Microsoft Power BI Desktop

(43)
4.3 out of 5 stars

Power BI Desktop puts visual analytics at your fingertips with intuitive report authoring. Drag-and-drop to place content exactly where you want it on the flexible and fluid canvas. Quickly discover patterns as you explore a single unified view of linked, interactive visualizations.

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Power BI Desktop review by <span>Bernardo C.</span>
Bernardo C.
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Best Data Visualization tool

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What do you like best?

Microsoft Power BI feels like a better version of Excel. The great enhancement, for me, is the possibility of having several tools to improve my data visualization, allowing me to have plenty of different reports, customized for each project. That, and the possibility of fetching data online as well.

What do you dislike?

I guess I would be happier if it was easier to edit data files. I mean, contrary to Excel, in which we can edit right on time any cell, in a sheet, on Power BI you have to you the console/coding lines or specific commands to edit the data in each cell. Due to this, it is usually better to do some cleaning on Excel before jumping into Power BI.

Recommendations to others considering the product

If you are looking for a better way to show your data, Microsoft did it right with this product!

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Essentially, data visualization problems/challenges. It allows to send reports to customers, as well as work on specific tasks inside the organization (like evaluation processes and its individual reports).

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Power BI Desktop review by <span>Heather J.</span>
Heather J.
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What do you like best?

Everything - I like the open source mentality that Microsoft has taken with Power BI. I think that is what has made this such an effective product - they get their feedback directly from the consumer and implement the ideas. Excellent approach. I love the versatility of the software the most. There's very little it can't do with data. The backend Power Query environment is wonderful to work with. The Power BI community is wonderful to work with as well. You will not find one more engaging and supportive.

What do you dislike?

There are some little basic features that would be nice to have. (print formatting for pages, sharing of reports from desktop, PDFs, etc...). The documentation for some of the connectors could be a little more descriptive (i.e. web connector). Other than that - the resources available for Power BI are endless.

Recommendations to others considering the product

You have absolutely nothing to lose by trying it! Even the basic free features offer more than standard Excel. Even the Pro investment is cost effective. Able to be used by ANY size business. 1 person or 10,000.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We have implemented Power BI so far, in four of our divisions. One company is using it to track growth, sales development and opportunities, sales rep performance and much more. Another is using it for Research and Development to analyze new product development. Another is using it for core, operating reports for finance and other specific-to-us business needs.

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Power BI Desktop review by <span>Eric M.</span>
Eric M.
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Great Starting Point for BI

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What do you like best?

Power BI Desktop is free to use and learn when getting started. It supports up to 70+ data sources, monthly feature updates, and bi-weekly patches. Microsoft is taking feedback from the community and incorporating that feedback into the product. Anyone can download Power BI Desktop and start working with it for free. Sharing dashboards and deliverables will require a Pro license.

What do you dislike?

Limited distribution for on-prem solutions. They just release a feature update where you can integrate dashboards into your SharePoint sites. The downside is with licensing, you have to have a Pro license in order to drill down into the dashboards. At $9.99/month/user it can add up when you need 500+ people to look at things like KPI or P&L reports. Overtime I think the development of the product will make it easier to work around this. Customization of the dashboards are limited, you can't add your company logo or branding like you can with SSRS.

Recommendations to others considering the product

The direct competitor to Power BI is Tableau. Power BI is free to check out so you don't have to be tied to any trail or demo periods. I would download it and give it a spin.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

It's good for issues where you have many sources of data and you want to combine them and drill down into them without having to spend a lot of money on a full blown BI solution. This software works well for things like KPI, P&L, and analyzing costs and sales. We use the map feature where you can show a given metric on a map and see where your cost or sales are by location.

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Power BI Desktop review by <span>Jason B.</span>
Jason B.
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Great Intro to BI

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What do you like best?

We had made several attempts at incorporating BI visualizations into our analysis but Tableau was out of our reach and SAS BI was too complex for the majority of our users. For us then, Power BI was eyeopening because it connected to all of our data sources and within weeks we were using the drill-down functionality to do visual analysis that we weren't previously capable of.

There is complexity and we have a couple of developers who dedicated themselves to learning the specifics and intracacies of DAX code and whom regularly download the latest updates to say current but for most users it is pretty straight forward.

What do you dislike?

As other reviews have stated, it is not easily shareable. For our purposes, each analyst has their own copies of analytic dashboards and we have to make special versions with pre-loaded data if we need to present out.

Also, while it is very nice that they keep adding features, as our developers incorporate new functions, all users have to individually update their Desktpop BI. We're approaching 90 analysts so this is becoming cumbersome even if it only takes a couple of minutes.

For our purposes Power BI has been a great tool and an excellent introduction to BI in general but it does belong in the Self-Service category for now until it is more enterprise-friendly to compete with big boys.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We have been able to directly connect to a number of data sources which have allowed us to move beyond Excel and Access and also to build datasets from record-level to aggregate-level and then drill back down making new connections and outliers more readily identifiable.

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Power BI Desktop review by <span>Bryce B.</span>
Bryce B.
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Power BI - Great Data Visualizer

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What do you like best?

The Power BI tool provides an easy method to create reports and dashboards to visualize your data. This allows you to present your data in a way that the raw data cannot, especially to those who need a graph or other visualization to understand the information. Also, you have the ability to use either static information or link to a server to provide live data through direct query.

What do you dislike?

The product still seems so disjointed and incomplete. It is disjointed because you can do many features within Power BI desktop, but you still need to login to Power BI service in order to do simple tasks such as share a dashboard or report add row level security. While it is nice the product receives monthly updates, it is still lacking in many features. The interface still looks like it is from Office 2010 and does not have a modern interface. There is no way to easily choose a theme for your project. You either use the dull default theme or have to find/code a JSON file to bring to customize the theme for your project. There are still areas where you will need to use some DAX code to complete a task, however that seems to be minimizing more and more with each update. Another downfall of the product is that it is not updated through Windows update. In order to update the file, you are notified in small text in the lower right-hand corner of the software. From there you are directed to the Power BI website to download the new version of the software. Another pitfall is you are unable to combine static information and live (direct query) information together.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Power BI Desktop provides many useful tools and features. However, it is not a finished product as it is being updated constantly. While it is great to have new features added on a regular basis, it is also frustrating to work with a software that is constantly in flux and incomplete.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Power BI allows us to create a dashboard with live information that is broad as well as unique to each location. By utilizing row-level security we can create one dashboard for everyone, but users are only allowed to see information based on their permission level.

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Power BI Desktop review by <span>Ben B.</span>
Ben B.
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My experience using Power BI Desktop

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What do you like best?

Starting with the unknown that leads to a solution.

What do you dislike?

Not being able to create measures from a Live Connection on a SQL Analysis Server.

Recommendations to others considering the product

If you want a low cost way of exploring and visualizing data, you should consider Microsoft Power BI Desktop.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We want to provide our customer base a self-service data exploration tool that is more sophisticated than Microsoft Excel. Our expectation of this product is for it to allow us to explore, analyze, create measures, visualize results and share those results with other staff.

The biggest benefit that we have realized with this product is that staff are excited to work with their data in ways they did not know existed. Staff are empowered to venture out of their comfort zone to discover new outcomes related to their data.

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