Microsoft BI Review

Self-service allows end-users to source information, but email-based subscription is needed

How has it helped my organization?

It cuts away the time spent to source some of this information. It saves a lot of time, and a lot of things have been automated. Things that used to take close to a week, now, in one day, we are done with it.

What is most valuable?

It's actually the self-service of Power BI, because we're on a lean structure here, the technical side. So we wanted them to push some of those things back to end-users.

What needs improvement?

For our reporting services, it would be good to have the capability for email-based subscriptions. I want to be able to change the sender dynamically, without having to rely on running through an exercise passage.

I know for a fact that SAP can do this, dynamic sending for subscriptions. Also IBM Cognos can do it. Why Microsoft refused to do that, that you have to rely on add-on to be able to do that...

Overall, it has performed to our expectation. It's okay for what we want to use it for. But because they keep changing, every now and then, there's a major shift in versions, so we are trying to catch up.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I've used the IBM suite, and I've used SAP, and Microsoft is fairly stable for me. And because there is a large community for issues that arise, for every bug that you encounter, you have a solution, just Google it, without having to go for special training like with SAS.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

From what I understand, it requires some level of expertise to even understand what it can do, how it can be used in a huge enterprise. That is not so easy for deployment. But for a medium sized organization, yes, it's scalable.

How was the initial setup?

It was straightforward. Very straightforward.

You can just go to YouTube, somebody has done it before. Because it has GUI, just click, click, click, next, next, and you're done. And YouTube helped a lot in deploying projects: SSAS Projects, SSIS projects, and SSRS projects.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

IBM Analytics. But the learning curve for IBM, that's what actually led us to pause on the implementation of the Cognos 10. Everything was pretty much difficult to do. Things that you could do in two clicks in Microsoft, you would be doing in five, ten clicks in IBM.

What other advice do I have?

When selecting a vendor, the most important criteria are affordability - because of the exchange in my country - and ease of use. 

I would rate this solution a seven out of 10, because you can actually go from the common tools that you use, from your Excel, from your SharePoint... You can pretty much do everything with it. The little things that you can't do, you can customize it to do by writing code.

I would say that, you should look away from the limitations. Focus on the positives of it, because it's cheaper to acquire than most of the big five. It's cheaper to acquire and easy to use.

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

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