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ITCS user
Manager, BI & Analytics at a consultancy with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
User-friendly, offers a flexible measure creation capability, scalable to large datasets, and has good community support

Pros and Cons

  • "Two valuable most features are the ability to create columns and create measures."
  • "In my opinion, the software is a little bit limited in terms of the flexibility it offers, with regard to the design of the visualization."

What is our primary use case?

I am currently a management consultant and, before my current employment, I was a management consultant as well. I also had a stint with an online retailer in India. My usage with Power BI has been in the area of practical day-to-day operations, web host operations, and equipment status monitoring.

What is most valuable?

Two valuable most features are the ability to create columns and create measures.

The create measures feature offers you a little bit more flexibility. You can define what kind of measure you need using a formula, and the way Power BI works is very similar to Excel. In fact, most of the functions that you use in Excel are present in Power BI as well. When you create measures or columns, you just write the formula as you would in Excel, which will allow you to visualize that data in the way that you want.

What needs improvement?

In my opinion, the software is a little bit limited in terms of the flexibility it offers, with regard to the design of the visualization. By comparison, if you look at some other visualization tools, such as Tableau, for instance, the range of designs, or the range of graphics that you can create with Tableau is far greater than what you can do with Power BI. 

Of course, they do provide an option to download templates and use them, but every time, you have to go to the Power BI store, search for those templates, download them and then use them. I think it's a growing universe of visualizers that they have, so probably, they are also working on the same thing. I believe, in terms of the designs of the visualizations that the tool can create, there is some room for improvement.

One more aspect that needs improvement is the formatting of visualizations that we create. Formatting in this context is the colors or the font style or font sizes. The formatting options, I believe, could be made a bit more user-friendly than the way things are right now. It's a little hard to figure out where to go and how to change the formatting of a particular chart or graph. So, I think the formatting options could be made a little bit more user-friendly.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Power BI for more than three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Microsoft BI is definitely stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This product is scalable and in fact, I have worked on it with fairly large datasets. It also gives you the option of publishing onto a server. When the dashboard/report is published to the Power BI server, we get a link that can be shared with others in the organization. At the enterprise level, it is possible to give access to a list of users who will have a need to look at the report frequently. These users can just click on the link and view the report whenever they want to. It is also possible for them to use filters and interact with the report.

How are customer service and technical support?

I am fairly comfortable with the tool and to this point, I really haven't felt the need to reach out to Microsoft with regard to the specific features of the tool. In case I do need some help on a particular feature, what I usually do is Google what I am trying to find and I get some links to the Microsoft community, or something similar, which answers my question.

To that extent, it has been very convenient to find help in whatever we are required to do with the software. The simple things are taken care of automatically. In case there is some trouble with the visualizations, you can always find help or assistance on the Microsoft community pages.

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

I have also worked with Tableau and I think that each of these tools has its advantages.

I believe the cost of the software plays a deciding factor in a company's decision to implement either of the two. While each product has its pros and cons, if you're looking for something that's more value for money, then I think Power BI is the better choice.

On the other hand, if you are willing to choose an expensive option that gives you a lot more flexibility, then I think that Tableau would be a better choice.

It ultimately depends on what you are going to use it for. If you're using it for a variety of visualizations that you want to create, Tableau will be a better choice. On the other hand, if people have budget constraints then Power BI will provide a good value for the money.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward. You just download the software from their website, install it, and sign in.

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

This product offers good value for the money.

What other advice do I have?

In a nutshell, I recommend this product and I would suggest implementing it. It has a very good range of features that it offers. For organizations starting on their business intelligence journey, I believe Power BI is a very good tool to start with. It's very user-friendly and it provides a graphical user interface where users can just drag and drop their required fields into particular templates of visualizations. It means that you get the charts quickly. There's no complex learning curve involved. From that perspective, I would say that it's definitely worth a try.

