In February 2014, Microsoft launched the cloud service Power BI for Office 365. The service would change the way the business deals with Business Intelligence and enable the creation and maintenance of reports and dashboards which business can do people without the need of special tools, knowledge or constant dependency on the IT department.
Although it looked like a dream come true, the service was relatively expensive at around $40 per user per month. Also, it was available only to the top-level Office 365 subscriptions and with limited tools for creation, deployment and browsing.
A year later, on February 12, 2015 I attended an event organized by Microsoft Bulgaria, where the future of Microsoft Business Analytics was introduced. The lead speaker, Peter Mayers (MVP since 2007 and a great professional and presenter), shared Microsoft’s vision for BI, BI Social Media, Corporate BI with Microsoft SQL Server, Cloud-Based Big Data with Microsoft Azure HD Insight, Cloud-Based Predictive Analytics with Microsoft Azure Machine Learning.
What really impressed me was the strong focus and progress of Power BI for Office 365.
Below are some the most important and interesting changes and improvements related to the terms and pricing of the service:
- Two subscription levels Power BI – free and Power BI Pro – paid.
- The price of Power BI Pro has decreased to $9,99 a month per user.
- Power BI Designer – a standalone tool with which you can easily create and deploy reports and dashboards.
- Microsoft Power BI for Windows app which you can use to connect to Office 365 and Power BI. The app also allows you to browse, share and save favorite content.
- Predefined reports and dashboards against various data sources such as GitHub, Marketo, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Salesforce, SendGrid и Zendesk. During the next month we will expect also reporting from Markets, Intuit, Microsoft Dynamics Marketing, Sage, Sumo Logic, Visual Studio Application Insights, Visual Studio Online and others.
- Live connectivity to MS SQL Server Analysis Services.
- Power BI application for iPad. Microsoft has promised to release versions for iPhone, Android and Windows universal apps later this year.
If you would like to try the Power BI preview all you need to register is a US business email. In addition to that I recommend everyone who has Office 365 available with his MSDN subscription to play around with Power BI and evaluate the great features it offers.
If you want to get up to speed with Power BI, check out our training Analyzing Data With Power BI.
*More information on the pricing and different subscription levels can be found on the official website of Power BI.