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IH
Advisory Software Engineer at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Interactive, user friendly, and efficient in terms of performance

Pros and Cons

  • "The best thing about this solution is that it is very user friendly. It is interactive in terms of visualizations. It is very eye-catching, and it attracts users. There are a lot of options to visualize the data in different drafts and views. I have used different visualization tools, and I found Power BI to be more efficient in terms of performance, user-friendliness, and ease of use."
  • "A few features available in Tableau are not available in Power BI. For example. Tableau has the ability to make up the physical layer and all other stuff at runtime. In Power BI, we have to develop a proper physical layer to connect it. The limitation that we normally face is related to the direct query mode. When it comes to the direct query mode, most of the functionality is not working, which is an issue for us. We have to use the direct query mode frequently because the client needs real-time data. They should work on this limitation. There are a lot of other technical things that need to be improved. I am also following the Power BI platform and Microsoft Support Center platform on the web where users have put their requirements. Microsoft is also working on improving this solution. In every update, they add new features to this solution."

What is most valuable?

The best thing about this solution is that it is very user friendly. It is interactive in terms of visualizations. It is very eye-catching, and it attracts users. There are a lot of options to visualize the data in different drafts and views. 

I have used different visualization tools, and I found Power BI to be more efficient in terms of performance, user-friendliness, and ease of use.

What needs improvement?

A few features available in Tableau are not available in Power BI. For example. Tableau has the ability to make up the physical layer and all other stuff at runtime. In Power BI, we have to develop a proper physical layer to connect it.

The limitation that we normally face is related to the direct query mode. When it comes to the direct query mode, most of the functionality is not working, which is an issue for us. We have to use the direct query mode frequently because the client needs real-time data. They should work on this limitation.

There are a lot of other technical things that need to be improved. I am also following the Power BI platform and Microsoft Support Center platform on the web where users have put their requirements. Microsoft is also working on improving this solution. In every update, they add new features to this solution.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for more than four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable. I haven't found it hanging. It consumes a lot of memory on the local system but not while developing the reports. It also depends on the data on which we are working, but generally, it is light and stable.

How are customer service and technical support?

My overall experience with Microsoft is actually quite good. We have contacted their technical support once or twice. It was something related to the Power BI visualization, where we needed to visualize some data, but they had some kind of limitation in personalization. We also wanted to connect Power BI with other servers, but we were facing some performance issues. The reports were not working fine. I don't think they managed to solve our issues.

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

I have worked on SiteSense and Oracle OBIEE. I feel more satisfied when I'm working with Power BI. It is more convenient as compared to other solutions.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is easy. I didn't find any complexity in it. It can be difficult if the end users don't know how to use it. If they are trained on it, then after a week or a month, it gets easier for the end users. 

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

Its cost seems to be unreasonable if you have many users, but for a lesser number of users, it is reasonable. It is $10 per month. Clients easily accept this option, so they must think it is reasonable. 

It is quite cheap as compared to other tools, such as Tableau. One of the best things about this solution is that it has a trial version.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate Microsoft BI a seven out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Syed Fahad Anwar
Principal System Developer at a government with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Is easy to install, stable, and scalable, and helps to quickly create dashboards

Pros and Cons

  • "What I like about Power BI is how fast you are able to create dashboards and how fast you are able to fetch the data. You can connect to the database or data source, and then you can design your dashboards very easily."
  • "There are some limitations in Power BI; you have to work in the Power BI base. However, if you want something not out-of-the-box and you want something custom, you have to do a lot of work."

What is our primary use case?

The use case for power BI is to generate dashboards for high-end management and operational dashboards.

What is most valuable?

What I like about Power BI is how fast you are able to create dashboards and how fast you are able to fetch the data. You can connect to the database or data source, and then you can design your dashboards very easily.

The best thing about Power BI is that you can manipulate the data within Power BI, so you don't have to update the data source to have filtration or conditional formatting. You can easily do those things under Power BI.

It is easy and has rapid development.

It is stable and scalable as well.

What needs improvement?

There is an issue with Microsoft because the on-premises Power BI is behind the cloud Power BI. So, the on-premises Power BI is six months or one year behind the cloud version because Microsoft published the cloud features first, and then they published the on-premises version. This has been an issue. They should be on the same level of capability.

There are some limitations in Power BI; you have to work in the Power BI base. However, if you want something not out-of-the-box and you want something custom, you have to do a lot of work. Microsoft can provide some easy way to customize the dashboards.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for two to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable, but there is an issue with Microsoft because the on-premises Power BI is behind the cloud Power BI. The features of on-premises Power BI are six months or one year behind the cloud version. They are not on the same level of capability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability of Power BI is quite good.

How are customer service and technical support?

