Microsoft Power BI

BI visualization and reporting for desktop, web or mobile

4,5 /5 (755 reviews) Write a Review!

Microsoft Power BI Overview

What is 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.

Microsoft Power BI Overview

Pricing

Starting from
US$9,99/month

Pricing options

Free Trial
Free
Subscription
Value for money

Power BI: Free
Power BI Pro: $9.99 per user, per month


Microsoft Power BI Features

Devices
Business size
S M L
Markets
United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, China and 5 others, India, Japan, Germany, Brazil, Mexico
Supported Languages
Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Czech, Danish and 22 others, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Taiwanese, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian

Media

Microsoft Power BI Desktop shown on Thinkpad
Microsoft Power BI Executive Metrics Dashboard
Microsoft Power BI Mobile for iPad
Microsoft Power BI Query Editor
Microsoft Power BI reporting visualizations
Microsoft Power BI shown on Microsoft Surface
Power BI Desktop Welcome screen
Microsoft Power BI video Microsoft Power BI video Microsoft Power BI video Microsoft Power BI screenshot: Microsoft Power BI Desktop shown on Thinkpad Microsoft Power BI screenshot: Microsoft Power BI Executive Metrics Dashboard Microsoft Power BI screenshot: Microsoft Power BI Mobile for iPad Microsoft Power BI screenshot: Microsoft Power BI Query Editor Microsoft Power BI screenshot: Microsoft Power BI reporting visualizations Microsoft Power BI screenshot: Microsoft Power BI shown on Microsoft Surface Microsoft Power BI screenshot: Power BI Desktop Welcome screen

Microsoft Power BI Reviews

Microsoft Power BI Reviews

Overall rating
4,5
/
5
Excellent
418

Very good
289

Average
39

Poor
7

Terrible
2

Value for Money
4,4
Features
4,4
Ease of Use
4
Customer Support
4,1
94% recommended this app
Michael K.

Ugly numbers to pretty pictures

Management loves it, I love developing with it but getting certain others to adopt it can be a bit of a challenge.


Jerry A.

Very robust, though a little overwhelming

We're moving from having staff creating Excel reports or Access database reports to having Power BI do it all for us. We spend some time cleaning up the user's data, streamlining how they enter it (and where - we still use Access, some SQL, some Sharepoint), and Power BI does the rest after that. Our staff loves that they no longer have to manually create reports, and they love the way Power BI looks for them. We are enjoying it overall.


Dan S.

The best gets better

It's easily the most feature rich overall. Other products like Tableau and Qlik have their advantages, but I'm hard pressed to find much fault with Power BI, other than the premium licenses being ridiculously expensive. The word is Microsoft is addressing that issue later in 2020/2021.


Verified Reviewer

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

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.


Prabhu S.

Simple and highly customizable

1. Dax query is highly reliable when comes to slice and dice the granular level data based on time trend.
2. Embedded report and dashboard in any kind of business applications easily and it becomes part of it.


Michael K.
Industry: Tobacco
Company size: 501-1 000 Employees

Ugly numbers to pretty pictures

Used Weekly for 1+ year
Reviewed on 2020/06/13
Review Source: Capterra

Management loves it, I love developing with it but getting certain others to adopt it can be a bit of a challenge.

Pros

As the title says, it turns ugly numbers into pretty pictures. It is easy enough for a non-developer to use and turn a mess of data into an intelligent and understandable story.

Cons

It literally changes every three months. You just get used to it and with the next update a lot has changed. I don't really see this as a con though because this is more like a Christmas present waiting to see what they will have made better this go around.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend: 10.0/10

Jerry A.
Industry: Nonprofit Organization Management
Company size: 201-500 Employees

Very robust, though a little overwhelming

Used Daily for 1+ year
Reviewed on 2019/12/10
Review Source: Capterra

We're moving from having staff creating Excel reports or Access database reports to having Power BI do it all for us. We spend some time cleaning up the user's data, streamlining how they enter it (and where - we still use Access, some SQL, some Sharepoint), and Power BI does the rest after that. Our staff loves that they no longer have to manually create reports, and they love the way Power BI looks for them. We are enjoying it overall.

Pros

The dashboard creation is amazing. Give it a data source, design how you want to see your data, and it shows it to you. I enjoy creating dashboards for our different departments. And once our staff sees the reports and dashboards they get from this, vs how they used to get it in an Excel spreadsheet or an Access Report, they are hooked.

Cons

Overwhelming in the back end. Sometimes you just cannot get the data to display the way you want. There are so many options, features, methods. It gets overwhelming. My biggest gripe is that the back end is not as user friendly as other programs. And, comparing it to something that one of my users would create in Excel, it's difficult for me to get the exact data reported that they want. I have to figure out how to display it, and because the Power Bi is just so robust, it's a little overwhelming in that respect.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use

Likelihood to recommend: 9.0/10

Dan S.
Industry: Human Resources
Company size: 11-50 Employees

The best gets better

Used Daily for 1+ year
Reviewed on 2020/10/06
Review Source: Capterra

It's easily the most feature rich overall. Other products like Tableau and Qlik have their advantages, but I'm hard pressed to find much fault with Power BI, other than the premium licenses being ridiculously expensive. The word is Microsoft is addressing that issue later in 2020/2021.

