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Microsoft BI (MSBI)

Microsoft BI (MSBI)


What is Microsoft BI (MSBI)?

Microsoft BI is a business intelligence product used for data analysis and generating reports on server-based data. It features unlimited data analysis capacity with its reporting engine, SQL Server Reporting Services alongside ETL, master data management, and data cleansing.

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Recent Reviews

Casual User’s POC

8 out of 10
February 08, 2020
Microsoft BI is being used for report generation to monitor ongoing technology projects and business initiatives. We have two users who …
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Products that are considered exceptional by their customers based on a variety of criteria win TrustRadius awards. Learn more about the types of TrustRadius awards to make the best purchase decision. More about TrustRadius Awards

Popular Features

View all 30 features
  • Report sharing and collaboration (49)
  • Report Formatting Templates (47)
  • Formatting capabilities (49)
  • Customizable dashboards (49)

Reviewer Pros & Cons

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Power BI Pro


per user/per month

Power BI Premium


per month

Entry-level set up fee?

  • No setup fee
For the latest information on pricing, visit


  • Free Trial
  • Free/Freemium Version
  • Premium Consulting/Integration Services
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BI Standard Reporting

Standard reporting means pre-built or canned reports available to users without having to create them.

Avg 8.2

Ad-hoc Reporting

Ad-Hoc Reports are reports built by the user to meet highly specific requirements.

Avg 8.1

Report Output and Scheduling

Ability to schedule and manager report output.

Avg 8.3

Data Discovery and Visualization

Data Discovery and Visualization is the analysis of multiple data sources in a search for patterns and outliers and the ability to represent the data visually.

Avg 8.0

Access Control and Security

Access control means being able to determine who has access to which data.

Avg 8.5

Mobile Capabilities

Support for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

Avg 8.0

Application Program Interfaces (APIs) / Embedding

APIs are a set of routines, protocols, and tools for used for embedding one application in another

Avg 7.9
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Product Details

What is Microsoft BI (MSBI)?

Microsoft BI (MSBI) 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 (MSBI) Competitors

Microsoft BI (MSBI) Technical Details

Deployment TypesSoftware as a Service (SaaS), Cloud, or Web-Based
Operating SystemsUnspecified
Mobile ApplicationNo

Frequently Asked Questions

Microsoft BI is a business intelligence product used for data analysis and generating reports on server-based data. It features unlimited data analysis capacity with its reporting engine, SQL Server Reporting Services alongside ETL, master data management, and data cleansing.

Oracle Analytics Server and Spoom are common alternatives for Microsoft BI (MSBI).

Reviewers rate Dashboard / Report / Visualization Interactivity on Mobile highest, with a score of 9.9.

The most common users of Microsoft BI (MSBI) are from Enterprises (1,001+ employees).
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Reviews and Ratings


Attribute Ratings


(1-3 of 3)
Companies can't remove reviews or game the system. Here's why
November 13, 2014

Thoughts on MS BI

Stephanie Grice | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
  • Overall 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.
As Microsoft Gold partners, we had access to the software already and have enjoyed success with a very small implementation. As this grows we may look toward additional delivery options but not the base data warehouse system.
  • We use Microsoft BI products to publish accounting reports and automatically generate general ledger journal entries to distribute departmental expenses.
  • Implemented in-house
  • In-person training
  • Self-taught
This training was more directed toward what the product was capable of rather than actual programming.
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.
My past experience with Microsoft technical support was not really favorable. While they were friendly and somewhat responsive, they were not helpful with the types of issues we faced.
November 05, 2014

Tools and Integration

Shawn Lee | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
  • 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.
OBIEE, Cognos, and Business Objects. Microsoft BI provided ETL, basic reporting, and cubes for analytics at a reasonable price.
Overall the software meets our needs very well. Because we aren't Sharepoint users, we will be using another product called WebFOCUS to add additional web reporting.
  • 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.
  • Vendor implemented
  • Implemented in-house
Start small and grow, don't try to build everything at once.
  • In-person training
Response time is very prompt. Most of the time the support person is very knowledgeable.
Jacob Saunders | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
  • 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.
I've been implementing Microsoft, and other, BI tools for many years and will continue to drive adoption of this platform in my client base as it matures. My firm also uses the platform internally for all our operational and analytical systems.
  • Traditional "canned" reporting.
  • Online transaction processing systems.
  • Data warehousing.
  • High availability.
  • Self-service analytics.
  • Collaborative decision making.
  • Implemented in-house
We are a consulting firm and as such our best resources are always billing on client projects. Our internal implementation has weaknesses, but that's true for any company like ours. My rating is based on the product's ease of implementation.
  • Online training
  • In-person training
  • Self-taught
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.
Premium support is available to us at no cost.
While support from Microsoft isn't necessarily always best of breed, you're also not paying the price for premium support that you would on other platforms. The strength of the stack is in the ecosystem that surrounds it. In contrast to other products, there are hundreds, even thousands of bloggers that post daily as well as vibrant user communities that surround the tool. I've had much better luck finding help with SQL Server related issues than I have with any other product, but that help doesn't always come directly from Microsoft.
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