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Mohammed Motiwala
Summer Intern at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Good visualization capabilities, a lot of online content, but not easy to define a relationship and has a bit of a learning curve
Pros and Cons
  • "Its visualization capabilities are pretty good. It is very easy to use. You can easily make your dashboard."
  • "Defining a relationship was very confusing. There were circular directions for which I had to do a lot of adjustments in the data. They can do something to make it easier."

What is our primary use case?

I used it to build a simple dashboard. What I did was very simple. I used it to load different datasets. I defined relationships between them and played around with the data by using visuals.

I must have downloaded the version that was really available at that time.

How has it helped my organization?

I had to build a simple dashboard in which I had to combine two or three different datasets. They were large enough, so it wasn't possible to work on them easily in Excel. In Power BI, I used the relationship feature, and I was able to store the data in such a way that it does not occupy a lot of space. I could then send the file over email.

What is most valuable?

Its visualization capabilities are pretty good. It is very easy to use. You can easily make your dashboard.

There is a lot of self-help content available from a lot of different platforms, such as YouTube. So, whenever I faced an issue, it was not difficult. I could always find a solution to the issue I was facing.

What needs improvement?

Defining a relationship was very confusing. There were circular directions for which I had to do a lot of adjustments in the data. They can do something to make it easier.

For how long have I used the solution?

I worked on it this summer. I just used it for a month or two.

What other advice do I have?

Defining Relationships can be confusing when you are working with a complex data model. It can result in circular relationship referencing and the interface does not help solve it, or even understand it, in any way. It takes time to figure out a different way to structure the data model and Power BI offers no guidance on that. Online help is limited.

There is a lot of content available online. When I started out, the way I was defining the relationship between the data and the way my model was structured was not very efficient. I spent a lot of time in making it more efficient. So, I would advise others to do enough research. I was learning on the go. If you spend about six or seven hours learning it, it would be much better. Even though it is marketed as something that is easily usable and anyone can come and start using it, there is a bit of a learning curve.

I was very easily able to load the data and conduct an as-is analysis of what is happening, but if I want to do a deeper analysis of the data and break down a variable into different components, I don't know if it is possible in Power BI. I tried to do it a little bit, but it was not easy. So, it is good when you have the data, and you just want to present it and look at it in different ways, but if you want to analyze the data and break down the numbers and play around with the data, I don't know if it is possible in Power BI.

I would rate Power BI a seven out of 10.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Mohammed Ghonaim
Senior Oracle Application Consultants at a comms service provider with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Easy to set up with good functionality and an easy initial setup
Pros and Cons
  • "Like all Microsoft products, it is very easy to set up initially."
  • "We need more integration capabilities."

What is our primary use case?

Currently, it is used in our financial reporting and financial consideration reports.

What is most valuable?

It is stable.

It has good functionality and is fully integrated with Microsoft products. If you have already a direct connection or direct integration with Microsoft products, it is very good actually. In some cases, we just developed our BI dashboard and sent it to PowerPoint, for example. It'll be published as the power BI format, which is very good as a feature, to have that capability to just easily populate everything in PowerPoint.

Like all Microsoft products, it is very easy to set up initially.

It's pretty user-friendly.

The product can scale.

What needs improvement?

Our main concern with Power BI is it doesn't have a connection with the finance application. Power BI is used to present some financial data. However, if there is no direct connection or a ready API to be connected either to Oracle ERP or SAP or a different ERP, it won't be very useful. We need more integration capabilities. 

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using the solution for five years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is good. There are no bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze. It's reliable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability has been great. If a company needs to expand it, it can.

In my organization, there are about 10 to 20 users. The majority have shifted to Qlick.

How are customer service and support?

I haven't contacted technical support in the past. The product has been so stable we haven't needed assistance. 

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

We have multiple BI tools. We previously worked with Oracle BI. Our expectations were not met, and therefore we moved over to Microsoft BI.

In my sector, currently, we are using Qlik Sense. We started using it one year ago.

We are shifting from Microsoft to Qlik due to the fact that we have Oracle ERP as a back end. We are trying to find a technology or BI, which already has a direct connection with this ERP. We went into Qlik Sense for that reason.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward, actually. It is like any other Microsoft product. All of Microsoft's products are straightforward. It isn't complicated. This is one of the main benefits.

I'm not sure how long the deployment process was. I can't speak to how big the technical team was that handled the rollout.

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

We pay an annual licensing fee. 

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend the solution if they already have a Microsoft ERP system. If they have already Microsoft and they have already their financial system in place and if they don't have data movement, Power BI will be very powerful. If a company has different financial systems, they have to track all these data points first, build the business model and then import it to Power BI. 

