30 June 2023
Are you intrigued by the world of data and wish to unlock actionable insights? Power BI, a business analytics tool by Microsoft, can be your magic wand. This tool has been transforming raw data into meaningful knowledge, aiding in data-driven decision-making processes. A key cog in this transformation is Power BI's "Get Data" feature. This guide will unveil the features and functionalities of Power BI Get Data (Data Source), assisting you to optimise your data analytics journey.
Power BI Get Data, as its name suggests, is the starting point of any data analytics process in Power BI. What does it do? It aids in connecting with an array of data sources, be it a simple Excel file, a complex SQL Server database, or cloud-based services such as Azure.
What makes it indispensable? It’s the gateway to the extensive world of data that lies beyond your local system. Let's delve deeper into this feature and understand how to harness its potential.
Power BI’s Get Data feature is not simply a data connector, but a multipurpose tool that allows you to tap into data lying in different environments. Do you want to draw data from an Excel file? A SharePoint list? Or a web page? Power BI's Get Data feature can link you to all these sources and more. In fact, it boasts more than 100 out-of-the-box data connectors, ensuring you are spoilt for choice.
Do you have raw data that needs to be cleaned and transformed before it's ready for analysis? The Get Data feature can come to your rescue here as well. Once you've connected to a data source, you can launch the Power Query Editor. This tool allows you to refine your data, such as filtering rows, merging data, splitting columns, and changing data types, making it fit for consumption.
Here's another question to ponder. Do you need the entire data loaded to Power BI or only a filtered portion? Power BI offers two options here: Load and Edit. You can choose the 'Load' option to import all the data to Power BI or choose 'Edit' to refine your data using Power Query Editor before importing it.
With Power BI, you have the flexibility to choose how you want to connect with your data source. If your data volume is small and doesn't change frequently, you can opt for the 'Import' method. But if you're dealing with large datasets, you might prefer 'DirectQuery' or 'Live Connection' which leave the data at the source and query it from there.
Power BI also provides the feature to keep your data fresh and up-to-date. You can schedule refreshes at specific intervals, ensuring your reports always reflect the most recent data. For on-premises data sources, you'll need to configure an on-premises data gateway.
Now that we've covered the features, let's dive into practical examples to understand how businesses can leverage these capabilities. In our first case study, a leading retail company used Power BI's Get Data feature to connect to their SQL Server database. The 'DirectQuery' connection allowed them to work with their large sales data without overloading their system.
In another instance, a financial services firm connected to their
Excel files using Get Data. They used the Power Query Editor to clean and transform their data, making it ready for analysis. They then scheduled automatic data refreshes to keep their reports up-to-date with their continuously evolving financial data.
As you embark on your journey with Power BI Get Data, here are a few best practices to keep in mind.
The Power BI Get Data (Data Source) feature is an essential tool in your data analytics toolkit, unlocking a treasure trove of data from a multitude of sources. Its versatility and robustness make it a cornerstone in the data-driven decision-making process. So go forth, tap into this potential and let your data tell its story!
By the way, take at our article on Power BI's Great Collection in Content Packs.
Power BI Get Data supports more than 100 out-of-the-box data connectors, ranging from Excel and SQL Server to Azure and SharePoint.
You can schedule automatic data refreshes at specific intervals. For on-premises data sources, you'll need to configure an on-premises data gateway.
If your data volume is small and doesn't change frequently, you can opt for the 'Import' method. For larger datasets, consider using 'DirectQuery' or 'Live Connection'.
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