Microsoft technical support could be more knowledgeable.

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

We switched to Power BI because it is easy, and there is rapid development.

How was the initial setup?

Installation is easy and took about half an hour.

What about the implementation team?

It requires a little bit of effort, and we needed the help of a consultant.

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

Power BI comes with enterprise Microsoft licensing. So for the user, you don't have to pay, but you do have to pay a one-time cost.

What other advice do I have?

If you want to use Power BI, you should go for the cloud version. Don't use the on-premises version because the cloud version has a lot of features which the on-premises version doesn't have.

Also, if you are going to use Power BI, you should know what all your capabilities are. Otherwise, if you try to do some things such as develop a dashboard which is not supported by Power BI, it will be a showstopper for you.

I would rate this solution at eight on a scale from one to ten.

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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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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Mohammed Motiwala
Summer Intern at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Good visualization capabilities, a lot of online content, but not easy to define a relationship and has a bit of a learning curve

Pros and Cons

  • "Its visualization capabilities are pretty good. It is very easy to use. You can easily make your dashboard."
  • "Defining a relationship was very confusing. There were circular directions for which I had to do a lot of adjustments in the data. They can do something to make it easier."

What is our primary use case?

I used it to build a simple dashboard. What I did was very simple. I used it to load different datasets. I defined relationships between them and played around with the data by using visuals.

I must have downloaded the version that was really available at that time.

How has it helped my organization?

I had to build a simple dashboard in which I had to combine two or three different datasets. They were large enough, so it wasn't possible to work on them easily in Excel. In Power BI, I used the relationship feature, and I was able to store the data in such a way that it does not occupy a lot of space. I could then send the file over email.

What is most valuable?

Its visualization capabilities are pretty good. It is very easy to use. You can easily make your dashboard.

There is a lot of self-help content available from a lot of different platforms, such as YouTube. So, whenever I faced an issue, it was not difficult. I could always find a solution to the issue I was facing.

What needs improvement?

Defining a relationship was very confusing. There were circular directions for which I had to do a lot of adjustments in the data. They can do something to make it easier.

For how long have I used the solution?

I worked on it this summer. I just used it for a month or two.

What other advice do I have?

Defining Relationships can be confusing when you are working with a complex data model. It can result in circular relationship referencing and the interface does not help solve it, or even understand it, in any way. It takes time to figure out a different way to structure the data model and Power BI offers no guidance on that. Online help is limited.

There is a lot of content available online. When I started out, the way I was defining the relationship between the data and the way my model was structured was not very efficient. I spent a lot of time in making it more efficient. So, I would advise others to do enough research. I was learning on the go. If you spend about six or seven hours learning it, it would be much better. Even though it is marketed as something that is easily usable and anyone can come and start using it, there is a bit of a learning curve.

I was very easily able to load the data and conduct an as-is analysis of what is happening, but if I want to do a deeper analysis of the data and break down a variable into different components, I don't know if it is possible in Power BI. I tried to do it a little bit, but it was not easy. So, it is good when you have the data, and you just want to present it and look at it in different ways, but if you want to analyze the data and break down the numbers and play around with the data, I don't know if it is possible in Power BI.

I would rate Power BI a seven out of 10.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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MJ
Global Director - HR Technology & Platforms at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Good visualization with an easy initial setup and good overall stability

Pros and Cons

  • "The fact that you can visualize items is great."
  • "The solution could be quicker at rendering data."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for building dashboards, one-off analytics, and things of that nature that combine data.

How has it helped my organization?

The functions from a standpoint of generating analytics have been really helpful overall. That aspect has helped improve our organization.

What is most valuable?

In general, we are pretty pleased.

The ability to combine the data and to connect with pretty established platforms has been the solution's most valuable aspect to us. 

The fact that you can visualize items is great. The visualization power is very good.

The initial setup is straightforward.

What needs improvement?

I don't know if I can pinpoint any specific items that I don't like. However, the more connectors that they provide the better. 

I don't use it day in, day out to tell you if it has any kind of functionality items that may be open up for improvement opportunities. 

The solution could probably beef up items related to statistics and things to cover the gap between the advanced things that you can do with Tableau. Any kind of advanced statistical analysis would be very helpful in future releases.  

The solution could be quicker at rendering data.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for three years or so.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable. It's reliable. We've been happy with it. There aren't bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution can scale well if you need it to. That shouldn't be a problem for any organization.

I'm not sure how many people are actually using the solution in our organization. Everybody has been kind of encouraged to leverage the platform on an ongoing basis. However, obviously, those that are holding jobs related to any kind of analytics are probably more prone to using it.

How are customer service and technical support?

I don't tend to deal with technical support. That's probably more on the IT team than on my plate and therefore I don't really know how their tech support works. I can't speak to their knowledgeability and response times.

