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Microsoft Power BI

A robust suite of business analytics and data visualization tools.
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Microsoft Power BIProduct Overview

  1. About Power BI
  2. Pros of Power BI
  3. Cons of Power BI
  4. Breakdown of Core Features

Power BI product overview

Microsoft Power BI is a web-based suite of applications for analyzing business data and sharing insights using rich visualizations. Power BI enables users to author reports using intuitive drag-and-drop tools, publish, and share amid others using the online Power BI Service. The Power BI Desktop can be used to create and distribute content for free, while the Power BI Pro web service can be used to monitor key data and share dashboards for a monthly fee. The Power BI Mobile app allows users to access and interact with data from any mobile device, and the Power BI Embedded function lets users embed visual and interactive reports into applications. 

With Power BI dashboards, users get a full 360-degree view of their business that has all the key data metrics in one place, updated in real time, and available across all their devices. Dashboard creation is made easy via the hundreds of connections to other popular business applications available, and Power BI also comes with pre-built dashboards to help users get started quickly. 

One of the platforms most impressive functions is its integration with Excel. Through Power BI, data in Excel can now be analyzed and manipulated in a host of new ways. Through cloud connectivity, data can be accessed from other areas of the business. Charts, data sets, and maps can be combined into one dynamic view so that multiple different data sources can be compared at once. Collaboration is made simple with Office 365 integration, where users can share their findings and data visualizations with anyone on their network and other Office 365 users. Power BI also offers a smart Q&A feature. Users type a question, and the platform provides the answer in the form of an interactive chart or graph. 

Power BI interfaces with Power BI gateways to connect with and unify data, while Power BI Desktop for Windows  provides local data mashup and report authoring features. It comes with 59 out-of-the-box connections for apps and services including Salesforce, Google Analytics, Azure, Zendesk, and more. With Power BI, users can gather data from all these sources to help create a full picture of key metrics that can then be queried using natural language. Power BI is used by developers, analysts, IT, and other business users.

Pros of Power BI

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  • Insight management
  • Integration with MS products
  • Online forums and Learning Zones
  • Visualization tools
  • User friendly
  • Connects to hundreds of data sources
  • Easy to run queries
  • Easy to create charts, graphs, and reports

Cons of Power BI

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  • Not as intuitive as some packaged applications
  • Not a good IDE for Python/R
  • Social media connectors could be improved
  • Desktop and web versions divide data prep tools
  • Refresh cycle is limited on free version

Breakdown of Core Features

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Users can create and share interactive data visualizations all across the world via global data centers, which include national clouds to meet compliance and regulation needs.


Power BI helps users accomplish both self-service and business data analytic needs with a single platform by providing powerful semantic models, an application life cycle management toolkit, open connectivity framework, and fixed-layout, pixel-perfect paginated reports.


With the no-limit Azure data lake, users are able to simplify how they analyze and share vast quantities of data. This helps greatly reduce the time needed for analysts, data engineers, and others to collaborate and gain insights for efficiency.


The Microsoft AI helps non-data scientists prep data, build machine learning models, and gain insight from structured and unstructured data, including text and images.


Connect Excel for queries, data models, and reports to Power BI Dashboards to gather, analyze, publish, and share Excel business data.

Alternatives to Microsoft Power BI

Learn more about other business intelligence software by exploring the following products, or review specific types of BI Software including dashboard software, data warehousing software, reporting tools, data virtualization software, and data analysis software.

1 Domo

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Build a modern business, driven by data. Connect to any data source to bring your data together into one unified view, then make analytics available to drive insight-based actions—all while maintaining security and control. Domo serves enterprise customers in all industries looking to manage their entire organization from a single platform.

Learn more about Domo

2 Adriel

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Adriel is a modern Ad Operations (AdOps) platform that helps agencies and businesses of all sizes make effective decisions faster without manually collecting, processing, and managing data.

Adriel provides intuitive dashboards designed to help marketers identify profitable campaigns, channels, and ad creatives. The platform empowers you to make optimal decisions based on standardized cross-channel data, storytelling visualizations, and real-time performance alerts.

Learn more about Adriel

3 Power BI Connector for ServiceNow

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Power BI Connector for ServiceNow is an Enterprise app for a convenient ServiceNow Power BI integration which allows to easily fetch ServiceNow data to Power BI for further analytics and visualization.

Learn more about Power BI Connector for ServiceNow

(Last updated on 04/12/2022 by Martin Shelby)

Quick Facts

  • Industry Specialties
    All Industries
  • Pricing
  • Works Best For
    Enterprise Businesses, Mid Sized Businesses


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  • Dashboards
  • Visual Analytics
  • Share reports via Power BI Service
  • Query data using natural language
  • Write interactive reports with Power BI desktop
  • Connect, access and unify data across sources
  • Share live reports and dashboards
  • Explore real time analytics from BI data
  • Receive data-driven alerts for mobile insights
  • Transform company data into rich visuals
  • Full suite of BI tools for data visualization/reporting
  • Create live, real time data metric dashboards
  • Web-based
  • iPhone app
  • Android app
  • Windows Phone app


  • Excel
  • Salesforce
  • Google Analytics
  • Azure
  • Facebook
  • Github
  • QuickBooks Online
  • Twilio
  • Zendesk

Pricing Model

  • Power BI
  • Power BI Pro
  • Power BI Premium


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