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Sumit_Gupta - PeerSpot reviewer
BI Consultant at a manufacturing company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 5
DAX and M Query makes impossible things possible, but is overall lacking in visual standardization
Pros and Cons
  • "Everything that's in M Query and DAX is the heart of Power BI because with these tools you can make up for a lot of other missing features."
  • "There is no specific area that I have a problem with. It's just that, with whatever feature you come across, every visual has its own formatting and behavior. What you get in one visual for a feature, you don't seem to get in another."

What is our primary use case?

I am a Power BI technical senior developer and consultant and I use Power BI to provide solutions for my clients.

What is most valuable?

Everything that's in M Query and DAX is the heart of Power BI because with these tools you can make up for a lot of other missing features. When I say "missing features", I mean it in the sense that, even if you don't have a direct feature to do something, there are quite a few workarounds that you can figure out with DAX and M Query to make different situations work. I think these two are really the soul of the tool because they make a lot of impossible things possible.

What needs improvement?

There's a lot of room for improvement because Power BI is a new tool and hasn't really been in the market for that long, especially considering alternative tools such as MicroStrategy or Tableau which have been around for more than a decade. Because Power BI is younger than those tools, I feel it hasn't reached a certain level of maturity that comes with time and it is lacking in quite a few areas which I'm hoping will be seen to in the future, given how it has been progressing so far with its new releases.

There is no specific area that I have a problem with. It's just that, with whatever feature you come across, every visual has its own formatting and behavior. What you get in one visual for a feature, you don't seem to get in another.

When it comes to the feature's functionality, that's all fine, but, say, for instance, that you want to go ahead and turn off only the sub totals and not the grand totals. This might not be immediately possible, especially if you are working in a project where your technical solution is the backend site which the users don't quite care about. What they care about is what they see and interact with, and the visuals and formatting (and visual settings) at hand are what really matter to them.

This is where I think standardization really needs to come in. Basic stuff like being able to selectively turn on or off only the sub totals or grand totals. There should be certain formatting options which should be standard across every visual. What options you get here, you should also get over there, for example. These are simple things, but many a time it's something the end user takes very seriously. They generally do not care about what's happening in the background with regard to the calculations and everything else.

In essence, the standard visualizations should have features and options in common with one another, even when it comes to other visualization tools such as bar charts and line charts. These are all pretty basic visualization features, and giving them some standard way to be customized will make them as capable and competitive as what other tools allow you to do. Of course, you can do this if you add your own custom visuals from the library, but when it comes to basic default stuff, they should at least be deep enough in terms of standard customization to compete.

Right now it seems like they're trying to add a lot of features, but at the expense of losing out on the essence of the basics. The basics in Power BI should be equally as good as the basics in any other tool, and in this case I believe it to be a problem of adding more depth to certain features. The width, and variety, of features is not a problem for me. Whatever features are already available need to be deep enough to work with comfortably, and I feel this is where Microsoft needs to direct its focus.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been in the BI world for about six or seven years now and for the last few years it's all been Power BI for me.

Buyer's Guide
Microsoft BI
September 2022
Learn what your peers think about Microsoft BI. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: September 2022.
633,952 professionals have used our research since 2012.

How are customer service and support?

Their support is a little slow in the sense that when I post a question to them, I don't get a response as fast as I'd like. Unless you're a premium user and you've got a dedicated technical support team — that's a different thing.

When it comes the usual Microsoft bugs, they generally don't come up with solutions too quickly. And many a time they don't even have a running solution; some bug fixes will probably only be part of the next release. Even then, however, the new releases are themselves often not terribly stable. Whenever you get a new feature, you almost know that this one's not going to work as perfectly as you would want it to. So you just have to wait for the next one, and that's what it is. It takes a little while to stabilize. This kind of thing, along with their support in general, can probably be sped up a little bit.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I am certified in MicroStrategy and have worked with it for several years. However, most of the business I am getting lately is all Power BI.

In my experience, everybody is switching from either MicroStrategy to Power BI or Tableau to Power BI. I'm hearing and seeing this going on in the market, for some very good reasons. I'm no longer working with MicroStrategy, but not because I don't like it. It's simply that I'm not getting enough work in that area.

How was the initial setup?

Setup is very easy. In Power BI that's one thing you will find across the board when using it. It is very easy in terms of getting something done. Even complex things can be done in a pretty easy way and there's no complex challenge in it.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing is good. It's pretty competitive because I have worked on a few other tools as well, and Power BI is on the cheaper side.

That said, many times people are attracted by its affordable price tag, but then they see that it doesn't do everything they want and they conclude that that was the reason why it was so cheap. There's a problem with this kind of thinking, because even though it might not have everything, the price is still on the cheaper side compared to other analysis products like MicroStrategy. The complete suite of features from MicroStrategy is very costly, but at the same time there's no doubt that it can achieve a lot.

