Microsoft Power BI: The Dolphin guide

This Dolphin Guide explains the core facts you need to know about Microsoft’s data visualization toolset, Power BI.

The big data revolution continues in earnest and enterprises continue to generate more and more data about every business interaction they can track. Couple this with the volume of data now being generated by devices and sensors connected via the Internet of Things and you begin to appreciate the universal need for better data visualization.

All of this generated data must be transformed into actionable information that decision makers can use. Data visualizations in the form of dashboards and reports must be developed and shared throughout the enterprise, crossing departmental and sometimes even international lines.

Microsoft’s Power BI suite of data visualization tools is designed to accomplish the transformation of data into useful information. This Dolphin Guide explains everything you need to know about Microsoft’s data visualization toolset, Power BI.

Executive summary

  • What it is:Power BI is a set of data visualization tools that allows users to transform collected data into actionable information for decision makers.
  • Why it matters:In a modern enterprise, the ability to transform data into something useful is paramount to overall success.
  • Who it affects:Power BI is a vital tool for any enterprise employee trying to communicate information to management, stakeholders, or other decision makers.
  • When it’s happening:Microsoft Power BI is available now.
  • How to get it:A free trial version of Power BI is available for download from Microsoft. Office 365 subscribers already have access to Power BI as part of the general suite of applications.
  • Can you help me: As members of the Microsoft Partner Network Dolphin Networks are ideally suited to help you with any BI or SharePoint project.

What it is

Power BI is Microsoft’s suite of data visualization tools. The suite allows users to transform data found within, and even outside of, the enterprise. Power BI can tap into numerous data sources, including SQL Server, Excel, Salesforce, and Google Analytics.

As of April 2017, Power BI can readily access more than 60 data sources.


Why it matters

The ability to transform the huge amount of data generated by business enterprises into some form of actionable information that decision makers can use on a regular basis is critical to the success of the enterprise. Power BI provides tools for transforming raw data into information that can be presented in dashboards, documents, and reports.

Who it affects

Anyone in an enterprise who needs to communicate information to their department, managers, vendors, or to the enterprise in general can use Power BI’s data visualization tools to make it happen. Power BI has a number of templates to get even the most technology-challenged user started, and Microsoft provides many free educational training videos that can help turn novice users into experts.

When it’s happening

Microsoft Power BI is available now and new features are added to the suite of tools periodically.

How to get it

Power BI is available in several different ways. The most obvious is as a free web service users can access with a standard web browser. The free service is limited to cloud data sources and simple dashboard sharing, and it’s restricted to individual use. The free service is limited to 1GB of capacity per day.

The Power BI Pro service is subscription-based and costs £9.99 per user per month. The Pro version allows users to access all supported data sources and is designed for business use. This version is limited to 10GB of capacity per day.

desktop version of Power BI is also available for download. And enterprises with large mobile workforces can use the mobile version of Power BI, which is available on Windows 10, Apple iOS, and Android platforms.

For Office 365 subscribers, Power BI is available at no additional cost as part of the productivity suite. Users with the appropriate Office 365 subscriptions and administrative credentials can also download a desktop or mobile version of Power BI to use at their workstations or on their mobile devices. Power BI and its data sources are administered at the enterprise level, so you may have to ask your IT department for access or call the Dolphin Office 365 help-desk for assistance.


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