What is Power BI?
Power BI is a data visualization tool developed by Microsoft that allows users to combine complex data sources into a comprehensive and personalized dashboard that highlight key performance metrics. While data needed to fully illustrate a business may originate from a variety of data sources, such as Excel files, SQL databases, Qualtrics, Oracle databases, Google Analytics, or other vendor websites, Power BI is agnostic to data sources and enables developers to visually combine information in one location. This powerful tool makes the most of data and research investments by simplifying data analysis and interpretation for internal and external clients.
There are competitors to Power BI that make similar claims; however, independent review by Gartner (Source 1) identifies Microsoft Power BI as the leader and most forward-thinking visionary of the data visualization industry. Companies continue to invest in Power BI, as this it is an investment that will continue to adapt and meet future business needs.
How can Power BI help researchers?
1) New Revenue Streams
For many market research firms, ad hoc research has historically been the primary source of revenue. Relationships with clients has provided the opportunity for regular or on-going research, however cash flow from these projects can be variable based on the number and size of projects. In parallel, modern day tech companies, both B2C and B2B, have worked to refine the art of subscription services. For market research firms, establishing a recurring revenue stream can be difficult, as these services require applications, systems, and staff to make data accessible to clients on an ongoing basis.
Power BI makes subscription-based revenue a possibility for research firms of all sizes. Custom built, cloud-based web applications allow research firms to turn any type of research into meaningful visuals that are accessible to an endless number of users. Compared to traditional methods, such as Power Point, Spreadsheets, or PDF topline reports, these applications carry a low per-user cost and minimal analyst support once established. Case studies such as market sizing analysis, brand tracking, closed-loop feedback studies, and more illustrate the value of subscription-based research. Power BI Web Applications, like shown below, allow an unlimited number of users to access reports without Power BI Pro licenses, making this opportunity a reality for all.
2) Combine Research with Other Client Data
All businesses need market research to learn about new markets and how to better serve current markets. Industries such as retail, real estate, technology, telecom, and more sit on billions of data points that often prompt research questions. To take full advantage of data assets, companies with advanced analytical capabilities are combining market research and customer sentiment with the billions of data points of operational data available. This approach elevates research away from taking customer feedback at face value or anecdotally correlating with operational data, to creating a 1-to-1 relationship between data sets to show what the customer said and what they actually did.
In 2018, software company SAP recognized the potential of combining these data types and purchased Market Research company Qualtrics for $8 billion (Source 2). Qualtrics now maintains over 27% of market share in the Customer Experience Management industry (Source 3). Power BI allows smaller research firms to keep up with these industry giants by combining primary research with client data for rich insights that build long lasting client relationships and expand offerings available to clients.
3) Streamline Existing Reporting
All research firms, big and small, have experienced the painful exercise of multiple Power Point iterations based on client feedback. There may be a data slice not initially analyzed or new research that becomes available. The team continues to invest time into manual adjustments to the deliverable until the client has all questions answered. Not only does this increase costs related to a project, it also creates a less rewarding work environment for a team of highly educated and skilled professionals.
Power BI allows research firms to streamline their reporting with automated dashboards that allows research analysts and clients to assess all aspects of the research. A well-developed dashboard includes the filters important to the research questions at hand and allows for exploratory analysis. This opportunity for self-service empowers clients and often leads to requests for additional ad-hoc research projects as insights are developed. This collaborative approach to insights frees up time for research firms to focus more on the high ROI opportunities, and less on small tweaks to existing reporting.
A Power BI solution not only reduces labor costs for insights reporting, but also speeds up the ‘go-to-market’ timeline. Daily, or near-real-time, updates to dashboards ensures the most recent data is made available. Connect Power BI with your preferred survey platform, such as Qualtrics or Survey Monkey, and import new survey results as they arrive. Data storage solutions (i.e. – SQL Server, Oracle) or even a simple Excel file can also be utilized to pull data into a Power BI dashboard on a regular cadence. Data import flexibility and automated data refresh significantly reduce the time and expense spent on developing insights and reporting.
About BI Nest
BI Nest Inc. was founded in 2021 in response to a growing demand for business intelligence services. As a full-service consultancy, BI Nest offers customer dashboard development, data warehousing, custom web applications for subscription offerings, automation, project management, and other business intelligence solutions. BI Nest enables companies large and small to establish or grow their business intelligence and analytics departments without investing in full time employees. To elevate your research and build a ‘Nest’ of business intelligence and research solutions, contact BI Nest today.