Power BI

What is Power BI?

Power BI is a business analytics solution that lets you visualize your data and share insights across your organization, or embed them in your app or website. Connect to hundreds of data sources and bring your data to life with live dashboards and reports.

Connect to your data, wherever it is

Access data from hundreds of supported on-premises and cloud-based sources, such as Dynamics 365, Salesforce, Azure SQL DB, Excel, and SharePoint. Ensure it’s always up to date with automated, incremental refreshes. Power BI Desktop enables you to develop deep, actionable insights for a broad range of scenarios.

Prep and model your data with ease

Data prep can take most of your time, but it doesn’t have to with data modeling tools. Reclaim hours in your day using the self-service Power Query experience familiar to millions of Excel users. Ingest, transform, integrate and enrich data in Power BI.

Provide advanced analytics with the familiarity of Excel

Dig deeper into data and find patterns you may have otherwise missed that lead to actionable insights. Use features like quick measures, grouping, forecasting, and clustering. Give advanced users full control over their model using powerful DAX formula language. If you’re familiar with Excel, you’ll feel at home in Power BI.

Key features of Power BI

Microsoft has added a number of data analytics features to Power BI since its inception, and continues to do so. Some of the most important features include:

Artificial Intelligence -- Users can access image recognition and text analytics in Power BI, create machine learning models using automated machine learning capabilities and integrate with Azure Machine Learning

Hybrid deployment support -- This feature provides built-in connectors that allow Power BI tools to connect with a number of different data sources from Microsoft, Salesforce and other vendors.

Quick Insights -- This feature allows users to create subsets of data and automatically apply analytics to that information.

Common data model support -- Power BI's support for the common data model allows the use of a standardized and extensible collection of data schemas (entities, attributes and relationships).

Cortana integration -- This feature, which is especially popular on mobile devices, allows users to verbally query data using natural language and access results, using Cortana, Microsoft's digital assistant.

Customization -- This feature allows developers to change the appearance of default visualization and reporting tools and import new tools into the platform.

APIs for integration -- This feature provides developers with sample code and application performance interfaces (APIs) for embedding the Power BI dashboard in other software products.

Self-service data prep -- Using Power Query, business analysts can ingest, transform, integrate and enrich big data into the Power BI web service. Ingested data can be shared across multiple Power BI models, reports and dashboards.

Modeling view -- This allows users to divide complex data models by subject area into separate diagrams, multiselect objects and set common properties, view and modify properties in the properties pane, and set display folders for simpler consumption of complex data models.

Power BI components

Power BI consists of a collection of apps and can be used either on desktop, as a SaaS product or on a mobile device. Power BI Desktop is the on-premises version, Power BI Service is the cloud-based offering and mobile Power BI runs on mobile devices.

The different components of Power BI are meant to let users create and share business insights in a way that fits with their role.

Included within Power BI are several components that help users create and share data reports.

  • Power Query: a data mashup and transformation tool
  • Power Pivot: a memory tabular data modeling tool
  • Power View: a data visualization tool
  • Power Map: a 3D geospatial data visualization tool
  • Power Q&A: A natural language question and answering engine