Microsoft Power BI Pricing, Features, Reviews & Alternatives

Microsoft Power BI

BI visualization and reporting for desktop, web or mobile

4.49/5 (830 reviews)

Microsoft Power BI overview

What is Microsoft Power BI?

Microsoft Power BI is a suite of analytics tools for analyzing business data and sharing insights via rich visualizations. Customizable and pre-built dashboards unify important metrics into single views, showing real time updates to every device. The centralized, web-based Power BI service interfaces Power BI gateways to connect to and unify organizational data while Power BI Desktop for Windows provides local data mashup and report authoring features. Live dashboards offer an instant 360-view on business health, leveraging 59 out-of-the-box connections for apps or services such as Salesforce, Google Analytics, Azure, Facebook, Github, QuickBooks Online, Twilio and Zendesk. Power BI brings all that data, wherever it resides, together to form a complete picture of key metrics that can then be queried using natural language.

With Power BI Desktop, users can author reports using intuitive drag-and-drop tools and share amongst colleagues through the online Power BI Service. Integrating with Microsoft’s established Query engine, data modeling and visualization technologies, Power BI Desktop connects, shapes and reports to centralize a typically disjointed process of reporting. Outputting to .pbix format, these report files can then be manually shared like any other or uploaded to the shared service. In addition, this ability to keep all users on the same page at all times extends to a suite of optimized mobile support. Power BI Mobile keeps remote connectivity consistent across native apps for Windows Mobile, iOS and Android devices, adding intuitive gesture-based operation. Live dashboards can be viewed on the fly, alongside full report sharing capabilities and data-driven alerts.
www.microsoft.com

Pricing

Starting from
$9.99/month
Pricing options
Free
Subscription
Free trial
Value for money
View Pricing Plans

Devices

Business size

S
M
L

Markets

United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, China and 5 other markets, India, Japan, Germany, Brazil, Mexico

Supported languages

English, Dutch, Hebrew, Russian, Irish and 21 other languages, Finnish, Arabic, Korean, French, Norwegian (Bokmal), Chinese (Simplified), Japanese, Czech, Hungarian, Chinese (Traditional), Swedish, Spanish, Ukrainian, German, Italian, Thai, Polish, Danish, Indonesian, Portuguese, Turkish
Microsoft Power BI screenshot: Microsoft Power BI Desktop shown on ThinkpadPower BI – Experience your data. Any data, any way, anywhereMicrosoft Power BI screenshot: Microsoft Power BI Executive Metrics DashboardMicrosoft Power BI screenshot: Microsoft Power BI Mobile for iPadMicrosoft Power BI screenshot: Microsoft Power BI Query EditorMicrosoft Power BI screenshot: Microsoft Power BI reporting visualizationsMicrosoft Power BI screenshot: Microsoft Power BI shown on Microsoft SurfaceMicrosoft Power BI screenshot: Power BI Desktop Welcome screenGetting Started with the Power BI DesktopThis is Power BI

Microsoft Power BI user reviews

Value for money
Features
Ease of use
Customer support
  4.4
  4.4
  4.0
  4.1
Michael K.

Ugly numbers to pretty pictures

Used weekly for 1-2 years
Reviewed 2020-06-13
Review Source: Capterra

Management loves it, I love developing with it but getting certain others to adopt it can be a bit of a challenge.

Pros
As the title says, it turns ugly numbers into pretty pictures. It is easy enough for a non-developer to use and turn a mess of data into an intelligent and understandable story.

Cons
It literally changes every three months. You just get used to it and with the next update a lot has changed. I don't really see this as a con though because this is more like a Christmas present waiting to see what they will have made better this go around.

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Features
Customer support

Likelihood to recommend: 10/10

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Glenn S.

Analytic Superman

Used daily for 1-2 years
Reviewed 2021-02-12
Review Source: Capterra

Power BI has been a game changer for us when it comes to how we see and break down the analytics of our business. Its a platform that integrates all parties to one sheet and allows us to break the data down visually and analytically. Only drawback is when you need to make an update it could take the builder some time to update.

Pros
I love the way Power BI is able to show the data in a very eye friendly way. If you have a business that has markets, districts, and locations that need to show data then Power Bi allows you to break this down to any analytics you need to see with graph representation. Its great!

Cons
It does take some knowledge around formulas and excel. If you don't have an analytic data team that can make these repots for you on Power BI then it will take you a longer time to see the analytics from it.

Rating breakdown

Ease of use
Features

Likelihood to recommend: 9/10

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Marco D.

