Editor’s note: Do you wonder whether Microsoft Power BI is the right self-service analytics solution for you? Marina shares her vision on its major pros and cons, which can influence your decision. To learn how we support our customers in their business intelligence projects, check ScienceSoft’s Power BI consulting services.
When ScienceSoft’s customers ask for more agility and independence in their analytics and reporting, I recommend considering Microsoft Power BI. Rather than forcing them into an implementation project right away, my suggestion is for them to start with the careful mapping of their business analytics needs against Power BI advantages and disadvantages. Here is the list of Power BI strong sides and limitations I share with the companies to take into consideration in the first place.
What I like about Power BI
Data integration and visualization capabilities
In my everyday practice, I see how handy Power BI is for creating meaningful data stories by importing data of various formats from a diversity of external and internal data sources. It is especially beneficial for the companies that don’t have a data warehouse solution – Power BI acts as a facilitator that enables data sets processing.
Also, with the possibility of creating reports and personalized dashboards, business users of every level can use Power BI to make quick and confident decisions. To get an idea of how personalized reports and dashboards may look, check ScienceSoft’s project where we enabled the international real estate developer to gain in-depth insight into their business and spot trends for new business opportunities.
I believe Power BI suits every pocket. It enables creating self-explanatory dashboards and reports at the lowest possible price. With Power BI Desktop, it is free of charge – you just download the free version and create reports. However, a Power BI Desktop limitation to be taken into account is the inability to collaborate on the insights with your colleagues within a single space. For that, you'll need amending Desktop with Power BI service, which is available at a relatively low price - $9.99/user/month or at no additional cost for Office 365 E5 users.
Data analytics capabilities
When customers turn to ScienceSoft to upgrade their old and rigid enterprise DWHs to perform particular analytics, Power BI is one of the options we offer them, as it enables necessary analytics within days or even hours and eliminates the need for lengthy development and implementation.
If you want to read about Power BI value in more detail, don’t hesitate to explore our article dedicated to Power BI benefits.
What I don't like about Power BI
Power BI is intuitive enough when it comes to importing data and creating simple reports. However, I always warn the customers who require advanced analytics within the Power BI suite that they will need additional tools to master (Power Pivot, Power Query, etc.) and an external consultant to hire for conducting complex analysis.
Costly on-premises storage and processing
When our clients need to keep their data and reports on-premises because of legal regulations or specifics of their industry, I advise them to deploy Power BI Report Server. However, the solution is only available in the Power BI Premium plan, so they will have to pay starting from $4,995/month for the possibility of keeping their Power BI content in-house.
Limitations to face when dealing with huge data sets
When employing Power BI for deriving insights out of massive data sets, you must remember about data set limits. For example, the size of a data set you can import into Power BI Pro is 1GB, which can naturally limit the complexity of reports and dashboards. If you want to import and analyze larger data sets with Power BI, you can try creating multiple queries to process the entire data set or shift to Power BI Premium.
Is Microsoft Power BI the right solution for you?
Even though Power BI is one of the most powerful facilitators for self-service business intelligence, I believe that the feasibility of each Power BI project should be estimated individually. In case you need assistance with defining the right set of Power BI functions or advising on Power BI implementation, I am ready to answer your questions.
Do you need to get an expert opinion on Microsoft Power BI? Our consultants will analyze your current reporting capabilities and offer an optimal solution to meet your business needs.