This video explains the Power BI toolset, including Power BI service, Power BI Desktop, and Power BI Mobile. Power BI editions (Free, Pro, and Premium) are also described.
- [Instructor] We hear a lot about business intelligence these days, but it is not a new idea. At its simplest form, business intelligence is about connecting business decision making to facts about the business and its environment, to take a deep dive and understand the data underneath your business so that you can make better business decisions. We start by getting some data from one or more sources. If we have multiple sources of data that we're tying together, someone needs to build a model that expresses those relationships.
Using that model or the data, we will create visualizations, charts, tables and so on, that we can share with our colleagues. And with all of that information summarized in a way that is accessible and useful, we will be able to make better business decisions as a team or as an organization. Until recently, business intelligence was big business, Enterprise BI, and the players were big players, SAP and Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, and so on, large companies creating really large tools.
And Enterprise BI was the realm more of the IT professional than any other group. That meant that IT folks had to develop a great understanding of what was needed in the business so that they could get exactly the right data to create the reports and visualizations that end users and business managers were requesting. Really the first alternative to this type of business intelligence was Microsoft Excel, because Excel allowed users to analyze data themselves for the first time, even if they had to take it offline and use last month's data.
Excel is a popular business tool precisely because so many people learned Excel to be able to get a better handle on their business, on the data in their department, or in their functional area. Excel was for many of us our first step into self-service business intelligence. And the first version of Power BI was built almost totally in Excel and with add-ins for Microsoft Excel. Microsoft has continued to evolve Power BI. Power BI now has a set of tools that are not Excel-centric.
Before we begin, let's have some core understandings of what it is we do with Power BI. First, we will create data sets, those are the models I referred to a moment ago. Model could be all data from one source, one spreadsheet, one line of business system. Or it could be data coming from multiple places. And then we do need to create an official model for that data set. We'll use those data sets to create reports. Don't think of reports as simply rows and rows of figures and labels, reports in Power BI can be amazing.
Funnel charts, tree maps, geospacial maps, different types of charts and visualizations, these reports aren't meant to be shared directly. So if we want to share the information in our reports, we'll take parts of them and use them to create dashboards. And this is very easy to do. We have a tool set that is growing. The first is the Power BI service. It's web-based, powerbi.com. For many users, this is the only tool they use because the Power BI service allows users to manipulate visualizations, to do a deeper analysis of business information.
If you're an end user, you may spend most of your time in Power BI. If you're a business analyst or a power user, someone who works robustly with the data in their organization, then you will probably be using Power BI Desktop, which is a free download software that sits on your computer and allows you to do things that we previously did in Excel, to model our data, to transform our data, and we can also create reports that we can publish to the Power BI service. There're apps also for Power BI for mobile devices.
There's a set of development tools. And a report server and some other parts and pieces that are beyond the scope of this particular course. To make things just a little bit more confusing, there are also editions of Power BI. If you go to powerbi.microsoft.com/pricing, you end up on this page. Currently there are three different editions of Power BI, or three different ways to pay or not pay for Power BI. The first is the free edition.
And most of what we do in this course, you could do in the free edition. The free edition allows you to connect to hundreds of data sources, clean and prepare data, analyze and build reports, publish to the Power BI service, and so on. But this is really a personal version of Power BI. It's not a team or an organizational version and where this is limited, and it's not in terms of time, you can sign up and use this for free until you stop using it, but what you can't do is you really can't participate in sharing and collaboration.
You can't create a workspace, you can't be added by somebody else to a workspace that they create in Power BI, you can't create apps, you can't share dashboards, and you can't connect to specific types of data sets. This is a great tool and, again, much of what we'll do in this course you can do with Power BI Desktop, but in a work environment you are probably going to want the Power BI Pro edition, particularly if you are creating items that you want to share with other people.
If your organization is already using Office365, then you might have a plan, an enterprise plan, that includes Power BI Pro. The one that does right now is not E3, where you can use the free version, but the E5 version. But that, again, can change because they can rebundle this as they wish, but what is currently called Power BI Pro allows you also to collaborate and to use workspaces to share with other people, to be able to create apps, to sign up for subscriptions, to actually connect Excel to a data set that's been published.
Lots of things you can do here, and if you're not sure, you can try it for free for 60 days. That's what the button in the middle of the screen is for. The third choice is Power BI Premium. Power BI Premium is Power BI Pro for really large organizations. It has some nice wrinkles, for example, with Power BI Premium someone with Power BI Pro can publish items to Power BI Premium but it gives a little more power to some folks who are using the free version of Power BI Desktop.
The break even between Power BI Pro and Power BI Premium is at 500 users. So if your organization doesn't have 500 users using Power BI, you won't be seeing Power BI Premium. Power BI Premium also allows the organization to be able to better administer, better manage the resources that're being used with Power BI. So those are our three choices. If you are using Power BI in any of these versions, you'll be able to work along with me for most of the course.
There're only a few things at the end where you would need to have Power BI Pro specifically, when we are sharing and collaborating as it says here on the site. Regardless of our edition, we're going to use the tools in Power BI exactly the same way. We can get data with either the Power BI service or Power BI Desktop, which I'll show you at the end of the course. If you're going to model data, you need the Power BI Desktop tool. You can create visualizations and reports in either Power BI service or Power BI Desktop.
And you can share with your team using the Power BI service or Power BI mobile apps. We've come a long way from business intelligence being run only at the enterprise level. Power BI has something for everyone. For IT professionals, Power BI is a real win because it means that they can spend their time focusing on providing data to analysts who are going to use the data rather than creating reports that need to be recreated when the needs of the business change.
Those types of functions that are really business functions and business expertise more than they are the function of an IT department. Power BI allows IT professionals to focus on their core work, data protection, data security, providing high level information to the business. For business analysts, Power BI is a fabulous tool because it allows them to explore data and create reports and dashboards for users that are very powerful without necessarily needing to crawl into the data side of things.
And with Power BI Desktop, they can pull together information from a number of different data sources and create really powerful, robust data models that will be useful within departments and within and across functional areas. And for end users the win in Power BI is instant access to data in real time, to be able to visualize data differently, and to learn about the business, but also to be able to share their analyses with other members of their team, which is why you're here. The majority of this course is aimed directly at end users than analysts.
But whether you're an analyst, an end user, or an IT pro, Power BI has something to offer you.
- Explain advantages of Power BI for a business organization.
- Differentiate the process of uploading data to a file stored locally from uploading data to a file stored in the cloud.
- Recognize the analytical value provided by different visualization types in Power BI.
- Identify the limitations in sharing a Power BI dashboard with someone outside your domain.
- Describe ease-of-use features available with Power BI for Mobile.
- Apply knowledge of Power BI Desktop to a scenario.