Microsoft Enables Power BI Users to Set Actionable Goals

    Microsoft, during an online Microsoft Business Applications Summit, has unveiled a preview of Goals in Power BI. A new feature in Microsoft Power BI, the preview showcased the ability for users to set and track goals as well as trigger events in other applications. 

    Goals in Power BI extends the ability of end users to automate tasks with no intervention on the part of an IT team being required, says Arun Ulag, corporate vice president of the Business Intelligence Platform at Microsoft.

    Organizations can now track business metrics based on key performance indicators (KPIs) they prefer and define goals to measure progress, adds Ulag. An aggregate of the goals of the organization is made available via a scorecard capability that has been added to PowerBI. As goals are either met or missed, updates can then be easily shared across multiple users, notes Ulag.

    That aggregated data can then be employed to automatically trigger events, such as limiting future spending when certain business goals are not met, noted Ulag.

    “Most goal setting systems have little to offer in terms of automation,” says Ulag. 

    Goals in Power BI leverages an existing Power Automate capability based on a no-code framework and more than 300 embedded connectors to external data sources to achieve that goal, notes Ulag. 

    Previously, achieving that level of integration would have required organizations to write custom code either themselves or by hiring an IT services firm. End users can now self-service their own automation requirements without any additional assistance in a way that still allows IT teams to monitor those processes, notes Ulag.  

    Also read: Natural Language Processing Will Make Business Intelligence Apps More Accessible

    Microsoft’s Customer Insights and User Group Experience

    Microsoft also revealed that it has integrated a Microsoft Advertising application with its Dynamics 365 Customer Insights application to make it easier to engage customers using customer data that already resides in a customer data platform (CDP).

    At the same time, Microsoft is revamping the user group experience it enables with tools to help users find, join, start, and run local user groups for Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform. Microsoft is also now supporting user groups with an administrative team through which they can gain access to local Microsoft employees.

    Microsoft is making a case for a portfolio of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications that are becoming more tightly integrated with each update. At the core of that effort is Microsoft Office 365 productivity applications and increasingly Microsoft Teams, a suite of communications and collaboration tools that Microsoft makes available as a cloud service. As Microsoft Power BI becomes more integrated with the rest of Microsoft portfolio it becomes easier to make better business decisions based on the metrics being tracked in a business intelligence (BI) application.

    Also read: Microsoft Makes Case for Securing BI Data

    The BI Challenge

    Arguably, the biggest BI challenge organizations have historically faced is converting all the data they track in a BI application into actionable intelligence that can be employed in enough time to affect a business outcome.

    As Power BI and other applications are infused with AI capabilities it should be possible for applications to identify business goals that an organization might want to track. In the meantime, the ability to take action relying on actual facts versus gut instinct will continue to improve. The challenge now is first teaching business users what questions to ask and then getting them to act on that information even when it conflicts with a long-held bias that doesn’t have any data to support it.

    Read next: Best Machine Learning Software in 2021

    Mike Vizard
    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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