What you get with Power BI is that you start to find that even simple stuff requires a lot of gymnastics to achieve because there's no in-built, straightforward feature for it and you need to come up with a workaround. There are a few too many workarounds needed for my comfort, but otherwise it's a very good tool and it's one of my favorites. The pricing is competitive for a reason.

What other advice do I have?

If you are looking for tabular reporting, then Power BI is not the tool for you. This isn't something that Microsoft speaks much about, and in my experience, if you want to do tabular reporting then there first has to be something in Power BI which can actually take loads of data and print it out on visuals in a tabular way, which is currently lacking. Power BI is really designed for analytical dashboarding and that's what it does best. For tabular reporting, on the other hand, it's better to just get the data exported out into Excel and do the rest there.

I would rate Microsoft PowerBI a seven out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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PeerSpot user
LunikKanungo - PeerSpot reviewer
Solutions Architect at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Easy to learn with good data preparation features and good stability
Pros and Cons
  • "As it was my first time using Power BI, I can say that it was fairly easy to learn, especially if you already know BI-type tools."
  • "The one thing that I noticed specifically was the graphical features, and some of the analytical features. They were stronger on the Tableau side."

What is our primary use case?

There were two systems that the client was looking at creating some BI visualizations for. There was the system called ICE, which is a system that takes in automated calls, for service calls. They go into voicemail, however, if there's not an agent to take the call, it'll track statistics like how long a client was on hold, if an agent actually took the call, if the person hung up, et cetera. There are all of these different statuses and it would take all of those statistics. The product was used primarily to take that data in that case.

The other system was an ITSM system, which was the ticketing system. It would

it was my first time using Power BI, I can say that it was fairly easy to learn, especially if you already know BI-type tools. But the one thing that I noticed specifically was the graphical features, and some of the analytical features, I think they were stronger on the Tableau side. But the data preparation features, I much preferred the Power BI with the Power Query type features, at least for the datasets that we were working with. They were helpful in preparing the data.

 combine those two data sets and reduce a merged analytical set of reports to just show when the call volumes were and what the performance rate was and the nature of the calls and things like that.

What is most valuable?

As it was my first time using Power BI, I can say that it was fairly easy to learn, especially if you already know BI-type tools. 

The data preparation features were great. I much preferred the Power BI with the Power Query type features - at least for the datasets that we were working with. They were helpful in preparing the data.

What needs improvement?

The one thing that I noticed specifically was the graphical features, and some of the analytical features. They were stronger on the Tableau side.

There are two areas where the solution can be enhanced. One is natural language, where you can have third parties, however, it would be nice to have it built-in within Power BI, where a graph could be automatically explained in whatever language so that somebody can just kind of read through and have the graphic as an extra for exploring. That's something that I was looking at.

The other is the explained data, which is more of a lineage-type feature. My understanding is Tableau has that feature and Power BI doesn't. I was looking at a graph of comparisons and I noticed Tableau had this explained data feature, which gives, some lineage where data has come from, and Power BI doesn't have that. Or, if it does, it's not as well developed as Tableau.

For how long have I used the solution?

I used the solution a few months ago. I'm semi-retired, however, I did have a two-month contract and did some work with it. On the project, I did work a lot with Tableau, however, I also used Power BI, and would like to continue to use it more. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It was a short project on the Power BI side. I didn't really identify any glitches. Certainly, over time things might've come out, however, I enjoy doing experimenting and playing around with things. The one definite thing that I noticed, as I do art with Tableau, is some really neat art stuff, so I tried to replicate that with Power BI and the quality just wasn't there.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

With ITSM, there's a lot of data that they collect on that side. That could be an issue, scalability. It wasn't moved to production yet. I basically produced a report as there were some issues with the ICE data, the voicemail system, and data collection. They had some issues that they had to solve. However, they were collecting data on a daily basis. You get thousands and thousands of calls on a daily basis. It depends on how they want to store that data historically. There may be some performance issues and scalability issues, however, for me, I can't really address that, as I didn't see that side. There's always a potential for trouble.

How are customer service and technical support?

It was a really short project for me. I was really there just to analyze those two data sources and produce a report for them, with some examples, using Power BI. I was able to do that without getting tech support involved.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I've used other solutions, such as Tableau and Power Query. Tableau from a graphical point of view is much better than Power BI, however, from a data manipulation standpoint and things like that, I prefer Power BI and Power Query to prep the data.

Tableau got bought out by Salesforce, which is a cloud-based company, so they're all going to push everything to the cloud. I'm sure they'll incorporate all these new features.

How was the initial setup?

I downloaded the solution from their website. 

