Review: Microsoft Power BI is no Tableau (yet)

Microsoft’s BI-as-a-service offering is capable and inexpensive, but lacks fine-grained control over visualizations

Become An Insider

Sign up now and get FREE access to hundreds of Insider articles, guides, reviews, interviews, blogs, and other premium content. Learn more.

Microsoft formerly offered a rather confusing array of centralized business intelligence, reporting, and analytics products aimed primarily at IT developers, with users often assumed to be working with Excel against on-premises SQL Server Analysis Server and SharePoint data sources. The company added cloud-based collaboration in Power BI for Office 365 in 2014, at a rich subscription price. This complemented the Power Query, Power Pivot, Power View and Power Map self-service BI features added to Excel 2013.

With the introduction of the new standalone Power BI, currently in preview, Microsoft hopes to compete with and perhaps leapfrog self-service BI products such as Tableau. The new Power BI includes a Web interface to a service hosted on Azure and a Power BI Designer application for the Windows desktop, and it’s much more modestly priced: A standard account and the Power BI Designer are both free, while a Pro account is $9.99 per user per month.

To continue reading this article register now

Shop Tech Products at Amazon