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.
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Learn what your peers think about Microsoft BI. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: January 2022.
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Cloud business Director at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Reseller
Easily customizable, good reporting, and offers self-serve analytics
Pros and Cons
  • "The amount of customization that you can do is good, and it's relatively straightforward to do."
  • "The look and feel should be updated in terms of the types of dashboards and graphs that you can produce. They aren't as visual as some of its competitors."

What is our primary use case?

We are a solution provider and Microsoft BI is one of the products that we implement for our customers. It is used for customized dashboarding, reporting, and self-serve analytics, on a broad scale in enterprise.

What is most valuable?

The amount of customization that you can do is good, and it's relatively straightforward to do. People with limited experience in terms of coding can implement this themselves. If an organization doesn't have a high amount of skill, internally, then it's something that they can still spin up themselves, relatively well.

What needs improvement?

It could be changed to the point where it's more suited for self-serve analytics.

The look and feel should be updated in terms of the types of dashboards and graphs that you can produce. They aren't as visual as some of its competitors.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been selling and using Microsoft BI for approximately two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Microsoft BI is a stable solution.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This product is scalable.

We have dozens of customers that use it.

How are customer service and support?

The Microsoft technical support is not great. You need to have a partner in place that's able to handle these services for you. Customers aren't going to get answers quick enough if they're going directly to the vendor.

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

I have experience with a couple of other similar products but I'd only downloaded the free versions of these tools to play around with. One of these is Tableau.

Tableau is a solution that would be used more at the enterprise scale. It may be more suitable for analytics. 

These days, from a visual perspective in terms of analytics, dashboards, and customized dashboards, I tend to use Google products.

How was the initial setup?

The complexity of the installation depends on what you're using it for. If you're doing anything relatively complex, such as working with AI or machine learning, then you would probably want to have a specialist service provider do it for you.

We've seen that people are tending to use solutions that compete with it, just because they are easier to automate. From a large-scale point of view, the installation could be simpler.

That said, in its simplest form, it can be used for self-serve analytics.

What about the implementation team?

A company can handle the deployment and maintenance in-house on its own. Or, if they're doing a large-scale project, they might be in need of two engineers.

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

My customers pay a yearly licensing fee.

From a cost point of view, it's competitive in the enterprise space, although it's not as competitive when you add up all of the additional costs. Things like integrations cost extra and it's probably where Microsoft makes more of the money.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution an 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:
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Global Director - HR Technology & Platforms at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Good visualization with an easy initial setup and good overall stability
Pros and Cons
  • "The fact that you can visualize items is great."
  • "The solution could be quicker at rendering data."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for building dashboards, one-off analytics, and things of that nature that combine data.

How has it helped my organization?

The functions from a standpoint of generating analytics have been really helpful overall. That aspect has helped improve our organization.

What is most valuable?

In general, we are pretty pleased.

The ability to combine the data and to connect with pretty established platforms has been the solution's most valuable aspect to us. 

The fact that you can visualize items is great. The visualization power is very good.

The initial setup is straightforward.

What needs improvement?

I don't know if I can pinpoint any specific items that I don't like. However, the more connectors that they provide the better. 

I don't use it day in, day out to tell you if it has any kind of functionality items that may be open up for improvement opportunities. 

The solution could probably beef up items related to statistics and things to cover the gap between the advanced things that you can do with Tableau. Any kind of advanced statistical analysis would be very helpful in future releases.  

The solution could be quicker at rendering data.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for three years or so.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable. It's reliable. We've been happy with it. There aren't bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution can scale well if you need it to. That shouldn't be a problem for any organization.

I'm not sure how many people are actually using the solution in our organization. Everybody has been kind of encouraged to leverage the platform on an ongoing basis. However, obviously, those that are holding jobs related to any kind of analytics are probably more prone to using it.

How are customer service and technical support?

I don't tend to deal with technical support. That's probably more on the IT team than on my plate and therefore I don't really know how their tech support works. I can't speak to their knowledgeability and response times.

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

With our company, there were probably those that needed to do advanced analytics that were using solutions like Tableau or Excel.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not complex. It's pretty straightforward. A company shouldn't run into any problems when it comes to setting it up.

What other advice do I have?

We have a pretty strong partnership with Microsoft and we tend to help them develop their product as well.

We are using the latest version of the solution at this time.

I would advise other organizations that the product has a lot to offer and therefore it's worth the investment and the effort.

I would rate the solution at a nine out of ten. Sometimes it could be quite at rendering data, however, overall, we've been happy with the results.

