How Power BI Is Different From Other BI Tools

Posted by Errin O'Connor on May, 14, 2021 02:05

How Power BI Is Different From Other BI Tools

Power BI, PowerApps, and Microsoft Flow/Power Automate are part of the Microsoft Power Platform solution. Power BI is a Business Intelligence tool created by Microsoft, to provide interactive visualizations and analytics capabilities. It allows users to create their customized reports and dashboard. As we already know that Power BI is a compact and powerful reporting tool, which helps organisations to make a data-driven decision as per their requirement. Now let us understand what makes it different from other BI Tools and what is you going to get when you purchase the tool

What makes Power BI different?

Power BI has a lot of features like it’s a data modelling tool with a user-friendly interface and multi-layered business solution. Any BI tool has three components to it-

  • Raw Data: The data collected from the data source is unstructured form.
  • Semantic Model: In this model, the data is rearranged to analyse by applying pre-defined models on it.
  • Reports: Reports are the result of any BI tool which gives you the result in a visual format

Power BI has full support for all three layers. Most of the other Data Analytics tools are focused only on report generation with limited capability from the first two components. The primary focus of this tool is to provide the users with the best BI utilities, Business Intelligence reports and analytics feature. Feature of cloud-based service comes bundled with this software in the desktop-based interface. It is an all in one BI tool as it offers various data warehouse capabilities, like data discovery, data transformation, and visually interactive dashboards. Major focus of Power BI is not visualization but data modelling and report generation. You can seamlessly generate reports with a few clicks from the centralized dashboard.

With this tool, one can connect other data sources too, just by using the right connectors and drivers. Additionally, you can choose a scalable dashboard for perfect visualisation.

Top Features to Know About Power BI before Comparing It with Other BI Tools

  • User Friendly Dashboard
  • Attach Data Source
  • Customized visualization
  • Natural language Q&A
  • Data Modelling
  • Report Generation

Many of the other BI tools which are prevalent in the market are:

  • Tableau
  • SSRS

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Power Bi vs Tableau

  • Data Access: Power BI allows you to connect directly with Salesforce and Google Analytics but not with the Hadoop database. Tableau has the option of connecting with Hadoop directly. To be honest, the Hadoop feature is not needed for most of the industry as it deals with huge chunks of data. Most of the businesses are small to medium scaled which do not need such vast data processing.
  • Visualisation: Microsoft’s tool provides 3500 data points to analyze your dataset and to make decisions using predictive analytics consulting. One can do it absolutely, even with no coding experience.  You can create queries with natural language. Tableau is popular for its visual presentation of data, but you need to have some prior coding experience to use it. There are about 24 baseline visualizations in Tableau.
  • Deployment: Power BI is offered in only one mode, i.e. SaaS BI (Software as a Service). Looking on the other side of the fence, Tableau is offered in two models i.e., the cloud model and client machine installation. Depending on how much data you are dealing with, you can choose cloud or installation format. It is suggested to go for a cloud model when there is a massive amount of data.

Read our detailed report on Power BI Vs Tableau

Power BI vs SSRS

  • Power BI is available for free whereas SSRS needs a SQL Server license to run. However, to use PBIRS, you must purchase a Power BI Premium license
  • Power BI is provided as a SaaS (cloud-based) service. SSRS is a server-based component.
  • Power BI has advanced graphical features. SSRS is the more traditional type of software needing manual involvement to create reports and analysis.
  • You can make use of data from the cloud in the case of Power BI but SSRS can handle only on-premise data.
  • Power BI Report Server or PBIRS is the replacement of SSRS. It supports PBIX as well as analytical XLSX reports. These two are not supported in SSRS
  • PBI has now been upgraded with Cortana integration for Natural Language processing. SSRS does not support this feature.
  • Power BI provides a user-friendly GUI with the drag-and-drop capability for generating the report. Unlike other BI tools like Tableau, you can do it without any knowledge of computer programming.
  • Power BI allows the use of unstructured data, modern rendering techniques and integration effortlessly on various platforms. Multiple data cubes can be integrated with inbuilt features.

Also, read our blog about Power BI benefits over SSRS

Conclusion As you can see, Power BI has a lot of powerful features even with the free version which is not present in other BI tools. It also needs no coding experience to use. Power Bi is very cheap and affordable even in enterprise versions which put it in the range of small to medium range businesses.

Errin O'Connor
About the Author

Errin O'Connor

With over 25 years of experience in Information Technology and Management Consulting, Errin O’Connor has led hundreds of large-scale enterprise implementations from Business Intelligence, Power BI, Office 365, SharePoint, Exchange, IT Security, Azure and Hybrid Cloud efforts for over 165 Fortune 500 companies.

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