Category Archives: Business Intelligence

Power BI: Starting a Third Year of Leadership

By | Business Intelligence, Power BI | No Comments

What’s That in IT Years?

It’s hard to believe that Microsoft Power BI has been around for just two years. They’ve been two years of constantly upgraded functionality and incredible innovation. Every month, Microsoft have announced more amazing things we can do to make Power BI work with and for us.

Why Should My Business Care About Power BI?Power BI Dashboard

IT moves fast; faster every day. Many people in the industry haven’t even heard of business intelligence, much less follow current data trends and understand how to work with it. If you aren’t sure what business intelligence is, or if you don’t know why every business needs it to get full value from and properly understand their customer and financial data, we’ve written a quick guide to get you up to speed. Click here to learn more.

What Has Power BI Done Lately?

Microsoft love to give Power BI more and more improvements and additional functionality. Here’s a selection of some of the most useful updates in just the most recent month:

Visuals and reporting

  • New table and matrix visuals, with new formatting options and improved drill-down.
  • Renaming fields using aliases for specific visuals.
  • Increased responsivity to different screen sizes.
  • Breakdown for waterfall charts.

Analytics and modelling

  • Two new measures: star rating and concatenated list of values.
  • Bidirectional cross filtering for DirectQuery models.

Data connectivity

  • In addition to the wide range of connectivity options already present, a Snowflake connector has been added.

Dashboard functionality

  • The new Performance Inspector helps you if your loading or processing time is slower than it should be.
  • There is a new e-mail subscription button that allows you to choose to be notified when the underlying data changes.

Take a Quick Look For Yourself

We invite you to take two minutes to watch this fun video and get a taste of what Power BI does now and where it’s heading in the future. Then give us a ring or contact us right here to talk about getting this power for you and your business!

Microsoft Power BI is Magic Quadrant Leader – Gartner

By | Act!, Business Intelligence, CRM, Power BI | No Comments

Gartner positions Power BI as the leader in its Magic Quadrant

Power BI leads the pack again!

Miguel Martinez, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, recently published this post in the Microsoft Power BI blog to call attention to some astonishing news about the platform. Microsoft Power BI general manager Kamal Hathi has confirmed in this post in the official Microsoft blog that Gartner* has positioned Power BI as a Leader in their 2017 Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms for the tenth consecutive year (see diagram to left).

Across all industries, organisations recognise the power and opportunity that come with the implementation of a fast, effective analytics and data visualisation tool.  The ease of use of the Power BI platform and the simplicity with which users can share insights in real time are key reasons why we use and recommend it to link to and make sense of the wealth of data locked in an Act! database.

At Caldere, we think Power BI is the right choice to optimise our Act! database, and we’d like to show you why. Microsoft has shown a huge commitment to the Power BI project. Their roadmap for the future includes new ways to collaborate with users and continually upgrade the platform. We are confident that implementing Power BI along with a strong database will help any business, especially in the SME sector, gain a critical edge over their competitors.

Don’t forget to check out our video demonstration of how to quickly and easily connect an Act! database to the Power BI desktop.


*(The Microsoft blog post includes this disclaimer: The graphic was published by Gartner, Inc., as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.”)

Everyone Is a Decision Maker with BI

By | Business Intelligence, Business Management | No Comments

So you’re using Business Intelligence… but are you?

As business owners, managers, and IT professionals, we know what business intelligence is. It’s a way of using technology to make our valuable data interact with us as decision makers so we can understand it better and gain valuable insights. We can even manipulate the way the data is presented, recombine it, and drill down into it.

We’ve become comfortable with the idea that our data is more than just a bunch of records being warehoused on our server. Using the data to gauge and predict customer behavior, instead of just maintain customer history, has become commonplace. We’re now used to thinking of data as something that can be analysed using technological tools, and we’ve started to expect useful reports on demand. We may even think of business intelligence as part of the essential toolkit of the executive decision-maker. So what’s wrong with that? Well, nothing, except the word “executive”.

In the past couple of years, data professionals have realised that everyone at every level of business makes decisions, and that decisions always require good data. For example, HR professionals use business intelligence to track employee development and identify areas where people may need support. Line workers use business intelligence tools to monitor their machines and their own performance metrics in real time. Help desk analysts use business intelligence to understand early signs of trouble in the systems they support, or evidence that users need training in specific areas, based on ticket categories and volumes. A business isn’t really using BI to its full potential unless the whole business is using it. 

Data Democratisation and Systems of Insight

The idea that business intelligence is a tool for everyone in a business is called data democratisation. Boris Evelson, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, includes data democratisation in a model he calls Systems of Insight. Evelson defines Systems of Insight as the business discipline and technology to harness insights and consistently turn data into action.


© 2015 Forrester Research, Inc.

In Evelson’s model:

  • Early BI and data analytics belonged mainly to the IT department, and they used only the data that business management requested them to report on. There was a disconnect between the decision-maker and the data, because everything was filtered through the report-maker.
  • Agile BI began to close the gap between the decision-maker and the report dashboard, giving the decision-maker hands-on, self-service, analytics capability.
  • Big Data enabled businesses to store more data, access it faster, and deliver it in more and better ways.
  • Systems of Insight provide a context for Agile BI and Big Data to work synergistically, so that the massive quantity of data produced by a modern business can be packaged in the right way and delivered at the right time to the specific people who actually need to interpret, interact with, and act on it.

Helping the decision makers gain insights

Evelson’s report identifies three reasons that identifying these data users is the key to the success of Systems of Insight:

  • To make best use of business intelligence, it needs to be in the hands of the front line. Instead of leaving it in “technology centers”, executives need to make the technology available to and “embed these initiatives and budgets in revenue-generating departments”. He proposes that C-level executives take ownership of the systems of insight, with the CIO responsible for support and empowerment.
  • Data professionals need to allow data users more say in how to present the data. Naturally data pros will construct dashboards and reports for beginners, for critical uses, and for those who wish to maintain a primarily high-level understanding of their data. But as users become more knowledgeable in using these tools, they will become more sophisticated and demanding about exactly how they want to configure them. It will be time for the data pros to become facilitators, mentors, and troubleshooters as they enable users “to tackle the majority of their BI requirements and get their own insights”.
  • Data professionals must also use their experience and expertise to help their BI users “evolve into insights teams”. Evelson points out that users have been conditioned to blame the technology itself for their inability to use it. One reason for this is the mistrust that data pros have historically had for users, keeping the information and the technology “behind closed doors in a private office”. But they’re protecting the data from the people best positioned to understand it.

We’ve all probably seen database professionals act as though the data is too brittle to withstand handling. This is often as silly as expecting an Internet user to break a website by Googling it. But business users, who are the decision makers, won’t “break the database” by using analysis and BI tools. They can’t use their own experience and expertise to generate critical insights unless they are given free play in their own data. If BI is embedded into everyday operations, then it can suggest correlations and conclusions that they might not otherwise see or be able to act upon.

It’s time for data users to step up – Caldere can show you how

Decision makers at all levels need BI tools, and the Systems of Insight model, to help them understand the market, their business, their own jobs, and their customers’ expectations and behavior. Caldere is here to help businesses of all sizes, and all of the people in them, understand how to implement and learn the technology of business intelligence. Our professionals have the right experience, the right tools, and the right approach to getting you in touch with your business data in ways you have never thought of before.

Contact Caldere to find out how easy and cost-effective these insightful solutions can be for you and your business.

Source: It’s Time To Upgrade Business Intelligence To Systems Of Insight: Supercharge BI With Agility, Big Data, And Insights To Drive Action by Boris Evelson, July 20, 2015

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