Microsoft BI Overview

Microsoft BI is the #2 ranked solution in our list of top Business Intelligence Tools. It is most often compared to Oracle OBIEE: Microsoft BI vs Oracle OBIEE

What is Microsoft BI?

Microsoft BI is a business intelligence solution that turns data into insightful and useful business information that is relevant to all levels of the business.

Microsoft BI combines familiar Microsoft tools - Office, SharePoint, and SQL server, with extra features for end-users, such as Power View and Power Pivot. This powerful product gives businesses a competitive advantage by allowing end-users to better analyze their data, collaborate and better present their data.

Microsoft BI is also known as SSRS, SSAS, MSBI, MS BI, MS Reporting Services, Power BI, Microsoft BI Tools, Microsoft Big Data, Power BI Pro.

Microsoft BI Buyer's Guide

Download the Microsoft BI Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: January 2021

Microsoft BI Customers

Konica Minolta, Klout, Mahindra Satyam, The Weather Channel, Argus, Credit Suisse, NCR, and Sysmex.

Microsoft BI Video

Microsoft BI Archived Reviews (More than two years old)

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Guru Javvadi
Software Engineer at a energy/utilities company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 20
Jan 9, 2019
Good platform for data analysis, needs help with big data

What is our primary use case?

It is a good platform for data analysis, organization, and all of the other interim performances that are necessary.

What needs improvement?

It could have more of a hold on big data. Manipulating big data on this solution complicates things. This needs to be improved. Also, we post NGDP data and manipulating this kind of data could be better.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is good but sometimes we need to validate the data. 

How is customer service and technical support?

Tech support helped us handle the implementation to completion. They were helpful.

How was the initial setup?

I did not find any complexities with the setup. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We are a Microsoft partner so we did…
Sonali Mali
Engineer at Jade Global
MSP
Nov 6, 2018
The Microsoft tech support blog is very helpful.

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case for this solution is mirroring it to the dock so we can match up different parts of Office like Excel, Word, etc. and then we can clear it.

How has it helped my organization?

Microsoft always believes in adding different features. We did have some issues building the Microsoft blog.

What needs improvement?

We were having trouble working with the icons.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

How is customer service and technical support?

The Microsoft tech support blog was very helpful to me. But, it supports the non-BI people also.

How was the initial setup?

I was not involved with implementation of the product.

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

I do not have a…
Learn what your peers think about Microsoft BI. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: January 2021.
455,301 professionals have used our research since 2012.
it_user825429
Senior Business Analyst, Big data at a manufacturing company
Real User
Oct 23, 2018
It has a nice integration with Office 365.

What is our primary use case?

My primary use case is for view of the dashboard.

Pros and Cons

  • "My primary use is for view of the dashboard."
  • "It ingegrates nicely with Office 365."
  • "Powerpoints are not available in the report server."
  • "The report server feature is quite limited."

What other advice do I have?

It is a solution that is easy for developers to be hands-on, even if they do not have prior experience with it. It is quite easy to learn.
Da672Anly239
Data Analyst at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Oct 22, 2018
It is a powerful tool that helps our data analysis processes.

What is our primary use case?

We use Microsoft BI for all of our data analysis processes.

Pros and Cons

  • "It is a powerful tool that helps our data analysis processes."
  • "It would be nice to use other connectors to link with the data."
SenProgrammer29
Senior Programmer Analyst with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Aug 8, 2018
Data abstracting and good reporting features are keys for us

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is for data prediction. We use our predictive model index, and then express the data to Power BI.

Pros and Cons

  • "It's user-friendly and provides data abstracting capabilities. We are also able to share reports with our colleagues very easily."
  • "The DAX features need some improvement. It's not as easy as Excel. They need more DAX formulas."

What other advice do I have?

It depends on how you're going to use the reports, but when looking into this product or similar solutions, check the security side of things. If you don't want to share information with everyone, how does it deal with that? So far, it's one of the best reporting tools I've found. They are improving the product every month. I would rate it at eight out of 10. The two missing points are to see what comes out in the future.
itspec564565
IT Specialist at a wholesaler/distributor with 1-10 employees
Real User
Aug 6, 2018
There is a lot of help and documentation on the Internet

Pros and Cons

  • "There is a lot of help and documentation on the Internet, so no special training is needed to use the source code."
  • "The reporting part of Microsoft BI is rather limited compared to other reporting tools."

What other advice do I have?

Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: * Price * Ability to go on the Internet and locate support information. * Secure product * Easy interface to use.
Bidirect377
Manager at a logistics company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Aug 2, 2018
Provides accurate data and easy navigation

What is our primary use case?

Using it, I receive financial information from the financial department.

How has it helped my organization?

It gives us accurate data and an easy way to navigate.

What is most valuable?

I get the information I need easily, and it's easy to read.

What needs improvement?

They should add mobile access.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is okay.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

For me it's okay, I don't have any issues with scalability.

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

The decision to use Microsoft BI was made by the financial department.

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

Salahuddin Almohammadi
Group IT Manager with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Aug 1, 2018
Provides the user the ability to quickly look at data and focus on relevant information

What is our primary use case?

It is a good solution. We use it for analyzing and visualizing data relating to warehouses and connections from other ERP systems, etc.

Pros and Cons

  • "Its data visualization provides the user the ability to quickly look at data and focus on relevant information, allowing them to make an immediate decision."
  • "It should be easier to use when there are multiple system sources."

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend this solution to another user. We are not dealing the vendor. We are using it directly from Microsoft as part of Office 365.
Norbert Langewiesche
Interim Manager Supply Chain / IT with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Jul 25, 2018
It is connected to every database: Whatever and wherever it is

What is our primary use case?

Its primary use case is for CIPs from the purchasing department. It performs perfectly. It is very quick and easy to use.

Pros and Cons

  • "It is easy to work with and very chic."
  • "Its connection to every database: Whatever and wherever it is."
  • "The look is simple, and could be a little more professional."

