SharePoint reporting capabilities have always seems to be a non-focus for Microsoft. For example, PerformancePoint was a third party add-on designed for SharePoint 2007 that Microsoft purchased, but was never fully integrated into SharePoint 2010 or 2013 and will seem virtually non-existent in 2016. Not to mention the element of voodoo and magic it took to make it function correctly.
Ever hear of the Paradox of Choice? It’s the belief that less consumer choices can reduce anxiety in shoppers. Now, isn’t this an overwhelming amount of choices to handle SharePoint reporting?
Business Intelligence Feature
|Business Intelligence Center||The Business Intelligence Center in SharePoint 2013 enables an organization to centrally store and manage data connections, reports, scorecards, dashboards, apps and Web Part pages.|
|Microsoft Excel 2013||Create reports, scorecards and dashboards with a combination of Excel and SharePoint 2013.|
|Excel Services||SharePoint 2013 service application that enables loading, calculation and browser-based renderings of Excel workbooks with an ability to create “live” connections to data sources, delivering “real time” data throughout analysis.|
|PowerPivot||Excel 2013 add-in that provides ability to create data models that include calculated fields, reports, and scorecards.|
|PerformancePoint Services||SharePoint 2013 service application which creates and shares centrally managed dashboards.|
|Visio Services||SharePoint 2013 service application enables loading and browser-based rendering of Visio diagrams.|
Enter Power BI.
Power BI Feature
|Power View||Creates Power View sheets in Excel and which can be viewed in the Power BI Windows Store app.|
|BISM||A BI semantic model connection (.bism) is a portable connection connecting Excel or Power View reports to an Analysis Services tabular model database or an Analysis Services instance in multidimensional mode.|
|BI Desktop (Designer) Tool||Power BI Desktop allows creation of a collection of queries, data connections, and reports that can easily be shared with others.|
|Mobile Ready||Stay connected to data from anywhere, any time with the Power BI app for Windows, iOS, and Android.|
|Cortana||One of the key ways Power BI enables more people to connect with and gain insight from their data is a natural language data search feature with Q&A.|
|Connect to On-Premise Data Sources||With Power BI gateways, you can keep data fresh by connecting to on-premises data sources.|
|Roadmap||Always get the latest information about PowerBI|
Power BI could be the future of Excel. Why is that important? When Excel was first launched, it was a simple spreadsheet product. Now, it has evolved from that simple product into a Business Intelligence (BI) platform.
Excel remains a product that is familiar to everyday consumers where they can create reports without the assistance of external reporting vendors and/or consultants. With Power BI though, these consumers will now be able to create professional (and powerful) dashboards and scorecards that make much more of an impact. What was once only available within expensive reporting solutions such as IBM’s Cognos, Business Objects or MicroStrategy is now available to the masses at an affordable price.
|Cognos (IBM)||Average $650.00 Per User/Year|
|Business Objects (SAP)||Starts at $50,000. User Licensing Varies.|
|MicroStrategy||Web Package: $600/named user; $300K/CPU core
Mobile Package: $600/named user; $300K/CPU core
Architect Package: $5,000/named user
Server Package: $1,200/named user; $600K/CPU core
|PowerBI||Average $120.00 Per User/Year|
Sounds wonderful, right?
Power BI still has its downsides. It doesn’t have the maturity of Cognos. It is an additional service within Office 365, not included with a standard enterprise license. There’s a free version, but you still end up paying for the “good stuff”.
Since Power BI is used as a subscribed service rather than just a piece of software, it fits nicely into Microsoft’s long-term vision of “cloud-first, mobile-first” world. With Power BI being the first Microsoft product launched after Satya Nadella took over as CEO, Power BI might just be Microsoft’s “next giant leap” in business intelligence.