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IdanEnright
Inovation Manager at SoCalGas
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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Learn what your peers think about Microsoft BI. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2021.
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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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Michele Nelson
BI Solution Engineer at DataSelf
Reseller
Top 10
Easy to use for buildings charts and graphs and doing calculations

Pros and Cons

  • "It is a little easier at buildings charts and graphs than Tableau."
  • "It has limited performance capabilities in terms of connecting to large transactional databases, but it is fine for simple and quick queries from Excel spreadsheets or one table. The premium level is going to be more applicable for the higher transaction-level databases."

What is our primary use case?

I've been a consultant, so I've built some reports for some clients. I use and prefer its desktop version. 

What is most valuable?

It is a little easier at buildings charts and graphs than Tableau.

What needs improvement?

At the enterprise level, it is a little expensive. To get the full capacity of integrations, you need to go premium.

It has limited performance capabilities in terms of connecting to large transactional databases, but it is fine for simple and quick queries from Excel spreadsheets or one table. The premium level is going to be more applicable for the higher transaction-level databases. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been in the Business Intelligence Industry for about seven years. I use this product off and on.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is complex to scale. There are just too many things you have to put in place. You got to have the gateways, and you got to have the premium service. There are a lot of components that get involved. It is not very straightforward. 

We sell our own BI tool. So, we have hundreds of clients. They are mid-sized organizations. We're building out our Power BI stack because people do like it, but right now, we have most of our stuff in Tableau.

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

I also use Tableau. They're very comparable products. I worked for different companies that built their own proprietary stuff, and mainly for visualization, Tableau and Power BI were the connectors to go to. So, there wasn't a switch.

I really like Tableau's web version over Power BI's web version. It is just easier to drag and drop things and blend data on the backend. It has a little simpler process in that regard. I don't like the charting in Tableau. Its charting is a little more complex than Power BI's charting.

Calculations are a little harder in Tableau. They can be a little more complex in Tableau as compared to Power BI. Tableau is a little more detailed in terms of creating calculations. You can't just add two columns together. Tableau should have the ability to add or subtract columns. They should make it like a wizard.

How was the initial setup?

The simple stuff is easy. When you want to get into the calculations and building DAX-type formulas, I don't think DAX is that great. I find Tableau's coding a little easier.

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

Its pricing is reasonable for the desktop stuff, but for enterprise-level, it is a little expensive. 

What other advice do I have?

I would advise others to just do their research and figure out what they want to do with it so that they know if it is going to be hard or easy.

I would rate Microsoft BI an eight 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:
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RA
Manager Technical Architect at Legato Health Technologies
Real User
Useful for data visualization and building interactive dashboards

Pros and Cons

  • "It works well with SSAS, which we use to generate all different kinds of trending and analytics reports. Sometimes we use Power Query and DAX to build some aggregations on the Power BI side as well."
  • "Sluggish performance when handling large amounts of data."

What is our primary use case?

It is one of the business intelligence tools we are using—mainly for all our data visualization purposes and building interactive dashboards. We use Microsoft Power BI to generate all different types of analytic reports. We move information from our data warehouse to a SSAS cube that we've built on top of all our dimensions. We also do a certain level of aggregation in the cube itself, which is then connected to Power BI.

What is most valuable?

It works well with SSAS, which we use to generate all different kinds of trending and analytics reports. Sometimes we use Power Query and DAX to build some aggregations on the Power BI side as well.  

What needs improvement?

I would like to see Microsoft BI add custom visuals and certain machine-learning capabilities. It would be nice if the DAX functions could perform some kind of predictive modeling. Right now, it just does a kind of descriptive analytics.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been working on Microsoft Power BI for three years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Throughout several updates over the past three years, I never saw any issues, particularly with installation or anything, so I see the product as stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I feel that scalability is one area where there is room for improvement. When there is a huge volume of data, like when we apply the aggregation, the reporting slows down. That's why we mostly build things in the SSAS cube itself instead of bringing it back to Microsoft BI to do the aggregation. Certain incredibly small aggregations can be done on the Microsoft BI side, but if the dashboard size is more than 1 Gigabyte, you start to see some performance issues. 

How are customer service and technical support?

The Power BI community is really big, so we mostly rely on other users for support.

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

In some projects, we have used Tableau or ThoughtSpot. If we're dealing with big data, then we often consider using Tableau. Power BI has some additional features that Tableau doesn't have, like DAX and Power Query, but Tableau works better from a scalability standpoint. Sometimes for reporting purposes, when we want to generate some kind of dashboard on the fly for the user, we have used ThoughtSpot. 

How was the initial setup?