My biggest complaint is that it's a bit limited right now, in terms of the choice of visualizations it offers.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
AA
Solution Architect
Real User
Top 10
Provides great container data flow and status related paginated reports

Pros and Cons

  • "Provides good data flow related to the container and control flow."
  • "There are some connector-related issues in their MSBA solution."

What is our primary use case?

One of our primary use cases is to build an MSBA-based business intelligence solution for  collection agents, so that they can receive daily information relating to bills in the form of ledgers. I've built several packages to import the data from where it has been dumped. I then created the data mask for data analysis to showcase all the outputs and conclusions. As a result, there is a clear breakdown of total collections, the different parameters, customer-based information, and other essential information. We are partners of Microsoft BI and I'm a solutions architect.

How has it helped my organization?

The solution has helped increase the client's total sales revenue for their collection agent. It's basically MSBA, plus an AIML kind of solution and it helps the client to increase the overall efficiency of their collection agents, increasing total revenue for the company. 

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the data flow related to the container and the control flow. Microsoft has recently introduced paginated reports in the status part. These are web-based and also mobile-based, depending upon the layout of the report. It can be easily printed in Word format as well as in layout format, regardless of size. 

What needs improvement?

There are some connector-related issues in their MSBA solution and there are certain features that Microsoft should include in the MSBA solution. One is the connective level problem that we currently face from the different data sources. It provides about 80% connectivity to all the data sources, but there is the remaining 20%. They could provide some kind of additional functionality which would make it a great solution. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for about 18 months. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is pretty stable in its current form, and we are working on the same platform to optimize and incorporate everything. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This solution is fully configurable and totally scalable. We are currently expanding the solution to include the area collections managers, the territory collection managers, and the regional collection managers. There are currently close to 3,000 users who are field collection agents. There is a maintenance cost but it's pretty low because it's an on-premise solution, so there is no cost attached to the server-based maintenance. Our support team is responsible for maintenance.

The solution is currently used throughout the company although there are geographical restrictions. They plan to extend usage to a pan-country level. It will take some time to implement but we are at the end stages of deployment on the pan-country level. Once completed, we expect there will be around 15,000 users. 

How are customer service and technical support?

We provide technical support as required by our clients. Urgent issues can be resolved within two or three hours. 

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

Microsoft BI is similar to Talent and Pentaho BI but Microsoft is more competitive and flexible over the other BI solutions. We can cover up or build our end-to-end solution from scratch and that includes reporting and we don't need to go to any kind of a visualization tool for that.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was complex because the data vault was not totally structured and we needed to create some kind of a data lake, dump the data, then analyze it and create the data mask. We require certain validations and checks before importing or exporting the data as well as the application of the cubes to SSRS before reporting services. Deployment time can be dependent on the server and we have designed the system to optimize the process. We have a deployment team which can include two to three developers. Deployment takes about 10 minutes. The client decides on the deployment plan because they have applications that hang on the production server and don't want deployment to hamper other applications. 

What was our ROI?

Microsoft BI is provided as a BI solution to incorporate or implement all data in a single platform. It enables you to build a data mart for your company and analyze it on a single platform. Even data analysis techniques can be carried out on this platform, and output of data can be visualized from the SSRS reporting tool. In this solution, the ROI is quite high because collection has increased up to 25% in one month compared to the same month last year.

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

We have used a client-based service in the pricing. As yet, there are no additional costs. 

What other advice do I have?

For anyone interested in building a BI solution from scratch, it's important to be aware that the data is not taken at a single platform. I believe that Microsoft BI is the best platform for this because it gives the flexibility to store the data into an SQL Server from different sources, and the ability to first dump your data into those servers. The analysis and reporting is in the same platform. Power BI has a much greater range than SSRS. Microsoft BI is a tool that gives it to you on a single platform, and you can build an end-to-end BI solution. This is not possible in Power BI. 

