Microsoft Power BI is a suite of business intelligence (BI), reporting, and data visualization products and services for individuals and teams. Power BI stands out with streamlined publication and distribution capabilities, as well as integration with other Microsoft products and services. But is it a good choice for your organization?
What is Microsoft Power BI?
“Power BI,” says Microsoft, “is a business analytics solution that lets you visualize your data and share insights across your organization or embed in your app or website.” The solution spans multiple products and services, and value and versatility result from the use of the individual elements and their interplay.
Power BI Service
The Power BI service is a secure cloud service hosted by Microsoft that allows users to view dashboards, reports, and Power BI apps – a type of content that combines related dashboards and reports – using a web browser or mobile apps for Windows, iOS and others can display android can display.
Power BI Desktop
Power BI Desktop is a free, self-service data analysis and reporting tool that you install on a Windows computer. It can connect to more than 70 on-premises and cloud data sources to turn information into interactive visualizations. Data scientists and developers work with Power BI Desktop to create reports and make them available to the Power BI service.
7 Reasons To Use Power BI
How do you know if Microsoft Power BI is right for your business? Here are seven reasons to choose Power BI—and one reason you might want to choose something else:
1. A quick start. With easy setup, no training required, and included dashboards for services like Salesforce, Google Analytics, and Microsoft Dynamics, you can quickly gain insights.
2. Optimized publishing and distribution. Instead of emailing large files or putting them on a shared drive, analysts upload reports and visualizations to the Power BI service and their data is refreshed when the underlying dataset is refreshed.
3. Real-time information. Dashboards update in real-time as data is transmitted or streamed, giving viewers the ability to troubleshoot issues and quickly identify opportunities. Each report or dashboard can display and update real-time data and visualizations. Sources for streaming data can be factory sensors, social media sources, or anything from which time-sensitive data can be collected or transmitted.
4. Ability to customize Power BI app navigation. An “App Navigation Experiences” feature gives report developers the ability to customize navigation so viewers can quickly find content and understand the relationships between different reports and dashboards.
5. Ability to customize security features. Report developers can set up row-level security (RLS) access filters to ensure viewers only see data relevant to them, reducing the risk of people seeing data they shouldn’t see.
6. Cortana integration. Power BI works with Microsoft’s digital assistant, Cortana. Users can ask natural language questions orally to access charts and graphs. This can be especially useful for users with mobile devices.
7. Artificial intelligence. Power BI users can access image recognition and text analysis, build machine learning models, and integrate with Azure Machine Learning.
So why should you share Power BI? Well, the online Power BI service – including Pro and Premium – is accessible through any web browser, but the Power BI Desktop application is not available for Linux or Mac operating systems. If you’re in an all-Mac environment, Microsoft Power BI Desktop might not be for you.