Ugly numbers to pretty pictures
Management loves it, I love developing with it but getting certain others to adopt it can be a bit of a challenge.
As the title says, it turns ugly numbers into pretty pictures. It is easy enough for a non-developer to use and turn a mess of data into an intelligent and understandable story.
It literally changes every three months. You just get used to it and with the next update a lot has changed. I don't really see this as a con though because this is more like a Christmas present waiting to see what they will have made better this go around.
The visualization and analytics product that is constantly evolving - for the better
With Power BI we identify patterns, issues and opportunities in sales, marketing, operations, supply chain, people management and finance data. The ways to look at the data and the drilling capabilities make this a wonderful tool
1. Improves with new releases every two weeks
2. Powerful insight management
3. Integration with MS products
4. Online forums and learning zones
1. Not as intuitive as packaged applications, but getting there
2. Not a good IDE for Python / R
3. Connectors to social media need to be improved
A pretty reporting tool for some (!) Microsoft Products, but pretty much useless outside of the Microsoft Landscape
In light of the hype around this "Tableau destroyer" in recent months, I want to highlight some fundamental flaws in data connectivity and reports maintenance of Power BI, which the Product Team so far has turned down as "not in scope". In practice, though, this renders Power BI pretty useless for getting dara from any 3rd party products, in the cloud in particular.
This review reflects Power BI as of mid March 2017. I have gathered my knowledge from testing, community interaction and a dozen tickets with Power BI Pro Support. The focus lies on getting data via Web Services, much aligned with Microsoft’s «Cloud First» Strategy.
1) Power BI Online is in the cloud, but does not allow for HTTP calls. Power BI Desktop allows for HTTP calls, but only with static authentication parameters.
First of all, a distinction needs to be made between Power BI Online and Power BI Desktop. While Power BI Online is the "master" that ultimately allows you to share and publish your reports, user experience in design is diminished by HTML limitations (you may know from Word or Excel Online) and more importantly, data connectivity (Get Data) is limited to SQL Servers on Azure and about 20 to 30 plugins from 3rd party solutions at present. Take note that on Power BI Online, you cannot select or manage your Gateways, either.
This brings the attention to the Power BI Desktop client. Updated every one to two months, the Desktop client brings data connectors necessary to connect to a larger number of data sources.
With the Web connector, HTTP calls been configured, although with just static headers and parameters and Basic and Windows authentication only. Importantly, though, Power BI Desktop includes Microsoft Power Query, which you may know from Excel 2016 already. With M Scripts, you can script and customise in many ways and most interestingly, convert it into table form quickly. This is where Power Query shines. However, Power Query does not seem to call on methods for nonces and timestamps required in token based authentication (OAuth for example). (Should this be incorrect, please please let me know. I have been browsing the fora and nagging Support too long already.)
What’s really amusing here is that Microsoft Azure uses OAuth 2.0 themselves. So, you cannot run any reporting on Microsoft’s Azure AD or Resource Manager database for example, a notorious blackbox. Back to Powershell. (Power BI does not accept Powershell feeds.)
In short, while Power BI Online does not allow to get any data out of the web (except for those 20 to 30 plugins, mostly Microsoft Products), Power BI Desktop allows for Web calls, but only with static parameters and thus, basically with your user credentials.
That’s a big limitation in Data Connectivity.
2) With Power BI Online being the master, the HTTP calls cannot be scheduled or refreshed in the cloud.
Now that you have configured your HTTP call (with risky user credentials), you want to publish your report and have it refreshed on a scheduled basis, say every day.
While you can publish your Report to Power BI Online and subsequently a broader audience, it’s a static image of your Desktop data. You cannot schedule a data refresh in Power BI Online (because there is no Web feature anyway) and you cannot even refresh the data manually as this requires republishing the Report anew.
You risk your management looking at outdated data whenever you forgot to republish your report and sneak the new URL into your dashboards and iframes.
3) The On-Premises Data Gateway is pretty useless for Web Services.
Yes, there is the On-Premises Data Gateway. Yes, you can configure Web Services in the gateway, although it’s pretty ironic to route web calls via on-premises infrastructure.