This solution gives me the total flexibility to use my skill set, in the technical forms and in the analysis form, in one go. I can do several things on a single platform regarding the data science, as well as the data analysis, pulling information, analyzing data, transforming data, creating data lakes, data warehouse, and data masks, all in a single platform. 

I rate this solution a nine out of 10. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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Learn what your peers think about Microsoft BI. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: October 2021.
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RP
VP Cloud Platform
Real User
Intuitive with great visuals and good scalability capabilities

Pros and Cons

  • "Technical support has been great."
  • "Most clients have MacBooks. Therefore, they use Tableau as Power BI Desktop is not available for the MacBook right now."

What is our primary use case?

We have a startup focused on analytics around sports and athletes' performance. The data sits in our platform called Hercules, which is exposed through an ODBC connector or API layer. We're currently building a connector to expose that data in a consumable way, inside Power BI (with one connector for Tableau as well). 

What is most valuable?

I love the fact that it's got a very intuitive user interface. 

I like the fact that you can create aggregations and view measures and metrics on the fly. 

I like the visuals themselves as all of our customers are moving away from Excel and this gives them a very unique way to have their data represented in a more visual manner with active slicing and dicing data right there, with the time dimensions and different dimensions. 

I also like the automatic refresh mechanism that it can do. You can have the data refresh automatically every 30 minutes, for example.

The initial setup is pretty simple. 

The stability has been pretty good.

The solution can scale.

Technical support has been great.

What needs improvement?

Most clients have MacBooks. Therefore, they use Tableau as Power BI Desktop is not available for the MacBook right now.

When you're building, the documentation sucks. It's a painful experience to find out how to do things inside the connector framework. 

I don't like the fact that they need to have a premium excuse to manage larger sets of data. On top of that, there are limitations in building a custom connector. If you want to build a custom connector for your customers, the navigation is flawed. For example, when I build a custom connector to talk to Power BI and report, I want some contextual data of the report, and I want to have what we call incremental refresh. However, incremental refresh right now is only supported in a SQL-based backend. It's not supported for API-based connectors. That's something that we really, really want. We only try to work around it.

Basically, I would love to see that incremental refresh with API-based connectors. I'd also want the report-based contextual information available inside the connector.

The licensing is very confusing.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution since about 2014. I've used it for many years at this point.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We've found the stability to be fine so far. there are no bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's easy to scale if you have the premium model. We just started exploring that right now.

The clients we have that use it are medium-sized businesses. These are basically soccer clubs or sports clubs, who are internally using it. however, we want to give it to a larger audience. We haven't gone there yet, though likely we will in the future.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support has been awesome. they are helpful and responsive and we are more than satisfied with the level of service we receive from them.

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

I also use Tableau. I've used Power BI to a larger extent than Tableau, however, we have a startup in which we have an audience on BI and we are doing research to see how many of them are on Tableau versus Power BI.

We didn't previously use a different solution. We started with Power BI because that was one of our device partner's tools of choice. However, we are trying to support Tableau and Power BI now.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was pretty straightforward. I mean the setup for the Power BI Desktop. The download is pretty straightforward. Once you get to do more complex things with it, using the gateway and things like that, then it gets a little complex. On top of that, the documentation is difficult. It's there, however, it's difficult to find.

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

The licensing is a little convoluted, and not easy to take advantage of. You're able to scale it in the premium model. However, they are very different versions. There's a difficulty in understanding which one of them applies to you and what the costs would be eventually, and what the performance and thresholds are for each one. The documentation might be there, however, for a small company, in order to find out all the aspects of licensing it's not that easy.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We've also evaluated Tableau and we use both right now.

What other advice do I have?

We are in the startup program for Microsoft.

I'm on the latest version of the solution. I cannot speak to the exact version number.

It's deployed on the cloud for automatic refreshment service and it's got a gateway on-prem.

It's a very good tool to quickly get started and it does scale, however, as you get into the larger deployments and at a larger scale, it's better to involve a Power BI expert or a partner to help you get there.

