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Harnessing the Power of Generative AI inside MS Power BI

Allwin Arokiaraj
Generative AI in MS Power BI

Data is everywhere, and understanding it is crucial for making informed decisions. Microsoft Power BI is a powerful tool that helps businesses transform raw data into meaningful insights.  

Now, generative AI capabilities are coming to MS Power BI soon! Watch this preview video 

 

Imagine a world where you can effortlessly create reports and charts in Power BI using simple text inputs. With the integration of Copilot in Power BI, this becomes a reality.  

In this blog post, we will explore the amazing features and advantages of Copilot enabled Power BI’s automated reporting. It has the potential to make data visualization and advanced analytics accessible to all end users without any detailed technical assistance.  

First, let’s take a look at the advantages, then we’ll review some potential limitations, and finally we’ll end with some recommendations. 

Advantages of Generative AI in MS Power BI 

Easy Report Creation 

With Power BI’s integration with Copilot, you can create reports simply by describing what you need in plain language.  

For example, you can say, “Show me a bar chart of sales by region,” and Power BI will generate the chart for you instantly.  

This feature makes it incredibly easy for anyone, regardless of their technical expertise, to create visualizations and gain insights from data. 

Time and Cost Savings  

As you can probably imagine, Copilot in Power BI significantly reduces the time and effort required to create reports. Instead of manually designing and creating reports, you can generate them with a few simple text commands. 

This not only saves time but also reduces costs associated with hiring specialized resources for report creation. You can allocate your resources more efficiently, focusing on data analysis and decision-making rather than report generation. 

Lower Bugs and Errors  

Arguably, human collaboration is not error free and they are likely to occur when manually creating reports. Misinterpreted instructions, typos, or incorrect data inputs can lead to inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the visualizations. However, with automated reporting such as with Copilot and MS Power BI, the chances of errors are significantly reduced.  

By leveraging natural language processing and machine learning, Power BI with AI can accurately interpret your text inputs and generate precise visualizations, minimizing the risk of bugs and inconsistencies. 

Enhanced User Self-Service  

There is already a trend in the industry towards enabling user self-service when it comes to business intelligence and reporting. CIOs and Chief Data Officers are opting to provide the foundations and let the business users slice and dice the data they want to.  

Now, the generative AI features in Power BI empowers users to become even more self-sufficient in creating their own reports. They can easily express their data requirements in simple language, generating visualizations and gaining insights without depending on others. This self-service capability enhances productivity, as users can access the information they need on-demand, without delays or external dependencies. 

Advanced Analytics for Causal and Trend Analysis 

One of the remarkable advantages of Power BI’s new capabilities is the ability to conduct advanced analytics effortlessly. You can use text inputs to explore causal relationships and trends within your data.  

For example, you can ask, “What could be driving the increased response rates for this promotion?” Power BI will analyze the relevant data and provide visualizations that highlight potential factors influencing the response rates. This allows you to identify patterns, correlations, and causal factors that might have otherwise gone unnoticed, enabling you to make data-driven decisions with a deeper understanding of the underlying factors driving your business outcomes.  

Limitations 

Even as the potential with Copilot in MS Power BI is fascinating, there are indeed limitations when it comes to a dynamic and ever-changing enterprise technology landscape. 

No Silver Bullet 

The generative AI capability is just being introduced. Given the complexities of an enterprise data landscape, and the fact that multiple data sources often come together to make end user reporting possible, we must plan for the rollout accordingly.  

For this reason, the next few sections on quality assurance, architecture, data quality and lineage are tremendously important to include in enterprise data strategy. 

Data Quality, Lineage, and Labeling  

The effectiveness of automated reporting heavily relies on the quality and accuracy of the underlying data. Inaccurate or incomplete data can lead to incorrect or misleading visualizations, regardless of the text inputs provided.  

It is crucial to ensure data quality by implementing proper data governance practices, including data lineage and labeling. This involves maintaining data integrity, verifying data sources, and labeling data elements appropriately to avoid potential confusion or misinterpretation. 

Quality Assurance (QA) Considerations 

While Power BI’s automated reporting feature offers convenience and speed, it is important to perform quality assurance to ensure the accuracy of the generated reports. Although the system interprets and generates visualizations based on text inputs, there is still a possibility of misinterpretation or inaccuracies. In addition, the data it runs on may itself be inaccurate or mislabeled.  

So, it is recommended to retain the safeguards in place for reviewing and validating the generated reports to ensure their accuracy and reliability. 

Reporting Architecture Requirements  

To maximize the capabilities of automated reporting in Power BI, it is essential to have a reporting architecture that is amenable to this feature. The data landscape needs to be set up in a way that allows seamless integration and interpretation of inputs to generate accurate and meaningful visualizations. This involves proper data modeling, structuring, and tagging of data sources to facilitate effective report generation through text commands.  

Recommendations 

To address these challenges above, especially for enterprises, it is recommended that we continue to use a Center of Excellence (CoE) or a shared service for Power BI Reporting Management and associated data strategy. This group can oversee the implementation and usage of these features, ensuring that generative AI improves outcomes for business users and drives overall business performance. 

The data team can be responsible for conducting regular QA checks on the generated reports, verifying their accuracy and addressing any discrepancies. It can also provide guidance and best practices for setting up a reporting architecture that optimizes Copilot capabilities.  

Furthermore, the team can enforce architectural and data governance practices, including data quality, lineage, and labeling, to ensure reliable and meaningful visualizations in an enhanced self-service scenario. 

By establishing a centralized data strategy team, organizations can harness the benefits of Power BI’s exciting generative AI capabilities while maintaining the necessary checks and balances to ensure accurate, reliable, and impactful data visualizations. 

Conclusion 

Copilot with Power BI provides a significant boost to the way we interact with data.  

By enabling insights creation through simple text inputs, it empowers users of all levels to easily generate visualizations, saving time, reducing costs, and minimizing errors.  

The self-service nature of automated reporting promotes better decision-making by providing timely insights.  

Connect with us to see how we can enhance your Power BI reporting platform and set up the right data strategy to support it 

In the next post we will explore other enterprise capabilities being launched by Microsoft including their overarching data framework Fabric, that enables creating Customer Data Platforms simpler than before if you prefer to have everything on the MS stack. 

Further Read