But did you ever try it? That is, you cannot specify any HTTP headers fort he calls at all, lest writing a Power Query script. And thus, we are back at authentication via Basic and Windows only and writing REST scripts in the data source for every single HTTP call because with no Headers and Body, all parameters need to be coded in the URI.
Will you do that?
At the end of the day, Power BI is Microsoft's long overdue acknowledgement that Excel and some Dynamics Reports do not cut it for Reporting purposes. Indeed, for reporting on SQL Server, Dynamics 365 (if you want to afford it), and Excel and Access databases stored in your OneDrive, Microsoft Power BI does a neat job.
However, as soon as you want to integrate with 3rd party systems or via web services in particular, Power BI presents so many limitations in authentication, Header and Body configuration, scripting, and scheduling that you need to configure an entire SQL Server environment (on Azure or On-Premises via feature poor Gateway) and write a SQL CRL interface or buy Azure Data Factory to get that data in.
For some pretty reports, do you really want to buy and customise all that BI infrastructure on Azure?
My advice to Microsoft: Work on Data Connectivity, especially in Power BI Online, rather than more visuals for those limited data sources. Your Microsoft clients will consider Power BI a given for the utter lack of reporting in Office 365, Azure, or Dynamics 365 (yes, pushing it there).
My advice to Users: If the connectors are not listed, look somewhere else. (And make sure it’s your use case that is listed. Power BI announced an Azure AD connector, but rather than reporting on Users, Groups, or Enterprise Apps, you can only see on a nice map where the last logins happened.)
Is it a Tableau destroyer? No. It’s a long overdue acknowledgement for necessary reporting with the potential of being a solid Business Intelligence solution ONCE focus comes to lie more on data.
On-premises Data Gateway
responsible Pro Support
lack of data sources
pretty useless for 3rd Party Web Sources
Good data reporting tool for a small group
my overall experience is good with Power BI and I would highly recommend it to a small business or a group of people. Or if you company has more than 1000, it could also be a good competitor compared to Tableau.
very powerful, easy to use and deployment. It works best with other Microsoft product, such as Teams.
It becomes costly when you want to share a report or a dashboard to a wide range of users. Because it requires the viewer to have a Pro license, it could be as expensive as Tableau.
Very robust, though a little overwhelming
We're moving from having staff creating Excel reports or Access database reports to having Power BI do it all for us. We spend some time cleaning up the user's data, streamlining how they enter it (and where - we still use Access, some SQL, some Sharepoint), and Power BI does the rest after that. Our staff loves that they no longer have to manually create reports, and they love the way Power BI looks for them. We are enjoying it overall.
The dashboard creation is amazing. Give it a data source, design how you want to see your data, and it shows it to you. I enjoy creating dashboards for our different departments. And once our staff sees the reports and dashboards they get from this, vs how they used to get it in an Excel spreadsheet or an Access Report, they are hooked.
Overwhelming in the back end. Sometimes you just cannot get the data to display the way you want. There are so many options, features, methods. It gets overwhelming. My biggest gripe is that the back end is not as user friendly as other programs. And, comparing it to something that one of my users would create in Excel, it's difficult for me to get the exact data reported that they want. I have to figure out how to display it, and because the Power Bi is just so robust, it's a little overwhelming in that respect.
Really good for aggregating data from multiple sources
Power BI has helped us go from random spreadsheet reports to consolidated dashboards that are pleasing to look at and easy to interpret.
The interface is beautiful and easy to navigate. Once data sources are all connected, it's pretty easy to create a new dashboard/layout if you know how to analyze your own data. Nearly every integration that we needed was already included.
It's hard to build some more complex reports. If you want to combine two different data sources into one view/metric, you will need some advanced skills.
Overall the best Dashboard software at this moment
Part of our dashboards were developped using Power BI. Although the UI is not as perfect as Tableau, Basically it can achieve all Tableau can do, (maybe not as quick or few steps as Tableau).the modelling, the strong ETL support, the Power Query and integration with office can offset the drawbacks.
