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Sumit_Gupta
BI Consultant at eInfochips
Consultant
Top 10
Easy to use, good inquiry and visual gallery features, and the community is strong

Pros and Cons

  • "This is a self-service BI tool, so it doesn't require a huge amount of technical training, knowledge, or a background in BI in order to induct new people into it."
  • "A lot of people work on Excel, so being able to export an Excel file as part of a subscription would be an improvement."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use Power BI for data science solutions.

How has it helped my organization?

This is a self-service BI tool, so it doesn't require a huge amount of technical training, knowledge, or a background in BI in order to induct new people into it. This is true even for business people who want to do a little bit of self-service. The whole thing has become quite simplified, as compared to what it was.

What is most valuable?

There are many good features in this product.

The most valuable features are a combination of the DAX and the inquiry capability, plus the visual gallery that we have. I think that these three things, or the combination of them, is the best that we have found.

What needs improvement?

I would like to have the capability to schedule exports in different versions. For example, if I want to schedule a subscription and attach an Excel file, we don't have this capability right now. A lot of people work on Excel, so being able to export an Excel file as part of a subscription would be an improvement.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been working with Power BI for more than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Overall, it is pretty stable. The cloud version is definitely very stable, and I have found very few flaws or areas for improvement. We have been using it for more than five years and we have every intention to continue with it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It has been pretty nice for us, in terms of scalability. There hasn't really been a problem, as such. We have approximately 300 users.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support from Microsoft gets a big thumbs up from me. They have blogs, a support page, and the community is very active. Most of the answers we need, we find them there. 

With this amount of information available, we don't need to use technical support extensively. When we do post something on the blog or in the community, the response that we get is pretty prompt.

The last time we utilized technical support was when we were investigating creating a subscription with an Excel file attached to it. We found out that it isn't yet possible with the current version.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward, to say that least. It took just a few days to deploy.

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

The pricing is very reasonable compared to any other tool.

What other advice do I have?

My advice for anybody who is considering this tool is that if you want to move to a self-service BI, this is probably the best tool available right now. The self-service is pretty good in terms of os user acceptance, usage, and simplicity. It is something that everybody wants and Power BI does really well in that area.

The biggest lesson that I have learned from using Power BI is that if the data is not according to what you want, that really isn't a problem. It has been a problem in the past, especially where the data is not in the form or the shape that you need, but with Power BI, that problem can be solved very easily.

I would rate this solution an eight 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: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
SH
Project Manager at a computer software company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
User-friendly with a straightforward setup and good stability

Pros and Cons

  • "The initial setup is pretty straightforward."
  • "It seems that the solution could use more analytics to help users draw more contextual business insights. Right now, you need other solutions for that."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution to run our industry reports. We get the data from data warehouse we are creating. I use it to export the data.

We have been using Microsoft BI for one of the customers. That was completely in the customer environment. That's all. We did not have that solution for us in-house. However, we are working towards introducing it for our own purposes in the near future.

What is most valuable?

The product is very user-friendly.

The solution can be used with any BI tool you have.

The initial setup is pretty straightforward.

The solution has been very stable for our customers.

It appears the solution has the capability to scale, although we have yet to try to do so.

What needs improvement?

We have yet to implement the solution completely. We're still exploring features and capabilities. It's too early to discuss items that may be lacking.

It seems that the solution could use more analytics to help users draw more contextual business insights. Right now, you need other solutions for that.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for the past five years now. It's been a while.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The product has been quite stable so far. The performance is good. It's reliable. There aren't bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

 We have not attempted to scale the solution yet. We are in the initial stage of exploring different features on it. We believe it to be a scalable product, however, we have not attempted it ourselves yet. We might in the future.

We don't have any customers on the solution right now as we are just trying to figure things out.

How are customer service and technical support?

We haven't used technical support. I wouldn't be able to speak to how helpful or responsive they are. 

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

We are also using Tableau. We use Tableau right now, and we are likely introducing Microsoft BI in-house in the near future. For now, we just have customers that use it.

How was the initial setup?

We found the initial setup to be straightforward. It's not a difficult implementation and I wouldn't describe it as complex. A company setting up the solution for the first time shouldn't have any problem doing so.

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

We're still in the process of licensing the model. We don't have it set up yet. My understanding is that we will pay for licensing on a yearly basis. I don't have the exact figures in terms of the costs.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Right now, I am looking to do a comparison between Tableau, Power BI, MicroStrategy, and Pyramid Analytics. I have not had a chance to really dig too deep into research.

What other advice do I have?

We are just customers and end-users. We don't have a business relationship with Microsoft.

We are using the most recent version of the solution at this time.

We're still exploring the solution and haven't fully implemented it yet.

I would rate the solution at an eight out of ten. It's very user-friendly and so far I have had a good experience.

