10 Tips & Tricks to transform your BI report into a great visual party!


10 Tips & Tricks to transform your BI report into a great visual party!

Transforming data to visuals is an art. If you do that good, the impact you reach with visuals is a lot bigger than when you just try something. Business Intelligence is meant to make people in the organisation see where to change to improve. By showing them reports with data from Microsoft Dynamics 365, Dynamics AX or Dynamics NAV they see where improvement is possible and more profitability gets better. User adoption is a key aspect in BI. For that reason we made a list of 10 Tips and Tricks to transform your report into a visual party. 

Tip 1: Think about you audience (the user)

The first tip influences all the upcoming tips. If you are responsible for the information your colleagues het, it is important you do research on what is interesting to them. For the manager of the orderpicking department, financial figures are not interesting. That user also doesn’t need 20 different visuals. It is all about understanding what is going on in a glance and immediately see where improvement is needed. So think from the perspective of a user of your reports and dashboards.

Tip 2: Make important information BIG and show it in the right spot

When we talk about this tip, people often react laconic. ‘Yes, of course we do that’. If we take a look at what they did with our hint, we aren’t surprised anymore. They just made one big pile of information. Who can pull insights from that? Make important things big and/or give it a good color. You’ll read more about what good colors are further in this blog.

Tip 3: Choose the right visual with a subject

Stating the obvious? A little. But goes wrong a lot. For creating insights in trends a simple line graph is the easiest. Bubble charts, tree maps, radar charts all look great, but aren’t always effective.

Tip 4: Add a map

A powerfull visual within Power BI is the map. It looks cool, but also gives a good sense in which part of the country a development is taking place. A retailer can see what store is above, on or under target in one view. The application of the map is endless. For instance to map stock locations or to see where a lot of inactive customers are situated. It is easy to make a route to visit many of those companies. You can use the map on a great variety of markets and applications.

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Tip 5: Use the correct color for a result

Good results go green, bad results turn red. This is called Color Formatting. It works like a traffic light. We associate good and bad without the result to see the color is has. It is an easy principle, but with that also very powerful. Everybody understands this and with that, they also get which processes need adjustment.

Suggestion: Use the company colors in your Power BI report. This strengthens the commitment with the company.

Tip 6: Do not put to many information in one page

The purpose of a report is to gain insights in results. It can be tempting to put all the available information in one report. But with that, you also make it harder to see where to focus on. That way the report misses their goal. So if there is a lot of information available, the first thing that should be done is look what data is valuable for what role. You can then combine that data into a qualitative report.

Tip 7: Combine different data sources

The power of Business Intelligence is that you can combine data and with that view data from multiple corners to a specific subject. It is very easy to connect Excel data through Power BI to NAV or AX environments. To give an example: You keep track of budgets in Excel. You want to see them in a report with the actual numbers. With Power BI that is easy to realize. Almost all sources are connectable to Power BI. So, combine data to get new perspectives on your business.

Tip 8: Impress al your colleagues with live data in Powerpoint

The golden Powerpoint rule is: Tell the story in pictures. During your quarterly meeting you can create a brilliant presentation with Power BI  and Powerpoint. Just show your daily report in Powerpoint. It is not hard to do and very effective.

Tip 9: Bring in multiple drill levels in your report

By adding levels of detail, you can start ‘downdrilling’. You want to go to the core of an issue. You can do that by going from organization level to department level. From there you can click to team level and even to indivual level to see what is going on. Then you want to see the different periods to discover trends in a week or a month. So there are many different levels thinkable to get a grip on the situation.

Tip 10: Keep it simple!

We could give you more hints, but we chose to keep it simple. That is because we wouldn’t want you to drown in all of the things you can do to improve. First make sure you take these point into account and work with them. That is what you have to do with Power BI too. Think about the user and keep it simple. You better make two great and effective reports that tell a clear story than making one big pile of information you wouldn’t even use yourself. So regularly think to yourself: ‘Would I be happy looking at this?’. If that’s the case, you did good and you can publish your newly made report to the user.

Have fun reporting!