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Thoughts on MS BIOverall it is a robust BI platform that is not difficult for a technically-oriented person to learn and use. I am a huge fan of Analysis Services and actively try to find ways to get data into cubes for reporting. While learning MDX may be one of the more difficult aspects of MS BI, it is powerful and anyone who has prior experience using T-SQL alone to build complex reports can appreciate its power.,I have been disappointed in how all the front-end delivery tools have been centered around Excel and SharePoint. I understand it from a business sense but I much preferred the ProClarity interface as a stand-alone ad-hoc reporting tool. Many end-users are intimidated by merely mentioning pivot tables and therefore do not even try to create their own queries.,9,10,8,7,We use Microsoft BI products to publish accounting reports and automatically generate general ledger journal entries to distribute departmental expenses.,Implemented in-house,7,In-person training Self-taught,5,Yes, the product was fairly easy to learn without training. There are some professionals that could use this approach as well depending on their learning styles. With all the information available, I generally recommend this approach.,4Best TCO of any comprehensive database and analytics platformThe Microsoft Business Intelligence stack has come a very long way since its inception. For value and TCO there's really no comparison. Where other vendors charge hundreds of thousands of dollars for database systems, ETL tools, MDM solutions, reporting portals, etc. Microsoft ties all this functionality and more together for the price of just one of those components. Developers that know the toolset well are readily available worldwide and at a lower cost than those with expertise in competing platforms. In partnership with both Dell and HP, Microsoft has recommended reference architectures running on commodity hardware to create highly performant, highly available warehousing and OLTP systems. The SharePoint layer adds a rich user interface and collaboration platform for analytics, data discovery, reporting (both ad-hoc and scheduled) and data driven subscriptions.,The Microsoft platform - today - comes up short in cross-platform delivery. While efforts are being made to port the Power BI tools to HTML5, so far these tools are only available with this rendering engine in the online (O365) version of the platform. Silverlight is a dying technology, and it can be frustrating to explain the design and interop limitations of the end user facing dashboard tools. For true styled enterprise dashboarding where the look and feel of the artifacts is important (external audiences), it's often necessary to turn to a Microsoft partner tool such as Dundas to augment the stack. These problems will resolve themselves over time, but right now Microsoft comes up short in this area. The MDM solution in the Microsoft toolset, Master Data Services, is effectively a blank slate. This is both a strength and a weakness, in that you can model any data domain imaginable without being pushed in a particular direction but having some basic customer or other key domains available either via Codeplex or otherwise would be helpful. Additionally, record lineage isn't handled well OOTB in MDS and this key function shouldn't require a custom implementation.,10,,10,Traditional "canned" reporting. Online transaction processing systems. Data warehousing. High availability. Self-service analytics. Collaborative decision making.,,Implemented in-house,9,Online training In-person training Self-taught,8,8,I'm always an advocate of self-learning. Training is an opportunity to catch things you missed and get answers to questions that have arisen through your use, not a primary vehicle for mastering a tool.,No,7Tools and IntegrationETL and Cube reporting through Excel are the two main functions where Microsoft BI excels.,Without Sharepoint, web reporting is not very robust. SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) provides limited functionality but, without Sharepoint integration, Microsoft BI doesn't match up well against other products.,8,,9,Financial month-end reporting. HR Resource and Manager reporting Ticket resolution and project management tracking. Data is pulled from 4 different systems and loaded into SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) for reporting. SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) - Used for data integration across multiple systems.,No,Vendor implemented Implemented in-house,8,In-person training,8,Yes,9
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Microsoft BI
594 Ratings
Score 7.8 out of 101
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Microsoft BI Reviews

Microsoft BI
594 Ratings
Score 7.8 out of 101
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Stephanie Grice profile photo
November 13, 2014

Microsoft BI Review: "Thoughts on MS BI"

Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
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In-Person Training

5
This training was more directed toward what the product was capable of rather than actual programming.
Read Stephanie Grice's full review
Jacob Saunders profile photo
November 04, 2014

Microsoft BI Review: "Best TCO of any comprehensive database and analytics platform"

Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
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Shawn Lee profile photo
November 04, 2014

Microsoft BI Review: "Tools and Integration"

Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
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In-Person Training

8
Read Shawn Lee's full review

Feature Scorecard Summary

Pixel Perfect reports (19)
8.1
Customizable dashboards (24)
8.1
Report Formatting Templates (22)
8.4
Drill-down analysis (22)
8.6
Formatting capabilities (24)
8.3
Integration with R or other statistical packages (17)
8.3
Report sharing and collaboration (24)
8.8
Publish to Web (21)
8.7
Publish to PDF (21)
8.5
Report Versioning (18)
8.8
Report Delivery Scheduling (21)
8.8
Delivery to Remote Servers (4)
8.5
Pre-built visualization formats (heatmaps, scatter plots etc.) (23)
9.0
Location Analytics / Geographic Visualization (21)
8.8
Predictive Analytics (22)
8.5
Multi-User Support (named login) (22)
8.8
Role-Based Security Model (21)
8.6
Multiple Access Permission Levels (Create, Read, Delete) (22)
9.0
Single Sign-On (SSO) (6)
8.5
Responsive Design for Web Access (15)
8.4
Dedicated iOS Application (12)
8.7
Dedicated Android Application (12)
8.5
Dashboard / Report / Visualization Interactivity on Mobile (17)
8.5
REST API (5)
8.6
Javascript API (5)
8.4
iFrames (4)
8.4
Java API (4)
8.3
Themeable User Interface (UI) (4)
8.7
Customizable Platform (Open Source) (4)
8.0

About Microsoft BI

Microsoft BI benefits from the ubiquity of SQL server and the set of tools built around the database, including an ETL layer, master data management, data cleansing, report and reporting.

The reporting engine is SQL Server Reporting Services which does not have the visualization capabilities of  visualization tools like 
Tableau or Qlik. Excel has historically been the platform visualization tool. Power BI for Office 365 has done much to improve the discovery and visualization capabilities of Excel.

Microsoft  now offers Power BI cloud as the visualization platform with geospatial 3D, natural-language query generation, and self-service ETL along with charting and other data visualizations that can be uploaded and shared through the Power BI service. 

The Power BI platform also provides  live access to on-premises Microsoft SQL Server instances, and self-service access to third-party cloud sources including Salesforce, Marketo, Zendesk, and GitHub. Mobility is supported through a native iPad app, an iPhone app.

This new platform is viewed by Microsoft as a visualization layer sitting on top of their earlier generation of installed SQL-based technology.

Microsoft BI Competitors

Pricing

Does not have featureFree Trial Available?No
Has featureFree or Freemium Version Available?Yes
Does not have featurePremium Consulting/Integration Services Available?No
Entry-level set up fee?No
EditionPricing DetailsTerms
Power BI$0
Power BI Pro$10per user per month

Microsoft BI Technical Details

Deployment Types:SaaS
Operating Systems: Unspecified
Mobile Application:No