I'd rate the solution at an eight out of ten. There's room for improvement from the setup and scale perspective.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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MS
Program Director Education Technology & Data Services at a government with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
It's good for training and teaching, handles Excel data well

Pros and Cons

  • "I like the fact that Power BI lets me use Excel data. At least 90% of my state data is in Excel spreadsheets. Having the ability to just attach a spreadsheet as a data source is very, very important. It's also good for training and teaching. Sometimes you don't always have access to a live production database, so having a spreadsheet with sample data is always nice."
  • "The Microsoft BI interface should be simpler and more user-friendly. I find it very difficult to move between their data sources and their analytics section."

What is our primary use case?

I would describe myself as more of a casual user, only because I have so many other things that I have to get done. I wish I could be more of a user, but it's hard. Right now, I have two different main use cases. I use it for teaching. At another institution, I use it for demonstrating how easy it is to build dashboards. It was really to show to all my users the benefit of business analytics. I use it to demonstrate how easy it is to generate your own analytics versus having a department run reports for you then putting it in Excel and making graphs. 

What is most valuable?

I like the fact that Power BI lets me use Excel data. At least 90% of my state data is in Excel spreadsheets. Having the ability to just attach a spreadsheet as a data source is very, very important. It's also good for training and teaching. Sometimes you don't always have access to a live production database, so having a spreadsheet with sample data is always nice.

What needs improvement?

The Microsoft BI interface should be simpler and more user-friendly. I find it very difficult to move between their data sources and their analytics section. It's probably designed by data analysts that typically get the data from somewhere else. So, one person logs into Power BI, moves the data around and puts it in the proper form then somebody else goes in from the dashboard. What I'm finding more and more is that the person playing with the data is also going to be the person building the dashboard, so the interface needs to be more seamless and dumbed down for the average user. 

Tableau is much better at that, which is probably why it's more expensive. The days where one person works on the data and someone else does the analytics are coming to an end. In the past, larger organizations usually had a dedicated analytics team and a dedicated data team. Now we buy data as a service, so we got rid of our data team and we don't have analysts per se. Instead, we have smart users. So I think Microsoft BI needs to move on to the next iteration of truly user-friendly solutions.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using Microsoft BI for about three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Microsoft BI has never crashed on me.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I honestly can't comment on how scalable Microsoft BI is because I've never taken it beyond training or simple use. But I would imagine, if it's on Azure, that it's scalable. I haven't had the pleasure of scaling it, so I don't know, but it doesn't strike me as a solution that would have problems with scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not had to contact technical support, but I've actually downloaded and taken three Power BI courses for free and they're very good.

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

I was using Tableau but the licensing cost went up when Salesforce required them to raise the price. But if the price hadn't changed, I would've absolutely stuck with Tableau because I like it. I do not know about the cost of the licenses. We buy it from the state and when it went up, our CIO at the time said no more Tableau licenses. I had to scramble to find a replacement, and fortunately, I discovered that Power BI is included in Microsoft 365. However, I prefer Tableau's interface. Microsoft BI's user interface is convoluted in terms of how you attach a data source. You have a separate screen for defining your data and then you have to jump to a different screen to model the results. In other words, there are two separate interfaces for data and analytics. In Tableau, it's more seamless. 

How was the initial setup?

Setup is very easy. You click on the icon, download the MSI, and it loads itself. It takes about a couple of hours to deploy overall.

What other advice do I have?

I'd rate Microsoft BI as an eight out of 10. The biggest drawback is the user interface. From what I'm seeing, Windows 11 is going to have a more user-friendly interface. Even Microsoft Edge is adopting a more user-friendly interface. I'm hoping that Power BI follows this trend as well. 

