Why Use Cohelion if You Already Have PowerBI?

By Robert Sirre & Brian Cheung • published July 16, 2021 • last updated February 4, 2022

If you work with lots of business data, you’ve probably heard of Microsoft’s PowerBI. As its name suggests, it’s a powerful data visualization tool that makes it easier to understand vast quantities of information. Fortunately, it also works well together with the Cohelion Data Platform to add to its usefulness. 

Before you can visualize data, you must extract and collect it from various applications before structuring and integrating your database for use. The Microsoft system may make it easier to understand the data you’re left with, but it isn’t designed to take any of those preliminary steps.  

In this article, we’ll look at the important steps that need to be made when using PowerBI. We’ll also explain why the Cohelion data platform makes for the perfect companion solution.  

PowerBI as a Business Tool

PowerBI helps users who work with substantial amounts of information to take a more human approach and to understand it with helpful visual representations.  

Unless you’re a mathematician, it’s usually a lot easier to understand a graph than it is to comprehend enormous spreadsheets filled with raw data. Microsoft’s solution, therefore, makes it easier to spot trends and anomalies. 

The PowerBI system itself allows for connectivity with many sources and benefits from full integration with the Office 365 ecosystem. This makes it easy to share information, gain insights for decision-making, and analyze it all without needing to take a deep dive into the numbers themselves.  

One-Trick Pony

PowerBI helps businesses to understand large quantities of data from an array of sources, but its handling of information leaves room for improvement.   

When using the system on its own, businesses are at risk of relying on poor quality data which can have a significant impact on the decisions that are made. Correcting inaccuracies is not a functional possibility within the software. You could need to manage that at the original location which makes it a resource-intensive process. 

Businesses with complex models and branching structures may also struggle without extra support. That’s because the software operates best when dealing with clean, usable data sources. Its system processes whatever inputs it is fed. Any mis-entered data can make output inaccurate and harder to understand.  

Key Challenges to Overcome

There are several core challenges that many organizations face when using PowerBI as a standalone tool. Cohelion’s platform addresses these challenges and helps users to get more from their data visualization solution. 

Reduced Data Accuracy

PowerBI and other visualization tools don’t facilitate any data manipulation. It can be hard for organizations with many data sources to trace figures back, let alone verify the quality of the outputs that feed into the system. This not only makes it harder to determine when information is inaccurate, but it’s also impossible to make corrections within PowerBI.   

Although it can pull together data from many sources, it doesn’t offer a quality control function. This can lead to duplicates or inaccuracies making their way into the visualizations the software produces, misinforming users, and potentially leading decision-makers astray.   

Fortunately, these problems can be addressed by pairing PowerBI with the Cohelion Data platform for an altogether more effective toolkit. Users can benefit from Cohelion’s anomaly detection framework that actively alerts users to exceptions before they enter the data warehouse. Running through a solid framework ensures that inaccuracies and duplicates are flagged at an early stage.   

Cohelion helps by: organizing information into an easy-to-manage data warehouse environment, allowing for manual validation and corrections to be made. Once these manual tasks have been performed, they can be integrated to create an altogether more accurate dataset and, therefore, more precise visualizations.  

A Lack of Standardization

Most companies use a variety of different systems, business applications and software packages which they typically don’t develop themselves.  

As a tool that compares information from different sources, PowerBI doesn’t cope well when the input is not standardized. This is a problem when information from financial, HR, sales, and logistics systems combine into a single pool of data within the platform. It’s harder to draw any useful insights when there are three sets of data that are the same items but show up in your graphs as different ones. 

Cohelion helps by: providing a Master Data Management (MDM) system that cleanly combines data from different sources. The system then creates a standardized pool that can help PowerBI to improve the utility of its output, all without the need for extensive manual work using spreadsheets 

This simplifies the process of managing reference data, reduces instances of duplication, and facilitates the integration and interoperability between multiple systems. 

Data Usage and Security Issues

Other issues present themselves in the form of access rights. Organizations tend to restrict the use of certain data types. Financial details might only be available to accounting teams and sensitive business information could be reserved for senior management only. Unless rules are applied, its output will display everything to all users.  

To get the most out of their tools, businesses need to ensure that the right information reaches the right people at the opportune time. PowerBI does not impose its validation checks on data, nor can users be certain that the information they’re relying on is correct. 

Cohelion helps by: being a single source of truth. The Cohelion Data  Platform ensures that people across different business centers can access the information they require at the right time in the right form. The controls on security and access rights imposed in our data warehouse translate into PowerBI, protecting integrity and confidentiality.  

Why PowerBI is Better with Cohelion

Microsoft’s tool is a helpful addition to any company’s roster, but it does have its flaws. The system runs better when it can draw upon clean, quality-assured data – and that’s exactly what the Cohelion Data Platform provides.  

Our platform integrates from all of your sources, presenting clean and accurate data you can rely on. Amongst other things, it’s a holistic MDM solution and although we can tailor the data specifically for PowerBI, it can equally be used with Tableau, QlikView, MicroStrategy, and a whole host of reporting software packages.  


It operates as so much more than an aggregating engine, too. Coupled with our expert guidance, it introduces effective ways to review and make amendments to ensure you get the most accurate results every time. 

PowerBI may help decision-makers to gain insights, but the Cohelion platform provides PowerBI with better data to draw from.  

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