The server side was already set up, therefore, I don't know much about the initial setup process. As a contractor, I came in just on the development side, which was just downloading the Power BI tool as a client. It was fairly easy. That's the nice thing is it's easy to set up. It is similar to Tableau, in that Tableau is fairly easy to set up. It is all built towards this whole idea of self-service.

What other advice do I have?

I'm just a customer.

As I downloaded the solution right off the website, I assume it was the latest version. I don't know the version number off-hand. 

I would do the development on-pre

There were two systems that they were looking at creating some BI visualizations for. So there was the system called ICE, which is a system that takes in automated calls, for service calls. And so goes into voicemail, but if there's not an agent to take the call, it'll track statistics like how long you were on hold, if an agent actually took your call, if you hung up. All of these different statuses would take all of those statistics. And so it was to take that data.

And the other system was the ITSM system, which is the ticketing system. And kind of combine those two data sets and reduce a merged analytical set of reports to just show when were the call volumes were, and what was the performance rate, and the nature of the calls and things like that.

It's easy to set up, however, regarding scalability and high-end analytical features, Tableau is still better on that. It's always important to keep up, as technology's changing all the time. They're always adding new features. There are no negatives in exploring these tools. In the end, you just want some visualizations that help you make decisions. Both Tableau and Power BI tools are great for that. However, if you want advanced stuff, then it's just about experimenting and seeing what will help you solve your problems.

I'd rate the solution at an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Buyer's Guide
Microsoft BI
September 2022
Learn what your peers think about Microsoft BI. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: September 2022.
633,952 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Managing Director at Streamline Strategies
Reseller
Easy to use, integrates well, and gives us the ability to collaborate and keep track of everything
Pros and Cons
  • "It is easy to use. It has got a desktop where people can develop their own dashboards. Basically, we have figured out how to connect finance contracts and all programs for the government agency. So, they can see everything in a dashboard. So, it is very easy to use from a technical standpoint of view."
  • "Its desktop tool is a little bit memory CPU intensive, and it can be improved, but the machines nowadays come with a lot of memory. For the desktop users who are using it on the desktop, we recommend that they do an upgrade. It is a minor issue. We can fix it on the desktop."

What is our primary use case?

We are using it for financial analytics and reporting. We are using it to keep a track of projects and being able to degrade the projects. We are also using it for contract closeout.

My technical guy has been using the first version of it since it came out, but we are getting ready to upgrade to the newer version. It comes along in a bundle with the 365 Enterprise version.

It is on the cloud. We're probably going to run a hybrid because we want to be able to move around. If anything happens or if needed, we can move from platform to platform.

How has it helped my organization?

We can see things from a bird's eye view. We can do predictive analytics. I can tell who's capable, who's doing what, when and how much money they're spending, and how fast they're burning. So, it gives us a bird's eye view over the financials and the money. It basically gives us the ability to collaborate and keep track of everything that's going on in an organization. We were able to bring all the collaboration and tasks right into Power BI.

What is most valuable?

It is easy to use. It has got a desktop where people can develop their own dashboards. Basically, we have figured out how to connect finance contracts and all programs for the government agency. So, they can see everything in a dashboard. So, it is very easy to use from a technical standpoint of view. We publish a report every morning for the government, and we got all the data into one place. The data can be refreshed. We are using the API to connect to various systems, such as the financial system, contract writing system, and workflow. We are able to bring things from NIPA, which is their budget and where they keep all their money. There are a lot of features, but the most important thing is it is very easy to use. It is not like Tableau. With Tableau, you've almost got to be a rocket scientist.

On the user side, it is quite simple. If you know how to run a pivot table, and then you can do almost anything. All the data is right there in the database. So, if you understand pivot tables and know how they are run, and you know the reports that you are looking for, then everything becomes very easy to run in your organization.

What needs improvement?

Its desktop tool is a little bit memory CPU intensive, and it can be improved, but the machines nowadays come with a lot of memory. For the desktop users who are using it on the desktop, we recommend that they do an upgrade. It is a minor issue. We can fix it on the desktop.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using Microsoft BI for about four and a half years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Its stability is pretty good. It is pretty stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I would rate it an eight out of 10 in terms of scalability. Currently, we are running a pilot. We're doing a pilot for army headquarters. They dictate what happens and what they use. Currently, there are 10 users, but I'm looking to go up to at least a hundred. 

We got an architect and an assistant administrator. We got a staff of three and a half people because people take vacations or sick leaves. The good part about it is that these people can work from anywhere.

How are customer service and technical support?

