Microsoft BI Review

We have the ability to connect separate services like CRM, NAV, Facebook, Exchange, etc. and make data integration and transformation based on these data connections in a few clicks.

What is most valuable?

Firstly there was the wow effect, as when I saw the number of connectors which were made for this product/service. It is quite fantastic to have the ability to connect separate services like CRM, NAV, Facebook, Exchange etc. and make data integration and transformation based on these data connections in a few clicks. Also, the ability to download new visuals is quite nice. The effect of new graphics for higher management is magical and this is the good way not only for a pre-sale/sale or up-sale, but also for good impressions. Another great feature is, for example, the collecting of data in concrete folder on disk. If there is, for example, 100 csv files from other information systems, these should be automatically merged, analyzed and transformed into great graphical report.

How has it helped my organization?

Because the product is based the ability to quickly produce BI insights and reports, it’s really useful on a daily basis. Another improvement is definitely the possibility of browsing the dashboards on smartphone using an app, and another is the ability to quickly produce reports.

What needs improvement?

Well definitely the connectors, which is always a huge space for improvement in configurations, especially the amount of connectors etc. Also, the graphic designs of the reports needs work as they are still really strictly defined, and with the amount of output, there isn’t space for such a design realization. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used this solution since it was released (a few years ago) and I am using it on a daily basis at work and at university where I work as a researcher and am a PhD student. I use it on mobile, laptop and tablet as well. Also, it has its own app for viewing the reports and dashboards, own app for creating and editing.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

There have been no issues with the deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There was no issue with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have been able to scale it for our needs.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Personally, I used Excel Services/Visio Services.

How was the initial setup?

Really straightforward. The most complex part is defining the data gateways between the cloud part and the on premises part of the infrastructure. Another bigger task is to define security model of all the datasets and reports with correct audience, data refresh etc.

What was our ROI?

It's too soon to calculate. I think, that for the correct ROI value, you need to have it in place for more than three years. But, it saves a lot of time and not only developers time, but also management time etc. Things are easier when there are functionalities like “quick insight” for auto-creating of data based on machine learning algorithms, or Q&A for using natural query language. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I played with Tableau. I see many similarities in Power BI to other products, so there is no reason to combine many different vendors/third parties to build such a complex BI solution.

What other advice do I have?

It's a tool for a new kind of business intelligence from Microsoft. Tool for quick modeling of data structures and for visualizing almost everything you have in mind at the moment. There is still a lot of room for improvement and there is also a huge space for new functionalities. But it’s a simple and great tool for everyday use. 

You should get it and implement it. However, you should get a trial version, and contact a partner who can provide some sales presentation with the live session (CIE for example) and show, what the possibilities are of Power BI.

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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