december 20, 2022
Power BI: Microsoft's next-generation business intelligence tool
In the past few years, the BI market has shifted dramatically. Today, the trend of so-called ‘self-service BI’, user-friendly business analysis, has come to the fore. Today, you do not need to be a database professional, understand the mechanism of OLAP cubes or know how to write SQL queries in order to get answers to your questions. Second-generation BI tools allow analysts and business users, no matter how technically proficient, to work freely with data, build reports and visualise information.
Power BI is a cloud-based business intelligence tool by Microsoft that aims to complement the vendor’s BI technology stack with new «standalone» BI capabilities. As part of the new tool Microsoft has tried to address all major market trends and user needs.
The emphasis here is of course on rich data visualisation capabilities. Power BI offers a centralised approach to presenting information: graphs and tables are arranged on a single panel. Ready-made templates can be used to create reports.
Working with data in Power BI
Working with data regardless of its type of location
Power BI allows to work with both local and cloud data. About 59 different data types are currently available, ranging from regular Excel sheets to cloud services.
Power BI has native Power BI Mobile apps for Windows, iOS and Android that support touch interaction.
Power BI Desktop is used as a development tool. It is a complete data analysis tool that allows you to collect and transform data, create reports and publish them for shared user access.
The integration with third-party applications with Power BI is also possible, where open REST API is used to create dashboards that retrieve information from external sources in real time.
In the face of such impressive and promising capabilities, the question of cost and licensing becomes just as interesting.
Power BI is currently distributed as a cloud-based service, available in two configurations:
• The free version of Power BI
• The paid version of Power BI Pro
The paid version is available on a monthly subscription basis for each user, but there is a 30-day free trial period.
To date, Power BI is under active development, with product updates released on a regular basis. However, it is already possible to evaluate the capabilities of the tool and try to create your first Power Bi app.