Microsoft Dynamics SL, the project-focused ERP solution for project-driven organizations, already comes with powerful business intelligence (BI) capabilities, and third-party vendors offer even more BI solutions that work with Microsoft Dynamics SL, each with its own focus and set of features. And if that’s not enough, Microsoft introduced their own “add-on” BI service, Power BI, last year.
Power BI is a software as a service (SaaS) product that is offered under the “freemium” model: free to use the base version, which is all most users will require, and a more powerful version for a small subscription cost. Power BI combines the familiarity of Microsoft Office applications and the flexibility and power of the cloud. It uses Microsoft Excel and SharePoint to help you mine, analyze, visualize, and share your business data and insights.
And it has proven to be quite popular. Microsoft VP James Phillips announced at the inaugural Microsoft Data Insights Summit last week that Power BI has surpassed 5 million subscribers. The Summit, held in Bellevue, Washington, was a chance for data analysts to meet with Microsoft’s Power BI and Excel teams. Microsoft also announced a round of new features for Power BI at the Summit.
The new features are aimed at making it even easier to analyze data and share insights with Power BI. The new capabilities include more extensive enterprise readiness, deeper integration with Excel, and enhanced intelligent data exploration. James Phillips wrote in his Microsoft blog that “the rapid growth of Power BI speaks in part to the explosion of data, which IDC and others estimate could reach 50 zettabytes [approximately one billion terabytes] or more by 2020.”