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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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Ayesha Imtiaz
Senior Analyst at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Good visualizations, dashboards, and scalability, but needs better user interface, rule-based security, and support

Pros and Cons

  • "Its visualizations and dashboards are most valuable. Power BI is great in terms of visualizations and dashboards. The reports that we previously had were not very nice in terms of visualization. It also provides the ability to play with the data."
  • "We have a lot of servers and applications from which we want reports, and it allows us to create reports from an SQL source or some other source."
  • "They can improve it in terms of rule-based security. Currently, it has very limited rules."
  • "They can improve the user interface a little bit to make it more user-friendly. When creating a dashboard, it is not very user-friendly. You have to click on a certain style and use your keyboard keys to move it. You cannot drag and drop it."
  • "Their technical support can be better. They normally take too long to escalate and resolve a case."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for reporting. We are using its latest version.

What is most valuable?

Its visualizations and dashboards are most valuable. Power BI is great in terms of visualizations and dashboards. The reports that we previously had were not very nice in terms of visualization. It also provides the ability to play with the data.

We have a lot of servers and applications from which we want reports, and it allows us to create reports from an SQL source or some other source.

What needs improvement?

They can improve it in terms of rule-based security. Currently, it has very limited rules.

They can improve the user interface a little bit to make it more user-friendly. When creating a dashboard, it is not very user-friendly. You have to click on a certain style and use your keyboard keys to move it. You cannot drag and drop it. 

Their technical support can be better. They normally take too long to escalate and resolve a case.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with Power BI for five or six months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I am at the initial stage of using it. We have just deployed a report in our organization, and it is working fine so far. It seems to be stable. I am not sure if we faced any issues with it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is good in terms of scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have had only one interaction with them, and it was a bad one. They took around a month to resolve a simple issue. We also had to escalate the case. The resolution was very simple, and ideally, they should have found it on the first day. They normally take too long when it comes to the escalation of cases.

How was the initial setup?

As a first-time user, I found it to be of medium complexity. You have to connect it with the SQL database or your data source. You might not find it very straightforward.

What other advice do I have?

It can also be deployed on-premises. If you have it on-premises, make sure that you meet all the prerequisites and have all permissions. You should sort these things out before deploying Power BI. I faced some issues because I missed one of the prerequisites, and it took me one month to get it resolved. That's why I recommend completing all prerequisites.

I would rate Microsoft Power BI a seven 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.
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SU
Head of Digitalization at a mining and metals company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Seamlessly integrates with Microsoft products, but can be made simpler to operate

Pros and Cons

  • "Its seamless integration with Microsoft products, such as Microsoft SQL Server or Microsoft Excel, is the most valuable."
  • "They can provide a user-friendly and easy way to use this tool for people who don't know about programming or technical things. It will be quite good if they can improve the look and feel and make it simpler to operate. They can make it easier to create some of the reports. They can also include predefined templates that you can directly use."

What is our primary use case?

It is mostly used for monthly cost reports for our department. We are also using it as a dashboard for giving some overview for management purposes. We are using the latest version.

What is most valuable?

Its seamless integration with Microsoft products, such as Microsoft SQL Server or Microsoft Excel, is the most valuable.

What needs improvement?

They can provide a user-friendly and easy way to use this tool for people who don't know about programming or technical things. It will be quite good if they can improve the look and feel and make it simpler to operate. 

They can make it easier to create some of the reports. They can also include predefined templates that you can directly use.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Microsoft BI for almost two and a half years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is quite good as long as you have proper sizing from the beginnings. If you do the right sizing keeping in mind the current usage as well as future growth, it is good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is scalable. We have around 65 seniors managers who use it on a weekly or monthly basis. Some reports are done weekly and some monthly.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not contacted them so far. I am from the user side. We contact our centralized IT department for any issues. If they have a technical issue that requires further escalation, they will directly contact Microsoft technical support.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is quite simple, but for the product use, you need to have people who have got experience of at least three to six months in using these applications. It took us two months to deploy across the company.

What about the implementation team?

We have a core team that gets training from a Microsoft partner. We then deploy it ourselves. After six months of using this solution, some of the key users get advanced training. 