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: Partner
IdanEnright
Inovation Manager at SoCalGas
Real User
Top 5
Beneficial query editor, scalable, and stable
Pros and Cons
  • "My favorite feature is the power query editor, where it can do the data transformations."
  • "Microsoft BI could improve by having better collaboration between developers working on the same dashboard. The developer platform is all done on a single laptop and it's difficult to have the same project files work. Two developers have to go back and forth. You have to have the project file on one developer's laptop making it difficult to co-develop."

What is our primary use case?

We use Microsoft BI all over our enterprise but our main use is for the organizational dashboard. My organization sends all of our systems and ERP data into a Power BI dashboard, which goes to all the managers, the leadership, and then gets reported up to the company executives.

How has it helped my organization?

Microsoft BI has helped out the organization because it has brought visibility of our data across the organization allowing everyone to see the same metrics.

What is most valuable?

My favorite feature is the power query editor, where it can do the data transformations.

What needs improvement?

Microsoft BI could improve by having better collaboration between developers working on the same dashboard. The developer platform is all done on a single laptop and it's difficult to have the same project files work. Two developers have to go back and forth. You have to have the project file on one developer's laptop making it difficult to co-develop.

In terms of the performance, it could always improve sometimes. It's only slow to update. The automated data feeds have to be all updated.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Microsoft BI for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of Microsoft BI is very good. We have not had an issue.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Microsoft BI has scaled very well for us. We have a very large organization with users all across the company.

We have approximately 100 users using this solution. It's a standard program for analysts and even managers will use it. It is a standard business analyst software. 

The solution is extensively being used in our organization.

How are customer service and support?

I have not contacted Mircosoft for technical support. I only use our internal support.

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

We previously used SAS and it is similar to Microsoft BI. It's a little different in the visualization. It was more on analytics, but it also had the visualization.

We had SAS Enterprise Guide which was on-premise. When they were looking at cloud solutions, they kind of opened it up for more possibilities. The deciding factors of why we switched to Microsoft BI was we already had many Microsoft products and we have a SQL Server Data Warehouse. There's good integration between our existing Microsoft systems with Microsoft BI.

How was the initial setup?

I was part of the initial user testing of Microsoft BI, but it was mostly IT that handled all the initial implementation.

What about the implementation team?

We have a dedicated IT team of two administrators that support Microsoft BI. One of the administrator's full-time job is to manage the Microsoft BI.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to those wanting to implement this solution is to do some training. There is enough training curriculum available to get people going.

I rate Microsoft BI a nine out of ten.

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.
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IdanEnright
Inovation Manager at SoCalGas
Real User
Top 5
Creates charts and graphs to provide visuals of the data
Pros and Cons
  • "The standard BI visualization capabilities are great."
  • "Anything they can do to improve enterprise collaboration is going to help people get set up and utilize the solution."

What is our primary use case?

We mostly use this solution for dashboards and reporting.

There are roughly 2000 people in our office. At the least, 100 people use Power BI. We have around 10 super users who use it a lot. A lot of people just use it to look at dashboards. A lot of managers look at Power BI for their dashboards.

How has it helped my organization?

It has centralized our organization. It has democratized dashboard and report building and provides a centralized format. Without Microsoft BI, people would otherwise develop and manage their spreadsheets in Excel, which is just a lot harder than what Power BI enables us to do.

What is most valuable?

The standard BI visualization capabilities are great. It makes all the visualizations and has a drag and drop builder. It also has a power query data modeling capability that's excellent.

What needs improvement?

We're a big organization. We're looking at standardizing. Anybody can just pick it up and use it because it's easy. We want to be able to standardize what Power BI is and I think that's a challenge that we're encountering now.

Anything they can do to improve enterprise collaboration is going to help people get set up and utilize the solution.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Microsoft BI for roughly two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It has crashed, but it's pretty stable. I haven't had any problems where a published dashboard was not working. Once a dashboard is published, I haven't seen any problems with it.

I think it depends a lot on the data access. As long as the data backend can get into Power BI, then everything works. If there are any data connection issues, that's when there will be problems.

How are customer service and technical support?

I get tech support from my admin. I've never contacted support.

What about the implementation team?

We have a Power BI admin administrator that helped us with the initial setup. From the user's perspective, it's pretty easy.

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

I think it's a good price, from what I've heard. I know it's competitive with other Power BI tools. It comes in lower. I've heard no complaints about the pricing.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Our company did evaluate Tableau and a couple of other tools. We ended up promoting Power BI for everyone because it was licensed and we were already using Office 365. It integrates well with all of our existing environments.

What other advice do I have?

From a user's perspective, I'd advise people to really try to understand the data sources and have a good data environment in place, beforehand. That makes the Power BI environment much better.