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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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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TB
Solutions Architect at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 20
Multiple datasets synchronization, visual customization, and reliable

Pros and Cons

  • "The capability to add custom visuals and create Power BI apps. You can package datasets, synchronization details, and dashboards into a single app."
  • "They asked you to pay if you want to synchronize more than eight times, you would have to go to a Power BI enterprise license, which is much more costly."

What is our primary use case?

The solution is a dashboard. We have the on-premises data gateway, which allows us from the Azure Cloud to get into Power BI. The dataset content comes from the on-premise data warehouses.

We have produced historical analytics and KPIs from ServiceNow for Incident management, performance, SLA coverage, trends, and identifying anomalies. Anomalies are, for example, if a ticket is reopened, that means it was closed incorrectly or the solution was not correct. If a ticket has been an incident or a request has been routed more than two times, that means somewhere in the processes it was not clear and the ticket is going in circles out to the anomalies data.

A lot of analytics based on ServiceNow and Gyra as ITSMs systems. There is also combined analytics between Salesforce and for example, Web analytics, Google Analytics, and so on. Allowing us to see how visits to the website translate into lead opportunities. This is done by combining the two, extracting them and combining the two sources of data, such as Google Analytics and Salesforce.

What is most valuable?

Some of the most valuable features of this solution are the ability to take your data and have the possibility to combine them into datasets and have synchronization. 

You are able to synchronize the data without additional cost eight times a day and you can set when you want to synchronize it. For example, during business hours, we synchronize the data once an hour and during the night I do not synchronize it at all. 

The capability to add custom visuals and create Power BI apps. You can package datasets, synchronization details, and dashboards into a single app.

Microsoft is open to suggestions for improvements in future releases. We requested to allow Python Notebooks to be displayed as visuals on top of the datasets, which now available and was not five versions ago.

What needs improvement?

The possibility to synchronize more often without having to pay more would be great. They asked you to pay if you want to synchronize more than eight times, you would have to go to a Power BI enterprise license, which is much more costly.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using the solution for three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have found the solution to have high performance and to be reliable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is highly scalable. We have approximately 100 people using the solution in my organization.

How was the initial setup?

The solution is a service, which does not require a traditional installation. However, there is a large configuration portion. It can be very simple to configure minor operations but can become complex if you connect via Power BI, a lot of sources.  For example, from on-premise and from multiple clouds. It allows you to go from very simple, to very complex. It is up to your solution design in the end. 

You can create your first dataset in a matter of hours. This once again is dependent on your configuration.

The solution requires maintenance but not to the Power BI itself. The configuration is deployed on top of Power BI, you can set automatic alerts if, for example, the data is not synchronized or It not available.

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

The price of the solution can be expensive if you want to synchronize your data more.

What other advice do I have?

I rate Microsoft BI an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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SureshSrinivasan
Assistant Vice President at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
Top 5
A complete and in-demand solution with good price, integration, and features

Pros and Cons

  • "Most of the clients I am interacting with are looking towards Power BI because of the cost and simplicities. It provides an entire feature set and a complete solution. It has tight integration with Office 365, Dynamics 365, Microsoft Technology Stack, and datatypes like R and Python."
  • "It should be more scalable for an enterprise-level implementation. When you deploy large data sets, the response has to be faster in Power BI. This is one thing that needs to be improved in it."

What is our primary use case?

I lead the data visualization competency. As a competency leader, my responsibility is to make people grow in this technology. It could be Power BI, Tableau, or QlikView. We are service-oriented, and depending upon the demand, we have to have experienced people and a resource pool ready in these areas. Depending upon the requirement, I decide how many people need to be trained or hired.

What is most valuable?

Most of the clients I am interacting with are looking towards Power BI because of the cost and simplicities. It provides an entire feature set and a complete solution. It has tight integration with Office 365, Dynamics 365, Microsoft Technology Stack, and datatypes like R and Python. 

What needs improvement?

It should be more scalable for an enterprise-level implementation. When you deploy large data sets, the response has to be faster in Power BI. This is one thing that needs to be improved in it.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for close to two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We found no issues. It is an aggregated reporting tool. It cannot handle a detailed level of data. It is meant only for the dashboarding purpose. You need to have your underlying data in an aggregated way, and then it would be faster. It depends on whether you have a live connection or you don't have a live connection.

How are customer service and technical support?

We don't see many issues, but whenever we put a request, they at least respond.

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

I have worked on Tableau. Before Tableau, I have worked with traditional tools, such as SAP BusinessObjects. My team has got experience with Spotfire, but we are not seeing a great demand for Spotfire.

If you ask me for the top three, I would qualify Power BI, then Tableau, and then QlikView. That's the demand that I'm seeing in the market from various customers.

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

I am satisfied with its price. Its price is very less as compared to Tableau and QlikView.

What other advice do I have?