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend Power BI as the best working solution. Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: Usability of the solution.
Dipak Bhudia
Founder with 1-10 employees
Real User
Jun 5, 2018
Users can access data much more easily than before, and it works with Excel

What is our primary use case?

It's primarily for reporting, and the performance has been very good.

Pros and Cons

  • "Other people can access data much more easily than before. Its usability is the main advantage, people in the company are using it."
  • "With Power BI, you're able to store your data within spreadsheets and SharePoints, and then have Power BI pull the data out and report on it. So we actually saved a ton of money not needing to load the data into databases, which is a big prerequisite for many other reporting tools."

    What other advice do I have?

    I rate it a nine out of 10 because it's very cost-effective, so it's very accessible in that respect, and a lot of folks do use spreadsheets so it helps ease the transition from using just spreadsheets to a more mature reporting environment. My advice is, speak to your users because, at the end of the day, if they don't use it, you've failed, which was the case with other reporting tools.
    it_user872265
    Professor of Private International Law with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Real User
    May 30, 2018
    Flawless stability, integrates well with Access, Excel, but needs ETL functionality

    What is our primary use case?

    Visualization and minor analytics. It has performed quite well thus far.

    Pros and Cons

    • "It is very well integrated with other Microsoft products, including PowerApps and Excel, as well as Access, so it fits well into our workflow."

      What other advice do I have?

      Our most important criteria when selecting a vendor are cost, cost, and cost. I rate Microsoft BI at seven out of 10 and that's because I have not utilized it as much as I would have liked to. However, it is very well integrated with other Microsoft products, including PowerApps and Excel, as well as Access, so it fits well into our workflow. Consider very carefully what your requirements are and plan your projects well. This is a wonderful tool but it will not get the work done for you.
      it_user866316
      Director, Education Management Information Systems with 51-200 employees
      Real User
      May 15, 2018
      Ease of integration with various data sources and the dashboards are key for us

      What is our primary use case?

      We use it primarily to create visualizations, along with very light analytics of education performance data.

      Pros and Cons

      • "Key features are its dashboard functionality and ease of integration with various data sources."
      • "It is definitely a wonderful analytics tool. However, database ETL, data integration functionality would be absolutely perfect in many cases. Currently, it doesn't get the job done and we need to extract, transform, and load the data from faulty data sets into something more suitable for the deployment of the analytics tool."

      What other advice do I have?

      My most important criteria when selecting a vendor are * cost * sustainability. I would rate it at eight out of 10 because of its ease of use, simple setup, and excellent integration. I would rate it a 10 if they provided free training. It's a wonderful application, it meets our needs.
      Arturo Laos
      CEO at a tech services company
      Real User
      May 14, 2018
      Tool is easy to use, DAX coding language is good for creating formulae

      What is our primary use case?

      We use it for visualization, to create presentations and dashboards. It works pretty well.

      Pros and Cons

      • "The DAX coding language is good for creating formulae."

        What other advice do I have?

        When selecting a vendor we look for expertise, a company that understands the problems and knows the market, solutions, tools; and one that creates successful products. That is the most important criterion. Also, when you are in front of your clients, you need to know who is supporting you from the back. I would rate Power BI at eight out of 10 because it enables us to do all the things we want to do. Moving forward, for more than 5,000 users, or for very complex dashboards, we don't know how it works. I always recommend Power BI. It's very good.
        it_user859623
        IT Director at a manufacturing company with 5,001-10,000 employees
        Real User
        May 3, 2018
        Enables us to graphically view company-wide and departmental data

        What is our primary use case?

        We are using this tool for different departments. Mainly, it's connected with the ERP to show our users information that comes from data in different areas. For example, we are using Power BI in production on quality and logistics. We have created the appropriate package of data that is connected with Power BI to show our end-users the graphics, the figures, the key indicators.

        Pros and Cons

        • "Easy to use. End-users can make changes to the graphics."
        • "I am a SAP user and I would like this tool to have more connectors - and to more easily connect to - the ERP or SAP environment."
        • "I would prefer that the solution not be shared. I'm concerned that if we make a mistake we could reveal information to people who shouldn't see it. I would like to have my own on-prem server, to buy my own server and have my own infrastructure for Microsoft BI, with only with my data."

        What other advice do I have?

        When selecting a vendor or product, the most important criterion for me is the usability - it must be easy to use. It must be one that end-users can learn to use on their own, so that the IT department does not have to make changes or solve problems for the end-users. It's a good tool, easy to use, Microsoft is adding more and more functionality. My advice would be, always compare with other tools. In part this is own our internal rule, we must compare with others, to make sure we have the best tool.
        CTOINBI874
        Principal at a tech services company with 1-10 employees
        Real User
        Apr 30, 2018
        Gives business power users the ability to do their own work, without help from IT

        What is our primary use case?

        I have started a consulting business. So my use case is typically what my clients are doing. I've used it for healthcare analysis, headcount analysis, financial and performance analysis.

        Pros and Cons

        • "In the early stage of an implementation, it not only helps decision making, but it allows people to have insight into problems with data so that they can go and get it corrected."
        • "Allows business users with a mission to solve their own problems, without an IT person."
        • "One thing I would like to have is the scripting language, as they already have within Excel. It's already within a Microsoft business product, because Excel is the number one business product out there. So it would be nice to have the scripting capability in order to automate certain processes."

        What other advice do I have?

        I'd say that Microsoft and Tableau are both nine and a half out of 10, and it's per the requirements I already mentioned. They both are very high-quality, easy to use, stable, they both allow business users to do a level of development, and they're both highly deployable. My advice to a colleague would be that they actually do short trials with each of the products they're considering and the check the vendors' support.
        CTOINBI874
        Principal at a tech services company with 1-10 employees
        Real User
        Apr 18, 2018
        It allows individuals to do the analysis themselves​

        What is our primary use case?

        Consolidating data from multiple sources and providing dashboards to a broad set of users: Finance, Human Resources, Operations, and Leadership.

        How has it helped my organization?

