Best TCO but many layers to the overall solution
Updated November 04, 2014

Best TCO but many layers to the overall solution

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Modules Used

  • SSAS, SSRS, SSIS, SharePoint, Excel

Overall Satisfaction with Microsoft BI

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.
Tableau is a very feature rich tool, but it is also a pricey tool relative to Microsoft BI. Tableau's visualizations are very nice, but those features don't necessarily give us a strategic advantage or allow us get our work done any quicker. The monthly fee that you pay for PowerBI and Office 365 is a tiny fraction of the Tableau solution.

These are low risk and very proven traditional BI tools. However, while they are a very good fit for a wide variety of scenarios, other vendors are now offering features and approaches that are worth considering. If an organization does not already use some other Microsoft products like SQL Server, Office, and SharePoint then they might want to consider some of the other competing products. Simply put, if you are already using SQL Server and/or Microsoft Office and/or SharePoint then Microsoft BI makes a lot of sense


Microsoft offers a wide variety of editions, features, and licensing scenarios for any number of users in any size organization.
Microsoft BI can connect to a wide variety of data sources including Hadoop, social media APIs, Dynamics CRM, and Sales Force CRM (coming in 2015). For now though, you can not connect to unstructured data sources like pdf files.
A lot of options here including local SharePoint, off premises (cloud) SharePoint, and Office 365 (cloud). Secure data management gateways can be set up between local data sources and cloud based publishers like O365 and offsite SharePoint.
The rating on data visualization is lower relative to the competition. Power Maps can not be published, you're stuck just using it on your desktop. The drill through capabilities in some of the other tools is also superior.
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.

Evaluating Microsoft BI and Competitors

  • Price
  • Vendor Reputation
  • Existing Relationship with the Vendor
Total cost of ownership is a relevant consideration. We didn't have to take on much additional cost to use Microsoft BI and Power BI. We didn't have to go to another vendor and we didn't have to re-train our staff.
Involving your CIO in the selection process is important.