Power BI overview
Whatever the type of data you want and wherever it resides, Power BI allows you to connect to hundreds of data sources and get answers quickly. In one click, go from an ordinary spreadsheet to a dashboard with insightful visuals and data-rich reports.
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Power BI is a suite of integrated services, apps and connectors that can transform disparate data sources into coherent and insightful reports. Power BI is simple enough for any user to quickly create a visualisation from an Excel spreadsheet, yet powerful enough for developers to custom build enterprise-grade analytics for an entire corporation.
The main elements of Power BI are:
- Power BI Desktop – a Windows application
- Power BI online service – a Software as a Service (SaaS) accessed through a browser
- Power BI Mobile – apps for iOS, Android and Windows mobile devices
- Power BI Report Server – an on-premises server for publishing reports created in Power BI Desktop
Power BI Desktop
You don’t need to be a data analyst or Business Intelligence professional to create insightful and visually compelling reports. Power BI Desktop is a powerful data analysis and report creation tool, free to install on your Windows desktop, that enables the user to connect to, clean, and transform data into boardroom-quality reports.
The User Interface of Power BI Desktop has been closely aligned to that of Excel and PowerPoint to provide an intuitive and familiar experience. Build a data model by connecting to and combining various data sources with the built-in Query Editor. Based on the data model, create and edit a report with multiple pages, visuals, bookmarks, buttons and filters. Publish the report on the Power BI service in the cloud or to the Power BI Report Server to keep your data on-premises.
Power BI service
Once you have created a report it can be distributed through the online Power BI service. You can share reports with consumers both inside and outside your organisation and also collaborate on reports with your team or company-wide.
Reports can be created and edited online but the modelling features and data sources are limited compared to Power BI Desktop. Through the Power BI service, you can also allow other users to create their own reports based on datasets you have shared.
Power BI Mobile
Power BI for mobile devices gives users access to data stored on-premises in SQL Server as well as data in the cloud. Users can view securely content delivered from Power BI Desktop, the online service and the on-premises Power BI Report Server.
Take advantage of the device’s location features to filter your data according to geography and view live dashboards. The mobile Power BI app is optimised for touch screen use, allowing users to annotate live reports and share them directly from the app. You can also set up push notifications for data alerts.
Power BI Report Server
Power BI Report Server is an on-premises report server that comes with a set of ready-to-use tools and services, including an optimised version of Power BI Desktop. Create and manage Power BI reports, paginated reports, mobile reports, and KPIs and distribute them through the web, mobile device or email.
Power BI Report Server gives users access to all the enterprise reporting capabilities of SQL Server Reporting Services. At the same time, it is compatible with the online Power BI service, giving you the flexibility to move to the cloud at a later time.
Why choose Power BI?
Microsoft Power BI has now developed into a more fully functional package that ranks at the top of the self-service BI space.
Source: Editor's choice 2016, PCMAG.COM.
Gartner has named Microsoft a Leader in the Magic Quadrant for Analytics and BI Platforms for 12 consecutive years.
The Microsoft Power Platform
The Power Platform is comprised of three best-of-breed services – Power BI, PowerApps and Flow – and allows users to apply three key actions to their data: analyse, act and automate.
PowerApps is an application development platform that enables anyone to build web and mobile applications without writing code. Like Power BI, PowerApps can connect to hundreds of business systems and databases. The Common Data Service (CDS), a built-in, enterprise-grade datastore facilitates the free flow of data between the three services.
Power BI unlocks insights and intelligence, PowerApps converts that intelligence into action, and Flow automates those actions to drive business process efficiency, as well as delivering a continuous feedback loop to Power BI. The workflows run completely in the cloud and are fully managed and secured by Microsoft.