        It allows individuals to do the analysis themselves. We are getting adoption beyond original expectations.

        What is most valuable?

        Most importantly, the dashboards. Recently, we are exploring vendor provided analysis/visuals and the use of R.

        What needs improvement?

        Drill-down in dashboards needs to improved. The capability only works in Power BI Desktop today. We need to have an alternative approach today.

        For how long have I used the solution?

        Three to five years.
        Geoff Speedy
        IT Director at VIC Dept of Health and Human Services
        User
        Apr 17, 2018
        Provides data feeds for enterprise KPI reporting

        What is our primary use case?

        Enterprise reporting Enterprise BI Project reporting and BI Data integration Data collection Information management

        How has it helped my organization?

        We are running over 500,000 report annually. It provides data feeds for enterprise KPI reporting. It provides data feeds for AI.

        What is most valuable?

        Integration of DB and reporting Standardised SQL language Plenty of support Cloud options Continual improvement year-over-year

        What needs improvement?

        The data source definition is all over the place.  It needs a wizard that covers all its options.  It needs an AI which can choose the appropriate connection strings and provide options for connections.

        For how long have I used the solution?

        More than five years.
        it_user654243
        Business Intelligence Developer at a financial services firm with 5,001-10,000 employees
        Real User
        Apr 16, 2018
        Self-service allows end-users to source information, but email-based subscription is needed

        What other advice do I have?

        When selecting a vendor, the most important criteria are affordability - because of the exchange in my country - and ease of use. I would rate this solution a seven out of 10, because you can actually go from the common tools that you use, from your Excel, from your SharePoint... You can pretty much do everything with it. The little things that you can't do, you can customize it to do by writing code. I would say that, you should look away from the limitations. Focus on the positives of it, because it's cheaper to acquire than most of the big five. It's cheaper to acquire and easy to use.
        Actnt932
        Accountant at a government
        Real User
        Top 20
        Apr 11, 2018
        Flexibility in analyzing data is helpful, but it needs to be simpler to use

        What is our primary use case?

        I use it for budget analysis. I am in charge of budget analysis for the organization. I get figures from other units, and then I do a budget comparison with forecasting. The performance is very good.

        Pros and Cons

        • "The most valuable features are the flexibility, how many ways you can interrogate the data, and the the graphical visualization."

          What other advice do I have?

          When selecting a vendor, the most important criterion for me is, it should be something that is really user-friendly. By that I mean, I don't need to go through specialized training to learn how to use it; not in this day and age, when the solution should be really a solution. I don't need to be an expert to know how to use it. Just user friendly, click and go. Also, I think it should be something that assures me of its stability. For me, at the moment, it is the best thing that I've used. But I can't compare it to the other ones. It is the only one I know, apart from just normal financial…
          it_user829302
          Head of IT at a construction company with 10,001+ employees
          Real User
          Mar 4, 2018
          Users already using Excel can generate new reports and dashboards within minutes

          What is our primary use case?

          Microsoft Power BI gives a true self-service tool to the user. The IT team can focus on ensuring that the database is in a good place. It is also in the cloud, which makes it easy for mobile access of reports and data.

          Pros and Cons

          • "It is in the cloud, which makes it easy for mobile access of reports and data."
          • "Users already using Excel can generate new reports and dashboards within minutes."
          • "Initial setup was very straightforward. Users can get up and running reporting on databases within minutes."
          • "Real-time refreshing for SAP BW would be nice. We know its on the radar for the development team at MS. ​"
          • "Not having to login again after a mobile app upgrade. A simple login on mobile would be great."

          What other advice do I have?

          Love that fact that we have a great development team that is moving the product forward every month.
          it_user825114
          Senior Manager with 10,001+ employees
          User
          Feb 27, 2018
          Ease of development and maintenance

          What is our primary use case?

          P&L Revenue Logistics IT services Stock control Costs Sales

          How has it helped my organization?

          Established a culture of management by indicators. Improvement of services Greater visibility of results

          What is most valuable?

          Predictable cloud environment High performance Ease of development and maintenance

          What needs improvement?

          Delta update More than 10 GB of space Single sign-on More than 30 Windows to update by Power Bi gateway.

          For how long have I used the solution?

          One to three years.
          Peter Valbonesi
          Project Manager with 51-200 employees
          User
          Feb 27, 2018
          It helped identify bad data

          What is our primary use case?

          Our primary use cases for this solution are Health and Wellness claims and short-term and long-term disability data.

          How has it helped my organization?

          It helped identify bad data, enabling the corrections needed to the data for management.

          What is most valuable?

          Ease of use Dashboard Easy access to databases and spreadsheets Multi-table access

          What needs improvement?

          More graphics and overlays More analytic tools More interfaces to databases, especially multi-table management

          For how long have I used the solution?

          Three to five years.
          Dung Dinh Tien
          Database Expert & BI Developer at a outsourcing company
          Real User
          Top 20
          Oct 30, 2017
          We were able to improve the performance of our reporting system. Monitoring features and SSIS Connectors need improvement.

          Pros and Cons

          • "Provides a full platform (database, ETL, reporting, analysis, and so on)"
          • "I have to write scripts to query data for analyzing performance."
          • "Microsoft needs to provide more drivers to connect other data sources in a native way."

          What other advice do I have?

          Microsoft offers us a full platform, which we use to develop and deploy our BI solution quickly and easily. It also provides both of these infrastructure for use: On-Premise and Azure Cloud. They are very flexible.
          PerHemström
          Partner at a consultancy with 11-50 employees
          Real User
          Sep 26, 2017
          Competitors' products have more functionality, though the self-service aspect is good

          Pros and Cons

          • "We can see that it's really improved the way end users can do their own graphs and pick their own fields of information and present that in a nice way."
          • "The way you navigate the product, compared to other products in this industry, that could be improved a bit."

          What other advice do I have?