We are a Microsoft reseller. We have partnered with Microsoft. We have developed a relationship with their technical folks over the years. So, we kind of go directly to them. My partner came from Microsoft, so he has a very good relationship with a few technical folks. So, we, kind of, have some special privileges that a couple of other vendors don't have.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

As a matter of fact, we had built a tool, but it took so long to get it vetted and get it through to ATOs. That's when we decided to convert to Microsoft Power BI. It has already been vetted and approved in the army environment. It is an approved government site for cloud services. We were looking for the easiest path, and that's why we worked with Microsoft BI. They've already been embedded into the government. It is bundled with Office 365.

How was the initial setup?

If my technical person had to rate it, he would say very easy. All we need is to have the software.

What about the implementation team?

It was done in-house.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

They are charging us by users in storage, and there is a license fee. My financial people handle all that. The client has already worked out a contract with Microsoft, and basically, we're getting government prices.

What other advice do I have?

The backend is the most important part. We understand its backend. We implemented the on-time system for an airport. We don't find its modeling complicated. We set up the back offices and get all the modeling done and everything connected. The customer doesn't even see that. They only see the part where they're running their reports and doing the analytics or whatever they need to do. We give them all the information at their fingertips.

Everybody is going to Business Analytics. A lot of people don't understand the difference between analytics and coding, but that's something for me to teach and educate them on.

I would advise doing your testing and environment setup. You should evaluate your product very well and figure out what platform your organization is running on. You should be careful and look at how well it integrates with other products. If you're not in a Microsoft environment, it is going to be quite difficult. Oracle and Microsoft are competitive. So, you go with one or the other. The reason why I like Microsoft is that they integrate with all applications. Microsoft controls 99% of the desktops.

I would rate Microsoft BI a nine out of 10.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer:
PeerSpot user
Data Analyst Supervisor at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
MSP
Top 5Leaderboard
Allows you to manage data governance, and data for certain organizations, and present it in a way that is more advanced than the manual reporting
Pros and Cons
  • "Considering that it's Microsoft, it can be integrated with the Power Platform, which is also Microsoft-based, like SharePoint, Power apps, Power Automate, and Power BI, which is the most user-friendly."
  • "From an improvement perspective, I think if the Power BI developers of that platform would really focus on being more detailed and specific on the error messages, it would help a lot of developers troubleshoot and maintain the report ECT or the dashboard ECT."

What is our primary use case?

We use the solution for data analytics, so we use it to manage data governance, manage the data for certain organizations, and present it in a way that is more advanced than the manual reporting that was being done before via Excel. Now it's kind of interactive. It's more modern, so there are a lot of new features. It can be integrated with more BI tools also.

I've been in different organizations with different setups. I've experienced using on-prem, cloud, and hybrid.

What is most valuable?

Considering that it's Microsoft, it can be integrated with the Power Platform, which is also Microsoft-based, like SharePoint, Power apps, Power Automate, and Power BI, which is the most user-friendly. It can also be integrated with more systems or domains that are non-Power BI domains, so it can be connected using API, SQL, or Azure. You can connect into your local premises, or database, et cetera. There's a lot that you can use Power BI with, and I think it's the number one BI platform in the market.

What needs improvement?

Based on my experience, everything's good in Power BI. Consistently, it's being updated every month. There's a new feature that is being added to the platform, but I think one thing that can be improved is with regard to the error messages. When there is a problem, the error message is not specific about what's causing the problem. Maybe they intentionally generalize it because there could be a lot of causes. From an improvement perspective, I think if the Power BI developers of that platform would really focus on being more detailed and specific on the error messages, it would help a lot of developers troubleshoot and maintain the report ECT or the dashboard ECT.

There needs to be more specific error messages. You encounter problems normally for the development part and maintainability part, and there are some issues that you or any developers would encounter. It's resolvable, but it would take some effort to really dig in and investigate. Some of the messages, for example, will say that the main package is missing, which could mean a lot of things. It could be a formatting error, it could be a file type error, it could be a transformation error on the helper file, et cetera. If there was a sub-description of what that is, it would be a great improvement on Power BI.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is very stable. It's been around for more than five years. It was released to the market around 2015, it was conceptualized in 2011, and consistently it's been at the top of the market, against all its competitors, because it's a Microsoft product. I think the secret there is in the way they update their report consistently. The platform is being updated every month, so all the needs of the developers are being met.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's scalable. You can be a junior developer and work on your mini projects or your supporting mini team, and you can create your own presentation with Power BI, as simple as that. You can also handle multi-database projects and huge enterprise level data and combine all the different systems, get all the data, and put it into Power BI. Power BI has the capability and the power to cater that.

How are customer service and support?

There are times when I can't resolve certain problems, and of course I'll exhaust all my resources. I would talk to my colleagues as well. Aside from that, there are BI groups or BI developer groups on Facebook, wherein I just post a question and then we all help each other. But if there are problems that can't be resolved, we go to Microsoft and create a ticket.

