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Three ways your business can build a better data culture

This article originally appeared on Microsoft Power BI blogs on Dec. 8, 2016.

If you’re already using Microsoft Power BI Pro, you’ve learned how to unify all your data sources and create dashboards and reports that deliver useful business insights to decision-makers. We’re sure that’s working out well for the business, and we bet it’s earned you some notice. Here are three tips that will help you get even more out of Power BI Pro and transform the data culture at your organization.

1. Get substantive content to the people who need it, and reduce churn for analysts.

When you create dashboards, reports, Microsoft Excel workbooks, and data visualizations in Power BI Pro and publish them in organizational content packs, they become part of a content pack library. Your colleagues can browse or search the library for content published to the entire organization, to distribution groups, and to Microsoft Office 365 groups they might belong to. Unlike simple dashboard sharing, which offers just read-only access, organizational content packs allow assigned users to dig deeper and even update reports. Data consumers get fewer restraints and a personalized view of the information that matters to them, without creating churn for analysts or consuming IT resources. Learn more about how to create organizational content packs in Power BI Pro.

2. Make it easier for your team to share insights, make decisions, and take action

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Create a group in Power BI Pro to organize and distribute all the dashboards, visualizations, and reports related to your team. When you create a group, add members, or share dashboards or content packs in a group workspace, you can assign who can edit which content, who can share it, who they can share it with, and who can just read it. That way key stakeholders can work together easily to stay connected and move projects forward. If you link Power BI Pro with Office 365, then you can also use Office 365 group services such as Microsoft OneDrive for business and Microsoft Exchange Online to store and share group files and manage group messaging, calendars, and tasks. To streamline how your team works together, learn how to create a group and add members in Power BI Pro.

3. Automate all your data refreshes to deliver an up-to-the-moment pulse on the business.

With your data sources unified and continually refreshed, you’re ready for real-time analytics at any scale. But if you have Excel files connected to an SQL database, the data is actually coming from Microsoft SQL Server, not the Excel file, and it won’t refresh in Power BI until you install a gateway. Once you’ve configured the gateway, go into the Excel dataset settings and sign in to the data source. Do it once and you’re set; now you can schedule Power BI Pro to automatically connect to the SQL database and refresh all Excel data. From now on, nobody has to wait for the next report or accidentally use outdated information. Learn how to make decisions based on what’s happening now—not last quarter.