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

With our company, there were probably those that needed to do advanced analytics that were using solutions like Tableau or Excel.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not complex. It's pretty straightforward. A company shouldn't run into any problems when it comes to setting it up.

What other advice do I have?

We have a pretty strong partnership with Microsoft and we tend to help them develop their product as well.

We are using the latest version of the solution at this time.

I would advise other organizations that the product has a lot to offer and therefore it's worth the investment and the effort.

I would rate the solution at a nine out of ten. Sometimes it could be quite at rendering data, however, overall, we've been happy with the results.

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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IdanEnright
Operations Research Analyst at a energy/utilities company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Creates charts and graphs to provide visuals of the data

Pros and Cons

  • "The standard BI visualization capabilities are great."
  • "Anything they can do to improve enterprise collaboration is going to help people get set up and utilize the solution."

What is our primary use case?

We mostly use this solution for dashboards and reporting.

There are roughly 2000 people in our office. At the least, 100 people use Power BI. We have around 10 super users who use it a lot. A lot of people just use it to look at dashboards. A lot of managers look at Power BI for their dashboards.

How has it helped my organization?

It has centralized our organization. It has democratized dashboard and report building and provides a centralized format. Without Microsoft BI, people would otherwise develop and manage their spreadsheets in Excel, which is just a lot harder than what Power BI enables us to do.

What is most valuable?

The standard BI visualization capabilities are great. It makes all the visualizations and has a drag and drop builder. It also has a power query data modeling capability that's excellent.

What needs improvement?

We're a big organization. We're looking at standardizing. Anybody can just pick it up and use it because it's easy. We want to be able to standardize what Power BI is and I think that's a challenge that we're encountering now.

Anything they can do to improve enterprise collaboration is going to help people get set up and utilize the solution.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Microsoft BI for roughly two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It has crashed, but it's pretty stable. I haven't had any problems where a published dashboard was not working. Once a dashboard is published, I haven't seen any problems with it.

I think it depends a lot on the data access. As long as the data backend can get into Power BI, then everything works. If there are any data connection issues, that's when there will be problems.

How are customer service and technical support?

I get tech support from my admin. I've never contacted support.

What about the implementation team?

We have a Power BI admin administrator that helped us with the initial setup. From the user's perspective, it's pretty easy.

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

I think it's a good price, from what I've heard. I know it's competitive with other Power BI tools. It comes in lower. I've heard no complaints about the pricing.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Our company did evaluate Tableau and a couple of other tools. We ended up promoting Power BI for everyone because it was licensed and we were already using Office 365. It integrates well with all of our existing environments.

What other advice do I have?

From a user's perspective, I'd advise people to really try to understand the data sources and have a good data environment in place, beforehand. That makes the Power BI environment much better.

Overall, on a scale from one to ten, I would give this solution a rating of nine. I think it's the best BI tool that I've used. I know it has a really good rating. It accomplishes a lot for us in terms of data manipulation and BI in the reporting.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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AE
IT Service and Strategy Consultant, Facilitator at BCAP SOLUTIONS
Consultant
Offers great integrations with good visualizations

Pros and Cons

  • "Easy to use and the visualization is valuable."
  • "The formatting template could be improved."

What is our primary use case?

The main use case is for dashboarding on Excel spreadsheets until data lake and similar sources are ready for us to start integrating and dashboarding that information. We are a government motor transport entity and for each vehicle, there's a lifecycle. At every step of that life cycle, we need to know how many of a particular type of vehicle we have in our fleet and its status. I'm an IT service and strategy consultant and we are customers of Microsoft BI.

What is most valuable?

BI is very easy to use including the desktop version. The visualization is valuable, it's easy to select visualizations and show your data in different views. It opens up a lot of possibilities that weren't previously available and it's versatile. We're integrating with other solutions and if you look at Power BI pulling information from the data warehouse, it's integrated to an Oracle warehouse and works well.

What needs improvement?

The formatting template could be improved. In order for me to easily do visualizations, I have to format my Excel spreadsheet in a very specific template. I can't take a spreadsheet from my financial director and quickly put it in Power BI and then pivot into visualizations. I have to first check the formatting, that it's in the proper columns, and headings are logical. It needs all of that database thinking before you can actually get valuable information out of it. 

I'd like to see more templates and better tooling so that when one opens a spreadsheet it's possible to manipulate data from Power BI without having to format the spreadsheet. If you were able to pull the information out of the spreadsheet via more detailed tooling, that would be brilliant.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using this solution for about three months. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability has been good so far. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is good. 

How are customer service and technical support?

We haven't required technical support.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward and didn't take too long. We had a team, the Azure FastTrack team, that assisted us and they were superb.