My first advice is to learn SQL. The foundational knowledge and SQL skills are the most important. You have to be very strong in writing SQL code. You have to improve your mind so that you know what you are writing in Power BI. After that, it is very easy to pick up any front-end reporting tool, such as Power BI or Tableau. After you have good expertise in Power BI, you can slowly learn Python so that you can do good integration. All these efforts would be great for your career.

Being a gold partner of Microsoft for the past few years, we work directly with Microsoft product teams. Sometimes as part of a pre-launch, they also connect with us. If we see a feature or functionality that a client requires, we at least put it across to them. How they prioritize it within their product team is up to them. They prioritize depending on the need of the market and demand from various clients, and they release features accordingly. Sometimes, we also work on a pre-release.

They release new features and functionalities every month. They have also recently released data protection smart narratives. If you look at the Gartner report, they are leading. I see a lot of demand for this solution.

I would rate Microsoft BI an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: partner
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Sasa-Vujovic
Senior Consultant at ICTPro
Real User
Easy to prepare, distribute, and automate reports or connect to databases

Pros and Cons

  • "Many of my customers already use Microsoft products like Office 365, so I often propose Microsoft Power BI because it integrates well with all the standard Microsoft business tools. And it's the quickest tool to implement and start using daily."
  • "Microsoft BI's visualization could be better. Though Power BI's visualization has steadily improved over the years, it's not on the level tools like Tableau and SAS or some of the more expensive products on the market."

What is our primary use case?

As a consultant, I propose something appropriate for my client companies. Mostly, it's some type of ERP, warehouse management, or BI software. It depends on the size of the companies and their requirements.

Small and medium-sized businesses usually need some operations software to cover all the daily necessities. In most cases, I propose some local or regional software for ERP and warehouse management solutions. But for business intelligence and reporting, I typically go with a Microsoft solution.

What needs improvement?

Microsoft BI's visualization could be better. Though Power BI's visualization has steadily improved over the years, it's not on the level tools like Tableau and SAS or some of the more expensive products on the market.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Power BI is as stable as every other Microsoft product. It depends on the environment and other factors — it's not just Power BI. But it's quite stable, I think. And it's also on a very high level.

How are customer service and support?

Microsoft has a lot of partners that offer support and help you with implementation. So if you have some issues that can't be resolved by one level of support, you can find someone else in the same environment. I would say that from the partner level, Microsoft support is excellent. But, of course, it depends on how much you want to pay for it.

How was the initial setup?

The complexity of the Power BI setup depends on how much integration you need, the number of different databases you have to connect, and whether you're automating the system. However, setup is relatively easy for a standard environment. For reporting alone, it was easy to set up. So it really depends on the complexity of the environment, not on the tool.

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

Power BI's price is reasonable, especially if you can put it in some bigger package and use it with other products. The value of a solution doesn't just come from its features as a standalone product. The price should also reflect how easy it's to set up, clean data, and integrate with other solutions. So in that regard, I would say Microsoft Power BI's price is appropriate.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I recommend Tableau to customers for some things and Power BI for others. But, overall, you can use Power BI in more ways, it's cheaper, and it has a better pricing model.

What other advice do I have?

I rate Microsoft Power BI nine out of 10. It's widely used and incredibly practical. And it's a little easier to prepare, distribute, and automate reports or connect to databases. Power BI is also useful for warehouse management and data systems in data lakes. It's like a Swiss knife for reporting. So I generally recommend Microsoft Power BI for clients who don't have specific requirements for visualization. Tableau is better in that area. But at the same time, Power BI is also upgrading those features. 

Many of my customers already use Microsoft products like Office 365, so I often propose Microsoft Power BI because it integrates well with all the standard Microsoft business tools. And it's the quickest tool to implement and start using daily. You don't need much training. People can pick up this tool quickly and start using it right away. So I think that's the biggest advantage of Power BI. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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CB
Business Intelligence Developer at Kathmandu
Real User
Top 20
Easy to make people understand what is going on but I would like to use SQL properly within the reports

Pros and Cons

  • "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."
  • "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."

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.
MK
Executive Vice President at a security firm with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 20
Good visualization, automatic charts, and drill-down capabilities

Pros and Cons

  • "The drill-down capabilities and automatic charts are the best ones. The visualization is also very good. In terms of visualization, no competing product, such as IBM Cognos or any other product, has the same capabilities."
  • "Microsoft BI comes under pressure when there is a lot of data to be crunched. It gets slower and slower, and the functionality becomes a bit of a problem. The performance goes down with data being fed into the system. The infrastructure requirement also increases if you have to increase the performance. This is the area that can be improved in my opinion. Initially, the product is good, but over the years, when data gets accumulated, it becomes a problem unless the old data is kind of archived and is no longer shown on the visualization. It has a feature by using which a user can query for a report through simple questions to a bot. So, if I want to look for the customer share of revenue by geography, I just simply state that in the chatbot. If I wanted it in a pie chart, then you say, "Please show it to me in a pie chart." It comes out well for basic charts. This feature should be improvised more so that people can very quickly get customized reports on the go."

