What is Business Intelligence in Office 365?

Few years back I was doing Business Analysis in Excel data sheet, and It was very difficult to get data from the finance department copy and paste, make manual graphs and update the data integrity. By the time my excel sheet was prepared the data was outdated and I would become so tired to do the analysis, thus utilizing all my energy and time in gathering data and no time for interpreting results.

Now, when I see Microsoft BI I become excited as this tool could save alot of time and energy, and the work that we used to do in 1 weeks time can be done in 1 hour. So the question is what is BI?

Business Intelligence is a set of tool which provides you fancy dashboards for analysis and prediction for future. And most of all it is very simple and will save Business Analysts time.

So how does it look like?

It is a part of Microsoft Excel 2013 plug in, and has 4 major features

1 – PowerPivot

2 – Power Query

3 – Power View

4 – Power Map

and it looks like as :



Power Query


Power View



Power Map


So how do you use it?

1 – Prepare your excel sheet with PowerPivot, Power Query, Power View & Power Map. Save & Close.

2 – Upload in Cloud – Power BI for Office 365

3 – and start experiencing with LIVE DATA

Very simple. There are multiple videos which details how you can use this technique to play with your excel data and perform the analysis. You can work with large size excel data in GBs, Pull data from many resources (SQL, Internet, Oracle, SAP BOBJ, many others). All you need to do is explore these functionality.

When you prepare your excel sheet, then you can upload it on ” Power BI for Office 365″  http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/powerbi/default.aspx  & then you can start sharing the file. One interesting feature of Power BI for Office 365 is the ” Natural Search Query Language” which enables us to write any query in the search engine and it will bring up results. For example a Business Analyst made a Sales Report in excel with dashboards, and uploaded on Office 365 Power BI module, and now CFO types in a query in Natural Language ” Quarterly Sales in Asia Pacific Region over last 5 years” It will bring up graphs and dashboards…isnt it cool. Yes it is.

So for single query BA would take hours or days to work on the excel sheet, and now with Power BI a BA can do it in seconds. This is the best feature I like about Power BI Office 365.

One more impressive feature is the “Schedule Data Refresh” that automatically checks for the Data Connection updates and eventually updates the excel report – whether it be a weekly, monthly or annual report you would need to make it 1 time, and it will automatically refresh and bring the FRESH data every time from the connections you have defined for the first time. Business Analysts can do more analysis rather wasting time on data plus minuses. You can click on the Schedule Data Refresh, and can define the setting / frequency and all done.

Power BI Refresh DC


I will be writing more on BI in future, so keep checking my blog. Thank you readers.


I am sharing few useful links as below that will give you great information on Business Intelligence and Data Analytics.


You would need msn id to sign in to this course: http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/training-courses/faster-insights-to-data-with-power-bi-jump-start?m=7550



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