Overall, on a scale from one to ten, I would give this solution a rating of nine. I think it's the best BI tool that I've used. I know it has a really good rating. It accomplishes a lot for us in terms of data manipulation and BI in the reporting.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
Contact Center Consultant at a consultancy with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 5
Simple to implement, beneficial customization, and plenty of features
Pros and Cons
  • "Microsoft BI is easy to use and to design. I found Microsoft BI a lot easier than Tableau."
  • "I am taking a course to be able to use the solution better. Some aspects of the solution are not straightforward."

What is our primary use case?

I'm a call center consultant and I use Microsoft BI to receive in-depth metrics. I download the metrics from the contact center and then I can figure out what's going on in the contact center. Additionally, if we integrate it with other tools and databases, et cetera, we can receive a better understanding of what is happening. For example, we had a customer that made products for Costco and Walmart and if they had an engineering issue or a problem, they don't find out about it until they saw the orders from the engineering team explaining what the issue was.

We added a screen to the agent's desktop and listed the model numbers of the products and then used Microsoft BI analytics to see what particular problem happened to what product. The executive could drill down and hear the calls as to what the customer was saying about the issue.

The executives liked the data, the engineers liked hearing what the customers were saying about the certain product that had an issue.

What is most valuable?

Microsoft BI is easy to use and to design. I found Microsoft BI a lot easier than Tableau.

You can set Microsoft BI up for administration to use it and then you can set up views for your end-users to look at. For example, if you are a report analyst you could have your marketing person wants Microsoft BI to report on how many widgets the East Coast sold in five years, if you set Microsoft BI up the right way, they can retrieve that information themselves. You save manpower from your IT staff.

Microsoft BI is a lot easier to analyze data than with other solutions, such as Excel.

What needs improvement?

I am taking a course to be able to use the solution better. Some aspects of the solution are not straightforward.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Microsoft BI for approximately one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have found Microsoft BI is stable. 

I have not had any issues. I am a new user myself, and I typically suggest an application that I have found good and then somebody else that I work with, would set it up.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution has been scalable for what I use it for.

How are customer service and support?

I have not used technical support.

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

I have used Tableau.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very easy because it is on the cloud. You only need to have your database and connect it to Microsoft BI. They have different connectors in order to make it easy to do.

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

I have not had a customer suggest the solution is too expensive. There are licenses to use the solution.

What other advice do I have?

The solution has all the features I need, I do not use large data sets.

I rate Microsoft BI a ten out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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IT Service and Strategy Consultant, Facilitator at BCAP SOLUTIONS
Consultant
Offers great integrations with good visualizations
Pros and Cons
  • "Easy to use and the visualization is valuable."
  • "The formatting template could be improved."

What is our primary use case?

The main use case is for dashboarding on Excel spreadsheets until data lake and similar sources are ready for us to start integrating and dashboarding that information. We are a government motor transport entity and for each vehicle, there's a lifecycle. At every step of that life cycle, we need to know how many of a particular type of vehicle we have in our fleet and its status. I'm an IT service and strategy consultant and we are customers of Microsoft BI.

What is most valuable?

BI is very easy to use including the desktop version. The visualization is valuable, it's easy to select visualizations and show your data in different views. It opens up a lot of possibilities that weren't previously available and it's versatile. We're integrating with other solutions and if you look at Power BI pulling information from the data warehouse, it's integrated to an Oracle warehouse and works well.

What needs improvement?

The formatting template could be improved. In order for me to easily do visualizations, I have to format my Excel spreadsheet in a very specific template. I can't take a spreadsheet from my financial director and quickly put it in Power BI and then pivot into visualizations. I have to first check the formatting, that it's in the proper columns, and headings are logical. It needs all of that database thinking before you can actually get valuable information out of it. 

I'd like to see more templates and better tooling so that when one opens a spreadsheet it's possible to manipulate data from Power BI without having to format the spreadsheet. If you were able to pull the information out of the spreadsheet via more detailed tooling, that would be brilliant.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using this solution for about three months. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability has been good so far. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is good. 

How are customer service and technical support?

We haven't required technical support.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward and didn't take too long. We had a team, the Azure FastTrack team, that assisted us and they were superb.

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

We're using a subscription-based license and the government has a transversal agreement with Microsoft. We use the solution according to that contract, it's an EA license. When it comes to premium licenses, I think they all have room for improvement.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend this solution to everyone, whether small, medium, or enterprise-size companies. Smaller companies should use the free version because it offers quite a lot and is valuable. I would recommend it for any size environment and specifically because it's not boxed in and you can visualize data that's on Microsoft products. 

I rate the solution eight 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: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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