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Microsoft Power BI - Excel Lovers DreamWe use Microsoft Power BI across all departments in our company. Power BI is used in reporting and data mining. This allows us to see trends and to identify areas of concern with in our hospital systems that we currently serve. The distribution through Microsoft SharePoint allows for a high adoption rate.,Ease of use: For end user Microsoft Power BI is incredibly easy to use. Excel is simple for most people. The presentation through SharePoint gives users with any medium the ability to instantly use the dashboards. End users are able to use mobile, local and just about anyway they would choose. High Adoption Rate: We had a very high adoption rate causing many of our users to be incredibly engaged. The adoption of is due to many users already familiar with the tools they grew up on. If you grew up on Excel, then you will instantly feel at home in the tools. The new add ons are rarely a challenge even for novice users. Mapping functions: The mapping functions are one of the cooler features. Power Maps automatically recognizes zip codes and other addresses much like other packages. The one item I really liked was the ability to create a movie file that would play over time showing the growth across a map through the different areas. Saved as a MP4 then blended with music made this function particularly delicious for many of our end users. The Gateway: MS has provided a really cool little trick. The Gateway. I will explain this part later in my review.,On the occasion some of the plug ins run unusually slow. I don't know if it's because they run in Silver Light or what. :) The plug ins have locked up more than once (once a week). My installation got so slow that I had to actually reinstall a couple of times over the past year. Is this a show stopper? For me, it was not. There are other features that keep me glued in. The office repair utility makes the re install a snap and if you are a realistic Microsoft fan, then you almost come to expect it. The natural Language selection: We are a MS SQL house and we love MS. We have the skills for high end SQL statements with a full development staff but we still wanted to try the natural language selection tool. To no avail. We tried redoing the data and that did not work either. I'd call this beta still. I would like to see them improve their visualizations. They are Microsoft and can easily compete with some of the visualizations of Micro Strategy, Tableau and Domo. They simply choose not to.,9,,8,7,Mapping: Power Maps and Power Views displayed as Maps are awesome. The drill down ability into those is one of my favorites of showing. The ability to add other plugins from the apps store can be very nice as well. There are several of those visualizations that are very nice. Dashboards can be very easy to create but what is elegant? There is a Power BI app for Windows 8 that was compelling enough run VMWARE inside of a Mac. Very slick presentation of the same data as online but not as slick can be.,Understanding the license model. As an example we found it very hard figure out exactly what constitutes someone needing a license to even read file from SharePoint and not needing one. There were several occasions that we published what we thought was clean data and the end consumer would not need to have a license only to find out that the user would still be required to have a license. Sounds simple enough to understand but it was not. There are a few features that should translate all the way through Power BI from Excel. As an example Power BI can recognize types of data like Zip codes but even dates in Power View, Power Pivot are not able to be 'Grouped by" by qtr or month. If you are going to group on those you have to add it to the dbase. Yet, Excel will easily group on those in a normal pivot table. HTML5 versions of the presentation on the web have the jitters. very difficult to zoom in our out with any browser or versions of browsers. Stick with the regular version and wait for the HTML 5 version to be updated.,Yes,8Best 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,7Microsoft - Your Old Trusted Friend?We see Microsoft BI used at many organisations and it seems to be just another obvious answer when it comes to decisions about technology - Microsoft is very firmly embedded in many companies. Reminds me a bit of my parents who still think "Microsoft" is synonymous with "Computer". What I would really like to know is how much Microsoft BI as a set of tools is a conscious choice rather than historical decision or a habit?,Users might complain about products and technologies but somehow it seems Microsoft is an accepted standard. The brand is very strong, people just don't question it and forgive 'bugs' more readily than they might with other products. It is an easy choice to buy a Microsoft product - people are less likely to challenge