          There are some limitations in regards to the navigation part.
          it_user206340
          Principal Business Intelligence Analyst at a logistics company with 1,001-5,000 employees
          Vendor
          Sep 17, 2017
          The ability to perform complex business modeling through DAX calculations stands out in a crowd

          Pros and Cons

          • "SSRS and the Tabular server/Vertipaq engine/DAX are probably the two most valuable components."
          • "The visualization aspect, while being the most visible to business users, also happens the be the weakest point in the entire Microsoft BI stack."

          What other advice do I have?

          Do your homework when deciding what components to leverage. The worst thing you can do is try to use them all. The gamut of products under the Microsoft BI banner enables every form of BI - choose the ones that serve your specific purposes, and leave the rest on the table until a new need arises.
          reviewer96678
          Managing Director at a tech services company with 1-10 employees
          Real User
          Sep 14, 2017
          It reduces the time needed to generate reporting and provides an overview of company performance

          What other advice do I have?

          For the first project, we will advise using consultants to assist on the implementation, so the dos and don’ts of the solution can be known in the first instance without having to trial and error the solution.
          Khumbulani Chikura
          Business Intelligence Architect at a tech services company
          Real User
          Jul 13, 2017
          Data integration enabled my organization to easily pool data from our varied system into one data warehouse.​

          Pros and Cons

          • "Data integration enabled my organization to easily pool data from our varied system into one data warehouse."
          • "SSMS & SSRS."

          What other advice do I have?

          For users intending to use the product in exclusively Microsoft environment, this product will meet most of your requirement if not all. If there is a need for integration with other vendors’ products precautionary measures must be taken. SQL 2016 is bringing and offering that support for mobile BI, so it would be great to give it a try. If you are comfortable with MS Excel spreadsheets, then Power BI is your thing as it has the same look and feel of Excel, actually, it is embedded in Excel.
          Gilberto Gutierrez
          Presales Architect at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
          Consultant
          Jun 29, 2017
          With the Data Platform and Business Intelligence ecosystem, you get the entire platform with a single license

          Pros and Cons

          • "With the out-of-the-box Data Platform and Business Intelligence ecosystem, you get the entire platform with a single license."
          • "It is getting better but still, there are opportunity areas in some aspects, especially the Windows OS dependency."

          What other advice do I have?

          It is very straightforward. Maybe you won't like the Windows OS dependency, but, in the 2017 version, you can install the engine on Linux.
          it_user553431
          Chief Tecnical Officer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
          Consultant
          Jun 29, 2017
          ​​All in all, for the price, this is an excellent tool for helping your organization turn mounds of data into useful insights.​​

          Pros and Cons

          • "PowerBI – Self-service BI."
          • "People without private emails cannot publish and, frankly, this doesn't allow for easy training."

          What other advice do I have?

          If you want to dazzle your audience and, at the same time, show meaningful insights, then this is the best tool.
          it_user324447
          Business Intelligence Consultant at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
          Real User
          Jun 27, 2017
          Helps to create the board report pack for financial reporting. The graphical and dashboard reports must have tabs.

          What other advice do I have?

          It’s cheaper to implement in terms of the licensing. It works well, especially when implementing the whole stack of Microsoft BI solution including SSAS for data modeling and SSIS for ETL.
          it_user305997
          Data Analyst at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
          Consultant
          Jun 27, 2017
          Users with Excel experience can use this tool to work with larger than Excel data sets. It is not very intuitive to find any functionality.

          What other advice do I have?

          It seems to be good for extending the capabilities of Excel but I wouldn't recommend it as a standalone setup.
          Farhan Ahmed MCTS/MCITP/MCC SQL Server
          Senior Software Engineer - Business Intelligence at a tech consulting company with 51-200 employees
          Real User
          Top 20
          Jun 27, 2017
          The interactive reports, DirectQuery and integration with the other Microsoft services are valuable features.
          it_user232830
          Head of Information Systems Department at a government
          Vendor
          Jun 26, 2017
          It made data correlation between the agencies fast. Our expectation is to get real-time data collection systems in the maritime environment.

          Pros and Cons

          • "It provides easy integration with Office tools."
          • "Our expectation is putting BI to work in real-time data collection systems in the maritime environment."

          What other advice do I have?

          You will need training personnel and powerful servers.
          it_user217881
          Consultant MOA BI at a manufacturing company with 1,001-5,000 employees
          Vendor
          Jun 26, 2017
          ​MS BI comes with all the tools and it is to the best of my knowledge the most affordable solution​.​

          Pros and Cons

          • "MS SQL & SQL Server Analysis Services."
          • "SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) is not user friendly."

          What other advice do I have?

          Watch your data model, use data marts when possible, set your archiving/purge policy from the beginning, size your hardware well (unless on cloud).
          it_user185154
          Customer Data Analytics Specialist at Allianz Turkey
          Vendor
          Jun 22, 2017
          You can work easily to upload and model big data.

          What other advice do I have?

          It is a user-friendly tool, but the data size is important, i.e., you have to check your data size and how you can use it effectively.
          it_user454209
          Business Intelligence Analyst & Developer at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
          Consultant
          Jan 31, 2017
          With drill-through reports, links in the data presented take a report viewer to related reports. Reports look terrible on mobile screens.

          What other advice do I have?

          SQL Server Reporting Services is one of the most popular components of SQL Server, but it has always been surprisingly difficult to get from one place all the basic facts you need to get up and running from scratch, to the point of producing reports. My overall experience with Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services is that it is easy to install and to integrate in an enterprise setting. Developing sophisticated reports, however, can be slow and tedious. Ultimately, getting information to business users is the name of the game. Doing it fast and doing it intuitively trumps fancy features.
          it_user229761
          Senior Consultant | Architect at DHL
          Consultant
          Aug 23, 2016
          We have the ability to connect separate services like CRM, NAV, Facebook, Exchange, etc. and make data integration and transformation based on these data connections in a few clicks.

          What other advice do I have?