1. The wide and deep design and full support for upstream and downstream systems;
2. Excellent query engine with well design data modelling principals (which is better than Tableau);
3. Seamless integration with other Microsoft data integration products such as SSIS, SSRS, SSAS;
4. Excellent knowledgebase community and support;
5. Quick update to the Azure cloud support
1. UI design is a little bit inconvenient comparing to Tableau.
2. DAX is a bit complicated for power users.
Flexible, inovative reporting software
We have been using Power BI as a business for nearly 2 years now and it has spread to have reports used in pretty much every department, it still feels like there is a lot more we can get about it and we're constantly exploring new ways to use our data
It's a great way to link data together from multiple sources and create meaningful reports that would be difficult or impossible to put together in something like Excel. It's also very user friendly once past the initial learning curve
As with a lot of Microsoft products, direct customer support is lacking and you likely have to rely on other users in forums to help you with any issues/queries
A great way to make Reports
Have been Great as a tool to Make any kind of Reports, Really Easy to use for Real, And If you think of a Report is Probably already Suggested and done by POwer BI.
That it is like a Database that Understands you, and It Automatically, get Ideas to what you maybe need on terms of Reports, it is really great for real.
You Need a Trainning It is Not a Plug and Use system, you need to have some experience and Trainning to use it. But Thats Ok
Curretly the best software or data analytics
Its been a good experience using Power BI and we find it to be very useful in in it business intelligence capabilities. The visualisation features is the best in the market and it never ceases to amaze us.
Power BI is a power house of functionality. I like its ability to perform ETL to modeling to analytics and then visualisation withing itself alone without need for third party integrator and tools.
Its hard to use for a beginner. I had to get proper training before I could use this software. I wish it is a bit simpler
It brings the power of BI down to non-tech users
My job is to collect and process all sorts of data in my organization and present them to the highest management committee for policy level decision making. We are heavily dependent on MS Excel for this. I handle excel worksheets with thousands of entries every day. A year ago, I tried Power BI to see whether it can help me in my job or not. And i am hooked till now. I am most impressed with the processing power of Power BI. Huge worksheets can be processed very fast using Power BI. It also updates the reports automatically which improves my productivity significantly.
1. Ease of Use: Unlike other BI software’s, Power BI's interface is friendlier especially to MS Excel users. You will not feel overwhelmed rather it will look familiar.
2. Powerful engine: Users who need to tackle very large datasets with thousands of entries know that MS excel gets horribly slow processing such a large file. Power BI is a God sent for these users. Its processing engine is super-fast and the speed is more noticeable when you let it handle such large datasets.
3. Excellent data presentation tools: For regular MS Excel users Power BI is a PowerPivot on steroid but a lot smarter one. Even those users who are not familiar with the complexities of PowerPivot feels less intimidated by its simple and user friendly design.
4. User friendly but powerful DAX language: To write formulas you have to use DAX language in Power BI which in my opinion is a fancy name of just natural language formula writing. However, DAX is super easy to learn and pretty much intuitive but at the same time very much powerful.
5. Schedule refresh option: Power BI has an option to auto update the report at fixed interval of time which is very helpful if you need to prepare and submit reports weekly or monthly.
6. Option to control users of the report: In Power BI you can share your reports with other users and also control how much of the report can they see. If you want you can allow only a part of the report to be seen by some user which is super convenient.
Honestly, in my opinion, Power BI is by far the best software made by Microsoft. But considering I am a heavy user of MS Excel, it is easier to me. I think learning curve of Power BI for a beginner with no prior skill in MS Excel will be a bit steep. Then again, BI is a complex thing itself. So master any kind of BI software will be tricky by its own merit.
Power BI is one of the most user friendly BI software for adding visual representation and analytics to your existing reports
Overall good software for beginners and can be explored to get the best efficiency from the software
below are a few pros
• Sharing dashboard in a group
a. Sharing can be done once you have the Pro version of Power BI. Dashboard can be shared with the respective department members or your own team members.
b. Since you have prepared the dashboard you will be the owner and you can decide whether you want to give the other members only viewing rights or editing rights as well.
c. With this feature reports will always be on the cloud server and can be viewed as and when required
d. Reports can be downloaded as and when required.