You don't need any technical support for BI because you have a very big community. There's Google, and then there are a lot of people who are very willing to help.  Adam, from Guy in a Cube, is very popular. He's part of Microsoft, and he's popular on YouTube. He answered one of my questions, and it's a very hard question. I think a lot of the problems that I encountered were resolved.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have also used Active Directory. I was a service desk analyst, which is a level one IT. For Active Directory, I use that to support the organization's directory, IT concerns like internet error issues, their profile, if they can't access a certain website, their password needs to be reset, et cetera. 

Power BI has different kinds of setups, so one setup would be connecting to an SQL server database. I have experience connecting to SQL databases, and I do basic SQL coordinates because normally it's done in collaboration with SQL administrators.

How was the initial setup?

I'm a seasoned BI developer, so it's easy for me, especially if it's not a very complicated project. There are different setups, depending on the project and depending on the organization. There are really complicated ones. For example, if you are going to connect to SSA live connection, a cube has to be built, there will be expenses, et cetera. There are requirements that would involve different teams and different people because of the expenses, et cetera. There are also simple ones like when you're just connecting to Big Data, or SharePoint, or SAPI, or local, or databases. It depends on projects, but for me as a seasoned developer, I think it's going to be easy.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution 10 out of 10, against all the other competitors and as a BI tool.

It's a 10 because of the price. It's not that expensive compared to other BI tools. It's also with regard to maintainability. It's easier to understand, easy to manage, and it's very flexible. You can create projects, you can create a website, et cetera. It also has accessibility. It can be integrated with a lot of systems and applications. It's the leading BI tool in the market.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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PeerSpot user
Okay Akdeniz - PeerSpot reviewer
Business Application Group Manager at OBASE
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Scalable with various licensing options and offers good technical support
Pros and Cons
  • "Technical support is quite good."
  • "The licensing needs improvement. There needs to be a middle option between Pro and Premium versions."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily sell Power BI licenses. 

Mostly, we focus on the retail industry. Usually, we are using the Power BI reports for dashboards. We are also providing our customers with some data warehouse reporting. Basically, we do long-term categorization of stock and inventory numbers and sales figures so that they can compare the sales and stocks to the inventory numbers.

We tend to deal with physical inventory reports. We tend not to deal with the solution for financial operations.

What is most valuable?

The solution has different licensing tiers.

The product can scale if you need it to.

Technical support is quite good.

With the cloud deployment, there's no setup required.

The product works well for small or mid-level organizations.

What needs improvement?

The solution's stability could be improved. In the retail industry, due to issues with information updating and data uploading. Clients may end up pricing items wrong as they could accidentally base their choices on old or wrong data.

The licensing needs improvement. There needs to be a middle option between Pro and Premium versions. It could also be less expensive.

For how long have I used the solution?

While we have experience with Microsoft tools for the past ten years, I personally have had experience with Microsoft BI for the past two or so years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is not really stable. I've faced a lot of limitations especially in terms of some data flows updates. We have faced some exceptions. Right now, we have created a case for Microsoft in order to solve some problems we've been having as, right now, there's some sort of system fault.

While the platform is a little more stable, the big problem is the latency issues around customer updates.

In a recent project, in Sweden, we faced an exception in Power BI from the update path. Whenever we refresh the animations and the fact tables, we faced something that said we couldn't upload the data. After 20 minutes we tried to refresh again. We didn't change anything with our reports or platform or anything related to infrastructure or schema. We didn't touch anything. An yet, the data is updated successfully. That leads us to ask the question: what was the problem 20 minutes ago? We still don't know the answer.

That is why we need some stability for the update service. We are deciding some business decisions based on this data. If this data is not updated, we may decide to take the wrong path. 

This is very important in the retail industry. For example in the grocery field, sometimes with vegetables or fruits or other products, customers need to decide to change the prices within lock days. They need to decide, based on demand, if they should increase or lower prices. They can't make the correct decisions if the numbers don't update.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability potential actually depends on your licenses. Microsoft provides three licenses. One of them is absolutely free. Another is called Pro. Yet another is per user or Premium. There is a huge difference between the Pro license and the Premium license. There is no need to scale the Pro license or other license models.

When you put the on-premise reports, you can scale out or scale up. It depends on your existing resources. However, in the services as a software (SaaS) version, it actually comes with Microsoft's units or Microsoft resources. 

How are customer service and technical support?

We have an ASFP agreement with Microsoft. As a Gold Partner, Microsoft is pretty good and responding automatically and helping us resolve issues.

If a partner does not have an ASFP agreement, they tend to have to go to forums or try to Google answers to their problems.

