These days, whenever we hear about Business Intelligence and reporting, the conversation is all about Microsoft Power BI. What a great app! Plus, it’s free! So you’d be foolish not to take advantage of it’s capabilities, right? Right! But you do need to be aware that there are some complexities when you adopt this technology, particularly with respect to IT security policies and access rights.
All those high hopes of self-service data analysis, visualizations and contextual insights can be dashed at the door of sophisticated group policies and the like. With Atlas, your data access rights are integral to the process of getting data out of your business systems. You can only get access to the data you have permissions to see, which makes it an ideal conduit and data source for Microsoft Power BI. This leaves you more time to create your own dashboard and data visualizations.
Microsoft Power BI needs a connection to your data sources, and in most cases this needs to be facilitated through IT. Depending on what access is granted, you then have to understand the internal data structures before you even think about building a dashboard or visualization. Atlas overcomes this; it understands your access rights and understands the data structures allowing you more time to be productive and creative.
Because Microsoft Power BI natively understands the objects and structures inside Microsoft Excel, any range, charts, table or pivot tables can be pinned as a tile to your dashboard. This means that your Atlas reports and all their associated representations in Excel can be consumed as is inside Microsoft Power BI. This includes calculations and managed columns, which are dynamically brought into Microsoft Power BI and kept up to date.
Atlas reports can be published directly to PowerBI.com. This approach does not require the user to use the Microsoft Power BI Desktop and therefore means your reports and data analysis is accessible in the Power BI cloud service. This means you can get to your vital business information from any computer, phone or tablet with an internet connection. Even your carefully crafted formatting is maintained through the publishing process.
One of the outstanding capabilities of Atlas is that you can refresh your spreadsheet on demand giving you up-to-date results.. If stored on Microsoft’s OneDrive, your Atlas reports can be refreshed automatically on a set schedule or on demand using the Atlas automation tool. If your Microsoft Power BI dashboards use these as a data source then your dashboards will be synchronized and will also be up-to-date. There is no need to install a separate gateway for this refresh to occur, build your Microsoft Power BI dashboards and be sure that they are always up-to-date and available on the device of your choice.