          It's a tool for a new kind of business intelligence from Microsoft. Tool for quick modeling of data structures and for visualizing almost everything you have in mind at the moment. There is still a lot of room for improvement and there is also a huge space for new functionalities. But it’s a simple and great tool for everyday use. You should get it and implement it. However, you should get a trial version, and contact a partner who can provide some sales presentation with the live session (CIE for example) and show, what the possibilities are of Power BI.
          Nigel Magson
          Founder at a tech consulting company with 11-50 employees
          Real User
          Top 5Leaderboard
          Jul 19, 2016
          SQL Server 2016 delivers built-in mobile BI capabilities.
          it_user480210
          Web Developer at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees
          Vendor
          Jul 17, 2016
          We switched from Crystal Report Server because it was crashing regularly.
          it_user289488
          MSBI Technical Lead at a tech company with 10,001+ employees
          Vendor
          Aug 13, 2015
          It's been stable for over eight years, but is lacking a data warehouse manager.

          What other advice do I have?

          This product is hassle free to utilize for your BI environment.
          it_user221220
          Analyst in XBRL Projects at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
          Vendor
          Apr 22, 2015
          Poor support for XML, but it has good integration with other Microsoft products.

          What is most valuable?

          All the features are valuable.

          How has it helped my organization?

          We empower users with Enterprise BI and Self Service BI by Microsoft BI.

          What needs improvement?

          Microsoft has poor support for XML.

          For how long have I used the solution?

          I've used it for four years.

          What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

          There were no issues, and it has good integration with other Microsoft products.

          What do I think about the stability of the solution?

          We do have issues, but we can solve them ourselves.

          What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

          We do have issues, but we can solve them ourselves.

          How are customer service and technical support?

          Customer Service: It's good. Technical Support: We are more expert than they are. …
          it_user194682
          Database Analyst at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
          Vendor
          Feb 15, 2015
          This is the most compatible solution for medium sized organization but the robustness of the stack could be improved

          What other advice do I have?

          It is a great, cost effective solution if the size of the organization is only medium and easy to use and cost of finding a resource is low.
          it_user181869
          Microsoft BI Architect at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
          Consultant
          Jan 15, 2015
          Despite vague error messages, some functions were cut down from 90 seconds to about less than one second

          What other advice do I have?

          Look at the amount of data that you have and the amount you anticipate in the future. If you have multiple sources of data and multiple applications consuming it, sticking to a single solution might not be the best idea.
          it_user171975
          MSBI Technology Architect/Developer at a pharma/biotech company with 51-200 employees
          Vendor
          Dec 22, 2014
          Very stable tool with some improvements needed in SSIS

          What is most valuable?

          SSIS is the most valuable. Individually I would rate features out of 10 as SSIS: 9, SSAS: 8, and SSRS: 7.

          How has it helped my organization?

          Automation. With MSBI, we realized automation from data loading, transformation and reporting.

          What needs improvement?

          The aggregate functions in SSRS.

          For how long have I used the solution?

          5 years

          What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

          Not much with appropriate configuration design.

          What do I think about the stability of the solution?

          None encountered.

          What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

          Data set is not big enough to tell.

          How are customer service and technical support?

          Customer Service: Good. Also easy to find solution by Googling. Technical Support: Haven't…
          it_user171969
          Microsoft BI Consultant with 51-200 employees
          Vendor
          Dec 14, 2014
          Good product for End Users but there are some problems with huge chunks of data.

          What is most valuable?

          Data Integration and Cleansing & Warehousing are the most valuable

          What needs improvement?

          End-user tools such as Excel is not good enough for all business scenarios.

          For how long have I used the solution?

          8 years

          What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

          There are some issues with 2005/2008 releases, but most of them were fixed starting with 2012 release

          What do I think about the stability of the solution?

          Sometimes in the starting few months of every new release.

          What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

          There are some problems with huge chunks of data. Some of these can be addressed with appropriate hardware appliances and a lot of tweaking.

          Which

          it_user4014
          Developer at a tech consulting company with 51-200 employees
          Consultant
          Sep 15, 2014
          It offers high performance & low cost BI solutions with ability to integrate with other third party tools.

          What other advice do I have?

          It offers a very vibrant MSDN community along with Microsoft support staff for assistance.
          it_user117558
          BI Junior consultant at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
          Consultant
          Jun 5, 2014
          Excel in BI mode provides an excellent approach to the BI world for end users

          Valuable Features:

          Power BI (except Power Query)

          Improvements to My Organization:

          Reduced time to develop and deployment projects.

          Room for Improvement:

          PowerQuery (so long) + smt exists in SSAS cube but cannot do the same in tabular.

          Use of Solution:

          2 years

          Deployment Issues:

          Yes. Language DAX

          Stability Issues:

          No

          Scalability Issues:

          No
          it_user94311
          Information System Manager with 501-1,000 employees
          Vendor
          May 4, 2014
          We evaluated both SSRS and Business Objects. We chose SSRS and currently use Cognos as well.
          I've been using Microsoft SSRS for 2 years. For me, the most valuable feature is the integration feature with our ERP. SSRS has room for improvement including drill down and graphs. Although I am happy with the products, I have experience performance degradation at times.  We're currently running both SSRS and Cognos. We ended up choosing SSRS after evaluating it alongside Business Objects. Once we chose to go with SSRS, we implemented through the vendor and found their level of expertise to be high which made the process very easy. I would say that our ROI is 200%. I would recommend SSRS to others.
          it_user7626
          BI Expert at a tech company with 10,001+ employees
          Vendor
          Dec 8, 2013
          Comparing BO Webi vs SSRS
          Webi from BO and SSRS from Microsoft are always in competition with each other. Both of them are good products catering to similar business needs in different styles. I have been using Webi and SSRS for my projects and i always think first which one should i use before starting a new one. Here i would be doing this comparison that may help others to opt between the two Formatting - SSRS provides you good flexibility in formatting your reports but Webi does it better. In webi you can align your components charts with better look and feel than SSRS. Also formatting is easier in webi as its all gui based while in SSRS its all visual studio like environment so bit of complexity. Hence i would give webi 5 and SSRS 4 Rendering - SSRS rendering is really bad when it comes to PDF, they don't…
          it_user7845
          Consultant at a tech consulting company with 501-1,000 employees
          Consultant
          Jul 21, 2013
          My 30 tips for building a Microsoft BI solution, Part VI: Tips 26-30
          This is the last part in my series of things I wished I knew about before starting a Microsoft BI project. I’ll be taking my summer vacation now so the blog will be quiet the next month. After the break I will revise a couple of the tips based on feedback so stay tuned. #26: Decide how to source your data in Analysis Services and stick with it. Ideally you will source your data from a correctly modeled star schema. Even then you may need to massage the source data before feeding it into SSAS. There are two ways of accomplishing this: Through views in the database or through data source views (dimensional) or queries (tabular). Unless you are unable to create views in your database (running on a prod system etc) I would strongly suggest using them. This will give you a clean separation…
          it_user7845
          Consultant at a tech consulting company with 501-1,000 employees
          Consultant
          Jul 21, 2013
          My 30 tips for building a Microsoft BI solution, Part V: Tips 21-25
          I might just get all 30 done before summer vacation #21: Avoid using discretization buckets for your dimension attributes Discretization buckets lets you group numerical attributes into ranges. Say you have a customer dimension including the age of the customer you can use this feature to group them into age clusters such as 0-5, 6-10 and so on. While you can tweak how the algorithm creates groups and even provide naming templates for the groups you still have relatively limited control over them. Worst case scenario: A grouping is removed / changed by the algorithm which is referenced in a report. A better way of grouping these attributes is by doing it yourself either in the data source view or a view in the database (there will be a separate tip on this). This way you have complete…
          it_user7845
          Consultant at a tech consulting company with 501-1,000 employees
          Consultant
          Jul 21, 2013
          My 30 tips for building a Microsoft BI solution, Part IV: Tips 16-20
          A note about the SSAS tips: Most tips are valid for both dimensional and tabular models. I try to note where they are not. #16: Implement reporting dimensions in your SSAS solution Reporting dimensions are constructs you use to make the data model more flexible for reporting purposes. They usually also simplify the management and implementation of common calculation scenarios. Here are two examples: A common request from users is the need to select which measure to display for a given report in Excel through a normal filter. This is not possible with normal measures / calculations. The solution is to create a measure dimension with one member for each measure. Expose a single measure in your measure group (I frequently use “Value”) that you assign the correct measure to in your MDX…
          it_user7845
          Consultant at a tech consulting company with 501-1,000 employees
          Consultant
          Jul 21, 2013
          My 30 tips for building a Microsoft BI solution, Part III: Tips 11-15
          #11: Manage your own surrogate keys. In SQL Server it is common to use an INT or BIGINT set as IDENTITY to create unique, synthetic keys. The number is a sequence and a new value is generated when we execute an insert. There are some issues with this. Quite often we need this value in our Integration Services solution to do logging and efficient loads of the data warehouse (there will be a separate tip on this). This means that sometimes we need the value before an insert and sometimes after. You can obtain the last value generated by issuing a SCOPE_IDENTITY command but this will require an extra trip to the server per row flowing through your pipeline. Obtaining the value before an insert happens is not possible in a safe way. A better option is to generate the keys yourself through a…
          it_user7845
          Consultant at a tech consulting company with 501-1,000 employees
          Consultant
          Jul 21, 2013
          My 30 tips for building a Microsoft BI solution, Part II: Tips 6-10
          # 6: Use a framework for your Integration Services solution(s) because data is evil I know how it is. You may have started your ETL project using the SQL Server import / export wizard or you may have done a point integration of a couple of tables through data tools. You might even have built an entire solution from the ground up and been pretty sure that you thought of everything. You most likely have not. Data is a tricky thing. So tricky in fact that I over the years have built up an almost paranoid distrust against it. The only sure thing I can say is that it will change (both intentionally and unintentionally) over time and your meticulously crafted solution will fail. Best case scenario is that it simply will stop working. Worst case scenario is that this error / these errors have…
          it_user7845
          Consultant at a tech consulting company with 501-1,000 employees
          Consultant
          Jul 18, 2013
          My 30 tips for building a Microsoft BI solution, Part I: Tips 1-5
          Having worked with Microsoft BI for more than a decade now here are the top 30 things I wished I knew before starting development of a solution. These are not general BI project recommendations such as “listen to the business” or “build incrementally” but specific lessons I have learned (more often than not the hard way) designing and implementing Microsoft based Business Intelligence solutions. So here are the first five: #1: Have at least one SharePoint expert on the team. The vast majority of front-end BI tools from Microsoft are integrated with SharePoint. In fact, some of them only exist in SharePoint (for instance PerformancePoint). This means that if you want to deliver Business Intelligence with a Microsoft solution, you will probably deliver a lot of it through SharePoint. And…
          it_user7683
          Head of Data Analytics with 51-200 employees
          Vendor
          Jul 14, 2013
          Why would you choose Microsoft as your BI platform?