My advice for anyone who is thinking about adopting Microsoft BI is to understand what you're trying to do with it. If you're trying to do analytics with it, then it depends on the kind of analytics. If you're want to do statistical analytics, it's not the tool for you. It's a tool that's better suited for visual analytics than it is for straight-up analytics. If you're dealing with patterns and data, it's great. If you're working with numbers and data, it's not so good. You're better off with a statistical package.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid 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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Jose Dante Cruz Castillo
Director Comercial at Grupo Consultores
Real User
Top 10
A robust, scalable, and easy-to-deploy solution that helps in constant collaboration and has a lot of online resources

Pros and Cons

  • "Constant collaboration is the most valuable. I can build a dashboard, and several co-workers can access this dashboard. We can share information that is important for decision-making. It is a very easy-to-deploy solution. It is compatible with a lot of data sources. It is also very stable and scalable. There is also a very good forum and a lot of help and online training."
  • "I would like them to provide a license that just allows us to see dashboards. What I don't like about this solution is that in order to just watch a dashboard, you need a license. Currently, you need to purchase a full license of Power BI Pro just to see something, which is not attractive. If you have a license, you can see a shared dashboard, but you can also build a dashboard or you can collaborate with other people. However, if you only want to see a dashboard, there is no license for that. I only want to see the dashboard, and I don't want to do anything more than watching the information on the dashboard. There is no license that allows you to see a shared dashboard. This is one of the areas of opportunity because I would like a lot of people to be able to see a shared dashboard, not to interact with it or to collaborate online with it. I would like to see more compatibility with non-Microsoft data sources. Given the fact that everything is related to Microsoft Azure and all services available on Microsoft Azure, I see that they're building more connections to Microsoft Azure services instead of other non-Microsoft services. I understand the strategy, but it would be good to have more compatibility with non-Microsoft data sources."

What is our primary use case?

I use Microsoft Power BI for analytics. It is an online service for business intelligence. I use it to analyze every piece of data that I have. My key performance indicators are on Power BI. My sales indicators, such as number of clients, number of sales and region, type of client, type of solution, due to date comparison, and due to year comparison, are really based on the sales of the company. I am using Power BI Pro.

What is most valuable?

Constant collaboration is the most valuable. I can build a dashboard, and several co-workers can access this dashboard. We can share information that is important for decision-making.

It is a very easy-to-deploy solution. It is compatible with a lot of data sources. It is also very stable and scalable. There is also a very good forum and a lot of help and online training.

What needs improvement?

I would like them to provide a license that just allows us to see dashboards. What I don't like about this solution is that in order to just watch a dashboard, you need a license. Currently, you need to purchase a full license of Power BI Pro just to see something, which is not attractive. If you have a license, you can see a shared dashboard, but you can also build a dashboard or you can collaborate with other people. However, if you only want to see a dashboard, there is no license for that. I only want to see the dashboard, and I don't want to do anything more than watching the information on the dashboard. There is no license that allows you to see a shared dashboard. This is one of the areas of opportunity because I would like a lot of people to be able to see a shared dashboard, not to interact with it or to collaborate online with it. 

I would like to see more compatibility with non-Microsoft data sources. Given the fact that everything is related to Microsoft Azure and all services available on Microsoft Azure, I see that they're building more connections to Microsoft Azure services instead of other non-Microsoft services. I understand the strategy, but it would be good to have more compatibility with non-Microsoft data sources.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is a very robust and stable solution. We are a company that works with enterprise solutions from SAP and Microsoft. We have worked with companies that have 5,000 users and without a problem. So, it is very robust and stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Being a cloud solution, it is very scalable. You can easily scale it based on the usage. If you're using it, you pay for it, and if you're not using it, you stop paying for it.

In our company, Power BI being used by maybe 15 people out of 70. It is a growing solution. Three years ago, we had only five people who were working with Power BI. Now, we are building more and more dashboards for our service desk area, and its usage is growing.

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't contacted them. We report everything to our own Service Desk, and they are the ones who scale the problem to the manufacturer. This means that every time that we have important issues, they have to be solved in a very decent period of time by the manufacturer. There is a very good response time, and every time we had problems, they were solved. We didn't have anything pending.

