Microsoft Power BI: What You Need to Know

Microsoft has developed many business intelligence (BI) tools. As technology experts, we often help our managed services clients implement and use Power BI to streamline data analytics and reporting to gain actionable insights for their business. If you don’t know much about Microsoft Power BI read on to learn the basics.

What Is Microsoft Power BI?

Microsoft Power BI is made up of several different services and applications that work together to create a cloud-based platform that streamlines data analytics and reporting for your business. It is Microsoft’s fully managed, intelligent, big data and advanced analytics platform offered in the cloud. With Power BI you can:

  • Pull data from multiple sources into one centralized location.
  • Create, view and customize your own dashboards to make it easier to visualize data and find insights.
  • Easily share data reports and collaborate with other users.
  •  Find patterns and better predict outcomes with AI-driven augmented analytics — no coding required. 

What Version of Microsoft Power BI Do I Need?

There are three featured versions of Microsoft Power BI and all are available to access via a web browser or via mobile apps for Android, iOS and Windows:

  • Power BI Desktop: A free version designed to be installed on a Windows computer. It allows you to illustrate and write reports and data analytics to share them with others. It doesn’t have the same data processing power and collaboration of paid versions, but it’s a great way to dive in and see what Power BI is all about. 
  • Power BI Pro: Cloud-based software that comes with a monthly subscription, Pro enables you to not only share with other Microsoft Power BI users but also collaborate with them on projects. It has more data capacity, higher processing speeds and other popular features, like Excel and API integration. It is included in Microsoft 365 E5.
  • Power BI Premium: Premium makes it possible to share work with users who aren’t subscribed to Microsoft Power BI applications. It also provides access to more space, dedicated space and other functions and features. It can be purchased on a per-user basis or based on capacity, which can be cost effective for organizations with larger data sets.

Power BI Desktop is saturating the market as a cloud-based platform due to the entry-level cloud subscription currently being free. At a time when a large number of businesses are still keeping all data on-premises, the free subscription and an unlimited free trial are quickly luring future-thinking companies into the fold. Most businesses start with Desktop and then move to Pro and Premium as they need additional features or collaboration.

What Platforms Integrate With Power BI?

Microsoft Power BI integrates with all Microsoft platforms and comprises several different services and applications that work together. Those applications include:

  • Excel, the old and still-current standard for spreadsheets;
  • Azure Synapse Analytics, a cloud-based data warehouse and data analytics platform; 
  • Azure Machine Learning that helps you build machine learning models in a simplified way;
  • Azure Purview, Microsoft’s data catalog and governance platform; 
  • And, most important for many businesses today, Microsoft Teams.

How Does Microsoft Power BI Benefit Your Business?

Microsoft proudly announced in 2021 that this was its 14th year in a row as a leader in business intelligence (BI), according to the ratings in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant. This year, it’s the breakaway leader. Let’s explore why that is, and how the Microsoft Power BI platform can benefit your business right now.

Microsoft Power BI is designed to help you gain deeper insight into company data. This service makes it easy for you to take your data and translate it into clear, colorful and helpful visual models and graphics. It connects to all of your data sources and enables you to scale, analyze, share and promote your insights.

Microsoft Power BI makes it possible for you to collaborate with your team through Microsoft Office applications like Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Teams. With Power BI, you can make decisions that enhance your business, from broad process improvements to granular daily operations.

How Can I Experience Power BI?

Contact us to learn more about how Microsoft’s tools can help your business.


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