Microsoft BI Review

Users can access data much more easily than before, and it works with Excel

What is our primary use case?

It's primarily for reporting, and the performance has been very good.

How has it helped my organization?

Other people can access data much more easily than before. Its usability is the main advantage, people in the company are using it.

What is most valuable?

It works mostly with Excel, and it's a very good price.

What needs improvement?

The Report Server is pretty expensive on-premise. But as long companies are happy to use the cloud version, that's very cost effective.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is very good now; it was definitely really poor a year ago.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Because it's cloud-based, it's very scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't used tech support specifically for Power BI but, in general, for Office and Office 365, it has been very responsive.

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

Before, we just had a whole bunch of spreadsheets lying around all over the place. So we really needed to get things tightened up but we weren't ready to invest in a database. But with Power BI, you're able to store your data within spreadsheets and SharePoints, and then have Power BI pull the data out and report on it. So we actually saved a ton of money not needing to load the data into databases, which is a big prerequisite for many other reporting tools.

My most important criteria when selecting a vendor are usability and support.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very straightforward.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The shortlist was, obviously, Tableau because they're in everyone's face and a couple of other smaller tools.

What other advice do I have?

I rate it a nine out of 10 because it's very cost-effective, so it's very accessible in that respect, and a lot of folks do use spreadsheets so it helps ease the transition from using just spreadsheets to a more mature reporting environment.

My advice is, speak to your users because, at the end of the day, if they don't use it, you've failed, which was the case with other reporting tools.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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The above review is consistent with the findings in my organisation.
Cloud hosting is the way to go to avoid expensive on premises support costs.