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

We're using a subscription-based license and the government has a transversal agreement with Microsoft. We use the solution according to that contract, it's an EA license. When it comes to premium licenses, I think they all have room for improvement.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend this solution to everyone, whether small, medium, or enterprise-size companies. Smaller companies should use the free version because it offers quite a lot and is valuable. I would recommend it for any size environment and specifically because it's not boxed in and you can visualize data that's on Microsoft products. 

I rate the solution eight out of 10. 

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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PC
Senior Consultant at a computer software company with 10,001+ employees
MSP
Top 5
Good user interface, good technical support, and has the ability to scale

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution's initial setup isn't too complicated."
  • "The integration with other solutions could be improved for reporting aspects."

What is our primary use case?

We have a few projects. We're using the solution primarily to develop a modern sitemap.

What is most valuable?

The product has a very defined, well-prescribed format to it. It's easy for everyone to use for the most part.

The training is pretty good. It's well-described so that users can navigate the solution easily and follow the correct steps to initiate tasks effectively.

The user interface is pretty good.

The technical support on offer is excellent.

We've found the scalability to be quite good.

The solution's initial setup isn't too complicated.

What needs improvement?

I need more time with the solution. Right now, I can't think of any features that are missing from the product.

The integration with other solutions could be improved for reporting aspects. There are some reporting features in Tableau that we need access to and it would be ideal if there was a function between the two for data integration and data manipulation, with the final representation of the report available on Tableau.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for a year or more at this point. It hasn't been too long.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far, the solution has been largely stable. However, I'm still exploring the solution and testing it against my requirements. The stability hasn't quite been proven fully just yet.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is pretty scalable. It meets all of my client's requirements. I'm able to make changes and expand if I need to. It's pretty simple to scale it out as necessary.

We deal, for the most part, with medium-sized companies. We don't really deal with smaller organizations or bigger enterprises.

How are customer service and technical support?

I'm extremely satisfied with technical support. It's been excellent so far. They are responsive and knowledgeable and I always get my questions answered in a timely manner. I have no complaints about their level of service.

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

I've also worked with Tableau and SAP products. We use them all currently.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not complex in any way. It's quite straightforward. It was installed quite easily onto our system. We didn't run into any issues in that sense.

What other advice do I have?

I'm using the calculator version of the solution.

We use both the cloud and on-premises deployment models.

We are Microsoft partners. We're not just users.

Overall, I would recommend the solution. We do have other plans to use other BI solutions, however, we haven't really focused on that just yet. So far, this product has met our needs pretty well.

On a scale from one to ten, I'd rate the solution at a nine. We've largely been happy with the product and its offering.

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
Cort Rowland
Lead Senior Engineer at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Stable, scalable and well suited for specific applications

Pros and Cons

  • "We have found the product to be scalable."
  • "If you need data in real-time, it's not an ideal solution."

What is our primary use case?

The solution is basically used for data. It's on a proprietary piece of equipment on which we collect data. We look at impurities in molten metal, and it's a database and it keeps track of all the batches that we have through the furnace that we have. It tells when it's dirty and stuff like that. It's a large database that we keep track of the history of all the ingots that we run.

What is most valuable?

The solution serves its purpose. When you have the recurring cost every year on this other project, Qlik Sense didn't fit with it as you'd have to have Qlik Sense plus something else. 

As long as you don't need the data in real-time, it's okay.

The solution is stable.

We have found the product to be scalable. 

What needs improvement?

We looked at it for these two new projects too, however, we needed more real-time data on this other project and so it wasn't a good solution and we thought Qlik Sense would work better.

If you need data in real-time, it's not an ideal solution.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've dealt with the solution for about a year or so at this point.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

From what I have seen, the solution seems to be very stable. There are no bugs or glitches and it doesn't crash or freeze. It's reliable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability of the product has been fine. We can expand it if we want to.

How are customer service and technical support?

I've never contacted technical support. I cannot speak to how helpful or responsive they are. 

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

We have more of an industrial type application and we're going to have Tulip interface with Qlik Sense or we're just going to use Domo's platform. Domo is more expensive, a little bit more expensive, however, one of my colleagues here already used Domo and he really liked it, so we're gearing towards Domo. We haven't purchased it yet.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at Qlik Sense. However, when you have the recurring cost every year on this other project, Qlik Sense didn't fit with it because you'd have to have Qlik Sense plus something else.

What other advice do I have?

Our corporate office may have some sort of agreement with Microsoft. We're just an end-user.

Corporate is kind of pushing Microsoft BI, and they have questions about using it for this project, however, we had an IT consultant that said it's not a good solution.

I would rate the solution at an eight out of ten. It's not ideal for every application, however, it works pretty well.

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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