Pros

The features and ease of creating visualizations are top notch. Also integration with all other Microsoft products as well as pre-built connectors to many of the most popular software is hard to beat.

Cons

There are many features not available unless you pay for expensive premium capacity.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend: 9.0/10

Verified Reviewer
Industry: Management Consulting
Company size: 201-500 Employees

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

Used Daily for 6-12 months
Reviewed on 2017/03/18
Review Source: GetApp

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

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend: 2.0/10

Prabhu S.
Industry: Information Technology & Services
Company size: 10 000+ Employees

Simple and highly customizable

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2020/08/08
Review Source: Capterra

1. Dax query is highly reliable when comes to slice and dice the granular level data based on time trend.
2. Embedded report and dashboard in any kind of business applications easily and it becomes part of it.

Pros

1. Free desktop tool for development(Power BI Desktop) and simple installation process.
2. Almost, we can connect many source to fetch the data. Ex csv,web,excel,sql,odbc etc..,
3. Specialized ETL(Extract,transform,load) to clean the raw unstructured data into structured data with help of Power Query.
4. Powerful DAX query to customized measure and calculated column to get desirable business metrics and KPIs.
5. Top standard visuals, Custom visuals(visual market) and also we can create our own visuals using reactjs.
6. Publish in cloud(azure) to view report anywhere in the world with help Power BI service.
7. High availability and low latency to view report and dashboard with help of xVelocity engine.
8. Anyone can easily create basic charts with structured data.

Cons

1. Power BI Desktop consumes a huge amount of resource in system.
2. Service monitoring increases for larger report consumers.
3. While dealing with an enormous volume of data, constant optimization takes place.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend: 9.0/10

User recommendation
8,4/10
Based on 755 user ratings
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Microsoft Power BI Pricing

Microsoft Power BI Pricing

Starting from
US$9,99/month
Free Trial
Free
Subscription
Value for money

Power BI: Free
Power BI Pro: $9.99 per user, per month

Power BI: Free
Power BI Pro: $9.99 per user, per month

Value for Money
4,4/5
Based on 755 user ratings
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Microsoft Power BI Features

Microsoft Power BI Features

API
Activity Dashboard
Ad hoc Reporting
Business Intelligence
Charting
Collaboration Tools
Customizable Reporting
Dashboard Creation
Data Filtering
Data Import/Export
Data Visualization
Monitoring
Multiple Data Sources
Predictive Analytics
Real Time Analytics
Real Time Data
Reporting & Statistics
Third Party Integration
Trend Analysis
Visual Analytics
Features
4,4/5
Based on 755 user ratings
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Categories

Additional information for Microsoft Power BI

Additional information for Microsoft Power BI

Key features of Microsoft Power BI

  • Author rich interactive reports with Power BI Desktop
  • Connect, access and unify data across sources
  • Create live, real-time data metric dashboards
  • Explore up-to-date analytics from real-time BI data
  • Full suite of BI tools for data visualization and reporting
  • Query data using natural language questioning
  • Receive data-driven alerts for mobile insights
  • Share live reports and dashboards
  • Share reports among colleagues & users via Power BI Service
  • Transform company data into rich visuals
  • View rich graphical visualizations from complex BI data

Benefits

  • 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.
  • Microsoft Power BI FAQs

    Microsoft Power BI FAQs

    Below are some frequently asked questions for Microsoft Power BI.

    Q. What type of pricing plans does Microsoft Power BI offer?

    Microsoft Power BI offers the following pricing plans:

    Starting from: US$9,99/month

    Pricing model: Free, Subscription

    Free Trial: Not Available

    Power BI: Free Power BI Pro: $9.99 per user, per month

    Q. What are the main features of Microsoft Power BI?

    Microsoft Power BI offers the following features:

    • Author rich interactive reports with Power BI Desktop
    • Connect, access and unify data across sources
    • Create live, real-time data metric dashboards
    • Explore up-to-date analytics from real-time BI data
    • Full suite of BI tools for data visualization and reporting
    • Query data using natural language questioning
    • Receive data-driven alerts for mobile insights
    • Share live reports and dashboards
    • Share reports among colleagues & users via Power BI Service
    • Transform company data into rich visuals
    • View rich graphical visualizations from complex BI data

    Q. Who are the typical users of Microsoft Power BI?

    Microsoft Power BI has the following typical customers:

    Large Enterprises, Mid Size Business

    Q. What languages does Microsoft Power BI support?

    Microsoft Power BI supports the following languages:

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

    Q. What type of pricing plans does Microsoft Power BI offer?

    Microsoft Power BI has the following pricing plans:

    Free, Subscription

    Q. Does Microsoft Power BI support mobile devices?

    Microsoft Power BI supports the following devices:

    Android, iPhone, iPad

    Q. What other apps does Microsoft Power BI integrate with?

    Microsoft Power BI integrates with the following applications:

    Insightly, JustFoodERP, Meisterplan, Microsoft Project, Microsoft Teams, OneSoft Connect, Pro-Sapien, Projectplace, Smartsheet, Tagetik

    Q. What level of support does Microsoft Power BI offer?

    Microsoft Power BI offers the following support options:

    Online Support, FAQs, Knowledge Base, Forum, Video Tutorials