We also maintain it ourselves. We have around ten people for its maintenance.

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

It is somewhere in the middle in terms of price. Licensing is quite clear.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We reviewed some other intelligence tools, and we just used them for trials.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend this solution, especially for the companies that mostly use Microsoft products and ecosystem. I would rate Microsoft BI a seven out of ten.

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.
BK
Manager - Customer Success at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
User-friendly and easy to install but isn't very scalable

Pros and Cons

  • "The product is stable."
  • "My data is restricted to my DB and I'm not sure how this would handle an extremely large dataset."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for analysis. I have a DB setup that I have. I use that DB for analyzing data, providing business solutions or business insights to the customers. Most of the time, I use Power BI for that or sometimes even Tableau.

What is most valuable?

The solution isn't hard to use. It's very user-friendly. 

The product is stable. 

The product is easy to install.

What needs improvement?

I haven't used the advanced version and therefore haven't accessed all of the features.

The solution isn't very scalable. My data is restricted to my DB and I'm not sure how this would handle an extremely large dataset.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for two years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the product is good. It doesn't crash or freeze. there are no bugs or glitches. It's reliable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I wouldn't describe the solution as scalable. 

While it is available as an option to most people in our organization, I'm not sure how many people are actually actively using it. I know that I use it myself quite often. 

How are customer service and technical support?

I've never reached out to technical support for assistance. I cannot speak to how helpful or responsive they are. 

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

I also use Tableau. I've used Tableau for about seven months. 

There are other programming languages like Python and R, where they use analytics for graphical representation, or they can use Power BI and Tableau in our company. There are many options.

How was the initial setup?

The installation is not complex or difficult. It's straightforward. 

We have Office 365, which holds Power BI, and therefore I was able to have it easily installed.

I can't recall how long the deployment actually took. 

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

I personally do not pay for a license. It may be arranged through our company. I have no insights into that aspect of the solution, however. 

What other advice do I have?

I'm a customer and an end-user.

The solution, being on the cloud, is automatically updated, and therefore, you are always on the latest version if you are using it. 

I'd rate the solution at a seven out of ten.

I'd recommend the product to those who want a basic tool that can help them study analytics.

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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OZ
Business Intelligence Developer at a manufacturing company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Great for monitoring and reporting

Pros and Cons

  • "Premium features that used to cost $5,000 per company per month recently became a lot more accessible. Microsoft recently implemented a per user feature in Power BI Premium; it's $20 per month."
  • "I would like to be able to use more predicting data science features without having to use R."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use cases for this product are monitoring and reporting. I have some dashboards for the sales department and a little bit for operations. I'm going to create a new dashboard for marketing. 

What is most valuable?

What I like about Power BI compared to Tableau, for example, is that Tableau is mostly a visualization program, but Power BI is a more complete solution, because it has DAX, Power Query, and a presentation and graphic layer. So, I use it not only for reporting and graphic purposes on the frontend, but also for doing things like modeling. It is very flexible, a lot more flexible for than Tableau for what I need.

One of the things that I appreciate is that premium features that used to cost $5,000 per company per month recently became a lot more accessible. Microsoft recently implemented a per user feature in Power BI Premium; it's $20 per month. I'm investigating in that because I think the price is good. 

What needs improvement?

I would like to be able to use more predicting data science features without having to use R. If I were able to do most of the data science that I normally do inside Power BI without using R, I would decrease my use of R and mostly use Power BI. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Microsoft Power BI for four and a half to five years. I have been using it since they created in basically. I started using it when it was Power Pivot in Excel and as soon as they created Power BI, I started using it. 

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

I recommend easing into Microsoft Power BI gradually. I started by creating models and graphics in Excel first. Then, when I learned a little bit about modeling, I started moving to Power BI and working there. 

So, I recommend starting with Excel and practicing there first. Power Pivot is the app that you can use in Excel for this kind of work. Before switching to Power BI, learn about data modeling and dashboarding in Power Pivot in Excel first. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before switching to Microsoft Power BI, I evaluated Tableau. It's a lot cheaper to use Power BI. The cost per user in Power BI is around $10 per month, while the cost per user for Tableau is a lot more expensive. That was a deciding factor for me. 

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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