In today’s era of information, a lot of companies are competing to deliver the best data visualization tool. Tableau has been the leader of this market for quite a while as they were the first to introduce a data visualization tool and, of course, many users still considered it to be the best tool in this area today. The ease at which Tableau’s tool can be used is hardly comparable to any other product in the Data Visualization world. Microsoft BI tool called Power Bi is swiftly catching up with Tableau, and is becoming their biggest competitor on the market.
To quote official Microsoft presentation, “Power BI is a suite of business analytics tools to analyze data and share insights.”
Power BI is integrated into the Microsoft Office 365 Suite, which means that it is highly compatible with all Microsoft (Office) applications such as Excel and others like SharePoint.
Power BI provides cloud based BI services - called Power BI Services, and a desktop based interface - Power BI desktop. Both of these services offer different, but overlapping capabilities. Data wrangling is desktop-only, reports and visualization can be made in both of them, while dashboards and report sharing are only available in the cloud version. Microsoft also offers mobile apps for iOS, Android and Windows devices that let you access your Power BI or SQL Server Reporting Services reports and dashboards.
What really makes PBI powerful is the sharing options it provides. These allow the segmentation of users we want to send information to, with the possibility of selectively displaying or hiding information that we don’t want certain users to see. This is particularly applicable to vendors or external entities with whom a limited amount of information needs to be shared.
There are more than 40 different data sources that can be accessed with Microsoft Power BI, including Hadoop and QuickBooks Online, Google Analytics, Tableau Desktop, and numerous enterprise data sources.
Microsoft is continually adding new connectors like the ones for MailChimp databases (which enables you to monitor your mailing list campaigns data, reports, and other relevant information). Power BI also provides the ability to directly query SQL databases on SQL Server and in the Microsoft Azure cloud as well as Spark-based data sources.