We are aware that sometimes when we make changes to BI, the solutions might be complex. There might be SQL involved, which needs to be taken into account, for example. We may have to look into other resources and other tools to see if there are interactions that are the issue. However, Microsoft is quite helpful as we work through issues. We're quite satisfied with their level of support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We also work with and sell MicroStrategy in Turkey. 95% of the MicroStrategy projects have been completed with our company. It is a direct competitor with Power BI. My company commonly does consulting for some small and medium markets and for that we recommend Power BI. Whenever we talk about enterprise-level solutions, the company we will use is MicroStrategy.

How was the initial setup?

There isn't much of an installation process, as the solution is on the cloud.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

There is a free license, however, it is limited. The Premium license and the Pro license functionalities are very different. Whenever we talk with our customers, they ask "Should we chose the Premium?" We say that "No, you don't need to, as it's too expensive. It is much more expensive than the Pro license." However, the Pro license functionality is not enough for some customers. There is no middle between Pro and the Premium. We need something in between.

The Pro license is maybe suitable for SMBs, small and medium-sized businesses. The premium version is ideal for companies that need to scale up and out.  

There also may be some additional costs that can drive up the price.

What other advice do I have?

I prefer this product and I suggest Power BI to all customers, however, we know that if Power BI is a new idea, we make sure to show company-specific data or analytics for analyzing the data and how this solution can analyze everything quickly. That said, it's not for everybody. If all companies tried to put all their reporting expectations in the Power BI, it would not fit their expectations.

It's not a standalone solution. You need other items in your toolbelt. You need, for example, something that can handle raw data, you need warehousing, et cetera.

In general, I would rate the solution eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller
PeerSpot user
Irving Ginzburg - PeerSpot reviewer
President & Owner at Altrim Systems
Reseller
Good visibility, graphic visuals, and easy to install
Pros and Cons
  • "It gives us, the ability to do a lot of analysis quickly, similar to ad hoc analysis."
  • "One of the more difficult things to do is to export some of the data from Power BI to Excel."

What is our primary use case?

We are Microsoft resellers.

We use it for clients to extract and analyze data from ERP systems. Then, we basically put it in on-premise Power BI, and once we have the reports and visuals that we want, we publish it to different members of whoever has access to see the reports. Basically, we publish it to their Power BI in the Cloud.

How has it helped my organization?

For one client, it gives all sales reps across all geographic regions access to sales data, so they know who's purchasing what product in what part of the country, and that sort of thing. It shows them overtime when sales are high and low, as well as what types of customers are buying. We occasionally connect it to external data. We link it to some demographic data, such as population figures in different provinces in Canada, to see how sales are doing.

It is beneficial. It's one of the applications we use for a client's sales reps all over the country to get all kinds of sales data. It also benefits them. They can ask, "Why isn't this customer purchasing this specific product?" So they know which customers are genuine or who are purchasing and may try to push a different line with them. It provides a wealth of useful information to the salespeople.

What is most valuable?

It gives us, the ability to do a lot of analysis quickly, similar to ad hoc analysis. People want to know, for example, which customers are purchasing which products over what time period. It's very simple to make visuals for them. We create a matrix that resembles a spreadsheet and then link it to various graphic visuals, pie charts, and other types of charts. They also get a visual sense of what's going on. Those features are fantastic.

What needs improvement?

One of the more difficult things to do is to export some of the data from Power BI to Excel. It is getting better. It's better than it was six, eight, or nine months ago, but it's still not quite there. They could probably improve that a little bit. 

The only disadvantage of how we're using it is that it can be difficult to get the data into Excel at times. A lot of users are very familiar with Excel, so having a seamless interface into Excel would be a big plus for a lot of people, in my opinion. Otherwise, it's an excellent product.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been selling Microsoft BI for two years.

I am using the most recent version.

It can be deployed both on the cloud and on-premises.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

For us, the stability has been great. We have no issues with the stability of Microsoft BI.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I believe it is a scalable product. I'm aware that they have other products on the market, but I haven't tried them. To analyze data, it appears to be scalable to fairly large businesses. Scalability is quite good.

It is not a single organization. It's amongst a few clients of mine. I would estimate the number of users to be about 20, 25, or something along those lines. Their roles vary a lot. Several users are salespeople and people in purchasing. There are also people in management who use it and people in the accounting area as well. There are also one or two more technical users who use it to export data to Excel PivotTables. These are the people who make use of it.

For one client, it's very extensively used. Others, I wouldn't say that it is used as extensively. They could use it a lot more.

How are customer service and support?

I have not had any interaction with technical support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Before using Power BI, we used a lot of Excel, Power Pivot, and other similar tools. We transitioned a lot of our data models from Excel and Power Pivot to Power BI, including the PivotTables. It was a Microsoft solution. It was Excel, from Excel and Power Pivot to Power BI.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup went quite well. It was a fairly straightforward process. There were no major hiccups.

