New Power BI Service from Microsoft has Launched

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Setting the standard for modern BI

Microsoft has launched its new Power BI service.  The Power BI service is the second version of the cloud based business intelligence service that allows businesses to surface data both from on premise and cloud data sources and present them through dashboards, reports and scorecards.  Here are some of the exciting new features of the Power BI service.

Easy Methods for Creating Dashboards and Reports

Power BI used to be dependent on Excel for creating reports and dashboards but no longer.  You can create dashboards and reports through a web based interface within the power BI portal.  In addition, there is a Power BI Desktop tool that allows for more extensive and advance data management and report creation that you can download for free and then publish your creations to the Power BI service.

New Data Sources

Microsoft has provided connectors to a variety of both on premise and cloud based data sources.  As part of the subscription service, expect the number of available connectors to grow as the service evolves.

Some of the new cloud based data sources include:

  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM
  • QuickBooks Online
  • Google Analytics
  • MailChimp
  • Marketo
  • GitHub
  • SalesForce
  • ZenDesk

In addition, Power BI supports connecting to SQL Server Analysis Services on premise (you need SQL 2012 or later in Tabular mode), Azure SQL Database, Azure SQL Datawarehouse and HDinsight.  Power BI can also import flat files in formats such as CSV, Excel, etc.

New Visualizations

Power BI has a number of visualizations including the typical bar chart, line chart, etc.  Some of the more interesting ones include…

Pie Chart

Pie Chart


Bubble Chart

Bubble Chart



Tiles with Selectable Images

Titles with selectable

Tree Map

Tree Map

Funnel Chart

funnel 2

New Mobile App

As part of the Power BI Service, Microsoft has also developed and release a new mobile app for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.

Mobile app

The mobile app works quite nicely and allows you to view your dashboards at a size readable on your phone.  It also allows you to share your dashboards and annotate them directly from your phone as well.

Try it out for Free

Power BI has a free version that you can use to try out the service.  While it has limitations on how much data you can load and refresh, it has all the visualizations, dashboards and connectors for you to try out the service.


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