Power BI - Excel on Steroids and So Much More
Steffany Winkelmann | TrustRadius Reviewer
September 25, 2019

Power BI - Excel on Steroids and So Much More

Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Microsoft Power BI

Previously, we had no real business intelligence. We had all sorts of data in our database, but we had no way to make sense of it aside of downloading and manipulating it in Excel, but this proved difficult to process many hundreds of thousands of rows of data. Microsoft Power BI has helped us make this process so much easier by connecting to our database directly and run queries directly in the system and make beautiful charts based on that data, to make sense of what's going on.
  • Beautiful graphical models of your data
  • Fast processing whether you're working with local data or pulling it from your database
  • Very easy to share reports within your organization
  • Surprisingly fairly easy to learn
  • It is such a powerful system that it can come across as intimidating for some without some Excel knowledge
  • I'm not a database analyst or administrator, so calling the data in can be difficult (not necessary the fault of the software, but something that could be difficult for teams without someone with database knowledge)
  • It can come across as confusing, when there is both a local Power BI and online Power BI components. They don't necessarily do the same functions. You'll definitely want to know how to use the online version as this is how you'll publish and share the results of your findings, but the local one has a lot of capabilities that don't appear to be directly available in the online version (and if so, it's not immediately apparent).
I am not a data analyst, but as a user, I prefer the UI of Power BI compared to Periscope Data. Periscope Data has some really great functionality and can build some really useful reports, but Power BI seems to have more useful visuals and is easier for non-database admins/non-data analysts to generate some interesting, basic reports that help them in their role. I've also found courses to help you learn how to use Power BI, from the simple functions up to more complex processes (and get a certification for it) for which I was unable to find for Periscope Data.
It's pretty easy to connect any type of data source to Power BI. You can also bring in various reports that may have only one thing in common (such as a purchase date for example), and you can create relationships with the data so you can cross-compare information across multiple data sets and find action-items you may not have otherwise noticed. In addition, you can create reports from real-time data sources, although this will require pinging that server each time and downloading the data at that time (which takes up time). Instead, you can set up daily refreshes so that, for example, every morning at 4am, the data syncs and those viewing particular reports in the morning will see the updated data on their dashboards.
It's pretty easy to create a report and share it with people who will find that report useful. When shared, those users will be able to access it via their mobile app & online in the "Shared With Me" section. As a user, you can decide who can see what reports you've created, you can decide if those receiving the share link can build new content with the underlying data set, and you can restrict if that user can share the report with anyone else. Of course, you can also remove access at any time.
Well suited for organizations that have a lot of client data. It doesn't necessarily mean you have a lot of clients, but rather that you've collected a large set of data-points that you can analyze, cross-compare, and report on and need higher functions than Excel. It would also be better-suited for organizations that have someone (preferably in-house) who can import & process that data into meaningful reports for other teams to use and build off of.

Less appropriate for smaller organizations that don't have someone in-house or don't have the strong ability to learn how to maximize on the abilities of this tool set. It requires knowledge of interacting with databases and someone who understands how to analyze and interpret business intelligence data. Also not very appropriate for organizations that don't collect much data on their clients, even if they have many clients.

Microsoft Power BI Feature Ratings

Pixel Perfect reports
9
Customizable dashboards
10
Report Formatting Templates
9
Drill-down analysis
9
Formatting capabilities
8
Integration with R or other statistical packages
10
Report sharing and collaboration
10
Publish to Web
10
Publish to PDF
9
Report Versioning
7
Report Delivery Scheduling
9
Delivery to Remote Servers
9
Pre-built visualization formats (heatmaps, scatter plots etc.)
8
Location Analytics / Geographic Visualization
10
Predictive Analytics
9
Multi-User Support (named login)
10
Role-Based Security Model
10
Multiple Access Permission Levels (Create, Read, Delete)
10
Single Sign-On (SSO)
Not Rated
Responsive Design for Web Access
10
Dedicated iOS Application
10
Dedicated Android Application
10
Dashboard / Report / Visualization Interactivity on Mobile
9
REST API
9
Javascript API
Not Rated
iFrames
8
Java API
Not Rated
Customizable Platform (Open Source)
Not Rated