The five user types of Power BI reporting & analytics

In an enterprise environment there are various ways of how users can interact with data using Power BI. Some users have a need for consuming pre-defined management reports, while other users wish to build their own datasets and create their own analysis. 

In discussion with colleagues we came up with five types of business users in reporting and analytics: the report consumer, report analyst, self-service data analyst, basic data analyst and advanced data analyst.

Every type of user has its own data needs and requires different types of skills. Understanding this can help you come up with the right approach for guidance and support. 

Types of users

The types of Power BI users

On the far left users solely use data that is prepared and served by others (managed BI). The more we move to the right the more the user does on their own. This means creating own reports, linking the data with own spreadsheet data or even creating their own data models on information that is not (yet) available in a managed BI environment.

Level of experience
User on the left require a basic understanding of Power BI. The more we move to the right the more data skills and knowledge is required. 

Level of control 
User on the far left only consume data, the more we move to the right the less organizational control there is on created reports or dashboards.

A brief introduction of each user type and required guidance and support

Report Consumer Consumes report data
The report consumer uses the Power BI service to consume reports. Has a specific information need. Has no time and or knowledge to filter data or a need to deep dive in details. Needs a brief introduction to the basic of the Power BI service. 
Report Analyst Analyses report data
The report analyst uses the Power BI service to get more insights. Has a feeling for data and is able to handle spreadsheet like data volumes. Is able to use report filters, cross filters and drill down on details. Needs a brief introduction to the basic of the Power BI service.
Self Service Data Analyst Creates and shares new insights on existing data models
The self-service data analyst is a more experienced business data user. Is able to interpret a pre-build data model. Understands how measures work and has a good understanding of relationships and the impact of handling larger data volumes. Needs an advanced Power BI walkthrough on both Power BI Service and Power BI Desktop.
Basis Data Analyst Adds own data to enrich existing data models
The basic data analyst has experience building his own datasets and reports using a tool like Excel. Misses essential data in existing models and enriches these with his own spreadsheet data. Needs an advanced Power BI walkthrough on both Power BI Service and Power BI Desktop.
Advanced Data Analyst Creates new insights while combining existing
and new data

The advanced data analyst is able to build his own data models in Power BI Desktop using data from managed and unmanaged data sources. Has a good understanding of data structures, data modelling and data analysis. Knows how to write SQL queries. Depending in the skill level this user could use an advanced Power BI walkthrough with advanced DAX training and extra workshops on topics such as DAX, SQL and data modelling. 

Wrap up 
Every type of user has its own needs and requires different types of skills. Understanding this can help you come up with the right approach for guidance and support. The brief introduction above can be a good start.

I'm curious if you recognize these user types in your organization or if you have a different view.

Lars Bouwens is Business Intelligence consultant at Motion10 and likes to read and write about Power BI and Azure.

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