this decision. Again, simply due to strong brand recognition users often feel comfortable with the tools.,SQL Server Data Integration (also knows as SSIS) seems to provide most functionality you would expect from an ETL tool. However, when you start using it you quickly find out that most transformations perform slower than equivalent functionality when coded directly in SQL. So you go ahead with creating joins, using case statements and data type conversions directly in SQL input statements and potentially end up with a huge piece of code that performs nicely but is hardly maintainable in the future. The development environment takes quite a while to get used to. Once you are all set up and doing your development work it is all fine but if you accidentally close some window or 'pane' just figuring out how to get it back can take quite some time.,1,Pentaho,5,High adoption rates is one of the points Microsoft itself is using to market their product. http://www.microsoft.com/education/en-au/solutions/Pages/business-intelligence.aspx,3,6,2Microsoft BI - A good all around suite of products for the traditional data environmentThe reports I put together in SSRS were used by multiple departments totaling over 50 business users. SSIS was used by 3 individuals in the IT department including myself. I deployed reports to the SSRS Report Server which were viewed in a browser on the company's intranet. The reports could be viewed, downloaded in multiple formats (PDF, XLS, CSV, TIFF), subscribed to via email, scheduled to be received on a interval of the user's choosing. The business problems that it addresses are: 1. How do our customers feel about us (based on customer satisfaction surveys) 2. How well are we managing our operations? 3. How well are we utilizing our resources? 4. How well are the salespeople doing (based on daily rankings) 5. How profitable were we last week, month, quarter, year... The list goes on...,The interfaces of the products are familiar to most people that currently use Microsoft products so its comfortable in that respect Creating a report is easy to do with drag/drop functionality. You also have alot of dropdowns. You can use formulas the same way you do in Excel. They have "expressions" which are like formulas with a mix of SQL. Publishing a report to the server is simple as well. You go to the server and upload the file from your file directory. Setting up subscriptions is simple as well. Anyone can do it with minimal knowledge. Its sort of like creating a recurring calendar event. The hierarchy within SSRS is intuitive. A Project is the top level item. You can add as many reports as you want to a project. Similar to any other IDE where you keep all your files in one project (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, JSP, Servlet) except in the case of SSRS its all reports. Whether you choose to use 2008 or 2012 the interface is layed pretty much the same. So if you start of in 2008 and then upgrade, you dont have to re-learn anything. Their are slight differences in the two versions but it wont hinder your ability to build a report.,Its not a web based application yet. So you have to install the client application on your local machine. In addition, you pretty much have to install a the full SSMS package. Its a heavy weighted suite of products Compared to Tableau you are limited in your dashboard building ability. In SSRS you have to build a master report along with a subreport where these two items have to have a key that links them together. From there you can break up the screen into multiple quadratics with your visualization. If someone wants to view the report on their iPad, you have to make sure that the subscription for their report is in PDF or CSV format. If its in Excel and they dont have Excel on their iPad, they cant view it. If its in CSV, I believe the report will open up in the iPads native spreadsheet app. When you are stuck while building a report, the forums for Microsoft pretty much suck. Their technical articles suck also. Microsoft support is pretty much non-existent.,8,Tableau Desktop,Tableau Server,Crystal Reports,SAP Business Objects,8,It was the main reporting tool used by all the different departments. It was used by the Executive level, operations, marketing, sales. Number of users were probably around 50. Types of users: VP's, Directors, Managers, Analysts.,5,8,5Why I Love Microsoft BI.Microsoft BI is used in our organization for data analysis and reporting. It Is used in IT department that supports business. It is really a great tool for BI and makes complex analysis very easy.,User Friendly Fast Reliable,Improve Data Visualization,7,Pentaho,Crystal Reports,jasper,7,Number of users = 500. Company Wide.,7,7
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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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Sean Warren profile photo
November 04, 2014

