power of your data with Power BI. Contact us today to learn how we can transform your business intelligence capabilities and drive your success in the data-driven world.

Remember, in the world of business intelligence, you're either leading with data or falling behind. With C9 and Power BI, you'll always be ahead of the curve.