• Viewing dashboard in Mobile/ tab and preparing phone layout
a. Once a dashboard has been prepared and saved, the same can be accessed on Power BI App with the same login.
b. Since the screen is small compared to laptop, all the dashboard elements can be redesigned to suit the phone screen.
c. The other features remain the same and the dashboard is interactive on the phone as well however it cannot be edited on phone.
• Export dashboard to PowerPoint, PDF
a. This is one of the most important features of Power BI. Reports or dashboards prepared can be exported on PowerPoint or PDF with a click of a button.
b. Hence Management reports and department reports can be automated on Power BI and once you refresh the data, the report will be ready to share.
c. One problem is that few images which are not compatible with PowerPoint don’t show post downloading.
• Narratives for dashboard
a. This is one of the recent features offered by Power BI. With the help of narratives you can get the insight of the dashboard in a story form.
b. Narrative uses its intelligence to study the data and give output in pointers, paragraphs etc which can be customised.
• Importing visuals to suit your need
a. Apart from the general visualizations available in Power BI, there are additional visualizations released by Power BI from time to time. These visualizations enhance the visual appearance as well as the adds to further analytics in different ways.
b. Visualizations which have downloaded and used in the dashboard are Infographic designer, Narratives for Business Intelligence, KPI Column chart, and Timeline.
• Edit interactions in dashboard
a. It is important to understand the interactions and groupings in power BI since with the help of these you can control which graphs you want to automatically change by clicking on the other.
b. With the help of grouping you can define groups and sub group which can be viewed together as a group if required.
• KPI Column Chart
a. This is a recent custom visual developed by Power BI. With the help of this visual you can put the KPI target against the actual on a monthly basis.
b. Forecasted revenue/ cost can also be put in this visual which will be shown in different colour.
c. Individual monthly targets can also be put which can be interchanged by putting variance.
d. Data can also been viewed in a table form along with graphical.
• One of the important features of exporting report in PowerPoint does not allow custom visual to be exported. Hence if there are custom visuals in your report then the same will show error once exported.
• Arranging dashboard is a bit tedious and takes a lot of time
• To share reports, we need to publish to MS Cloud. We cannot share report from Power BI Desktop
• For sharing a report even members to who report needs to be shared have to get Power BI Pro. Since the department to whom report is shared is just to view giving them a Pro license might not be useful.
One of the best BI softwares out there
I have created dashboards on project progress, business cases and at times, a personal dashboard of my own assets and savings just to keep track of certain things. I love that PowerBI is easy to use, and has been designed with the end user in mind. However, I would like to have a wider variety of templates to choose from, especially if I am a beginner to the whole business intelligence idea.
Having been a user of the full range of Microsoft Office, it was only natural that PowerBI comes to mind when trying to create a live update dashboard. It is extremely easy to use - a plug and play approach comes to mind - and if you had worked with Microsoft Office before, some of the features are very intuitive to use. If the organisation that you are working with uses Microsoft Office, access issues are sorted and it becomes incredibly easy to drive adoption of this dashboard on a day to day basis
The design of the dashboard created with PowerBI can be found to be lacking at points, compared to some of the other BI softwares. The templates available seem great, but there aren't as many options as I would like when I am creating a specific type of dashboard.
Miscrosoft Power BI for Federal Acquisition Spend Analysis
All in all, for the price, this is an excellent tool for helping your organization turn mounds of data into useful insights.
Power BI simplifies the process of combining different types of data sources to create a single data model. There are also many built-in Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL) functions that help reduce the time required to prepare data. Creating reports and dashboards is as easy as drag and drop. The Power BI User Groups are strong and plentiful, so you can always read through blogs to get answers to questions that you may have. The Power BI Desktop application is used to perform ETL, create reports and is free. The reports are published to the Power BI cloud service for sharing, which is also free with limited capabilities. For more capabilities, such as security groups and scheduled data refreshing, there is a subscription fee. Microsoft will be releasing an on-premise solution for sharing Power BI content via an update to SQL Server 2016 hopefully within the next few months.