Microsoft BI Review: "Microsoft Power BI - Excel Lovers Dream"

Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We use Microsoft Power BI across all departments in our company. Power BI is used in reporting and data mining. This allows us to see trends and to identify areas of concern with in our hospital systems that we currently serve. The distribution through Microsoft SharePoint allows for a high adoption rate.
  • Ease of use: For end user Microsoft Power BI is incredibly easy to use. Excel is simple for most people. The presentation through SharePoint gives users with any medium the ability to instantly use the dashboards. End users are able to use mobile, local and just about anyway they would choose.
  • High Adoption Rate: We had a very high adoption rate causing many of our users to be incredibly engaged. The adoption of is due to many users already familiar with the tools they grew up on. If you grew up on Excel, then you will instantly feel at home in the tools. The new add ons are rarely a challenge even for novice users.
  • Mapping functions: The mapping functions are one of the cooler features. Power Maps automatically recognizes zip codes and other addresses much like other packages. The one item I really liked was the ability to create a movie file that would play over time showing the growth across a map through the different areas. Saved as a MP4 then blended with music made this function particularly delicious for many of our end users.
  • The Gateway: MS has provided a really cool little trick. The Gateway. I will explain this part later in my review.
  • On the occasion some of the plug ins run unusually slow. I don't know if it's because they run in Silver Light or what. :) The plug ins have locked up more than once (once a week). My installation got so slow that I had to actually reinstall a couple of times over the past year. Is this a show stopper? For me, it was not. There are other features that keep me glued in. The office repair utility makes the re install a snap and if you are a realistic Microsoft fan, then you almost come to expect it.
  • The natural Language selection: We are a MS SQL house and we love MS. We have the skills for high end SQL statements with a full development staff but we still wanted to try the natural language selection tool. To no avail. We tried redoing the data and that did not work either. I'd call this beta still.
  • I would like to see them improve their visualizations. They are Microsoft and can easily compete with some of the visualizations of Micro Strategy, Tableau and Domo. They simply choose not to.
Microsoft has pulled a great trick. The trick is getting you into the pricing for only $20 to $50 dollars a month. They then made it very easy to push to the SharePoint site and keep it updated with free gateway product that will keep your reports live and consistently updated. Now here is a gotcha....IF you use the Data modeling tool (Power Query) for example that is then connected to a large database, you will have no issues. The issues begin at publishing information to SharePoint. There is a size limitation to how large the excel sheet can be. I would point out that we are not making large spread sheets with Pivot tables and millions of rows of data. We are simply connecting through Power Query. The sheet is still very small but the issue is the data model size. This is tapped at a gig on SharePoint. To be considered a true enterprise product, this size limitation will have to be overcome.

There is a (not sure if beta or not) version of some of the power views that can be done in Power BI. These views when rendered locally are wonderful. When they are rendered from the web, they can take a little longer. The part that can be agonizing is the showing views through HTML5. This is almost unworkable when using power maps or maps through power view. The response is so jittery that it is almost unusable.
Read Sean Warren'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
Verified User
Review Source
  • The 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.
Read Jacob Saunders's full review
Julia Gusman profile photo
September 25, 2014

Microsoft BI Review: "Microsoft - Your Old Trusted Friend?"

Score 1 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We see Microsoft BI used at many organisations and it seems to be just another obvious answer when it comes to decisions about technology - Microsoft is very firmly embedded in many companies. Reminds me a bit of my parents who still think "Microsoft" is synonymous with "Computer". What I would really like to know is how much Microsoft BI as a set of tools is a conscious choice rather than historical decision or a habit?
  • Users might complain about products and technologies but somehow it seems Microsoft is an accepted standard. The brand is very strong, people just don't question it and forgive 'bugs' more readily than they might with other products.
  • It is an easy choice to buy a Microsoft product - people are less likely to challenge this decision. Again, simply due to strong brand recognition users often feel comfortable with the tools.
  • SQL Server Data Integration (also knows as SSIS) seems to provide most functionality you would expect from an ETL tool. However, when you start using it you quickly find out that most transformations perform slower than equivalent functionality when coded directly in SQL. So you go ahead with creating joins, using case statements and data type conversions directly in SQL input statements and potentially end up with a huge piece of code that performs nicely but is hardly maintainable in the future.
  • The development environment takes quite a while to get used to. Once you are all set up and doing your development work it is all fine but if you accidentally close some window or 'pane' just figuring out how to get it back can take quite some time.
Many companies consider SSIS as 'free' since it comes included with the SQL server database. It seems an obvious choice if your data resides in SQL server to go ahead and utilize Microsoft BI tools. Notice, this is not the only option you have but one that many people would consider convenient. However, if most of your data does not reside in SQL server already, consider a wider choice of options for your BI. Another factor is the availability of skilled resources to maintain your BI environment. Due to its popularity on the market you will find most of people in the BI world are able to work with Microsoft BI.
Read Julia Gusman's full review
Mashhood Syed profile photo
September 14, 2014

Review: "Microsoft BI - A good all around suite of products for the traditional data environment"

Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
The reports I put together in SSRS were used by multiple departments totaling over 50 business users. SSIS was used by 3 individuals in the IT department including myself. I deployed reports to the SSRS Report Server which were viewed in a browser on the company's intranet. The reports could be viewed, downloaded in multiple formats (PDF, XLS, CSV, TIFF), subscribed to via email, scheduled to be received on a interval of the user's choosing.

