Microsoft Power BI Breakdown

With Microsoft pushing its new features of BI front-end tools, I thought I’d spend some time breaking down the different component of Power BI and what you need for each one.

Power BI comes in 2 flavors: On-Premise (via Excel 2013), and On-the Cloud (via SharePoint 365)

Power BI – On Premise

The on-premise tools consist of:

  • Power Query
  • Power Pivot (not really a new tool as it’s been around for a while now)
  • Power Map
  • Power View

Power Query and Power Pivot will work as a downloadable add-ins for Office 2010 or later. Power View is available in the Office Professional Plus and Office 365 Professional Plus editions, and in the standalone edition of Excel 2013.

PowerMap requires a higher subscription, specifically: Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus, Office 365 Midsize Business, or for the Office 365 Enterprise E3 or E4 plans. You can view more info here.

Power BI – Cloud

The cloud tools include:

  • Power BI Sites
  • Power Q&A
  • Query and Data Management
  • Power BI Windows Store App

The Power BI Sites is available when you register for Power BI for Office 365. If you already have an E4 licence, you can add it for $20/month per user (more info on pricing). You can also have it as a standalone, or add it to your Office 365 ProPlus subscription.

The Power BI Site has the following benefits:
  • You can view workbooks with sizes up to 250MB in the browser (if using regular SharePoint, you can’t view workbooks larger than 30MB in the browser)
  • Can view Power View sheets in HTML5 (read: future mobile integration/functionality)
  • Can add workbooks to your list of favorite repors in your personal My Power BI site
  • Can configure the landing page to showcase different workbooks
  • View query usage analytics and manage data sources
Power Q&A is a new way to analyze your data, letting you use natural querying language to find answers to your questions. While it’s still in its early development stages, you can see a lot of cool functionality that will only get better as they continue to improve the tool. The concept of Q&A is that you have a Data Modeler, who develops a workbook, uses synonym capabilities (for ad-hoq querying), and publishes the reports to the Consumers. The Consumers can then ask questions or use featured questions to get answers from their data (More info on Power Q&A here).
Query and Data Management allows you to manage access to a wide variety of data sources, and manage these sources through the Manage Data portal. (More info on Query and Data Management).
Mobile Power BI – Microsoft is now offering an app for PowerBI which lets you browse Office 365 based reports through your mobile device. Currently the app is for Microsoft devices only, but expect future releases for iOS and android.
In my next post I will share some sample reports and screenshots to showcase Power BI in action.

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