Power BI Series # 1 – Visualizing Interesting Data Around Us

Power BI Series # 1 – Visualizing Interesting Data Around Us

The world is one big data problem – Andrew McAfee

The technology revolution in the last three decades has caused an explosion of data that is unprecedented – the current digital footprint of the world is estimated to be around 8-9 ZB (zettabytes) and is increasing by 40% every year. By 2020, it is expected to reach 44 zettabytes and many studies have shown that less than 1% of this data is analyzed – so the world is indeed a colossal data analysis problem.

In the enterprise space, most public and private organizations today collect massive amounts data for various aspects of their businesses (inventory, supply chain, manufacturing, operations, finance, customer service to name a few) but the decisions still mostly remain ad-hoc and reactive – part of the problem is that traditional Business Intelligence tools have never enabled the end-user / information worker directly and instead only offered static dashboards and KPIs that cannot keep up with the pace of the business and as the corporate dashboards become irrelevant, people go back to using excel spreadsheets for data analysis.

Microsoft Power BI is an exciting new visualization tool that enables information workers to create data visualizations, interactive reports, dashboards and collaborate with these visualizations in real-time. In addition to this there are a range of data analytics backend tools now available in Microsoft Azure like SQL Azure, SQL Data Warehouse, Data Factory, Data Lake Analytics, HD Insight, Machine Learning and Stream Analytics that can be used to process the data to make it ready for a Visualization tool.

Following is one of our sample dashboards “United Nations – World Bank Indicators” that we have put together using Microsoft Power BI.  The indicators represent an interesting view of the world that we live in. The data is openly available on United Nations and World Bank Websites (http://data.un.org/)

United Nations - World Bank Indicators

We will be posting an indicator every day in this series of posts over the next few days – each indicator has a graph view with a country filter that can be used to compare data for different countries and other groups (world, continents, high income, low income, OECD countries etc.) and map view with a year filter that overlays data on a map.

Graph View

Population Growth

Map View

population growth graph

The live graph for the above “Population Growth (annual %)” indicator can be accessed here.

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