Microsoft Power BI

4.6 (1,673)
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BI visualization and reporting for desktop, web or mobile

About Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft Power BI is a suite of analytics tools for analyzing business data and sharing insights via rich visualizations. Customizable and pre-built dashboards unify important metrics into single views, showing real time updates to every device. The centralized, web-based Power BI service interfaces Power BI gateways to connect to and unify organizational data while Power BI Desktop for Windows provides local data mashup and report authoring features. Live dashboards offer an instant 360-view on business health, leveraging 59 out-of-the-box connections for apps or services such as Salesforce, Google Analytics, Azure, Facebook, Github, QuickBooks Online, Twilio and Zendesk. Power BI brings all that data, wherever it resides, together to form a complete picture of key metrics that can then be queried using natural language.

With Power BI Desktop, users can author reports using intuitive drag-and-drop tools and share amongst colleagues through the online Power BI Service. Integrating with Microsoft’s established Query engine, data modeling and visualization technologies, Power BI Desktop connects, shapes and reports to centralize a typically disjointed process of reporting. Outputting to .pbix format, these report files can then be manually shared like any other or uploaded to the shared service. In addition, this ability to keep all users on the same page at all times extends to a suite of optimized mobile support. Power BI Mobile keeps remote connectivity consistent across native apps for Windows Mobile, iOS and Android devices, adding intuitive gesture-based operation. Live dashboards can be viewed on the fly, alongside full report sharing capabilities and data-driven alerts.


Key benefits of Microsoft Power BI

  • Microsoft Power BI spans a suite of Business Intelligence tools for creating rich visualizations and sharable reports.

  • Web-based Power BI Service provides a centralized hub for defining live personalized dashboards, harnessing on-premises data via Power BI gateways.

  • Out-of-the-box connections and pre-built dashboards for 59 popular apps and services makes unifying data quick and simple, wherever it resides.

  • Power BI Desktop for Windows provides deeper visual data exploration within a free-form drag-and-drop canvas and a library of powerful visualizations.

  • Author rich reports that can be exported to Power BI’s .pbix format or shared more engagingly among user groups by uploading to the Power BI service.

  • View personalized dashboards and reports from anywhere with Power BI Mobile, offering optimized apps for Windows Mobile, iOS and Google Play.

  • Stay informed of the very latest real-time update with data-driven alerting and full report sharing options while on the move.

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    Reviews

    Overall rating

    4.6 /5
    (1,673)
    Value for Money
    4.4/5
    Features
    4.5/5
    Ease of Use
    4.1/5
    Customer Support Software
    4.1/5

    Already have Microsoft Power BI?

    Software buyers need your help! Product reviews help the rest of us make great decisions.

    Showing 5 reviews of 1,673
    Andrew
    Andrew
    Overall rating
    • Industry: Computer Hardware
    • Company size: 10,000+ Employees
    • Used Weekly for 1+ year
    • Review Source

    Overall rating

    • Ease of Use
    • Customer Support Software
    • Likelihood to recommend 7.0 /10

    There are plenty of competitors, but Power BI is tops

    Reviewed on 25/08/2019

    Power BI allows me to manipulate data and present it in visually appealing and flexible formats.

    Power BI allows me to manipulate data and present it in visually appealing and flexible formats.

    Pros

    I have used Tableau and Google Data Studio - among other alternatives. Nothing has seemed to compare to the functionality that Power BI offers. Everything about the program is made with the full spectrum of analysis in mind - from the designer to the data 'wrangler' to the end consumer (ie. others within the enterprise). In this way, Power BI is extremely powerful because it can be used for so many different types of projects; the data-analysis intensive to the more visual 'data-presentation' dashboards.

    Cons

    Sharing dashboards and reports in Power BI is easy and it has a lot of options for doing so. However, the requirement that all users must have a Pro Account to view dashboards created in Pro is a bit of a hindrance in a global organization where it does not make economical sense for every employee to have a Pro account. It seems like it would be a great addition to allow limited sharing to everyone - even those without a Pro account, as most of my internal team does not have an account.

    Nida
    Overall rating
    • Industry: Oil & Energy
    • Company size: 10,000+ Employees
    • Used Daily for 2+ years
    • Review Source

    Overall rating

    • Value for Money
    • Ease of Use
    • Customer Support Software
    • Likelihood to recommend 9.0 /10

    Transforming unprocessed data into insightful visuals using power BI

    Reviewed on 23/10/2023

    It has been a very smooth transition from old reporting solutions which were limited to tabular...