The business problems that it addresses are:
1. How do our customers feel about us (based on customer satisfaction surveys)
2. How well are we managing our operations?
3. How well are we utilizing our resources?
4. How well are the salespeople doing (based on daily rankings)
5. How profitable were we last week, month, quarter, year...
The list goes on...
  • The interfaces of the products are familiar to most people that currently use Microsoft products so its comfortable in that respect
  • Creating a report is easy to do with drag/drop functionality. You also have alot of dropdowns. You can use formulas the same way you do in Excel. They have "expressions" which are like formulas with a mix of SQL.
  • Publishing a report to the server is simple as well. You go to the server and upload the file from your file directory.
  • Setting up subscriptions is simple as well. Anyone can do it with minimal knowledge. Its sort of like creating a recurring calendar event.
  • The hierarchy within SSRS is intuitive. A Project is the top level item. You can add as many reports as you want to a project. Similar to any other IDE where you keep all your files in one project (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, JSP, Servlet) except in the case of SSRS its all reports.
  • Whether you choose to use 2008 or 2012 the interface is layed pretty much the same. So if you start of in 2008 and then upgrade, you dont have to re-learn anything. Their are slight differences in the two versions but it wont hinder your ability to build a report.
  • Its not a web based application yet. So you have to install the client application on your local machine. In addition, you pretty much have to install a the full SSMS package. Its a heavy weighted suite of products
  • Compared to Tableau you are limited in your dashboard building ability. In SSRS you have to build a master report along with a subreport where these two items have to have a key that links them together. From there you can break up the screen into multiple quadratics with your visualization.
  • If someone wants to view the report on their iPad, you have to make sure that the subscription for their report is in PDF or CSV format. If its in Excel and they dont have Excel on their iPad, they cant view it. If its in CSV, I believe the report will open up in the iPads native spreadsheet app.
  • When you are stuck while building a report, the forums for Microsoft pretty much suck. Their technical articles suck also. Microsoft support is pretty much non-existent.
I think that Microsoft BI products are suited well for companies that have traditional data needs. To be more specific, if your data is organized nicely into a RDBMS (SQL Server, Oracle) and you want a way to distribute it easily across your organization, then SSRS can get the job done very well for you. The best situation is where you are purely a Microsoft shop. In that instance, all these products work seamlessly with SQL Server. If you have really specific needs like real time visualization, dashboarding, ability to blend data from multiple data sources then Microsoft BI may not be the right product for you as of yet.
Read Mashhood Syed's full review
Asif Paracha profile photo
March 30, 2015

User Review: "Why I Love Microsoft BI."

Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
Microsoft BI is used in our organization for data analysis and reporting. It Is used in IT department that supports business. It is really a great tool for BI and makes complex analysis very easy.
  • User Friendly
  • Fast
  • Reliable
  • Improve Data Visualization
Microsoft BI is not suited for real time large data analysis.
Read Asif Paracha's full review
Jerome Lambert, PhD profile photo
November 06, 2014

Review: "Microsoft BI entering 21st century for its analytical capabilities"

Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
Microsoft BI allows us to blend the data exactly the way we want. Using the various add-ins provided (PowerPivot, PowerQuery, PowerView), we can design clean and scalable reports to take actionable decisions. Business problems addressed? Represent into a single chart 6 different data sources!
  • Create relationships between data sources
  • Automatic updates when new data are fetched
  • Ease of use, especially for non-technical people like me.
Microsoft BI is perfect for this type of scenario (even if lots of other scenarios can be envisioned): I need the last 2 weeks of data from the data source X and the previous weeks from the data source Y. PowerQuery will allow to reach such challenges and will be updated automatically every week.
Read Jerome Lambert, PhD's full review
Shawn Lee profile photo
November 04, 2014

Microsoft BI Review: "Tools and Integration"

Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
  • ETL 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.
Microsoft was able to assist us in building dynamic row level security into the SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) cubes. This is, typically, a difficult thing to accomplish at a database level.
Read Shawn Lee's full review
Michał Becker profile photo
September 19, 2014

User Review: "Microsoft BI"

Score 4 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
Microsoft BI is used by everyone in my organisation as a back-end solution. We use different tools which use SQL Server and SSIS as an ETL platform and SSAS only to store Cubes for further processing with Excel or any other tool supporting SSAS.
  • Quite nice ETL options in SSIS that enable a lot of flexibility.
  • Powerful user rights management.
  • Ease of use - this tool is difficult to use.
  • Native visualization tool - Excel is too unstable.
Microsoft BI is not recommended if you do not have a specialist already on board because you need one with this tool.
Read Michał Becker's full review
Frederic Freyermuth ☁ profile photo
September 12, 2014

Microsoft BI Review: "Useful but reporting could be more sexy..."

