Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft has introduced cloud-based Power BI, a collection of online services and features for data mining and analyzing utilizing the new Power Query and Power Map capabilities. This powerful, intuitive tool provides the user with the capabilities to do data mining, visualize and explore the data through a free-form drag-and-drop feature and collaborate in many ways. Power BI provides an easy-to-use report authoring feature for transforming raw data into meaningful information to enable more effective business insight and decision-making.

Power BI offers ability to connect to data in Excel spreadsheets, share queries, ETL routines that are used to populate the data from the database and leveraging SharePoint thus making Business Intelligence (BI) native to Excel. Queries are managed through a metadata catalog which allows other users to reuse existing queries. Job Schedulers can be setup for data refresh for workbooks. In Power BI sites, the users can view and use larger workbooks (up to 250 MB) on Power BI for Office 365. Users can share and manage queries and data sources.

Power BI Designer is a powerful and dedicated report authoring tool that enables the users to connect to and combine data from lots of different sources and formats such as .CSV, .TXT, Spreadsheets, etc. using Query in the Power BI Designer. From there, you can create rich reports and visualization within the Power BI Designer (similar to Power View, but with many more visualizations).

Power BI Designer Screen:

Users can do their analyses in Excel 2013 (or higher), using tools such as PowerPivot (for fast in-memory analysis across vast data sets) and Power View (for visual data analysis). Excel 2013 offers new BI features and functionality, making it easier to gather data and use the data to create powerful reports, scorecards, and dashboards.

Power BI is a very useful tool for the users in the Insurance industry. Claims management is a critical process in the Insurance life cycle. Analyzing and proactively managing the end-to-end process across regions, loss types, product lines, and business units helps Insurance companies and TPAs better understand their most critical components in operational effectiveness. Users can create personalized dashboards and metrics that will provide a holistic view of all complex transactional data to make quick, strategic decisions, such as in the Claims Management area, executives can use the data to visualize and drill into current status of metrics and key performance indicators such as Cycle Time, Claims Expense and Average Settlement Amount.

Using Power BI, the dashboard/analytical reports can be built using metadata-driven, point-and-click, drag and drop features. The Power BI applications can be built once and deployed across platforms and browsers such as Android, Windows handheld devices, iPhones/iPads and browsers such as IE, Chrome, Firefox and Safari, Microsoft Office and can be seamlessly integrated into .Net applications. The diagram below represents how the reporting platform can be implemented in enterprises having large and complex data with various formats such as .TXT, CSV, XML using Microsoft BI tools and Power BI.

(Article By Sriram Subramanian, Director - Product Development, LSG)
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