How was the initial setup?

Given the fact that it is on the cloud, it is really easy to deploy. It is only about connecting the engine to your data source and start building the dashboards. You can just connect your data. It doesn't matter if it is on-premises or as a service. You can just connect it.

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

It is based on the usage. If you're using it, you pay for it, and if you're not using it, you stop paying for it.

What other advice do I have?

If your data source is a Microsoft-based data source, this is the best choice. If you have a data source that is not Microsoft-based and is on a non-Microsoft platform, such as MongoDB or Unix, you should see some solutions like MicroStrategy or Qlik. If you have a pure 100% Microsoft-based data source, Microsoft Power BI is the answer. You can do wonders with Microsoft Power BI. It is a very cool solution.

I would rate Microsoft Power BI a nine out of ten.

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: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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Santosh Kurakula
Group DWH and BI Senior Manager at Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Scalable, easy to learn, and integrates well with the entire Microsoft Office Suite

Pros and Cons

  • "The initial setup is straightforward."
  • "Maybe they can enhance the UI a bit. Right now, it's very basic, I would say, compared to the MicroStrategy or Qlik."

What is our primary use case?

I mainly use it for sales analysis. We are in the telecom industry, so on a daily basis, we see a couple of trends in the number of activations of customers and registration, the performance of the dealer, and items like that.

What is most valuable?

Its integration with the Microsoft Office Suite is great. I can easily connect it to any of the Excel or any CSV files, and I can immediately create a dashboard. 

It's like the higher level of pivot tables. For the people who mainly use Excel, this is like an advanced version. This is much more flexible and I don't have to train people to use it, as it's very user-friendly compared to Qlik. Qlik needs some expertise and a layman cannot immediately go to Qlik and do stuff unless he understands it. When it comes to Power BI it's a five minutes tutorial, he can definitely understand what needs to be done.

The solution is stable and scalable. So far I don't have any issues, however, it depends on the amount of data we use. I'm just running it on my PC.

The initial setup is straightforward. 

The solution is free as it's bundled with Office 365.

What needs improvement?

Maybe they can enhance the UI a bit. Right now, it's very basic, I would say, compared to the MicroStrategy or Qlik. 

They could also improve the mobile experience. If people are using this mobile app for BI, they need better performance there. The rendering of the objects, for example, if you create the dashboard on Power BI when someone sees that on the app, it comes in a different format. They can do some enhancements there to standardize it.

Once we expand it as a centralized repository, if I could find much more use cases, that would be ideal. However, now it's very limited in our organization.

For how long have I used the solution?

We don't use the solution filly and don't yet have a license for it. That said, I've had the chance to work with it for more than a year now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is stable. There are no bugs or glitches and we don't have any trouble with it crashing or freezing. It's reliable and the performance is good. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

My understanding is that the solution is scalable. 

I can easily load a billion rows in less than two or three minutes and play around with it. However, I haven't tested on big data files or anything like that.

Right now, we don't have too many users. It's just three to four people as of now, as our primary BI tool is still Qlik Sense. It's only for ad hoc use cases we use Power BI, and just myself and a couple of team members, as well as the BI specialist, that access it.

How are customer service and technical support?

I've never reached out to technical support in the past. If I run into issues, I tend to Google solutions to find answers to my questions. YouTube is also a good resource if you need information.

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

We currently use Qlik Sense as our BI product.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not complex or difficult. It's simple and straightforward. 

It took, 10 to 15 minutes, if I remember correctly, to set everything up. It's just a .exe file installing. It's not hard and it's pretty fast.

What about the implementation team?

We did not need a consultant or an integrator to handle the implementation. I just played around a bit with it.

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

We don't have a license on Power BI, so we don't publish anything. It's mainly for some ad hoc use cases that we use Power BI format.

Power BI is free; it comes with Office 365.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I've currently looked at MicroStrategy and am in the process of comparing a few other products.

What other advice do I have?

We are just a customer and an end-user.