It's not always easy to speak directly with a MS Power BI expert, so that is a bummer. Also, you have to sign up to the Power BI service using an email address in order to share and view Power BI reports and dashboards, but Microsoft doesn't yet support personal (.cox, .gmail, et.) or government (.gov, .mil, etc.) email addresses which is a real bummer.
New to Power BI but love it
Overall I love the software and would highly recommend it. Not only does it help visualize data but also helps to keep it updated in real time with the ability to connect to a server. The automation of pulling the data on a schedule and importing it directly into the visualizations solved a huge problem for our company.
I love how easy it is to make really powerful visualizations. The ease of use in order to basic visualizations is similar to Pivot tables in Excel. If you have a basic understanding of Pivot tables you will be able to open the software and get straight to visualizing. Once you take a deeper dive into the queries and data transformations you will uncover an entirely new world of analysis.
The software is easy to use for basic functions but when you get into more detail it can be difficult. It is also really hard to share your work with someone that does not pay for the service. Without paying for a Power Bi Pro account it is basically impossible to share the visualizations that you have created. Also, the Arc GIS feature only works within the software. If you try to post a map visualization to a website through an embed it doesn't work.
BI tool with the coolest features
I have been using PowerBI from the past 3 years and have never looked back. It has helped me as an analyst to draw my clients into my stories. The automation aspect of PowerBI is hard to ignore. I have shared my dashboards and collaborated with teams which was a nightmare before. I love the addition of new features resulting from a dedicate community of PowerBI users (with very responsive Microsoft developers jumping in to solve issues). Mobile version of PowerBI is convenient and a hit with clients.
I love everything about PowerBI! I like to think of it as a revamped version of MS Excel but with features that exceed all expectations. PowerBI lets you create data models, use DAX to manipulate and summarise and finally display these summaries in fancy (yet easy to understand) visualisations. The best feature might however be the ability to share and collaborate on dashboards. PowerBI can take data from almost all possible sources - text, excel, SQL databases etc etc and integrate it all together to form dashboards that can be shared online in the form of webpages as well as workspaces.
There is absolutely nothing to dislike about PowerBI. The free version of PowerBI is a great learning tool and lets you accomplish almost all your reporting tasks while the paid version lets you automate all your reporting.
There are plenty of competitors, but Power BI is tops
Power BI allows me to manipulate data and present it in visually appealing and flexible formats.
I have used Tableau and Google Data Studio - among other alternatives. Nothing has seemed to compare to the functionality that Power BI offers. Everything about the program is made with the full spectrum of analysis in mind - from the designer to the data 'wrangler' to the end consumer (ie. others within the enterprise). In this way, Power BI is extremely powerful because it can be used for so many different types of projects; the data-analysis intensive to the more visual 'data-presentation' dashboards.
Sharing dashboards and reports in Power BI is easy and it has a lot of options for doing so. However, the requirement that all users must have a Pro Account to view dashboards created in Pro is a bit of a hindrance in a global organization where it does not make economical sense for every employee to have a Pro account. It seems like it would be a great addition to allow limited sharing to everyone - even those without a Pro account, as most of my internal team does not have an account.
Best Business Intelligence Tool Ever!
Great experience and great tool to experience has a very easy interface and can make dashboards easily.
Microsoft PowerBI is the most easy tool to use, an non IT personnel and not a well trained personnel can easily use this tool. This tool has an interactive Graphical user interface and if you have any problem you can just google it.
The frequent update sometimes will be much tricky to handle as if you have the newest version of the desktop and the old version of desktop so it may be tricky and the file may not upload to the server.
Power Bi its changing the way we interact with data, information and decision making
Data is the new petroleum, Information is the new combustible; and Power BI will boost this challenging new world of information and analysis.
For the last 30 years I have been using Excel to work with Tables, Filters, Functions, Formulas, Conditional formatting, Graphs, Pivot tables, Segmentation and VBA to register data and analyze information.
That was great. But now, with the huge amount of data, available from many sources and Excel limitations, we needed something more robust and Microsoft launched Power BI.