          This morning I was on the train going to a briefing session and I was compelled to look again at the Gartner Magic Quadrant paper on BI – in the same way as mid-exam you might go back and look at the question to make sure you are answering it. Here are the things I pulled out for my slides. You might find them useful. I see Gartner as the arbiters of good-taste in matters informatics. They explain the market and solutions, they rate vendors and they offer thought-provoking insight to people making technology choices – whether you are buying or making. I love ‘em. I’m making no apologies for my promotion of Microsoft. I believe it to be the most complete in terms of the company’s vision, the easiest to execute and I buy into the visionaries in Redmond and beyond (especially Cambridge in…
          it_user7683
          Head of Data Analytics with 51-200 employees
          Vendor
          Jul 14, 2013
          Does Microsoft Have Too Many BI Products?
          I am quite excited about the launch of SQL2012 and in particular PowerView, or Crescent as some of you may know it as. I am pleased that Microsoft are sharpening their In-Memory BI story and they have a drag and drop user interface that can compete with the likes of Qlik-View et al. Blimey, this has started off like a techy post – didn’t mean to. I’ll write more about our use of PowerView on a really interesting project, next time. Let me get to the point. Microsoft now has Excel, ProClarity, PerformancePoint, PowerView, PowerPivot, Reporting Services, Visio and BingMaps interfacing with its dimensional model (Analysis Services) and now its BISM (BI Semantic Model) which seems to have replaced the Report Model. I am confused and so are my customers. This is also an issue that…
          it_user7656
          BI Expert with 51-200 employees
          Vendor
          Jul 14, 2013
          We’ve Got The Power: “Power BI”, New Microsoft BI Suite Announced
          Power BI: a new suite of Business Intelligence tools Over the past few months, teams at Microsoft have made several new Business Intelligence tools available for preview; some only privately and some to the public.  The entire suite will soon be available for either public preview or release under the new name: “Power BI”.  All of the components of Power BI are listed below but the big news is a new hosted offering called “Power BI for Office 365” and “Power BI Sites”.  The announcement was made at the Worldwide Partner Conference this week.  Users can sign-up to be notified when the new offerings are available for general availability, apparently in the very near future.  I’ve had an opportunity to work with early, pre-released versions and it has been interesting to see the gaps…
          it_user7656
          BI Expert with 51-200 employees
          Vendor
          Jul 14, 2013
          Taking the Tabular Journey
          A Getting-Started and Survival Guide for planning, designing and building Tabular Semantic Models with Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services. by Paul Turley This post will be unique in that it will be a living document that will be updated and expanded over time.  I will also post-as-I-go on the site about other things but this particular post will live for a while.  I have a lot of good intentions – I know that about myself and I also know that the best way to get something done is to get it started – especially if I’m too busy with work and projects.  If it’s important, the “completing” part can happen later.  In the case of this post, I’ll take care of building it as I go, topic by topic.  Heck, maybe it will never be “finished” but then are we ever really done with IT…
          it_user7683
          Head of Data Analytics with 51-200 employees
          Vendor
          Jul 10, 2013
          How does the Microsoft stack help me drive BI adoption?
          You drive adoption of BI through three approaches; firstly you set adoption as a goal, secondly you make your content compelling and ONLY THIRDLY do you think about tools.  Too many people focus on item 3 and their BI doesn’t penetrate the organisation like they wanted it to and therefore doesn’t deliver the benefits they sought. It may sound strange to set adoption as a goal, however we have all worked in organisations that have taken an IT-led or procurement-led approach to BI without sitting back and working out what the BI is for.  In the NHS we have a lot of BI projects that work like that.  The goal might be to recreate the old reports on a new platform that looks more shiney and therefore will be used.  The goal might be to implement something the CEO saw at a trade fair.…
          it_user7680
          Director of Data Analytics at a tech company with 51-200 employees
          Vendor
          Jul 10, 2013
          Microsoft BI on iPad
          I know that Microsoft have promised that they will be playing catch up later this year in terms of Mobile BI, and for sure they need to. Offerings available right now from the likes of Cognos, QlikView, Business Objects and Microstrategy (current personal favourite) far outstrip what you can do with the current Microsoft stack. But what does work? Well, from what I can see, anything Sliverlight based is out, so that rules out PowerView and Decomp Trees in PPS. It seems that most of the other things work though, so there’s much you can still do. Having managed to blag a company iPad in my new role as Reporting & Analytics lead, I figured I’d hook it up to the MSFT 2008R2 demo server I built that currently hosts some of Logica’s Spark Centre demos. Having installed Junos Pulse, a VPN…
          it_user7677
          Consultant with 51-200 employees
          Vendor
          Jul 10, 2013
          Mapping Business Intelligence Developer’s Tools: Microsoft SQL server & SAP Netweaver BW
          This Post is not about Microsoft BI VS Sap BI. NO. NO. NO. Then What is it? well, I have been playing with SAP’s Netweaver BW Tools for past three months now as a part of a Business Intelligence class that’s about to conclude – Also, I have been involved with work on Microsoft’s SQL server Business Intelligence Tools. So I thought – it would be FUN to map  SAP Netweaver BW Tools (that I got to play with in an academic capacity) and Microsoft’s Business Intelligence Tools (which is currently what I am working on) – so, here you go: Tool in Microsoft BI Tool in SAP Netweaver BW ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) SAP Netweaver BW: Data Warehousing Workbench Cube SQL Server Analysis Services – Multidimensional…
          it_user7659
          Consultant at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
          Consultant
          Jul 9, 2013
          Report Builder … the Red-Headed Stepchild of Self-Service BI Tools?
          A conversation on Twitter earlier this week has inspired me to pose this question…Is Report Builder the “Red-Headed Stepchild” when it comes to the Microsoft Self-Service BI toolset?  Report Builder doesn’t get much attention these days, for various reasons we’ll discuss below. (Note:  The perspective of this blog entry is Self-Service BI so Report Builder is the reference – however, everything stated is applicable to full-fledged Reporting Services as well.) Is Report Builder Deprecated? Nope!  Report Models, however, are deprecated.  As of SQL Server 2012, you can no longer create or update Report Models (SMDL files).  You can continue to use Report Models currently, but it is recommended to move away from them as time allows.  Report Builder itself is at version 3.0 and is a…
          it_user7656
          BI Expert with 51-200 employees
          Vendor
          Jul 9, 2013
          SSAS Tabular Models: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly & the Beautiful
          After working on a couple of serious tabular model projects, I’ve been talking to other BI practitioners lately about their thoughts regarding tabular model technology and I’m finding that there is little consensus among all these industry experts about which option to recommend for new BI projects.  At SolidQ, I work with some of the most experienced Business Intelligence experts in the industry.  At conferences and in discussion groups, there has been a lot of discussion about the choice between Analysis Services multidimensional models and the newer tabular semantic model technology introduced in SQL Server 2012.  There are pros and cons for either side but I think there are some important factors to consider.  Among some of the most experienced Analysis Services consultants, I have…