It took approximately four to five hours to configure.

I have one client who has an administrator who updates the system. He updates the product and his data on a regular basis. I believe the data must be updated once a month. Other clients' updates are handled by me.

What about the implementation team?

We did not need assistance, we completed it in-house.

What was our ROI?

Yes, I believe so. I haven't actually measured it, but based on one particular client, I believe their company is expanding at a rapid pace. I believe a large portion of it is or a good deal of it is based on the information they receive. I believe there will be a return.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It's straightforward licensing. I would guess we pay $300 to $400 per month for everyone or something along those lines.

What other advice do I have?

Depending on where they're coming from, one thing is that if you want to get deeply involved in it, you have to learn the programming language, which I believe is DAX. It is not difficult to become involved in and learn. Microsoft, in my opinion, has done a good job of making it simple. That's one area I believe people should look into if they want to learn more than just the fundamentals of the DAX programming language. Which we have done in part. Again, we are not experts, but we have looked into it.

I would rate Microsoft BI a nine out of ten. It does almost everything we require.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer:
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PeerSpot user
CFO at Travel Food Services ltd
Real User
Top 10
Very scalable and stable with a fluid interface
Pros and Cons
  • "The interface is very fluid."
  • "The challenge of this product is in truncating the table data."

What is our primary use case?

We're a retail hospitality chain spread throughout India, operating over 330 outlets across the country in various formats, ranging from a coffee chain to fast food restaurants through our in-house bespoke brands. All these brands run out of travel hubs like airports, railway stations, and highways stops. We needed a solution to manage both the multiple SKU levels and in terms of individual dynamics, the profitability of each store. We constantly track the various types of back-end raw materials, specifically on our prediction modeling where we use Power BI. We also use Power BI analytics to drive those results with regard to the day-to-day dashboarding, reporting in terms of collection, on sales trends per hour, manpower and the like. We are customers of Microsoft and I'm the CIO. 

What is most valuable?

I like that the interface is very fluid in the sense that you can upload via Excel or you can attach via connectors, any software you like.

What needs improvement?

The challenge of this product is in truncating the table data. It would be great if Microsoft would include a naming convention which has the advantage of enabling a VLOOKUP on top of it, so two tables can be merged more seamlessly. Currently, the time it takes to merge two tables in Power BI makes the entire analysis quite complex because it requires common numbering in one table and then creating another common indicator in another table in order to merge the two. It wastes precious time. 

Secondly, while they talk about visual analytics, sometimes the challenge is when you're looking for more in terms of geovisual analytics, such as city maps which requires a functionality whereby you can upload transactions. For example, if I want to visually present my data on an airport map, showing which stores are generating what revenue dependent on the traffic heat map, I am unable to do that because I cannot upload drawings. Ideally, I'd like to show each store as a bar map with waves explaining the sales in each location. It allows me to pinpoint which locations are more profitable. 

I'd like to see a degree of variability so I have the flexibility of putting those variable components in my predictive modeling, and I can get a feel for the trends. It requires a common input database. You can do it in Excel, but you can't do it in Power BI, which I find surprising.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using this solution for nine months. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The product is fairly stable, it doesn't get too many upgrades or updates from that perspective so it's fairly straightforward in terms of implementation and our entire ecosystem was on Microsoft which helped us. The only area that can be problematic is when you're trying to create relationships between two databases and you're trying to link it with your Power BI solution, sometimes that mapping takes considerable time.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is scalable. We are a cluster of eight legal entities and we've been able to expand to all of them. We started with 20 outlets and today we have 350 outlets. We are more granular and today Power BI allows us to drill down to the last voucher. We have around 14 users from the finance and operations teams.

How are customer service and technical support?

We haven't needed to call Microsoft, because we worked with one of their gold partners in India. So we are on an AMC model with them in terms of manpower. If there are any problems or upgrades we need, we reach out to the partner. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward for the simple reason that our entire ecosystem was on Microsoft and we use Azure Web Services in terms of hosting. We split the entire project into two parts to simplify things. The first part was more about the granular analysis of sales and various other elements, which took considerable time due to the many external stakeholders involved. Phase two was relatively simple, because it was department specific and we created a split team, which led to the creation of a better platform.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Licensing is on an annual basis. We have a complete Microsoft Ecosystem license. I think there is room for improvement with the licensing, specifically during the pandemic when it would have been reasonable to offer a discount. Many other companies, SAP and Oracle, for example, gave waivers to the MSME sector. Microsoft traditionally is used by smaller or medium-sized companies so I was expecting some sort of discount on the pricing, but unfortunately that didn't happen. We managed to avoid an escalation in cost, but frankly speaking, a discount would have been much appreciated.

What other advice do I have?

