Not All Power BI Reports were created equal. Follow these 5 simple tips to take your reporting to the next level.
- Spend time on the data modelling – The most common thing I see in reports with issues is poor data modelling and bidirectional relationships. Spending the time to create a proper star schema and relationships will make your data optimised for the Power BI Vertipaq Engine and will prevent having to write long overly complex DAX to try and solve problems.
- Embrace external tools – Power BI doesn’t have the perfect set of features for every type of user, particularly developers. Thankfully, Microsoft supports external tools allowing users to extend the capabilities of Power BI. DAX Studio is an absolute must for visualising queries and tuning performance. Tabular Editor allows you to access features like calculation groups and has a ton of time saving features.
- Plan out your reports – This means mapping out your reports on paper or in Powerpoint. Make sure you decide what pages are required and the topic of each page. It also helps map out what visuals are required and how the story will flow on the page. Randomly creating charts on a page and trying different things is data exploration not report creation. A decent mock-up has the added bonus of being able to show clients a glimpse of the result before you get too far down the road and changes can be made before you start in Power BI.
- Understand the requirements clearly – Effective reports are ones that can generate actions. You need a detailed and comprehensive view of the business processes and issues that your report is concerned with if you are to provide deep insight that can inform decisions and actions. I always judge a report by the impact of the decisions it can drive and how well it answers the users critical questions.
- Get the visuals right – Its not just knowing the right visual to use but also taking time on formatting the small things to make visuals clearer. Number formats, legends, axis titles, axis values, visual size, alignment and colours are all important and not just going with the deafult settings. Don’t be tempted to use a chart just for variety or because it looks cool and keep your priority clear data insights.