          it_user7509
          Consultant at a tech consulting company with 51-200 employees
          Consultant
          Jul 3, 2013
          Business Intelligence Forecasting in SQL and Cognos
          Note: This article is an update of a presentation given when I was at the University of Oklahoma’s Health Sciences Center. At that time, I was using Cognos version 7.3. This article is updated for Cognos 10 and SQL Server Analysis Server 2012.  Revisiting this subject ten years later, my opinion is that Microsoft has finally surpassed IBM Cognos. Most businesses, including medical clinics, want some method for forecasting business trends. The Cognos BI powerplay presentation tools contain the tools needed for basic forecasting.  The trick in getting accurate forecasting is select the correct algorithm. I recommend trying the model against only a portion of your data, to see how closely forecasts the remaining data.  For example, if you have 2 years worth of data, try entering only 18…
          it_user6858
          BI Expert with 501-1,000 employees
          Vendor
          Jun 27, 2013
          Taboo? Microsoft in Higher Education
          In a recent post, I discussed the changes in the business intelligence landscape as outlined by Gartner in their 2013 Magic Quadrant.  Today, I wanted to focus solely on Microsoft as a vendor in this space.  Yes, I mentioned Microsoft – and I work in Higher Education! In working with a number of higher education institutions over the years, I often hear direct concerns about “Microsoft.”  In the academic world, we are concerned about the most open way of doing things.  We like to share – and you may have noticed by the adoption of Sakai and the Open Source Portfolio (OSP). The emergence of open-source tools was prevalent over the last few decades.  You now see many organizations running miscellaneous versions of Linux, open source wiki tools, Drupal-type content management systems –…
          it_user6858
          BI Expert with 501-1,000 employees
          Vendor
          Jun 19, 2013
          Cost-effective, all-in-one package for business intelligence
          Pros SQL Server is flexible and relatively straight-forward to deploy. It is fantastic that reports can be delivered via Report Manager without any additional license fees. Reports can also be placed on subscriptions with the Enterprise version of SQL Server. This allows different people to get the same report with data that is tailored to their perspective. Cons The product would be better if it came bundled with Microsoft SharePoint. Some of the more advanced business intelligence dashboards must be run through SharePoint (SharePoint dashboards, PowerView, etc.). We also found that SharePoint Dashboards are time intensive to design. My experiences Getting back to the license costs, we have found SQL Server to be an effective tool at a very good cost. Compared to…
          Ariel Lindenfeld
          Director of Community Management at IT Central Station
          Community Manager
          Jun 6, 2013
          The Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence says that Microsoft BI's overall costs are consistent with other Megavendors. Do you agree?
          The Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence says that most companies chose Microsoft BI because of low license cost and overall low cost of ownership. However, while the total ownership costs is low for a per user basis, because of implementation and ongoing development costs it is consistent with other large vendors. Are you a Real User of Microsoft BI? Have you found this to be the case in your organization? If you are a user or are evaluating Microsoft BI, add your comment below or write your own review. Share your opinion with our community!
          it_user6897
          Marketing at a tech consulting company with 51-200 employees
          Consultant
          Jun 5, 2013
          Microsoft BI vs. QlikView
          Disclosure: My company is a Microsoft Partner. The use of databases has long been an art of managing information and creating informed practices in the computing world. But in recent times, with the advent of Data Warehouses, new methods of intelligence have been possible to embed into these erstwhile databases and make them extremely productive meeting a host of Business intelligence purposes both in the Government and Corporate Information worlds. However, here it is important to go a little into the history of Database Management and how Databases have said to be have been evolving over the years. The first known databases, existed as i) File systems then came the ii) The Network Models then the iii) Hierarchical models and then the iv) The Relational Models and so on v)…
          it_user6819
          BI Expert with 1,001-5,000 employees
          Vendor
          Jun 3, 2013
          Each solution has its pros and cons which are largely dependent on the target organisation’s existing software, infrastructure and skill set
          Last year ServiceNow released ODBC access to their database, enabling customers to produce their own high quality reporting. As direct reporting from ServiceNow is in increasing demand, I thought I’d put together a brief overview of the more popular choices of Reporting Software on the market. Of course, if anyone has experience of any others, or wants to add to (or contradict!) my views, please feel free to post. MS SQL Reporting Services (SSRS) MS SQL Reporting Services is part of the MS BID package of Business Intelligence software but is a capable piece of reporting software in its own right which produces professional results. But its main selling point is that it is not sold!  If you already have MS SQL Server, it is free.  This…
          it_user6663
          BI Expert at a transportation company with 51-200 employees
          Vendor
          May 25, 2013
          Microsoft BI vs. SAP Business Objects
          A quick look at the whole idea on another weblogs gives you a sense that all of them just talked about very brief things like report refresh feature in BO or cube feature in MS Analysis Service. I choose MS BI and I want to share my reasons and opinions on why I choose it and give you another quick but a little deeper compare on these two Business Intelligence platforms. As we all know both Business Objects and Microsoft are big companies who are working on BI solutions and both have their own advantages. It’s not true to compare them in term of which one is better, we have to check what is our requirements and then depend on requirements take the decision whether MS or BO. A vision like this could help us relief from religious decisions against a software or technology.…
          it_user6414
          CEO at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
          Consultant
          May 6, 2013
          Great wizard that is valuable in designing and implementing complex queries

          What other advice do I have?

          I'm a big fan of the Report Server Project Wizard which comes with the development studio - very helpful as I become more advanced in BI. I find such help valuable in designing and implementing complex queries as well making it look simpler.
          it_user4524
          Founder & Principal Architect at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
          Consultant
          Top Reviewer
          Feb 28, 2013
          Most complete business intelligence suite for the least money

          What other advice do I have?

          I am quite passionate about the SQL Server suite of tools, and am a fervent user of SSRS. I use SSAS less, only because I am focused more on administration and have not moved into the SSAS space - yet. I am looking to head into the BI arena later on this year, and SSAS is my BI suite of choice!
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