We are using Power BI, however, not to the full scale. It's still unlicensed as of now, and I'm using desktop versions only.

I don't remember the version, as it comes with Office 365. I didn't give a thought to the version.

From my experience with the desktop version, I'd rate the solution at a nine out of ten.

From my experience, I'd recommend the solution to others. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Alberto Geminiani
Technical Director at Progetti e Soluzioni
Real User
Top 5
Intuitive, stable, customizable, and has a lot of powerful functions

Pros and Cons

  • "It is stable enough. It has a lot of powerful functions. It can also be customized with the DAX language. It is also intuitive enough and incremental. You can start with something simple, and then step-by-step, you can increase the reports and dashboards according to your needs."
  • "When you go to the cloud, its licensing is not intuitive. It is a little bit complex. When you have to purchase a new license, it is difficult to understand on their website what exactly you need to pay and how you can group. It is something that is applicable to all Microsoft products. They're not always so simple and clear when it comes to licensing. Their support can also be better in terms of explaining how they resolved an issue and what steps they took to resolve it. They are able to resolve the issue, but they can be better at explaining the approach they took to resolve the issue. It could have something in the direction of machine learning. It can have some kind of integration with machine learning where you can ask for some reports with natural language."

What is our primary use case?

We are using it for analyzing transactions. In the products that we develop and supply to our customers, there are some applications that are connected to payments. We analyze the trend of transactions or payments that are done in our system by our clients. We want to understand how our clients are using our solution and if there are some conditions that are making them use our product more than others. We also analyze who is paying and how much, and how and at what time are they using our system.

What is most valuable?

It is stable enough. It has a lot of powerful functions. It can also be customized with the DAX language. 

It is also intuitive enough and incremental. You can start with something simple, and then step-by-step, you can increase the reports and dashboards according to your needs. 

What needs improvement?

When you go to the cloud, its licensing is not intuitive. It is a little bit complex. When you have to purchase a new license, it is difficult to understand on their website what exactly you need to pay and how you can group. It is something that is applicable to all Microsoft products. They're not always so simple and clear when it comes to licensing.

Their support can also be better in terms of explaining how they resolved an issue and what steps they took to resolve it. They are able to resolve the issue, but they can be better at explaining the approach they took to resolve the issue.

It could have something in the direction of machine learning. It can have some kind of integration with machine learning where you can ask for some reports with natural language.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable enough.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is easy to make it grow as a product. Our organization is not big. We have a total of 10 to 15 people who access this solution. We will continue to use it for sure. 

In general, we are producing applications that we sell to our clients in a SaaS model. All data of our clients is inside our database. The clients have to manage the service. All this data that they are loading in our server can have interesting information for them. So, we are using it to understand our clients and the behavior of the user.

How are customer service and technical support?

We had to use some support for licensing. They were fast enough, but sometimes, they were not very clear. We had a few calls with them. In the end, they solved the problem, but they didn't have a very clear approach. It was more of a communication problem. Their support can be better in terms of explaining how they resolved an issue and what steps they took to resolve it. 

How was the initial setup?

Its installation is easy on the cloud as well as on the desktop. You can also easily move and publish from desktop to the cloud. We had issues with licensing, but after you have received licenses, it is easy. 

It is also good how the data that is being collected on some servers for different data centers is automatically synchronized. It is easy enough to do automatic scaling or collect the data from the source and the publisher.

What about the implementation team?

We did it ourselves. At the moment, we are not using a consultant. It is intuitive enough for our use, and there is one type of analysis and one type of role. However, in the future, we might require a consultant for customizing the dashboard and the reports and splitting the data according to different roles. We would require analysis of different roles based on different sets of data. For machine learning, we'll surely require a consultant.

For its deployment and maintenance, we have three or four people for each specific competency. Some of them are more experienced in the data that has to be collected, and some of them are experienced in how data can be collected from the in-house server. There are also some people who are more competent in the business domain.

