Microsoft BI Review

Easy to make people understand what is going on but I would like to use SQL properly within the reports


What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is to learn what Power BI can do. We also use it to create dashboards and to see what is available for people to use. We see how it integrates with Excel. You can easily get the data into a visualization but also still have access to the underlying data.  

We use it see how we can move away from an Excel spreadsheet but still give the users the correct answers to the questions that they have. I want to move away looking and fixing issues on particular lines and be able to easily answer the questions with visualizations so users can answer the questions a lot quicker and adapt to changes easier.  

How has it helped my organization?

I was self-learning it, we don't use it in our organization. We are looking to use it though in the future. We use a different tool and want to see if we can get more questions answered with Power BI. It's linked to Office 365 and Azure, so it would help us to answer some difficult questions and help identify issues/problems so we can find solutions and adapt the model a lot quicker. Going through over 100,000 lines of data takes too long and we need to be able to group the data more to be able to identify what works better, so a pie chart or map will help to identify issues that are not working. 

What is most valuable?

The drag and drop facility to easily change the data correctly is the most valuable feature. I am happy to see visualizations. It's easier to talk about and make people understand what is going on. But I need a way to work on getting the data showing correctly and be able to drill down into a worksheet like Excel, as people like to know what the top-level information means. It's important to be open and show them what they want. The number of visualizations is great. So many different options to choose from like heat maps to pie charts.

What needs improvement?

I would like to be able to use SQL properly within the reports and allow multiple people to work on the same report at the same time. If one person is working on it, then it causes issues for anyone else wanting to make reports. We want to condense some reports, so they work for all departments, and not have a version for every single department. Also, I would like to have formulas easier to complete and create. Having its own system means something new to learn, although saying that, it's not hard to pick up this information. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Microsoft BI for six months.  

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

Microstrategy, and no, we have not swapped yet. I use both to keep on top of my own skill set. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It depends on what you are wanting to do. Get the cost of users, and the servers, and work out if you are hosting, or if it's going into the cloud. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We didn't as it's a company decision to look to change the BI system. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

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