Microsoft BI Review

Valuable dashboard and automated reporting features but should have better integration with RPA and Tableau platforms


What is our primary use case?

The primary use case was mainly to create dashboards and present them for reporting purposes. We use Microsoft Power BI to create dashboards, provide insights, and use its various analytical and insight functions to send to either the departmental manager or the general manager of marketing and sales or retail ops.

How has it helped my organization?

In short, we had to create sales reports. The sales reports needed to be emailed to the different sales managers all across New Zealand. The Excel file data had to be filtered manually, whereas, in Power BI, you can set restrictions. For example, if you have North, South, East and West branches, you can set corresponding restrictions, while allowing the national sales manager to view the entire data without having to do a lot of filtering, because of the restrictions involved.

It is time-saving for the person who creates the report and also a lot of that is automated, whereas with Excel you've got to keep working on it and keep filtering it all the time.

What is most valuable?

Our most valuable features are the dashboard and the reporting feature because, before that, our organization used to only use Excel. There was a lot of manual work involved with Excel, whereas once we moved on to Microsoft Power BI, it was a cleaner dashboard and it was faster too. The end user also had an opportunity to alter the reporting as per requirements with Power BI.

What needs improvement?

I haven't experienced any issues with it right now, so I can't really advise on that part.

I think because I'm moving more into RPA, I'd definitely like to see integration across the RPA, Power BI, or Tableau platforms because that integration could then make automation and mundane reporting much faster.

You'll always require some more complex reports that the analyst could work on, but the very standard sales reports could then be automated very quickly using Power BI and RPA together.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is pretty good. I've been using other services from Microsoft and the support also has been really good so it's a very stable platform and the support services are excellent.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I've been using it for a year and it's only across my single department so I've not yet had to scale it to a very large level.

Across my department, there are two users. Across other departments at my company, there are many more. Most users are commercial or insights analysts.

Across our organization, Power BI is not extensively used, although I'm not privy to every department and their plans. I think it's being used moderately, but could be used more.

How are customer service and technical support?

In terms of Microsoft Power BI, if there was ever a query, you can find support online. There's a lot of help available but what I generally meant was I have been using Microsoft Office products through the Office 365 subscription business and the support of Microsoft Office, in general, has always been really good. They usually come back on the very same day and try and solve the problem. This is not something I've experienced with other platforms in the past.

If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?

We hadn't previously used another solution. We were just using Excel and decided to go to a much better platform.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was straightforward for me because as part of an organization, I didn't have to set it up myself. It was set up via the organization, through the IT department, so it was pretty straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

I adopted it in my team, but it was already being implemented across other parts of the company. I just brought it into my department, so I wouldn't be able to tell the time frame for the actual implementation strategy. For my team alone, it probably took me around two months or so.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The other departments in my company were using Power BI, so it would not make sense to get another solution when they already had Power BI in other parts of the organization.

What other advice do I have?

Microsoft Power BI is definitely a good product and Microsoft has a good integration of a good suite of products across the range. I think if you take UI parts recent release, for example, I'm not sure that does it with Power BI but it definitely integrates it across the Microsoft Office activities, so I think it's only a matter of time before a majority of the Microsoft Office products start integrating with UI parts. That would take analysis, reporting, and automation to the next level and we could free up time for the general reporter.

I would rate this solution as seven out of ten because it's easy to use and there is a lot of support online. I think Microsoft Office itself has a lot of support being provided. In addition, I like its features and it's growing much faster than some of the other analytical tools out there, although it started off later.

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