What is Power BI?

Posted By Posted by: EPM Partners on November 16, 2018

Do you currently have a list of SharePoint sites, OData feeds, excel sheets, websites, CRMs and databases that all have different types of important data? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could combine them all into one central location and fuse the different data sets to provide meaningful information?

This is Power Bi!

Not only does Power Bi connect to multiple data sources, but it also allows to create visualizations to convey a message at a meeting or with your peers.



But what is visualization?

This is the transformation of your data into something that can be visually seen and interacted with. Please see the below example:


This visualization shows the financial performance for a range of projects, but what if I wanted to see the performance on just one?

With a simple click, I can illustrate or see the information I am interested in. The difference between a visualization and an ordinary graph is that visualizations are interactive and dynamic.

How do I use Power Bi, and is there a smartphone app for it?

Power Bi has three main components:

  1. Power Bi Desktop: This is the desktop application
  2. Power Bi Service: A cloud-based service of Power Bi
  3. Power Bi Mobile: An app for your smartphone of Power Bi

Each of these has their pros and cons and are used for different audiences. They allow you to create and share information and ideas with your peers.

The most common way Power Bi is used is as follows:

  1. Connect to the data that you would like via the Desktop software
  2. Develop visualizations to illustrate the data you would like
  3. Once these are done you can publish your report on to the cloud – Power Bi Service
  4. From the Power Bi Service, you can share this report to anyone even to the Power Bi Mobile app

Power Bi sounds amazing! Who should be using it?

Power Bi can be used for a variety of purposes, from crunching numbers to developing reports, to the monitoring of sales and even more. It all depends on what data is going in and what the intended purpose of the software is.

Is it expensive?

The base version of Power Bi is free! It allows you to connect to your various data sources, create visualizations, publish to the Power Bi Service and perform a general analysis.

If you would like to share your reports with others you will need to get a Power Bi Pro license which is currently USD $9.99 a month (upon writing this blog).

But at highest end Power Bi Premium allows for even more features, such as sharing data with users outside of your organization without buying a per-user license and more!

To check current pricing or download the free base version of Power BI desktop, go to this link.


Power Bi is a powerful tool that can be used for a variety of different purposes and audiences. It allows the fusion and visualization of datasets to create meaningful information.

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