Everything You Want to Know About Microsoft Power BI


For modern business organizations, data functions as the lifeblood; and in today’s digital world, companies are generating enormous amount of data every other second. But building up piles of this digital information is useless, if organizations are incapable of converting it into meaningful insights. This is where Business Intelligence software comes into play.

So, if you are thinking about finding and implementing a business intelligence platform for your company, that can help you extracting meaningful, useful and actionable insights from your business data; then you have reached the right place. In this blog post, we will be discussing the fundamental of Microsoft Power BI Software, its costs and things that it can do for your business. So keep on reading if you want to learn everything that you ever wanted to know about Power BI.

What Is Power BI?

Power BI is basically a collective term used for a range of cloud-based services and application that are designed to help business organizations in managing, collating and analyzing data from disparate sources, along with a user-friendly interface. Tools like Power BI does not merely serve the core purpose of business intelligence, rather they are used within a multitude of tenacities.

Power BI primarily pull and process data together, and turn it into meaningful insights, while using easy-to-use and visually attractive graphs and charts. This enables users to create and share useful and clear screenshots of data and reports. Power BI is also capable of being integrated and connected to an assortment of apps and data sources, ranging from MS Excel spreadsheets to varied data sources, and both on-premises and cloud-based apps.

When using the term Power BI, one must remember that it is an umbrella term which is used for its Windows Desktop Application version called Power BI Desktop, Mobile Power BI Apps that are available for Windows, Android and iOS tablets and phones; and an online SaaS (Software as a Service) version which is known as Power BI Service.

The core foundation of Power BI is MS Excel; and if you know how to use MS Excel, then you won’t find the learning curve from the former to Power BI too steep. However, Power BI is way more powerful and useful as compared to MS Excel.

What Does Power BI Do?

Power BI helps users see not only what’s happened in the past and what’s happening in the present, but also what might happen in the future. Power BI is infused with machine learning capabilities, meaning it can spot patterns in data and use those patterns to make informed predictions and run “what if” scenarios. These estimates allow users to generate forecasts, and prepare themselves to meet future demand and other key metrics.

MS Power BI is used to transform company’s data into meaningful insights while demonstrating them in the form of attractive data visuals such as charts, graphs etc. Power BI can be easily integrated with a wide range of data sources and sort out useful information from it. Data insights and reports generated through the Power BI dashboard can be easily published on the server and can be shared with other users also.

Why Do People Use Power BI?

Power BI is the next business intelligence level after MS Excel, that business organization with more analytical and reporting requirement may want to use. Power BI allows business organizations to gather, validate and visualize data from all across the company, and getting great insight for their performance and operations, while making better and informed decision due to the availability of accurate and real-data. Some of the benefits that Power BI offers to its users include the following;

  • Dataset with huge volume and large sizes can also be processed with Power BI, that many comparable platforms struggle to handle and process.
  • The incredible in-built machine learning functionalities help users to analyze data and trace valuable data trends in order to make informed decisions.
  • Powerful templates offered by Power BI can be used for better data illustration and understanding.
  • Being cloud-based, users of Power BI gets latest intelligence features and power algorithm as soon as they are released or updated.
  • Power customization proficiencies enable users to create personalized dashboards that they can uses to get an instant access to their data.
  • On KPIs, users can also set up alerts, which helps them staying up-to-date with any important measurements and metrics.
  • The intuitive interface of Power BI makes it very easy-to-navigate and user-friendly as compared to spreadsheets that are considerably complex.
  • The platform of Power BI integrates multiple business management apps and tools such as MS Office 365, MS SharePoint and Dynamics 365. It also integrates well with non-Microsoft products like Google Analytics, Hadoop, Spark, SAP, MailChimp and Salesforce.
  • Data security which has always remained the most significant concern for business community, Power BI ensure complete data safety, while offering granular control over data accessibility both externally and internally.


Who Should Use Power BI?

There is a common perception that business intelligence tools are designed to benefit data scientists and business analysts, which is true some extent, because indeed they are to take primary remittance of the tool. However, the user-friendly interface, navigation and usage of Power BI made a choice for a wide range of users within the business community.

Nevertheless, the usage of Power BI is depended on your role. Power BI facilitates creating custom dashboards depending on the data relevance and the type of information you want to access. BI professionals are the primary users of Power BI, who use it for creating data reports and models, which can be then shared inside and outside the organization.