Score 6 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
Microsoft BI is being used by 2 departments: Financial Controlling and Quality. It addresses financial reporting issues on a monthly basis and overall quality reporting in terms of SLA and customer answers.
  • Integration process in IT Architecture
  • Ability to adapt with process
  • Graphical standard reporting
  • Using on premise, could be great to use it in the cloud
How clear is your process? What type of reporting do you need?
What kind of sources do you have?
Read Frederic Freyermuth ☁'s full review
Nathan Patrick Taylor profile photo
April 05, 2014

Review: "Microsoft BI and Parallel Data Warehouse in Ambulatory Healthcare"

Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We are currently using Microsoft's Parallel Data Warehouse and BI solution across the whole organization. The Alliance hosts an EMR for a network of community health centers. Each health center's data is warehoused on the platform. We also exchange data with organizations outside our network. Like most data warehouse solutions, the problem it addresses is the aggregations and collection of data in a central location. Since the Alliance operates in the healthcare industry we use the tools for patient quality and performance improvement. We have a longer term goal of introducing healthcare analytics.
  • The parallel data warehouse is a massive storage appliance with exceptional speed.
  • The platform is all Microsoft and integrates well with all other Microsoft products and infrastructure.
  • Microsoft's support of the product has been outstanding.
  • Power View is a quick and easy tool to use for developing dynamic dashboards but lacks some very basic features. The color scheme and styles are applied across all views with no method for choosing which colors apply to certain objects. Users cannot rename visual components, you must make sure you cube field have the names you intend end users to see.
  • Report Builder allows for quite a bit of customization but we found it be missing some the features that make other application like Crystal Reports so easy to use. Simple features such as moving columns within a table can be a bit frustrating. Formatting text and writing formulas (expressions) is easier in Crystal Reports.
  • Parallel Data Warehouse is not a true SQL Server 2012 database and is missing much of the SQL Server 2012 feature set.
For PDW, if you keep in mind that it is simply a data store (a really fast and efficient data store) that will help you understand how the other Microsoft tools tools fit in the stack.
Read Nathan Patrick Taylor's full review
Scott Lerner profile photo
July 21, 2014

"Microsoft BI tool provides the visibility into the business that could make strategic decisions at a low cost with ease of implementation."

Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
Microsoft BI is being utilized throughout the organization. Executive management and sales representatives are looking not only at sales but profitability all the way down to the transaction level. Product Management continues to look and analyze profitability at the product level as well. The company has been “healthier” since implementing Microsoft BI from a profitability and cash standpoint.
  • Easy to use and create KPI's with Dashboards for a wide user base
  • Pulling data from multiple sources via Excel
  • Easily supportive
  • Low cost to maintain
  • More end user friendly Dashboard designer.
We selected Microsoft’s BI tool for the fact that a tool was needed to measure the company above and beyond “just sales”. We also needed a tool that could grow with Graham-Field. While there were many tools to choose from during the section process, having a Microsoft platform from data to portals makes the Microsoft BI tool a much easier choice from both an integration and implementation standpoint.
Read Scott Lerner's full review
Christopher Wagner profile photo
May 30, 2014

User Review: "Microsoft BI- Delivering Power"

Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Reseller
Review Source
We use Microsoft BI to build out platforms that allow a wide range of users and audiences to interact with relevant data in near real time. This allows the users to make better business decisions enabling them to increase sales, manage expenses, and avoid risks.
  • Microsoft BI is very easy to use and provides a number of interfaces that allow developers to build out solutions in the manner that is easiest for them. Development can be done nearly entirely through GUI interfaces, or you can do advanced programming and application integration.
  • Microsoft BI provides enterprise class Business Intelligence for a fraction of the price of their competitors while at the same time making it far easier to manage the entire platform.
  • Microsoft BI is already integrated with your entire Office suite and easily integrates with SharePoint, SQL, all Microsoft Products, as well as any third party software or data you use.
  • The latest versions of Microsoft BI has addressed nearly all of my complaints. The only remaining item would be the ability to uniformly color coordinate metrics across the entire reporting platform. Example, automatically Profit should be Green while Loss should be Red in any chart. Or Wisconsin should be Green and Minnesota should be Purple. This is VERY minor to me, but to some customers this can be a bigger deal.
I can no longer envision a reason I would not recommend Microsoft BI to a customer in nearly any situation that they were looking to solve a BI problem.
Read Christopher Wagner's full review
Bryan Simmons profile photo
October 20, 2013

User Review: "Microsoft BI"

Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
  • Great BI solution that is low cost.
  • Integrates very well with other Microsoft Office tools such as Excel so end users do not need extensive training on a new reporting tool.
  • No end user controlled reporting. An analyst with SQL coding knowledge needs to program each report.
Read Bryan Simmons's full review
Sean Brady profile photo
September 06, 2013

Microsoft BI Review: "Build a highly automated and flexible BI solution for your organization!"

Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
  • Analysis Services by far outperforms in-memory ROLAP type systems - this allows for very fast ad-hoc drill-down and discovery of huge data sets. Don't believe otherwise - I can assure you it is true. Of course, you have to know what you are doing on the data modeling side in order to get there.
  • Analysis Services's ability to integrate with Reporting Services and Microsoft Excel is extremely attractive to business users, especially analysts who are very familiar with the powerful analysis tools already in Excel. The performance of reports built on Analysis Services is really a stand-out feature as well.
  • Integration Services is hands-down the most flexible and powerful ETL tool you have ever used. Just try it - there is no one else even close. You will be able to pull data from anywhere, push data to anywhere, and build just about any workflow you can think of around those processes. It is also an all-around great automation tool for your BI environment.
  • Reporting Services has both a feature-rich developer-oriented authoring environment (Visual Studio / BI Development Studio) as well as a simplified end-user authoring tool (Report Builder). It has an enormous collection of visualization components built in, as well as an even bigger set of 3rd party controls to allow you to create just about any report you can imagine. The ability to extend Reporting Services with .Net code (if you have the developers) expands your options even further.
  • The report authoring solutions in Reporting Services could be better, especially on the Report Builder (end-user oriented) side.
Although it is technically a different product, you can build a really nice self-service intranet reporting solution by integrating Reporting Services into Microsoft SharePoint (Enterprise). I would highly recommend going in that direction if you are looking to deploy this stack.
Also, remember that Excel is your friend! No, it should never be used to store data, but it is an amazingly flexible and powerful analysis and reporting tool - especially when combined with Power Pivot and SharePoint.
Read Sean Brady's full review
Aidan Henderson profile photo
October 08, 2013

Microsoft BI Review: "MS BI - Good and getting better"

Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
  • Integration is straightforward to a variety of platforms using SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS).
  • SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) is fast, flexible and extensive.
  • Native integration with Excel & Sharepoint provide a rich and familiar user interface for adoption.
  • SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) is not as extensive as it should or could be.
  • PerformancePoint has some great features such as the decomposition tree (for root cause analysis), but it is way too hard to deploy.
Read Aidan Henderson's full review
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November 07, 2016

"Microsoft BI Review"

Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
Microsoft BI is a great tool and it is being used by select departments within my organization for reporting. We run analytics on a variety of metrics and Microsoft BI helps us keep on top of that. The business problems it addresses are our needs for reliable data and reports.
  • Variety of graphics and visualizations
  • Intuitive to use
  • Highly customizatble
  • Competence in Excel is necessary to be able to use Microsoft BI effectively
  • Integration with data sources should be easier
  • Not easy to integrate with our SAP sources
Microsoft BI is great if you are a proficient Excel user. This program allows you to get more from your data and there are not many scenarios where Microsoft BI would not be suited for creating reports and visualizations. Our only hangup with Microsoft BI is the issues we had with integration and importing/exporting data from some sources.
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June 13, 2016

Review: "When you do your homework, Microsoft BI can be a real reporting asset."

Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
It's being used in the Marketing Communications department to help support the marketing campaign efforts of our MarCom staff across our division. The BI was implemented so we could have real time return on investment reporting to analyze how successful campaign efforts had been and use that data to help shape the financial decisions for the remainder of the campaign and also fiscal year. It also helped in data and customer mining to help design campaigns around products that were being replaced with new updates to mine our own data and run successful campaigns targeted specifically to those individuals and companies.

As a result of our efforts though it helped inspire other divisions to implement their own versions of BI for their own reporting and data mining purposes.
  • Real Time Reporting - Very useful when all of the connections are made correctly and you are able to simply build a report that will help you achieve your results and present them in a professional manner.
  • Customized reporting - The ability to write your own complex equations to input into your reporting is amazing, it allows true customized reporting for your company and individuals.
  • Expanding your data mining - When you work through all of the importing connections correctly you can data mine so much valuable information for your business and campaigns.
  • Style - Presentations are everything in the business world these days and I feel a huge improvement would be to make the charts and reporting sleeker.
  • Connectivity - as with all complex reporting systems if there is even one connection that isn't correct it can throw all of your reporting off which can be frustrating.
  • Usability - The reporting for someone who knows it is awesome, but for someone who has no idea what they're doing it's a little bit hard for them to know how to make simple changes which can put more work on the Analyst.
I think it is really well suited in a company that completely understands where the information will be coming from. If they understand all of the connections from the inputting information it will help with the overall implementation and execution of the project. So it's worth doing the due diligence yourselves or hiring a company that specializes in the implementation of BI to help understand all of the incoming data and how it connects to itself. If you do your homework the implementation will be successful for any company but if the time is not put in to identifying and understanding where all of the information is coming from it will not be as successful.
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March 10, 2016

User Review: "Microsoft BI - A Brand Trust worthy"

Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We have used Microsoft BI for various business requirements, including:
-> Deployment of balance scoreboard comprising of information pertaining to the company’s financial health, production data, scheduled deliveries and other such critical data.
-> Deployment of various MIS reports for Marketing and Production (the highlight being the dashboard, which captures the company’s overall performance in summary format with drilling down option, pending order status – customer wise, order wise, date wise, etc.)
-> Deployment of production dashboard – Summary of production details of the work centers with detailed drill-down abilities.
  • It enables to create dashboards which gives an overview on the current standings in terms of revenue, sales etc. Some dashboards can also provide current risks in the system which needs immediate attention. Moreover it can provide overview of the health of their organization.
  • The Reporting services in Microsoft BI can be used for creation Operational Reports and some custom reports. The drag and drop features enables the end user to customize the report based on the data points available. The data cubes which are strategically designed is an enabler to the end user to create some meaningful and useful operational reports for decision making.
  • Sharepoint services can be used to collaborate data and share across users in the organization with ease.
  • The authorization process is not simple for a naive user. It requires complete understanding of the system for someone to give authorization to an user.
  • Data Mining within BI is not a powerful tool as compared with its competitors. There are additional features which are found missing with Microsoft BI.
  • Integration of BI with other system is also an challenge and not straight forward.
It works well when the underlying data is housed on Microsoft SQL Server database, as it allows seamless integration in such a scenario.
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March 07, 2016

User Review: "A personal exprience with Microsoft BI"

Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
Microsoft BI was used to implement a data warehouse and a reporting solution for our department and it provides data downstream to multiple lines of business. We currently use SQL Server, SSRS and SSIS 2012 and are currently deploying SSAS while some of the reports are using IBM Cognos.
  • Microsoft provided us with an easy and flexible platform to build our data warehouse with very good performance for our medium size databases.
  • We used SSIS to seamlessly orchestrate a daily ETL load of around 5Gb in less than two hour.
  • Visual Studio was used as our main development tool and allowed us to integrate our solution for deployment into TFS as well as track defects and meet milestones within our project.
  • I would like to have a simpler, better integrated solution for reporting in which we can easily integrate all SSRS, Performance Point, Powerview and Porwerpivot forms into Sharepoint or any other custom reporting portal
  • Also I would like MS BI to have better integration with other products for example SSIS with Cloudera Hadoop or SSRS with Cognos cubes.
In my experience Microsoft BI solutions are very well suited to implement reporting solutions for medium to large size enterprises and departments. It can handle loads very well and has very flexible development tools that are integrated very easily with Sharepoint and MS Office.
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February 15, 2016

Microsoft BI Review: "Simple, snappy, flashy"

Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
Microsoft BI was used short term as a tester for our accounting and promotions department. The idea was to show graphs of our current work and the potential of what we should expect in the coming years. We also like how multiple graphs could be used and displayed at one time. This was something we'd yet to see working so fluidly in previous solutions.
  • Easy to use and understand
  • Powerful but not confusing
  • Logical interface
  • Typical Microsoft product
  • A wider variety of templates
  • A tutorial walkthrough for new users
We used Microsoft BI to pinpoint main locations of which we were performing work. We then broke it out for comparing places of which the most money was earned in comparison to places where less money was earned. We then were able to create a focal point where we should aim to do more work or where we were likely to deal with fewer issues and so on.
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June 02, 2014

"Review by a Microsoft BI consultant"

Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
I work for Mariner LLC and they are Microsoft gold certified partners specialized in implementing data warehouse solutions in South East United States. We work with lot of clients in manufacturing, health care, automobile, energy and retail, implementing data warehouse and Business Intelligence solutions in Microsoft tools.
  • Low cost and easy to learn and use
  • Microsoft user community is very wide and its easy to identify resources to implement the solution in Microsoft technology
  • With the introduction of Self service (in-memory) platform - Office 365 (Powerpivot, Power view, Power maps and Power query) helps end users do their own ad-hoc reports using these easy to learn and implement tools
  • Parallel data warehouse (with polybase connector to connect to hadoop) will be a suitable replacement for expensive enterprise database tools like Teradata and Oracle
  • Power Pivot is a very good tool to do self service BI but there is no direct way to implement row based security to the model. There has to be a mechanism where the owner of the book can lock the model within the book to be read only or hide the model so that other users will only see the reports and not the underlying data model
  • Many to many functionality is simple in multi dimensional cubes but there is no direct and efficient way available in SSAS Tabular model and Power Pivot
  • Even though Power Pivot is a easy to use and fast to implement BI solution, without proper training, end users can't utilize all the functionality of Power Pivot and common mistakes and misunderstandings will be expensive in long run
Power Pivot can be used to do proof of concept very quickly. This POC can then be easily upgraded to an actual enterprise BI cube and a BI solution. This feature is not available in any other existing BI tools.
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November 04, 2014

Microsoft BI Review: "Best TCO but many layers to the overall solution"

Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We are using Power BI in our organization for dashboards, for exposing flaws in our data, and for telling presentation ready stories about our firm's sales and profitability.
  • Microsoft's BI stack is a set of widely implemented products used in various capacities including operational reporting, ETL, and self service BI. This product stack has been successfully implemented in a wide range of verticals including health care, insurance, and banking.
  • Power BI is an agile and low cost solution to an organization's analytics needs. Power BI is tightly coupled with other Microsoft products, enabling companies to have a single firm wide solution with a single vendor.
  • If you want a straight forward and simple BI solution, there are better products for this. To take full advantage of Microsoft BI, you also need SharePoint, SQL Server, and Microsoft Excel/Office. Other software vendors offer BI solutions that consist of only a single software product, but if you are looking only to create fancy dashboards, this is not for you. This is a longer term strategic solution. Features are a bit slim now in Power BI, but expect that to change in future releases.
Microsoft BI is an excellent fit for companies that are already using SQL Server and/or SharePoint. PowerBI is an excellent fit for companies that are already using Microsoft Office and/or Office 365. If you're looking for an agile tool with the option for publishing dashboards and reports to the cloud, then Power BI is an appropriate choice. While considering other products, be sure to ask if they have a data integration layer. Microsoft BI includes Integration Services and Data Quality Services, other vendors might not have that same offering.
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October 24, 2013

Microsoft BI: "MS BI Suite Review"

Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
  • SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) is by far the best OLAP tool on the market today. It helps businesses to aggregate data and analyze historical trends.
  • SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) has a relatively difficult deployment mechanism. More mature ETL systems like Informatica have a right-click and deploy packages feature. SSIS does not have that out-of-the-box unless you install some 3rd party tools. Also the whole Deployment Manifest thing is a real pain…
Microsoft made huge strides to help user community to adopt its BI Suite. Seven or so years ago, most people used SQL server only. With SQL 2005 release, the community adopted the whole BI suite. In my opinion licensing model, intuitiveness and ease of use, and integration with Visual Studio encouraged adoption of the BI tools.
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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