In Power BI, a key performance indicator (KPI) is a visual cue, metric, or measure that is used to evaluate the performance of an organization or business process. 

By using Power BI, organizations can create KPIs using a combination of data visualization techniques, such as charts, tables, and maps, as well as data calculations and calculations. These visuals can also be displayed in a variety of ways, such as in a dashboard, report, or scorecard.

Businesses use KPIs in Power BI to communicate the amount of progress made toward a measurable goal. In addition, they can also be used to help businesses identify areas where improvements are needed. By helping organizations identify areas of weakness and areas of strength, KPIs are used to make data more actionable by providing refined and measurable targets.

You can also use ONLC’s Power BI training online to learn how to implement KPIs.

Requirements of KPIs in Power BI

KPIs are created to help users evaluate their current value and status of a metric against a defined target. Thus, a KPI visual requires a base measure that evaluates to a value, a target measure or value, and a threshold or goal.

Here are the requirements for KPIs:

  1. Data: Your data source can be a database or spreadsheet that contains the data that you want to use to create your KPI. The data should be in a format that can be imported into Power BI, such as CSV, Excel, or JSON. This also applies to metadata in Power BI.
  2. Metrics: These metrics will typically be numerical values, such as sales figures, customer satisfaction scores, or website traffic numbers.
  3. Visualization: To create a KPI, you’ll need to choose a visualization that will help to clearly display the metric from the wide range of built-in visualizations, including columns, bars, line charts, and gauges.
  4. Calculation: To make the KPI more meaningful and useful, you may want to create calculations showing how it compares to a target or benchmark. You can use Power BI’s calculation language called DAX to do this.
  5. Label and Formatting: To make the KPI more informative, you need to add labels to the visualization and format it. This will make it clearer and easier to understand.
  6. Context: Include information such as a time frame, comparison, or target to make your KPI more useful.
  7. Interactivity: Add interactions or create a drill-through to make your KPI more engaging. 
  8. Dashboard: Add the KPI to a dashboard where a user can view multiple KPIs in a single place. Dashboards and apps in Power BI can include several KPIs, other visualizations, and filters for a more comprehensive view of data.

How to Create a KPI in Power BI

You can create a KPI in Power BI by following these steps:

Step 1: Add KPI Indicators

You can add the KPI indicator by opening the ‘Fields Pane’ in Power BI Desktop. There are different KPIs in this option, but the directions in this example are for creating a KPI that measures the progress of a sales goal. 

To find this KPI in the ‘Field’ pane, select ‘Sales,’ then click on ‘Total Units this Year.’ 

Step 2: Add the KPI Trends

After setting the indicator, add the ‘Time’ > ‘FiscalMonth.’ This value represents the trend.

Step 3: Check That the Columns are Sorted in Power BI

Next, go to the upper-right corner of the visual and select the ellipsis. Check that Power BI sorted the columns in ascending order by ‘FiscalMonth.’ Note that after converting a visualization into a KPI, you cannot sort it. You must sort it correctly at the beginning.

Step 4: Convert the Visual into a KPI

Convert the visualization you created from your sorted data into a KPI. To do this, select the ‘KPI’ icon from the ‘Visualization’ pane.

Step 5: Format the KPI

The last step is to add goals. To do this, drag the ‘Total Units Last Year’ to the ‘Target Goals’ field. After adding the KPI goal, you can format the Indicator, Trend Axis, Goals, Color Coding, and Direction by clicking on the paint roller icon and opening the ‘Format’ pane. 

In Conclusion

KPIs in Power BI are important tools used to provide a quick snapshot of the performance of a business, department, or process. By using the right KPIs, organizations can track their performance over time and make data-driven decisions to improve business outcomes.

About The Author

Microsoft Certified Trainer and Consultant specializing in Office 365, Microsoft SharePoint, Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate, Microsoft Access, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Visio, Microsoft Office Development, and Crystal Reports

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