3 Common Power BI Implementation Challenges (and How to Solve Them)

March 23, 2021 Joe Little

Is your team excited about the possibilities of implementing Power BI, but not sure where to start? Power BI is an incredibly versatile solution to help you gain a better understanding of your business and ultimately make better decisions, all without needing a developer to write code. This tool makes it possible for ordinary users to create custom reports and analytics from a wide variety of data sources.

However, there are common challenges businesses face when they’re implementing Power BI. Nothing that can’t be prevented with good planning and a defined strategy.

Here are a few of the most common challenges we see when businesses are implementing Power BI:


1. Deciding what information you need

What are your business needs and challenges? What sort of opportunities do you want more information to pursue? What sort of business changes do you anticipate making? Maybe inventory is a key driver at the heart of your operations, or perhaps you want to start by understanding your quote to invoice process in greater detail. Set goals for what you want to learn so it’s easier to set up your Power BI data properly and measure against those goals later.  


2. Knowing where to get your information

Let’s say you want to pull in sales information from Dynamics 365 Business Central. Can you pull in posted sales lines or do you need information from inventory? Do you want the posted shipment line or the posted invoice line? It’s critical to understand exactly what data is contained under a header in Business Central and not accidentally create a report that looks good but is actually based on the wrong numbers. Make sure you know exactly what the information is, and not just what it’s called. This is an area where experienced professionals like Western Computer can really help.


3. Determining the best way to distribute and use the information

Once you’ve figured out the data you want and sent it to Power BI, it’s time to take the raw data rows and columns, and transform them a visual that’s helpful. The options for visualization are many, so we recommend starting with what you want from the information, and then deciding what sort of visual will best support that. You can transform the information into a line graph, bar chart, pie chart, number sets, whatever will work best for you. You can then use dashboards, automatic notifications, or apps to distribute the right info to the right people at the right time.


Setting Your Business Up for Power BI Success

Implementing Power BI can be complicated without proper planning and enlisting help for complex data sets or requirements. We can’t emphasize this enough: begin with the end in mind.


What is it that you need to know? Start there.

What do you want someone to do with the data – call, look at something, approve something, change a marketing strategy? Design your dashboards and reports around their desired effect for your business. This will make all of the above steps much easier.

Of course, knowing the possibilities of what analytics can actually help you achieve is difficult if you haven’t used Power BI before. That’s why we recommend working with the experts at Western Computer to help you plan your implementation, map your data and determine the best way to distribute your information. Contact us today to talk to a specialist about Power BI or any business intelligence needs.


About the Author

Joe Little

Joe Little is Technical Solution Architect with Western Computer. With over 30 years of software experience, Joe has performed many roles throughout his career in several functional areas including pre-sales, architecture, development, implementation, and support. Joe believes the Microsoft Power Platform is a powerful solution that allows users to make small changes that have a huge impact on a business’s bottom line, such as viewing their data in new ways and creating workflows that help further automate their processes.

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