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

We pay for users who are publishing on the cloud. The desktop version is free.

Its licensing is on a yearly basis.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend this solution. It has many features that are good. It mostly needs improved licensing. 

I would rate Power BI a nine out of ten. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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BN
Compensation Coordinator at a computer software company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
The easiest and most stable solution that has good querying capabilities and great support and is light years ahead of other solutions

Pros and Cons

  • "The querying capabilities are the most valuable because they allow me to build many automations. We have many workflows and many databases that we work on a daily basis. They need to be updated quite quickly. In order to not to take much of our time doing these updates manually, I have set up these automations using the systems. The process is just to ingest the data and reprocess it. Every time I click a button, everything is updated in almost real time. It is by far the easiest system not only for querying but also for data modeling, data visualization, and deployment. It is light years ahead of Tableau and even Microsoft Excel to do these kinds of things. It is very easy to use and set up, and it has a lot of videos on the internet."
  • "I would like it to be a little bit more secure when I'm using the design feature on my desktop. For example, to have the ability to set up security passwords for opening the file. Currently, they don't have that. Tableau, for example, has a visual way of doing data processing steps, whereas the Power BI system still has some code, although it is very low code. It would be great to have the kind of view that Tableau has."

What is our primary use case?

In general, we use it to have access to the data that we have processed from the HCM system and also to deploy it to the teams. Because it has low-level security features, I can guarantee that only selected people have access to the information seamlessly. We don't take a lot of steps to create, for example, different profiles and ensure the data security that I need.

It is on the cloud because we have pro accounts. Usually, we have the desktop version for designing and using ourselves here, but when we deploy this, it is usually on the Microsoft cloud; it is not on-premises. We are using the most updated version because they release monthly updates.

What is most valuable?

The querying capabilities are the most valuable because they allow me to build many automations. We have many workflows and many databases that we work on a daily basis. They need to be updated quite quickly. In order to not to take much of our time doing these updates manually, I have set up these automations using the systems. The process is just to ingest the data and reprocess it. Every time I click a button, everything is updated in almost real time.

It is by far the easiest system not only for querying but also for data modeling, data visualization, and deployment. It is light years ahead of Tableau and even Microsoft Excel to do these kinds of things. It is very easy to use and set up, and it has a lot of videos on the internet.

What needs improvement?

I would like it to be a little bit more secure when I'm using the design feature on my desktop. For example, to have the ability to set up security passwords for opening the file. Currently, they don't have that.

Tableau, for example, has a visual way of doing data processing steps, whereas the Power BI system still has some code, although it is very low code. It would be great to have the kind of view that Tableau has.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for around two and a half years. I am currently using it, and I have also used it in the previous company.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is very stable and very reliable. It is by far the most reliable system I have used for deploying many things.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is very scalable, especially because the pricing was great. Right now, they are integrating a lot with Microsoft Power Apps and the Power Platform as a whole. Power Ultimate and other things are being integrated into the system as well.

In my previous company, more than 200 to 300 people were using it on a daily basis. In my current company, we have less than ten people using it because we are still a very confined team.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical assistance is great, and I have never had any problems with them. Their support to communities is also great. I would rate them a ten out of ten.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very easy. It took a little bit less than a month to get everything designed, tested, and deployed after we got the licenses.

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

Its pricing is great.

What other advice do I have?

The first piece of advice is to become very clear about licensing and the data governors. Always get the licenses and get them right. You must also be clear about who is going to control these accesses. The second piece of advice is to understand a lot about the low-level security to create profiles and data access features to allow the specific data to be seen only by a specific public.

Currently, in my organization, the greatest challenge is getting proper licensing. We have a little bit of resistance from our IT department who would like us to use Tableau more. It is not Microsoft's problem. It has more to do with the vendor of choice of the company, and they say that we have to use Tableau, but I don't want to use Tableau.

I would rate this solution a ten out of ten. It deserves this rating.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private 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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