Power BI: Best data visualization tool if you are a Microsoft user!
Gabriel Chiararia | TrustRadius Reviewer
May 21, 2018

Power BI: Best data visualization tool if you are a Microsoft user!

Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Microsoft Power BI

I was the president of an MBA Analytics Class, and Power BI was our main tool for data visualization. We chose this tool because it is the cheapest one to purchase for professional purposes. We know that sometimes organizations don't want to spend money buying new software, so we decided to go with Power BI since it is cheap and easy to getting approval for purchase within any organization. The idea behind the class and the use of Power BI is to learn how to find data insights, help students become more data-driven, and better use data to support recommendations.
  • Price: The biggest advantage of Power BI is its price. All other data visualization tools can cost thousands of dollars per year, but Power BI would cost way less than $100/month. Most companies have Power BI in their agreement with Microsoft, so it might be even free for most of you.
  • It's a Microsoft tool: Well, all of us are used to Microsoft Excel, right? So, the learning curve to use Power BI is not steep since we are all used to how Microsoft organizes their software, especially compared to other tools such as Tableau.
  • Powerful cloud: Running a lot of data can be an expensive task for many computers. Since Power BI is cloud-based, all the processing power is done on powerful servers, so you can run complicated graphs and tool will handle super well and fast!
  • Add-ins: Power BI has a good stand library of standard features. However, if you need more advanced graphs, such as heat maps, correlation charts, and Sankey charts, they are all available for free.
  • Connectivity with non-Microsoft tools: Power BI is great to integrate with other MS tools, but if you want to connect it with statistical or machine learning tools (R, Python, Mathlab, JMP, etc.) you might get in trouble. Tableau, for example, has an easy integration with R and Python.
  • Not all features are available in the online version: If you want to use more advanced features, you will probably need to download the desktop version of Power BI.
  • No desktop version for Mac: So, I use a Mac and I needed to use some extra features on Power BI. When I tried to download the more complete desktop version, I realized that there's no desktop version of Power BI for Mac! I had to borrow a PC from a colleague to run the analysis I wanted.
Power BI is usually the cheapest solution and most user-friendly for most people (since we are all used to the Microsoft Suite). However the connectivity to non-Microsoft soft tools (databases and data analysis tools) are somewhat limited, especially when compared to its biggest competitor: Tableau.
It's great for the Microsoft Suite (Azure, Excel, Access). But somewhat limited for other sources (Oracle, SAP, Statistical data files...)
I really like the data sharing features of Power BI. You can save it in different formats, share reports as a webpage, and the best part is that if you update your dataset, the report will automate automatically! In terms of security, well, I trust Microsoft.
Well suited:
- The best scenario to use Power BI is if your organization already has an agreement with Microsoft and you can get it for super cheap or even for free;
- Another good scenario is to make your organization more data-driven since it is usually very user-friendly. Or, if your organization is extremely focused on Excel and you want them to improve their data visualization skills.
Less appropriate:
- You might want to look somewhere else if you have a lot of datasets coming from several different systems (Oracle, SAP, Nielsen, Neogrid, etc) and you want to integrate them under the same umbrella;
- If you have a team of analysts/consultants experienced in analytics you might want to use another tool since Power BI does not integrate well with other analytics tools.

Microsoft Power BI Feature Ratings

Pixel Perfect reports
Not Rated
Customizable dashboards
10
Report Formatting Templates
9
Drill-down analysis
10
Formatting capabilities
9
Report sharing and collaboration
9
Publish to Web
10
Publish to PDF
8
Report Versioning
8
Report Delivery Scheduling
Not Rated
Delivery to Remote Servers
Not Rated
Pre-built visualization formats (heatmaps, scatter plots etc.)
9
Location Analytics / Geographic Visualization
9
Multi-User Support (named login)
8
Role-Based Security Model
Not Rated
Multiple Access Permission Levels (Create, Read, Delete)
Not Rated
Single Sign-On (SSO)
Not Rated
Responsive Design for Web Access
9
Dedicated iOS Application
Not Rated
Dedicated Android Application
Not Rated
Dashboard / Report / Visualization Interactivity on Mobile
10
REST API
Not Rated
Javascript API
Not Rated
iFrames
Not Rated
Java API
Not Rated
Themeable User Interface (UI)
Not Rated