What do a grocery store chain, a foundation that aims to eliminate pediatric AIDS, and an airplane engine company have in common?

They all use Microsoft Power BI.

Power BI is a suite of tools that helps businesses and other organizations easily assemble and analyze data, and then turn it into visual presentations.

Rolls Royce services 13,000 commercial airplane engines around the world, and each of those engines has thousands of sensors that provide terabytes of data about their flights. The company uses Power BI to compile and analyze this data in order to maintain the engines at peak performance.

“Making sense of all that data is critical in transporting my passengers safely and efficiently,” says an airline pilot in a video on the Microsoft Power BI website.

The tool suite assists with discovering operational efficiencies, optimizing fuel economy, and anticipating maintenance needs, which saves a lot of money. Unscheduled delays caused by maintenance issues can cost an airline up to $1 million a day, and a small percentage reduction in the amount of fuel – which is an airline’s largest expense – can save tens of millions of dollars in a year.

“With Power BI, we can very quickly and easily create reports and dashboards that tell quite a compelling story,” says Richard Beesley, senior enterprise architect of data services with Rolls-Royce.

At grocery retailer Meijer, which is based in Michigan and has 230 stores in six states, Power BI is employed to understand operational performance and customer behavior in an aggressively competitive market. Before the company began using the tool, the IT department compiled reports, but this sometimes took a lengthy amount of time.

“No matter where I go, the demand for BI is always greater than the supply. And people don’t always have time to wait for IT to build every report. Plus, they were unable to do on-the-fly, ad hoc analysis easily. We have to empower the business customers with relevant and timely reporting to react quickly and appropriately,” says Meijer director of business intelligence and collaboration Marilyn Richards in an article on the Power BI website.

Using Power BI to generate reports and presentations has allowed Meijer to make improvements that mean increased profits.

“We have 300 team members in each of our stores, and they want to get data immediately about every piece of the business from the receiving area to the sales floor to the front end. Power BI enables us to standardize data sources and empower store directors, and ultimately team leaders, to develop and track their own data sets to ensure that we improve,” says Eastern Region VP Matt Craig in the article.

“Leaders in the retail environment have to be able to understand whatever is going on in each of their departments and compare that with the competition,” says Craig. “And we have to do that in real time, because if we can’t improve something immediately, a customer will simply go to a competitor. Power BI will help us be more agile and flexible and identify the gaps quicker. That’s why it’s so important.”

The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation is working toward eliminating HIV infection in children. Supporting 6,000 public health sites in 14 countries, the foundation uses Power BI to collect and study data, and present it in an easy-to-understand way.

“We’ve seen a decline in pediatric infections over the last 15 years because of very successful prevention of mother-child transmission of HIV,” Dr. Edward Bitarakwate, Uganda director for EGPAF, says in a Microsoft BI video.

“We’ve seen over the years tremendous progress, but without a careful analysis of the data, we may fail to see what still needs to be done to eliminate pediatric AIDS.”

“That’s the direct impact of better, smarter data,” says Chip Lyons, EGPAF president and CEO.

He says having data accessible to more than 1,000 colleagues around the world, some in remote settings, allows foundation members to do their jobs better and more efficiently.

According to Microsoft, the best business decisions come from the best data and insights, and this is what Power BI aims to assist with.

Power BI is the latest computer course released by Velsoft Training Materials. The courseware will show learners how to link and model data in Power BI and create visual reports that reveal data insights.

Find out more here.