We didn't experience any complications. We built everything on the desktop and in the .pvi files, then just move those files to the server. Afterward, we didn't see any issues at all in terms of setup.

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

I'm unsure about the exact cost, but the Pro license comes out to around $10 per user. There are also additional costs for custom visuals that you can pay for.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate Microsoft BI an eight out of ten. 

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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VC
CEO at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Highly scalable, very stable, good data presentation, and useful for deeper insights and analysis

Pros and Cons

  • "The way data is presented is very valuable. The amount of information that we can get at a glance is also valuable. You can then drill-down and see data from many different angles in the same chart by selecting certain things. Based on the selection, everything changes automatically. If we have four parameters in a particular item, when you select a parameter, the remaining charts on that page automatically change for that particular parameter."
  • "Its price could be better. Its licensing cost is very high."

What is our primary use case?

We are using Power BI Premium at the moment. It is an online solution, which always has the latest version.

It is for data visualization and data insights. BI means business intelligence, so it helps you understand the performance of your business better. It gives you deeper insight into the data so that you can draw meaningful conclusions from the data, and your decisions are based on data insights rather than a hunch. 

How has it helped my organization?

It is a good and very useful product. I find it to be extremely useful because it gives me a deeper insight into my business, and it lets me analyze things and make decisions based on the data.

What is most valuable?

The way data is presented is very valuable. The amount of information that we can get at a glance is also valuable. You can then drill-down and see data from many different angles in the same chart by selecting certain things. Based on the selection, everything changes automatically. If we have four parameters in a particular item, when you select a parameter, the remaining charts on that page automatically change for that particular parameter.

What needs improvement?

Its price could be better. Its licensing cost is very high.

For how long have I used the solution?

We discovered it about two months ago, and we started using it.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

You can scale it to thousands of users. It is a cloud product. Microsoft Cloud is being used by people across the world. So, there is no limitation in terms of scalability.

At the moment, we have about five users, but the number of users will increase to 50. We are absolutely going to keep using it.

How are customer service and technical support?

We generally don't approach Microsoft for support. We are able to handle things at our end.

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

We used simple Excel reports, but Excel reports are not as good as Power BI. Power BI is far ahead.

How was the initial setup?

It is a cloud product. You can access it through a web browser. It takes no time. 

It takes time only when you have to prepare the reports because you need to know how to prepare the Power BI reports. There is an MIS team, and there are Power BI designers who design the reports, but for users, it doesn't take much effort because they just have to click and see.

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

Its licensing cost is very high. It is $20 per user, which is very high, but it is a good product, so you pay for it.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend this solution. I would rate Microsoft BI a nine 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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ST
New Build Completion & Commissioning at a energy/utilities company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Powerful, user-friendly, and easy to set up

Pros and Cons

  • "The product can go easily go and extract data and it can put it into any format."
  • "I'm not overly technical, and so I can't really speak to any shortcomings from a technical standpoint."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the product for running the reports and all data extraction in our organization.

What is most valuable?

The solution is a wonderful tool overall. 

Power BI is very powerful and very easy to use. Its user-friendliness is one of its most valuable aspects. It has a very nice user interface that makes everything easy to navigate.

The product can go easily go and extract data and it can put it into any format.

It's a very good data analytic tool.

The initial setup is pretty easy. It's pretty straightforward in general.

What needs improvement?

I can't say that anything glaring is missing from the offering at this time.

Microsoft is doing a lot of research on it and they're coming up with a lot of good release items.

I'm not overly technical, and so I can't really speak to any shortcomings from a technical standpoint.

I'd like to have more time with the solution to evaluate it to see if there's really anything missing. We don't really go in-depth with the product.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution since about 2017. It's been a few years now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is very good. It's a Microsoft product and therefore they wouldn't put anything out that wasn't tested and worthy of release. There aren't bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze. It's quite reliable and offers good performance. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

While the scalability is there, the cost is what you have to factor in. It has to scale as if there's more data, it needs to meet that demand and be able to extract and analyze it.  

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support for the most part has been very good. They are helpful and responsive. We are satisfied with the level of support we receive. On a scale of one to 25, I would give it a mark of 20.

How was the initial setup?

We've found the initial setup to be pretty straightforward. It's not complex. A company shouldn't have too much trouble getting everything up and running.

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

I'm not sure of the exact cost of the solution. It's not an aspect of the product I need to worry about.

I am aware that we currently have an enterprise license.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I personally haven't evaluated or compared any other solutions. I don't have any knowledge in terms of how it compares to other options.

What other advice do I have?

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

I would rate the solution eight out of ten overall. We've been pretty satisfied with the product.

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