Everyone’s been pretty impressed with Microsoft’s Power Bi, ever since it was launched as part of the Office 365 package back in July 2013. However, a brand new version of the service — which was in a free, preview mode until now — is set to hit the shelves come 24th of July.
For those who are unaware of its nuances, it is basically a cloud based data analytics service for the non technical users. Power Bi transforms your company’s data into rich visuals — graphs and circles etc — which means that the you can keep a better eye on what’s happening around the place. Similarly, the Power BI designer for desktop — which was built for greater, individual control over data analysis and representation will also go out of the preview mode come July 24.
After integrating your data with Power BI, you can ask questions like “Which territory had the lowest win ratio last month?” and get charts and graphs answering them. Not only this, the system can also show you your most and least profitable customer group, area with highest growth potential and so on.
According to Microsoft’s corporate VP for Business Intelligence Products Group, James Phillips, not only can Power BI pull data from sources like Github, Twilio, Google Analytics, QuickBooks, Marketo, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics etc. but can also be used to access data from the more conventional database systems such as Excel, Word etc. Indeed, If you have the required authority — such as a password — you can directly pull up data even from real-time.
The company is also throwing in some brand new features including visualization aids and collaboration tools. Also, in a fit of generosity, the company has decided to open source the library that contains the graphics used in the visualizations offered by Power Bi under the MIT license.
Speaking on the topic, Mr. Phillips said,
Gone are the days of ‘here are the ten types of charts you can use to visualize your data, If you want something really custom that no one else would find relevant, you can now do that with Power BI.
Adding that the company expects other manufacturers to make use of the technology and offer similar solutions to customers.
Power Bi is available both in free and paid versions. While the free version nets you a data capacity of 1GB per user and 10,000 rows of data streamed into the service per hour along with one automatic refresh per day, the paid version gets you 10GB of data per user and 1 million rows per hour with hourly data refreshes.
Power Bi comes with support for 44 languages and can run across iOS as well as Windows and Android devices.