What is PowerBI?

Before we begin to understand what is PowerBI, let’s first look at its history.

In September 2014 Power BI was introduced by Microsoft as part of Office 365 Service. The first release of Power BI was based on the Microsoft Excel-based add-ins:

  1. Power Query
  2. Power Pivot
  3. Power View.

Gradually, with the time Microsoft has added many additional features like Question and Answers, enterprise level data connectivity and security options via Power BI Gateways. Power BI was first released to the public on July 24, 2015.

In nutshell, Excel has been given Super Power to address Business Intelligence challenges of Enterprise.

What makes PowerBI so Powerful?


1. Power Query: Power Query is add-in in Excel 2010, 2013 and inbuilt feature of Excel 2016. This allows you to discover, combining, and refining data across a wide variety of sources using OData, Web, Hadoop, Azure Marketplace, and more. Perhaps, it provides an ability to search for public data from sources such as Wikipedia, Facebook, etc. (Know more about Power Query).

2. Power Pivot: PowerPivot is an add-in in Excel 2010, 2013 and 2016. Once you have pulled data from different sources, Power Pivot allows you to perform data analysis and data modeling on data. Perhaps, you can create relationships between heterogeneous data, create calculated columns and perform operations on data using formulas and advanced formulas with the Data Analysis Expressions (DAX) expression language. Using Power Pivot, you can transform data so it starts making sense and answers your business questions. (Know more about DAX)

3. Power View: Power View is an add-in in Excel 2010, 2013 and inbuilt tool in 2016. Once you have pulled data using Power Query and transformed it using Power Pivot, Power view enables you to Explore, visualize, and make it presentable along with creating ad-hoc reporting. (Know more about Power View)

4. Power Map: Power Map is an add-in in Excel 2013 and if you have Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus, you have access to Power Map for Excel as part of the self-service business intelligence tool. Power Map enables you to visualize your data in two-dimensional (2-D), three-dimensional (3-D) using map. Perhaps, you can discover insights and gain new understandings of your data by viewing your data in geographic space and seeing time-stamped data change over time.

How can I use Power BI?

You can leverage power of Power BI using:

a) PowerBI.com: PowerBI.Microsoft.com provides free basic business analytics service that enables you to see all of your data through a single pane of glass. Live Power BI dashboards and reports includes visualizations and KPIs from data residing both on-premises and in the cloud, offering a consolidated view across your business, regardless of where your data lives.

b) Power BI Desktop: Power BI Desktop puts visual analytics at your fingertips with intuitive report authoring. Drag-and-drop to place content exactly where you want it on the flexible and fluid canvas. Quickly discover patterns as you explore a single unified view of linked, interactive visualizations. You can download Power BI Desktop from this page.

Why does Business Intelligence (BI) matter to Organizations?

  • Your whole business on one dashboard
  • Create stunning interactive reports
  • Consistent analysis across your organization
  • Easily embed BI and analytics in your app
  • Helps Management to take informed decision
  • Helps in Forecasting, Budgeting, and Planning
  • Helps to visualize data in Two or Three-dimension
  • Predicts Sales and Marketing Trend
  • Helps in Fraud Detection
  • Helps to implement Regulatory and Industry Compliance