    It has been a very smooth transition from old reporting solutions which were limited to tabular representation to Power BI with it's wide range of visuals which can be transformed and adapted as per the end user need

    Pros

    Easy learning curve, user friendly interface, cross platform integration and compatibility, ability to setup custom logics.

    Cons

    DAX has a steep learning curve and power can be optimised to handle large volumes of data .

    Verified Reviewer
    Overall rating
    • Industry: Management Consulting
    • Company size: 201–500 Employees
    • Used Daily for 6-12 months
    • Review Source

    Overall rating

    • Value for Money
    • Ease of Use
    • Customer Support Software
    • Likelihood to recommend 2.0 /10

    A pretty reporting tool for some (!) Microsoft Products, but pretty much useless outside of...

    Reviewed on 18/03/2017

    In light of the hype around this "Tableau destroyer" in recent months, I want to highlight some...

    In light of the hype around this "Tableau destroyer" in recent months, I want to highlight some fundamental flaws in data connectivity and reports maintenance of Power BI, which the Product Team so far has turned down as "not in scope". In practice, though, this renders Power BI pretty useless for getting dara from any 3rd party products, in the cloud in particular.

    This review reflects Power BI as of mid March 2017. I have gathered my knowledge from testing, community interaction and a dozen tickets with Power BI Pro Support. The focus lies on getting data via Web Services, much aligned with Microsoft’s «Cloud First» Strategy.

    1) Power BI Online is in the cloud, but does not allow for HTTP calls. Power BI Desktop allows for HTTP calls, but only with static authentication parameters.
    First of all, a distinction needs to be made between Power BI Online and Power BI Desktop. While Power BI Online is the "master" that ultimately allows you to share and publish your reports, user experience in design is diminished by HTML limitations (you may know from Word or Excel Online) and more importantly, data connectivity (Get Data) is limited to SQL Servers on Azure and about 20 to 30 plugins from 3rd party solutions at present. Take note that on Power BI Online, you cannot select or manage your Gateways, either.

    This brings the attention to the Power BI Desktop client. Updated every one to two months, the Desktop client brings data connectors necessary to connect to a larger number of data sources.
    With the Web connector, HTTP calls been configured, although with just static headers and parameters and Basic and Windows authentication only. Importantly, though, Power BI Desktop includes Microsoft Power Query, which you may know from Excel 2016 already. With M Scripts, you can script and customise in many ways and most interestingly, convert it into table form quickly. This is where Power Query shines. However, Power Query does not seem to call on methods for nonces and timestamps required in token based authentication (OAuth for example). (Should this be incorrect, please please let me know. I have been browsing the fora and nagging Support too long already.)
    What’s really amusing here is that Microsoft Azure uses OAuth 2.0 themselves. So, you cannot run any reporting on Microsoft’s Azure AD or Resource Manager database for example, a notorious blackbox. Back to Powershell. (Power BI does not accept Powershell feeds.)
    In short, while Power BI Online does not allow to get any data out of the web (except for those 20 to 30 plugins, mostly Microsoft Products), Power BI Desktop allows for Web calls, but only with static parameters and thus, basically with your user credentials.
    That’s a big limitation in Data Connectivity.

    2) With Power BI Online being the master, the HTTP calls cannot be scheduled or refreshed in the cloud.

    Now that you have configured your HTTP call (with risky user credentials), you want to publish your report and have it refreshed on a scheduled basis, say every day.
    Tough luck.
    While you can publish your Report to Power BI Online and subsequently a broader audience, it’s a static image of your Desktop data. You cannot schedule a data refresh in Power BI Online (because there is no Web feature anyway) and you cannot even refresh the data manually as this requires republishing the Report anew.
    You risk your management looking at outdated data whenever you forgot to republish your report and sneak the new URL into your dashboards and iframes.

    3) The On-Premises Data Gateway is pretty useless for Web Services.
    Yes, there is the On-Premises Data Gateway. Yes, you can configure Web Services in the gateway, although it’s pretty ironic to route web calls via on-premises infrastructure.
    But did you ever try it? That is, you cannot specify any HTTP headers fort he calls at all, lest writing a Power Query script. And thus, we are back at authentication via Basic and Windows only and writing REST scripts in the data source for every single HTTP call because with no Headers and Body, all parameters need to be coded in the URI.
    Will you do that?

    At the end of the day, Power BI is Microsoft's long overdue acknowledgement that Excel and some Dynamics Reports do not cut it for Reporting purposes. Indeed, for reporting on SQL Server, Dynamics 365 (if you want to afford it), and Excel and Access databases stored in your OneDrive, Microsoft Power BI does a neat job.

