The last 12 months have been very challenging for obvious reasons, but as the first steps of the UK’s roadmap out of lockdown are followed, there is good reason for businesses to be optimistic about the future.

Slowly but surely, people are returning to the workplace in some capacity, even if its only on a part time basis to begin with. Those businesses that have weathered the storm are now keen to make up for lost time, with many implementing solutions that will give them a competitive edge in the post-pandemic era.

Business analytics tools like Power BI are some of the most popular, allowing organisations to harness the masses of data they’ve collected to uncover business-enhancing insights that will allow them to progress and grow.

Like other popular Microsoft services, Power BI also benefits from monthly update cycles, allowing customer feedback to be addressed through the introduction of important features.

In this blog, we have explored some the most significant updates introduced in recent weeks to see what impact they will have on the expanding client base.

Advanced data selection (Azure Maps Visual)

One of Power BI’s most popular features is the Azure Maps Visual, which allows users to explore location data in Power BI, utilising one of the many visualisation types to display data and observe how it changes across different locations.

With this update, users now have access to a new selection control option located in the tool bar, with four new methods to select and interact with data. These four options are range selection, radial selection, polygon selection and radial/box selection.

The range selection method allows users to select all data within a specified driving distance or driving time from a starting point, which is useful for retail business looking to plan delivery routes. Meanwhile, the radial selection option allows users to click and drag a desired radius, which will highlight all locations within that zone.

For a fine grain control of what data to select, the polygon selection gives users the freedom to drag and draw any freeform shape to select data within that area. Finally, the radial/box selection allows users to select data using a circle or rectangle drawn on the map.

Remember, the new selection control is enabled by default, so to turn it off, you must navigate to ‘map settings’ and ensure the ‘selection control’ toggle option is disabled.

X axis constant for line charts

Of course, Power BI users rely on the service to collect and analyse data, presenting this information in a clear and engaging way, so that readers can access the information they need efficiently.

To give users greater control over their information, Microsoft has introduced support for adding an X axis constant line in line charts for continuous type data.

Users can create this line by selecting ‘add’ on the ‘X axis constant line’ from the analytics icon within the visualisations section. Depending on your data, the set value can be a date, time or a numeric value that is relevant to the data presented.

Like many other features in Power BI, the X axis constant line can be configured to meet your unique requirements, with options to customise its colour, transparency, line style, position and data label.

This update is yet another example of how Microsoft is committed to enhancing the analytics capabilities in Power BI, offering businesses more creative freedom to build engaging reports.

Comparison Chart

Custom visuals are one of the main appeals of Power BI, as they give users the tools needed to build insightful reports, using a variety of charts and graphs to highlight trends.

One of the latest custom visuals to be introduced is the Comparison Chart, which allows users to visually compare development figures, like ‘sales’ or ‘order volume’ with an index. For example, businesses can compare their top five products to the growth of other listed items.

Presented on a chart, the various products will each be represented by its own coloured line, giving users the freedom to choose which items are visualised.

Like the X axis constant line, this visual can also be formatted accordingly, with users given the option to change the colour and line style of the chart, so the data comparison is clear and easy to read for those engaging the report.

The Comparison Chart has now been rolled out across the service, joining other new custom visuals like the Combo Bar PRO and SMART KPI List.

Allow your business to thrive…

Businesses often make the mistake of collecting masses of data, storing it in various silos and then neglecting it with no real plan to harness or analyse the information provided.

However, a growing number of organisations are beginning to understand the importance of making business decisions based on data-driven insights, with many implementing Power BI solutions to help them develop and grow.

With the UK’s roadmap underway, now is the perfect time for businesses to prepare for life after lockdown, with the implementation of business analytics solutions like Power BI.

To find a solution that meets the unique requirements of your business, contact our experienced in-house team for advice.