August 16, 2015

Power BI in SharePoint Online

I am very excited after Microsoft released Power BI GA (general availability) at the end of July. It comes with list of impressive new features which is explained in detail in this MSDN article.
I want my blog readers to know what is Power BI and how it can be used with SharePoint Online to leverage the BI capabilities of SharePoint. Let's learn the basics in this article.
Articles in SharePoint Business Intelligence (BI) Series:
Power BI in SharePoint Online
Creating reports using OData Feed in Power BI
Power View report in SharePoint
Display Power BI reports in SharePoint Online
Microsoft came with a new tool for BI for the following reasons:
  1. Use the known tool  - Excel
  2. Discover More  - Power Query
  3. Analyze More – Power Pivot
  4. Visualize  - Power View / Power Map
  5. Combine with Office 365 – share with any one
  6. Power BI sites – collaborate and share the data sets with your team
  7. Dive into Q & A – ask a question and get answers visually
  8. Stay Connected – Mobile Apps
  9. Schedule data refresh and create security settings easily
So what is Power BI?
  1. Cloud based service works with excel to provide users a complete self-service BI solution
  2. Available in SharePoint & Excel 2013 Online (available only in E3 / E4 subscription)
  3. With Power BI, you can easily deploy a cloud based BI environment for users to share insights, collaborate and access reports from anywhere on any device
  4. With Power BI for Office 365, you can easily setup an online gallery for users to share insights
  5. Mobile apps available in Apple store, Windows store & Google play store
How does Power BI differ from SharePoint BI?
Power BI
SharePoint BI
Content Viewing
It displays all document libraries with a preview to reports / dashboards
It displays only pivot gallery document library
Natural Language
Q & A provides the end user to search for data with your questions and it displays the results in visualization
No such option available
Workbook as a data source
Power BI the data model and the reports (created with Excel pivot tables + charts, or Power View for Excel) everything must be contained within a single .xlsx file
In SharePoint, we can upload a Power Pivot model to the Power Pivot Gallery and other reports can connect to it using a URL-based connection string. This works for Power View for SharePoint, Reporting Services, PerformancePoint, and Excel
Data Refresh Option
It is simpler for end users to manage the data refresh
Lot of options available for data refresh and it’s controlled by Admin
Data Management Gateway
It is a hybrid environment (partially cloud based and partially on premises)
No data management gateway available
Data rendering option
HTML 5 (hence cross platform support)
Silverlight for data preview
Maximum workbook size
Max is 250MB
2 GB
Sign in with Organization ID (O365 ID)
AD security mechanism
Enterprise Search for data
Search query is the important feature and it can search public and data within organization
Mobile Application
Available in Microsoft, Apple and Google Play store
Where can I download the Power BI and related products?
  1. Sign up for Power BI
  2. Power BI for desktop
  3. Power BI Analysis Services Connector
  4. Power BI Business Gateway
  5. Power BI Apps for mobile (apps for Apple, Microsoft and Android mobile)
  6. Power BI pricing
Hope this article, gives an idea of Power BI and how it differs from SharePoint BI. I will explain about connecting data from different data sources, creating dashboards, reports, etc. with Power BI in the coming articles.
Hope this helps you! Please share you comments since it helps me write more. Also, share this post to your friends via the networks below.  


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