    However, as soon as you want to integrate with 3rd party systems or via web services in particular, Power BI presents so many limitations in authentication, Header and Body configuration, scripting, and scheduling that you need to configure an entire SQL Server environment (on Azure or On-Premises via feature poor Gateway) and write a SQL CRL interface or buy Azure Data Factory to get that data in.

    For some pretty reports, do you really want to buy and customise all that BI infrastructure on Azure?

    My advice to Microsoft: Work on Data Connectivity, especially in Power BI Online, rather than more visuals for those limited data sources. Your Microsoft clients will consider Power BI a given for the utter lack of reporting in Office 365, Azure, or Dynamics 365 (yes, pushing it there).
    My advice to Users: If the connectors are not listed, look somewhere else. (And make sure it’s your use case that is listed. Power BI announced an Azure AD connector, but rather than reporting on Users, Groups, or Enterprise Apps, you can only see on a nice map where the last logins happened.)

    Is it a Tableau destroyer? No. It’s a long overdue acknowledgement for necessary reporting with the potential of being a solid Business Intelligence solution ONCE focus comes to lie more on data.

    Pros

    pretty visuals
    Power Query
    On-premises Data Gateway
    responsible Pro Support

    Cons

    lack of data sources
    pretty useless for 3rd Party Web Sources

    Keith
    Keith
    Overall rating
    • Industry: Telecommunications
    • Company size: 10,000+ Employees
    • Used Weekly for 2+ years
    • Review Source

    Overall rating

    • Ease of Use
    • Likelihood to recommend 10.0 /10

    Transforming Data into Strategic Insights

    Reviewed on 31/01/2024

    My overall experience with Microsoft Power BI has been extremely positive. It stood out as an...

    My overall experience with Microsoft Power BI has been extremely positive. It stood out as an essential tool for transforming complex process data into clear, actionable insights.

    Pros

    The most impressive aspect of Microsoft Power BI for me was its robust data integration and visualization capabilities. It enabled me to combine various process datasets into a comprehensive reporting suite. The platform's drill-down functionality was particularly useful, allowing us to delve into detailed views from top-level opportunities down to specific process steps. This made identifying and analysing critical points for improvement and automation much more efficient.

    Cons

    One area where Power BI could improve is its initial learning curve. For new users, especially those not familiar with other Microsoft products or lacking a strong background in data analytics, getting up to speed can be somewhat challenging.

    Verified Reviewer
    Overall rating
    • Industry: Information Technology & Services
    • Company size: 11–50 Employees
    • Used Daily for 6-12 months
    • Review Source

    Overall rating

    • Value for Money
    • Ease of Use
    • Customer Support Software
    • Likelihood to recommend 9.0 /10

    Intuitive interface

    Reviewed on 18/12/2023

    Has an active community of users who share knowledge, solve problems and contribute to the...

    Has an active community of users who share knowledge, solve problems and contribute to the development of the platform.

    Pros

    Allows real time updates and integration with microsoft tools

    Cons

    Some users habe note that there ir a learning curve, especially for those who are new to the tool or have no prior data analysis experience.

    Alternatives Considered

    Google Data Studio

    Reasons for Switching to Microsoft Power BI

    Scalable and can adapt to various needs and data sizes.
    Showing 5 reviews of 1,673 Read all reviews

    Microsoft Power BI FAQs

    Below are some frequently asked questions for Microsoft Power BI.

    Microsoft Power BI offers the following pricing plans:

    • Starting from: $10.00/month
    • Pricing model: Free Version, Subscription
    • Free Trial: Not Available

    Power BI Pro: $9.99 per user, per month Power BI Premium: $20 Per user/month and $4,995 Per capacity/month

    Microsoft Power BI has the following typical customers:

    2–10, 11–50, 51–200, 201–500, 501–1,000, 1,001–5,000

    Microsoft Power BI supports the following languages:

    Arabic, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Traditional Chinese, Turkish, Ukrainian

    Microsoft Power BI supports the following devices:

    Android (Mobile)

    Microsoft Power BI integrates with the following applications:

    Microsoft 365, Microsoft Excel, QuickBooks Online, Salesforce Sales Cloud, Twilio

    Microsoft Power BI offers the following support options:

    Email/Help Desk, FAQs/Forum, Knowledge Base Software, Phone Support, 24/7 (Live rep), Chat

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