Power BI like the "self service" BI system

Used daily for 2+ years
Reviewed 2021-04-06
Review Source: Capterra

it is very convenient and simple, we also have a certified person in the company and I did the course myself. it has many completely free features. Gartner describe it like the best instrument about BI

Pros
Easy to use, cheaper then others, lots of functions and services. We use it in our team and promote it also to our clients

Cons
power bi service layout... microsoft recently changed with an improved update but could still be improved further

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Features
Customer support

Likelihood to recommend: 10/10

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Anonymous

A pretty reporting tool for some (!) Microsoft Products, but pretty much useless outside of the Microsoft Landscape

Used daily for 6-12 months
Reviewed 2017-03-18
Review Source: GetApp

In light of the hype around this "Tableau destroyer" in recent months, I want to highlight some fundamental flaws in data connectivity and reports maintenance of Power BI, which the Product Team so far has turned down as "not in scope". In practice, though, this renders Power BI pretty useless for getting dara from any 3rd party products, in the cloud in particular. This review reflects Power BI as of mid March 2017. I have gathered my knowledge from testing, community interaction and a dozen tickets with Power BI Pro Support. The focus lies on getting data via Web Services, much aligned with Microsoft’s «Cloud First» Strategy. 1) Power BI Online is in the cloud, but does not allow for HTTP calls. Power BI Desktop allows for HTTP calls, but only with static authentication parameters. First of all, a distinction needs to be made between Power BI Online and Power BI Desktop. While Power BI Online is the "master" that ultimately allows you to share and publish your reports, user experience in design is diminished by HTML limitations (you may know from Word or Excel Online) and more importantly, data connectivity (Get Data) is limited to SQL Servers on Azure and about 20 to 30 plugins from 3rd party solutions at present. Take note that on Power BI Online, you cannot select or manage your Gateways, either. This brings the attention to the Power BI Desktop client. Updated every one to two months, the Desktop client brings data connectors necessary to connect to a larger number of data sources. With the Web connector, HTTP calls been configured, although with just static headers and parameters and Basic and Windows authentication only. Importantly, though, Power BI Desktop includes Microsoft Power Query, which you may know from Excel 2016 already. With M Scripts, you can script and customise in many ways and most interestingly, convert it into table form quickly. This is where Power Query shines. However, Power Query does not seem to call on methods for nonces and timestamps required in token based authentication (OAuth for example). (Should this be incorrect, please please let me know. I have been browsing the fora and nagging Support too long already.) What’s really amusing here is that Microsoft Azure uses OAuth 2.0 themselves. So, you cannot run any reporting on Microsoft’s Azure AD or Resource Manager database for example, a notorious blackbox. Back to Powershell. (Power BI does not accept Powershell feeds.) In short, while Power BI Online does not allow to get any data out of the web (except for those 20 to 30 plugins, mostly Microsoft Products), Power BI Desktop allows for Web calls, but only with static parameters and thus, basically with your user credentials. That’s a big limitation in Data Connectivity. 2) With Power BI Online being the master, the HTTP calls cannot be scheduled or refreshed in the cloud. Now that you have configured your HTTP call (with risky user credentials), you want to publish your report and have it refreshed on a scheduled basis, say every day. Tough luck. While you can publish your Report to Power BI Online and subsequently a broader audience, it’s a static image of your Desktop data. You cannot schedule a data refresh in Power BI Online (because there is no Web feature anyway) and you cannot even refresh the data manually as this requires republishing the Report anew. You risk your management looking at outdated data whenever you forgot to republish your report and sneak the new URL into your dashboards and iframes. 3) The On-Premises Data Gateway is pretty useless for Web Services. Yes, there is the On-Premises Data Gateway. Yes, you can configure Web Services in the gateway, although it’s pretty ironic to route web calls via on-premises infrastructure. But did you ever try it? That is, you cannot specify any HTTP headers fort he calls at all, lest writing a Power Query script. And thus, we are back at authentication via Basic and Windows only and writing REST scripts in the data source for every single HTTP call because with no Headers and Body, all parameters need to be coded in the URI. Will you do that? At the end of the day, Power BI is Microsoft's long overdue acknowledgement that Excel and some Dynamics Reports do not cut it for Reporting purposes. Indeed, for reporting on SQL Server, Dynamics 365 (if you want to afford it), and Excel and Access databases stored in your OneDrive, Microsoft Power BI does a neat job. However, as soon as you want to integrate with 3rd party systems or via web services in particular, Power BI presents so many limitations in authentication, Header and Body configuration, scripting, and scheduling that you need to configure an entire SQL Server environment (on Azure or On-Premises via feature poor Gateway) and write a SQL CRL interface or buy Azure Data Factory to get that data in. For some pretty reports, do you really want to buy and customise all that BI infrastructure on Azure? My advice to Microsoft: Work on Data Connectivity, especially in Power BI Online, rather than more visuals for those limited data sources. Your Microsoft clients will consider Power BI a given for the utter lack of reporting in Office 365, Azure, or Dynamics 365 (yes, pushing it there). My advice to Users: If the connectors are not listed, look somewhere else. (And make sure it’s your use case that is listed. Power BI announced an Azure AD connector, but rather than reporting on Users, Groups, or Enterprise Apps, you can only see on a nice map where the last logins happened.) Is it a Tableau destroyer? No. It’s a long overdue acknowledgement for necessary reporting with the potential of being a solid Business Intelligence solution ONCE focus comes to lie more on data.

