28 June 2023
In this comprehensive review, we'll take a deep dive into the various Power BI features, dissect their pros and cons, and most importantly, rank them based on criteria such as ease of use, functionality, flexibility, and cost. You can of course take our JBI Power BI training should you wish.
Power BI Desktop is a Windows-based application designed for creating interactive reports and dashboards. It allows you to connect to data from multiple sources, transform and shape that data to meet your needs and create powerful reports with detailed visuals.
There are so many key Power BI features. From seamless data integration to comprehensive data modelling, Power BI Desktop offers numerous features. Let's take a closer look:
Despite its benefits, Power BI Desktop does have some limitations. For instance, it's primarily a Windows-based application, so Mac users might find it challenging to use. Additionally, the software may seem complex for beginners.
Power BI Desktop shines in scenarios where detailed and interactive reporting is necessary. For instance, a business analyst can use it to transform raw sales data into a meaningful report to aid strategic decision-making.
Also known as Power BI online, Power BI Service is a cloud-based service where you can publish, share, and collaborate on BI reports created in Power BI Desktop.
Power BI Service provides various features, including:
While Power BI Service offers excellent collaborative features, it requires a stable internet connection to function effectively. Moreover, its pricing can be a bit steep for small businesses.
Power BI Service is an excellent tool for teams that need to collaborate on data visualisation projects. For example, a team working remotely can share and update BI reports in real time.
Power BI Mobile Apps offer a portable solution for accessing business intelligence reports. Available for iOS and Android, these apps bring data visualisation and analysis right to your fingertips.
Here are some noteworthy features:
One limitation of the Power BI Mobile Apps is that they provide a view-only experience; you can't create or edit reports.
A field sales executive can use the mobile app to access sales reports on the go and share insights with the team instantly.
Power BI Gateway serves as a bridge between Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate, and data sources, allowing scheduled data refresh and live queries.
uses data sources for cloud services.
Setting up Power BI Gateway can be technical and may require IT assistance. Additionally, it only supports selected data sources.
Power BI Gateway is useful for businesses that maintain on-premises databases but wish to use Power BI cloud services for data visualisation.
Power BI Embedded is an Azure service that allows developers to embed interactive visuals and reports into an application or website for a more tailored experience.
Power BI Embedded requires a certain degree of technical know-how to implement and manage, which might pose a challenge for non-technical users.
Power BI Embedded is useful for software vendors who want to provide powerful data visualisation features in their applications without building from scratch.
Power BI Report Server is an on-premises server that allows you to publish Power BI reports, ensuring data remains within your network.
Power BI Report Server may require a significant investment in infrastructure and IT resources, which might be out of reach for small to medium businesses.
Ideal for organisations in heavily regulated industries where data security is paramount, such as healthcare and finance.
Power BI Premium is a more advanced version of Power BI that provides enhanced capacity and flexibility to businesses that require more from their BI tools.
The cost of Power BI Premium can be prohibitive for some businesses, especially SMEs.
Power BI Premium is ideal for large businesses that handle extensive data sets and require advanced analytics and data refresh capabilities.
The Power BI Visuals Marketplace is an online store of visualisation tools designed to enhance your Power BI experiences. It offers a plethora of custom visuals built by Microsoft and its partners.
Some visuals may not have the same level of support or updates as the standard Power BI visuals.
Power BI Visuals Marketplace is a great tool for users who want to customise their reports and dashboards beyond the standard visuals available in Power BI.
Power BI Dataflow is a cloud-based ETL (extract, transform, load) tool that allows users to transform raw data into a more usable format within Power BI.
There's a learning curve involved in using Power BI Dataflow, especially for users who are not familiar with ETL processes.
Power BI Dataflow is ideal for businesses that require advanced data preparation and modelling capabilities.
A Power BI Dataset is a collection of data that you import or connect to in Power BI. It can come from spreadsheets, databases, or other cloud-based data sources.
Managing large datasets can become complex and require careful governance.
The Power BI Dataset is fundamental to all Power BI users. It provides a robust and flexible way to utilise and analyse data within Power BI.
Power BI Datamart is a term used to describe a simplified version of the data warehouse, created with Power BI. It serves specific business line needs by focusing on a subset of an organisation's data.
Requires technical skills to set up and maintain. May not encompass the full scope of organisational data.
Power BI Datamart is suitable for departments or project teams within a larger organisation, that need a tailored view of the company's data.
Power BI Datahub is a hypothetical term to describe a centralised place within Power BI where data can be stored, managed, and shared.
As of now, Power BI Datahub is not an official product, but an idea many users hope to see.
Power BI Datahub would be ideal for organisations that use multiple data sources and desire a streamlined way to manage and share them.
Please take a look at our Deep Dive into Power BI Comparisons: A Comprehensive Analysis of Competitors article.
Power BI is a comprehensive platform with numerous components catering to various business needs. Understanding these components and their specific use cases will enable you to utilise Power BI to its full potential, thereby transforming your business intelligence operations.