Microsoft Power BI
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Microsoft opened the floodgates of opportunities for small marketers that are unable to spend more for highly advanced data analytics tools. What the Microsoft power business intelligence is able to offer small businesses is quite impressive. The emergence of data analytics helped small digital marketing businesses survive the tight competition in the digital marketing environment. Unlike bigger enterprises, small businesses are incapable of building their own big data infrastructures for analytics. However, Microsoft is able to offer viable business intelligence tools with various capabilities that can help marketers build their own analytics program that work with various platforms.

The Forrester report about agile business intelligence platforms cited Microsoft as one of the top BI tool providers in 2014. Among the Microsoft products evaluated by Forrester is its Power BI that is heralded as a top self service analytics tool with high capability of provisioning the user’s business apps and data. Among the best features of the business intelligence tools from Microsoft is the data integration capability that apparently receives a high feedback score from its users.

For most marketers, the Microsoft power BI tools garnered high ratings from the consumers, especially among the small business owners. Its products of business intelligence tools like Microsoft Excel, SQL Server, Sharepoint and Power BI for Office are generating higher approvals from digital marketers. Because of the highly advanced business intelligence tools that can be easily integrated in the cloud to serve as data analytics applications, small businesses find a cost effective means of empowering their analytics system without having to spend for expensive analytics tools.

Here are the different Microsoft power BI platforms that small businesses find useful in their data analytics needs.

Microsoft Excel and SharePoint for Data Analytics

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Microsoft Excel tool integrated into the Microsoft SharePoint tool as a conduit to data sources provides the users the capability of improving surface analytics for big data. While what appears to be a simple Excel program comes some powerful features that helps optimize the data gathering ability of the user. Among the things that you can do with Microsoft Excel is to gather and visualize data, use filters to identify specific data you want to obtain and then finally use its powerful data analytics capabilities. Using the Excel program is easy and straightforward, a BI advantage feature for small marketers who are not too keen about using complicated data analytics tools and is more adept in using simple, yet powerful self service analytics tools.

Microsoft offers numerous options for data organization. Using the program, one can connect data from various sources, and translate them into table, chart, graph and other diagrammatic reports. It has a Power Query feature that combines various data sources to produce specific data that is more accurate according to your marketing goals and preferences. It is also easy to integrate tables that you can connect to a single database using the Power Pivot feature. The Flash Fill feature from the Excel provides you smooth formatting of your data. For the more advanced users, there are also features that you can tweak in order to produce more calculated items in the data report.

Data visualization comes easy using charts, graphs and bars and many other report formats. It has loaded features like the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) that allows the user to monitor target metrics and to create scorecards for conditional formatting of data. The Power Map feature is also available that the user can use in data analysis in a three dimensional environment. Filters are also available to allow users to focus on specific metrics.

Microsoft further improves the Excel feature by integrating it to SharePoint in order to make it easier for marketers to share the data within a team in their organization. This feature makes data sharing through workbooks easier and highly accessible to others. When the Excel report is done, you can upload it in the SharePoint to create workbooks where users can easily interact with each other in real time while sharing the same data for collaborative marketing decision making and analysis.

Dynamic Microsoft Power BI for Office 365

The Microsoft Power BI for Office 365 provides more advanced data analytics server that can help marketers optimize their self service analytics process with more capabilities of working in the cloud. The users can create their own data model using all the information coming various sources. The data is structured according to preferences and business goals. Using the KPIs, one can easily build data hierarchies in the workbook and collaboratively share information with a team without the need an SQL expertise in managing data models. The BI tool is also powerful in processing over millions of huge data at a quick speed and a smooth data processing order.

The intuitive feature of the Office 365 allows the user to ask questions and the program processes data quickly to show the answers in interactive form using graphs and charts. The information dynamically changes each time you make queries and in effect reveal newer insights about your data.

Microsoft SQL Server for Self Service Analytics Platform

The Microsoft SQL Server is a hybrid analytics tool that empowers breakthrough performance of big data applications for businesses. It allows the user to run the Microsoft Excel smoothly and with a precise performance in the cloud while allowing for the deployment of various data analytics solutions in the cloud environment. It also complements the Microsoft Azure which offers a cloud platform that allows marketers to work with their data in the cloud using various integrated services like data storage, data computing, networking and running business apps.

The service features that you can get from the Microsoft SQL Server is the ability to work on larger workbooks and configure them accordingly. It supports natural language queries that let the user ask data specific information. You can run visualized reports and workbooks appearing on thumbnail image for immediate access and identification of the data content. The simple cloud working environment provides small businesses the convenience of controlling and managing data without data overload. The data presentation and organization of data in the cloud helps small organizations in empowering the collaborative workforce within their organization without incurring high costs for data sharing infrastructures. For unmatched productivity in the cloud, the Microsoft Azure provides a major cloud platform that allows small businesses to work on IaaS and PaaS infrastructure for more powerful data management, storage and analytics features.