This July, Microsoft Power BI celebrated its 5th anniversary. So now seems to be a great time to learn what Power BI is and what impact it can have on companies around the world.  

If you are already making a career out of data analysis, the chances are that you have already heard about Microsoft Power BI. However, if you are new to data analysis, or you are just curious about Power BI, then this could be your time to get started.


What is Microsoft Power BI? 


Power BI is a self-service business intelligence (BI) suite from Microsoft. With Microsoft Power BI, you can turn raw data into actionable insights. It consists of 3 main components: Power BI Desktop, Power BI Service, and Power BI Mobile App. 

  • Power BI Desktop is a desktop-based application used by report designers. With it, you can connect to multiple data-sources, perform data cleansing, transformation, and data modeling. Power BI Desktop can also be used to arrange reports.
  • Power BI Service, often referred to as Power BI Online (Service) is a SaaS (Software as a Service) based service. Power BI Service allows you to create dashboards from your reports. It also gives you the possibility of sharing your reports and dashboards. Although you should ideally create reports using Power BI Desktop, Power BI Service also gives you the option to create reports. There are, however, some limitations with creating reports through Power BI Service compared to Power BI Desktop.
  • Power BI Mobile App is a Mobile App for Windows, iOS, and Android devices, allowing end users to consume and interact with your reports and dashboards.


Is there any Microsoft Power BI Certification available? 


There are currently 2 Microsoft exams available for Power BI. 

  1. The MS Exam: DA-100 [Analyzing Data with Microsoft Power BI] is a new Microsoft exam that is aligned with Microsoft’s role-based certifications. On passing this single exam, you earn the [Microsoft Certified: Data Analyst Associate] title.
  2. The MS Exam:70-778 [Analyzing and Visualizing Data with Microsoft Power BI] is a previous version of a Microsoft exam which will be retired next year.

All of you who wish to pursue a certification in Power BI should seriously consider taking the DA-100 exam. The DA-100 exam is a replacement for the Microsoft 70-778 exam, which will be retired from January 2021. 


How does Microsoft Power BI relate to Data Analysis?


Power BI provides resources for modern-day data analysis challenges. Whether you want to detect anomalies from 1000s of transactions or you need to predict product demand during the summer, Power BI is the tool for you. 

It can be integrated with Azure ML, Python, and R programming languages. Data can be processed by ML models, and outcomes can be presented in a way that can help you to make informed decisions. Reports and dashboards play a key part in identifying a specific business scenario and also help when it comes to decision making. 


What is Data Analysis? 


Data Analysis is the process of collecting, organizing, and transforming data in order to draw meaningful conclusions. The more information you have about data, the more applicable it will become to specific business scenarios.

The correct use of data analysis can help relate data and establish reasoning for specific business outcomes, such as why sales are going down for a specific product, or why stores are not attracting new customers. This is where Power BI comes into its own, transforming businesses around the world, helping them to solve complicated questions like these. 


Important methods of Data Analysis


There are 2 principle methods of data analysis: Qualitative and quantitative analysis.

  • The qualitative analysis method is useful in cases in which you want answers to what, why, and how something happened. It deals with sets of questions to try to build a narrative out of text information.
  • The quantitative analysis method is useful in cases in which you want answers to questions of how much or how many of something there is. This analysis deals with data that can be represented on a measurement scale. 


Other types of data analysis


Other types of data analysis exist, among which you can find the following:

  • Text Analysis: Used to discover patterns in unstructured data
  • Statistical Analysis: Used to discover what happened based on historical data
  • Diagnostic Analysis: A step further from Statistical Analysis, using available data to explain not only what happened, but also why it happened
  • Predictive Analysis: Using historical data to predict what will happen. It uses Machine Learning algorithms to predict possible outcomes.
  • Perspective Analysis: Used to provide a perspective of what will happen based on certain business actions. Perspective Analysis also uses Predictive Analysis.


The Data Analysis Process 


A typical data analysis process follows these six steps

  • Data Requirement Specification
  • Data Collection
  • Data Processing
  • Data Analysis
  • Data Interpretation
  • Data Visualization


Prepare Data Analyst certifications with MeasureUp 


With MeasureUp you can prepare for your exam in the most complete way by taking advantage of Microsoft official practice tests. In the area of data analysis, there are two Microsoft certifications you can prepare for: 

  • Microsoft 70-767: Implementing a Data Warehouse using SQL is intended for data warehouse developers, developers who perform ETL (extract, transform, and load) operations, and developers who create business intelligence (BI) solutions. Qualified candidates should be able to design, implement, and maintain a data warehouse; extract, transform, and load data; and build data quality solutions.This exam counts as a credit towards the MCSA: SQL 2016 BI Development
  • Microsoft 70-768: Developing SQL Data Models. Candidates should be business intelligence (BI) developers who create BI solutions with experience configuring and maintaining SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS). Also, they should be able to design multidimensional BI models and tabular models, and develop queries using Multidimensional Expressions (MDX) and Data Analysis Expressions (DAX). This exam is included in the path for the MCSA certification.


To find out more about Power BI and how to prepare for IT certifications, follow the MeasureUp blog!

Hasham Bin Niaz

BI & Cloud Architect, Certified Trainer