Many times, businesses do not have resources or need to acquire full-time data expert; and this is why Power BI is often used as a self-service tool by different business types, in order to get insights and check up on the progress of their team’s performance. Power BI is capable of processing any kind of data, which means that you can create report on almost anything. It is often frequently used by departments like marketing, finance, human resource, sales and other business operations. As of 2019, Microsoft reported to have more than 5 million subscribers of Power BI.

What Are the Main Components of Power BI?

The Power BI product is comprised of 5 core apps, each of which has its unique usability and features. These include;

Power Query, Power Pivot, Power View, Power Map and Power Q&A.

What Versions of Power BI Are Available?

There are few versions of Power BI, that you may choose from, depending on your needs, method of deployment which suits you and obviously on your budget. From a free, light version to expensive, premium feature version, Power BI offers you an assorted array to choose one which precisely meet your business requirements. Following are the commercial versions of Power BI that are offered by Microsoft.

  • Power BI Desktop — This version of Power BI is free which is considered to be ideal for small to medium sized enterprises.
  • Power BI Service: Cloud based services which can be used as much as required.
  • Power BI Pro — This is a paid license which can be acquired on per-user basis, and offers sharing abilities and access to advanced data visualization features.
  • Power BI Premium — This is also a paid license and it is allotted on the basis of scale, and it is primarily intended to serve the needs of large and complex enterprises with enormous amount of data.
  • Power BI Mobile — It is also a paid version and designed to integrate with mobile devices. The version is available as a mobile based app for Android, iOS and Windows devices.
  • Power BI Embedded — This is a white-label version intended for software developer and vendors. By using this versions software developers can embed Power BI features in their apps, instead of designing entirely new analytical features.
  • Power BI Report Server — This version is also paid and it targets to serve on-premise servers. This version is ideal for companies who don’t want to risk their data security by putting it onto cloud and want to limit it to the server.


Also Read → Difference Between Power BI Pro, Power BI Premium, Power BI Report Server

How Much Does Power BI Cost?

With a wide range of plans and versions available for Power BI, the cost of the tools remains the primary point of decision for its users. Power BI Desktop and Power BI Mobile are the free versions, Power BI Premium and Power BI Pro are priced as per the no. of users that will be using the platform, and the level of access they will required. Lastly Power BI Embedded is a pay-as-you-go service option.

Power BI Desktop – Free.

Power BI Pro – Standards cost of this version is $9.99/user/month. This plan also includes MS Office 365 E5 Plan, which is priced about $35 for a month.

Power BI Premium– This version serves as a dedicated organizational resource and costs according to its capacity. For instance, P1 is the minimum capacity level which costs around $4,995 monthly. This version is commonly used by large enterprises that have large no. of users and complex data analytical needs. Power BI Premium is ideally suitable for businesses with 500+ active users.

Power BI Embedded – This version is also priced according to the capacity and ‘render’ (activity type within Power BI Embedded). The cost of this version is also linked to ‘node’ (connection point between system and device and network to they are connected). For instance, for AI node type, 3GB worth of RAM is allotted to be used, which is capable of processing 300 render/hour. And for this you will be charged $1.0081/usage hour. However, in this version these costs/hour are the only charges that you are required to pay, and there are no extra termination charges or upfront costs involved.

Does Power BI Integrate With Other Products?

Power BI integrates very well with Microsoft and Non-Microsoft (third-party) products. Easy integrational abilities enable users to pull data from any data source they want to. The most common Microsoft apps and solutions that can be integrated with Power BI include MS Office 365, Dynamic 365, MS SharePoint, MS Excel, MS Teams, Cortana etc. Also, the users of Power BI can always extend its native connectivity to new data sources, by using Power BI Custom Connectors, or with the help of MS Flow.

Some of the components of Power BI can be directly used within MS Excel, which bring the analytical power of the tool to your Excel spreadsheets. Power BI can also be easily connected with services such as GitHub, Salesforce, Marketo, Google Analytics, QuickBooks, Facebook etc.

Can Power BI Be Customized?

Power BI offers incredible levels of personalization which allows its users to customized their interfaces and dashboard anyway they want. Customized reporting is also very handy and quick with Power BI. With Power BI, you can visualize your data according to your choice and preference, by using open-source data visualization options and rich libraries of the platform. Above all, you can also share your personalized visuals and reports with other users within the organization and can also share it with your customer and clients outside the company. In fact, you can share it with world just by using AppSource.

Are you looking for Power BI consulting solutions? Or want to hire a Power BI development team? Request a free quote.