It's important to understand your entire ecosystem in terms of your tables; the kinds of tables your back-end database has and the elements of analysis that you are looking at. If you are looking at predictive modeling, you need to have at least two to three years of data, because that allows you to define the trajectory of the predictive modeling. Otherwise, it doesn't serve any purpose. Secondly, be very specific with your implementation partner, as to how you'd like a particular visualization tool to look, otherwise you may not get what you want. Finally, it's important to invest in people and create a center of excellence made up of people who know Power BI well, or who will get trained and certified on it. You'll need an in-house team which can do the small tweaks and changes as you require, otherwise you'll get stuck each time you need to do something.

I rate this solution an eight out of 10. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Sai-Krishna - PeerSpot reviewer
Manager, BI & Analytics at Perceptive Analytics
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
User-friendly, offers a flexible measure creation capability, scalable to large datasets, and has good community support
Pros and Cons
  • "Two valuable most features are the ability to create columns and create measures."
  • "In my opinion, the software is a little bit limited in terms of the flexibility it offers, with regard to the design of the visualization."

What is our primary use case?

I am currently a management consultant and, before my current employment, I was a management consultant as well. I also had a stint with an online retailer in India. My usage with Power BI has been in the area of practical day-to-day operations, web host operations, and equipment status monitoring.

What is most valuable?

Two valuable most features are the ability to create columns and create measures.

The create measures feature offers you a little bit more flexibility. You can define what kind of measure you need using a formula, and the way Power BI works is very similar to Excel. In fact, most of the functions that you use in Excel are present in Power BI as well. When you create measures or columns, you just write the formula as you would in Excel, which will allow you to visualize that data in the way that you want.

What needs improvement?

In my opinion, the software is a little bit limited in terms of the flexibility it offers, with regard to the design of the visualization. By comparison, if you look at some other visualization tools, such as Tableau, for instance, the range of designs, or the range of graphics that you can create with Tableau is far greater than what you can do with Power BI. 

Of course, they do provide an option to download templates and use them, but every time, you have to go to the Power BI store, search for those templates, download them and then use them. I think it's a growing universe of visualizers that they have, so probably, they are also working on the same thing. I believe, in terms of the designs of the visualizations that the tool can create, there is some room for improvement.

One more aspect that needs improvement is the formatting of visualizations that we create. Formatting in this context is the colors or the font style or font sizes. The formatting options, I believe, could be made a bit more user-friendly than the way things are right now. It's a little hard to figure out where to go and how to change the formatting of a particular chart or graph. So, I think the formatting options could be made a little bit more user-friendly.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Power BI for more than three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Microsoft BI is definitely stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This product is scalable and in fact, I have worked on it with fairly large datasets. It also gives you the option of publishing onto a server. When the dashboard/report is published to the Power BI server, we get a link that can be shared with others in the organization. At the enterprise level, it is possible to give access to a list of users who will have a need to look at the report frequently. These users can just click on the link and view the report whenever they want to. It is also possible for them to use filters and interact with the report.

How are customer service and technical support?

I am fairly comfortable with the tool and to this point, I really haven't felt the need to reach out to Microsoft with regard to the specific features of the tool. In case I do need some help on a particular feature, what I usually do is Google what I am trying to find and I get some links to the Microsoft community, or something similar, which answers my question.

To that extent, it has been very convenient to find help in whatever we are required to do with the software. The simple things are taken care of automatically. In case there is some trouble with the visualizations, you can always find help or assistance on the Microsoft community pages.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have also worked with Tableau and I think that each of these tools has its advantages.

I believe the cost of the software plays a deciding factor in a company's decision to implement either of the two. While each product has its pros and cons, if you're looking for something that's more value for money, then I think Power BI is the better choice.

On the other hand, if you are willing to choose an expensive option that gives you a lot more flexibility, then I think that Tableau would be a better choice.

It ultimately depends on what you are going to use it for. If you're using it for a variety of visualizations that you want to create, Tableau will be a better choice. On the other hand, if people have budget constraints then Power BI will provide a good value for the money.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward. You just download the software from their website, install it, and sign in.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

This product offers good value for the money.

What other advice do I have?

In a nutshell, I recommend this product and I would suggest implementing it. It has a very good range of features that it offers. For organizations starting on their business intelligence journey, I believe Power BI is a very good tool to start with. It's very user-friendly and it provides a graphical user interface where users can just drag and drop their required fields into particular templates of visualizations. It means that you get the charts quickly. There's no complex learning curve involved. From that perspective, I would say that it's definitely worth a try.

My biggest complaint is that it's a bit limited right now, in terms of the choice of visualizations it offers.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Buyer's Guide
Download our free Microsoft BI Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.
Updated: September 2022
Buyer's Guide
Download our free Microsoft BI Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.