Power BI announced for Office 365

At the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, Power BI has been announced: Microsoft’s solution for cloud-based BI. It is for subscription-based Office 365 only, with Excel as the main authoring tool and SharePoint Online for collaboration. Also announced are iOS and Windows 8 mobile BI apps, HTML5 access rather than Silverlight, natural language search, and even new names for some recent innovations (Power Maps is the new Geoflow, for example).

Some thoughts:

– This is a big shift away from SQL Server-based BI to Office-based BI

– This is Cloud First- but more than that, it is Cloud Only, which could be a real kick in the teeth for organisations who are on-premises only. With there already being concerns about the previously free functionality of PowerPivot now being only in premium Office SKUs, and the suggestions that Microsoft are missing an open goal to eat up the market for the likes of Tableau and Qlikview, I’m hoping that Microsoft will allow Power BI to be accessible widely and for a reasonable price.

– Finally with the mobile! I really look forward to Power View for iPad.

As usual Chris Webb has compiled the best starting point for links and opinion on this announcement:


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2 Responses to Power BI announced for Office 365

  1. Very nice article, I used some of your useful concepts to write my own article: Self-Service Business Intelligence and Natural Language Reporting. I’d love to get your feedback. Don’t you think that Natural Language Business Intelligence is the next step of Business Intelligence’s evolution?

    • rjback says:

      Yes I think it has a lot of traction. But at present quite a few of the tools rely on you knowing both the underlying model you’re querying and in fact require you to know the ‘language’ that gives the best results. If the model is well layed out and considered in terms of user understanding, many users will still prefer to drag and drop.

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