I have been using it for more than a year. Now I don’t use pivot tables and graphs for analysis anymore, I use Power BI visualizations to represent and summarize the data.
With it’s impressive tools including geolocalization, I have found more effective ways to convert, transform, represent, analyze and make better decisions and planning with Power BI.
It’s ecosystem composed of Power Bi Desktop, Power BI Services (in the cloud) and Power Bi apps, has allowed me to find very innovative and productive ways to monitor the performance of my business and improve communication with my clients
It is in continuous development.
The first week of each month, Microsoft releases a new version of Power Bi, so we have to keep us updated to use the program efficiently.
But the pros outweigh the cons.
Next-Level Data Visualizations
We wanted a state-of-the-art dashboard and visualization tool that could be used across the company. After trying others, this one fits the bill perfectly.
The visualizations you can make with minimal experience or effort are astounding. Like with many Microsoft products, the sky is the limit and you can definitely get by without formal training. But if you decide to learn more about it, there is very little you can't do visualization-wise. We can even connect our on-prem SQL database with ease.
While it is easy to get started, really mastering the program can take some time and trial-and-error. It can be frustrating at times to get it to do exactly what you want it to do.
Power BI is a very powerful tool to graphically represent data for decision making
Overall, Power BI has been a game changer. The time saved on creating visual reports is immense and it makes up for some of the cons with software. They are constantly improving and adding new features which shows that they are listening to their customers.
The vast no.of data sources available means it has got all the bases covered. You can connect to SQL Server Database or an analysis service database which is vital for us. Apart from this, the ability to connect to excel and text files means we can make the legacy report more visual and fit it into our dashboard.The best of Power BI is the possibility of collaborating and sharing dashboards and dynamic reports so everyone is singing of the same hymn sheet. The large community of developers means there are constantly new visuals available which can used to awe the customers.
Power BI could involve steep learning curve for non-tech savvy people. It is difficult t convince managers to use Power BI over traditional pivot tables as it could be daunting to learn.
Unless you can play around with DAX queries, Power BI could be limited to the insights it can provide.
Great BI tool for my presentations!!!!
Although Power BI can be a little difficult to use it is still a great tool for creating graphs and charts for presentations. It is also great for compiling and analyzing data and creating dashboards.
I like Power BI because it offers a professional look to presentations. I am able to create and manage dashboards for my various projects. I can upload data from other tools like Excel and use the data to add to or update my dashboards.
The tool can be a little confusing making it difficult to learn and use.
You get all information digested for you
Overall Power BI has helped me saving time by not having to move from one excel dile to another and waiting for large files to load, now, i have all the necessary information in 1 tool.
Having all the necessary information at my fingertips already digested and analyzed for me has made my daily coaching easier. I am able to see a broad amount of information summed up into individual graphs that help me understand the current performance of a person and helps me identify the area i need to focus my coaching in.
At first when it was implemented it was hard for me to understand the logic of thw tool. It was difficult for me to not focus on the granularity and understand the big picture first and then start diving in.
Power BI very good option for data analytics
As an IT user i had no such problem to get used to power BI, we have previous experiences with other BI vendors so it just took 2-4 hours to get my first report running and then get to know all the functions and menus the tool has.. i consider that a average person that already has some excel abilities and it has some knowledge of data will have no issues on getting a report ready very easy..
As is a Microsoft product you will be very familiar with it as it is like you grab like a mix of" Excel and powerpoint " it has very intuitive menus and drag and drop options, there are some license levels, the basic one is like an free trial that will last as long as you want to, So you have a lot of time to play with it and get some experience and have your reports to rock
The free perpetual trial has some limitations on data connectors so this is understandable as the pay version hast no limit on this. other than that, it is great.
A great tool for dashboards and business intelligence reports.
Very positive. It has really bridged the gap for our company to be able to finally see our data easily in a way that makes sense.
Rapidly adding features and evolving quickly. Very good tools for visualizing all of our data and presenting it in a way that makes sense.
It is still a very new software package so there isnt a lot of documentation, and things change quickly.