What is our primary use case?

I take care of business transformations in the company, which includes solution transformation, and so on. We have a range of products that are legacy products. They are fairly old. We are substituting them with new age products, and one of them is Power BI. We are using its latest version currently.

What is most valuable?

The drill-down capabilities and automatic charts are the best ones. The visualization is also very good. In terms of visualization, no competing product, such as IBM Cognos or any other product, has the same capabilities.

What needs improvement?

Microsoft BI comes under pressure when there is a lot of data to be crunched. It gets slower and slower, and the functionality becomes a bit of a problem. The performance goes down with data being fed into the system. The infrastructure requirement also increases if you have to increase the performance. This is the area that can be improved in my opinion. Initially, the product is good, but over the years, when data gets accumulated, it becomes a problem unless the old data is kind of archived and is no longer shown on the visualization.

It has a feature by using which a user can query for a report through simple questions to a bot. So, if I want to look for the customer share of revenue by geography, I just simply state that in the chatbot. If I wanted it in a pie chart, then you say, "Please show it to me in a pie chart." It comes out well for basic charts. This feature should be improvised more so that people can very quickly get customized reports on the go.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for a couple of years. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Its scalability is good. The only issue is the performance that degrades when more data comes in, but when it comes to scalability within a particular level of data, it is really good.

How are customer service and technical support?

I don't know. I am not technically so much involved in the day-to-day side of this.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is a process by itself, so we have to take external help in terms of implementation. In terms of various reports and other things, I don't have an idea about the complexity of the implementation because we took expert advice, and an external consultant implemented it for us. I would guess that it is a bit extensive and needs a lot of work to be usable.

What other advice do I have?

I would definitely recommend Power BI for those entities that are not complex. Unless and until there is a very high volume to be handled, I believe Microsoft Power BI is the best solution to go for, particularly when somebody buys a stack of Microsoft products, which includes Office, SharePoint, and so on. The whole Microsoft Office Suite is a brilliant product in its entirety, and there is good and easy integration with SharePoint, etc. This is a nice feature that other products don't have. There is a stack of IBM as well, but it is not as good as Microsoft.

I would rate Microsoft BI an eight out of ten. I am pretty happy with this solution, and the two points are down because of the performance issue and probably the cost.

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.
ND
Business Intelligence Manager at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 10
Good reporting, enables self-service BI, it's stable, and we are satisfied with the pricing

Pros and Cons

  • "It's easy to create reports and it's easy to download the data from the corresponding report."
  • "We would like improvements made to the paginated reports so that it produces quality similarly to SSRS."

What is our primary use case?

This solution is primarily used for business analytics. We generate reports so that the business analytics team can use them for their analysis.

How has it helped my organization?

Previously, we used Excel to perform the analysis. It was very tedious for them to get data into Excel, do the refresh, and generate the reports. Now, using Microsoft BI, they can connect directly with the data, it gets refreshed automatically, and they don't have to worry about refreshing it.

They get the data in the report section and they don't have to worry about report generation, data modeling, and other aspects.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the reporting. It's easy to create reports and it's easy to download the data from the corresponding report.

This product enables self-service BI.

What needs improvement?

The paginated report functionality, which was intended to replace SPSS, is not yet up to the mark. We would like improvements made to the paginated reports so that it produces quality similarly to SSRS.

There is no automation for paginated reports, so then need to make it automated.

Ultimately, I would like to see all of the features from SSRS that are missing. That's ideally what I would like to have.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Microsoft BI for the past 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This product is pretty stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability depends on the kind of reports and data we are looking at. It has multiple features for us based on the functionality and the requirement of the customer. It's not limited only to enterprise-specific customers. Rather,  It can be used by small, medium, as well as enterprise-based customers.

There is no limitation as such. So it's quite scalable.

I have work two different companies at this time, and as far as I know, there are between 1,500 and 2,000 people who use this product.

How are customer service and technical support?

The quality of support depends on the Microsoft partner that you are working with. 

We have not faced any significant issues, but when we have, we raised a bug with the Microsoft technical team and they have resolved things accordingly.

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

This is the only tool that we are using for reporting. Previously, we used Crystal Reports.

What about the implementation team?

We deployed this product ourselves. We used the documentation that is available at Microsoft.com.

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

The cost of licensing depends on the number of people that are going to be using the reports, and we are satisfied with it at $10 per user.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Our company focuses on Microsoft products, so we did not evaluate solutions by other vendors.

What other advice do I have?

My advice is that if you are looking for an aggregated level of data, using it for reporting, then it's better to use Power BI because everything will be in memory and it will be much faster.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: partner
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