Pros
pretty visuals Power Query On-premises Data Gateway responsible Pro Support

Cons
lack of data sources pretty useless for 3rd Party Web Sources

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Features
Customer support

Likelihood to recommend: 2/10

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Virgil H.

Moderate cost for a moderate experience for medium sized enterprises

Used monthly for 6-12 months
Reviewed 2021-02-12
Review Source: Capterra

So so. The dashboards and reports are limited in visual design, so they all look the same and quite ugly. Because of the difficulty sharing reports/dashboards to external individuals and the lack of a Google sheets connector I couldn't use PowerBI for most of the solutions we need, but will use it for some since it integrates well with the rest of the MS office ecosystem.

Pros
The thing that most sets PowerBI apart from comparable business intelligence solutions is the lower cost of multi-user deployment within an organization. PowerBI is part of a Microsoft Office 365 subscription package for businesses and you only need to pay an additional 15USD/month for each additional admin/analyst account you add. This is a stark contrast to similar solutions like Tableau, which charge a monthly fee for each user and has a minimum user count that equates to roughly a 15,000USD/year license cost as minimum. If your organisation is already invested in the Microsoft Office ecosystem this could be the ideal solution for you if you need to keep costs down.

Cons
It can't connect to google sheets and every other business intelligence platform can. This can be really limiting if your business uses a variety of SaaS solutions since many offer the simplest data integration options via Google sheets. PowerBI also has real issues with external sharing of dashboards/reports. You only have the option of publishing internally (visible to your organization's users) or publishing publically (indexed in search engines). There is no option of sharing dashboards and reports to individuals outside your organization via a login, like what is done with Google Data Studio. PowerBI also has a steep learning curve and uses 3 coding languages (DAX, M, and SQL). It's more complicated than it needs to be but it's relational database modeling has proven a good one and competitors have copied PowerBI's approach in recent years (Tableau).

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Features
Customer support

Likelihood to recommend: 6/10

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Microsoft Power BI pricing

Starting from
$9.99/month
Pricing options
Free
Subscription
Free trial
View Pricing Plans

Power BI: Free
Power BI Pro: $9.99 per user, per month

Microsoft Power BI features

API
Activity Dashboard
Ad hoc Reporting
Collaboration Tools
Customizable Reports
Dashboard
Dashboard Creation
Data Connectors
Data Import/Export
Data Visualization
Real Time Analytics
Reporting & Statistics
Reporting/Analytics
Visual Analytics

Benchmarking (129 other apps)
Key Performance Indicators (141 other apps)
Performance Metrics (228 other apps)
Predictive Analytics (172 other apps)
Search/Filter (257 other apps)
Third Party Integrations (163 other apps)

Security and privacy

Encryption

Encryption of sensitive data at rest
HTTPS for all pages

Access control

Multi-factor authentication options
This will ask you to sign in with LinkedIn

Videos and tutorials

Additional information for Microsoft Power BI

Key features of Microsoft Power BI

  • Share reports among colleagues & users via Power BI Service
  • Query data using natural language questioning
  • Author rich interactive reports with Power BI Desktop
  • Connect, access and unify data across sources
  • View rich graphical visualizations from complex BI data
  • Share live reports and dashboards
  • Explore up-to-date analytics from real-time BI data
  • Receive data-driven alerts for mobile insights
  • Transform company data into rich visuals
  • Full suite of BI tools for data visualization and reporting
  • Create live, real-time data metric dashboards
View All Features

Benefits

Microsoft Power BI spans a suite of Business Intelligence tools for creating rich visualizations and sharable reports.
Web-based Power BI Service provides a centralized hub for defining live personalized dashboards, harnessing on-premises data via Power BI gateways.
Out-of-the-box connections and pre-built dashboards for 59 popular apps and services makes unifying data quick and simple, wherever it resides.
Power BI Desktop for Windows provides deeper visual data exploration within a free-form drag-and-drop canvas and a library of powerful visualizations.
Author rich reports that can be exported to Power BI’s .pbix format or shared more engagingly among user groups by uploading to the Power BI service.
View personalized dashboards and reports from anywhere with Power BI Mobile, offering optimized apps for Windows Mobile, iOS and Google Play.
Stay informed of the very latest real-time update with data-driven alerting and full report sharing options while on the move.