The basic version of Power BI is free. All you have to do is sign up here and enter your business email address, then you will get a message from Microsoft telling you how to start enjoying the benefits of Power BI and its interactive dashboards. The free version comes as a desktop-based app only. You might be surprised, though, at how many essential features the free version includes.
It offers the ability to connect with more than 70 data sources, clean and prepare data with visual tools, analyze and build custom reports with exceptional visualizations and advanced analytics, and easily export to PowerPoint, Excel, and CSV.
All of Power BI’s features are mobile-responsive as well, with native apps for iOS, Windows, and Android devices, and you can import data from a wide range of sources, including spreadsheets, email marketing providers, and other streams. Reports can be embedded into existing apps or websites.
With Power BI Pro, you can keep data up-to-date automatically regardless of whether it is on the cloud or on-premise, real-time and streaming data.
Culture of Collaboration
The biggest difference between Power BI Free & Power BI Pro lies in your ability to create and share dashboards with other team members. Power BI Pro users can publish content to app workspaces, share dashboards with other Power BI users and subscribe to dashboards and reports. Power BI Pro also integrates with Microsoft solutions you already use like Office 365, SharePoint and Teams.
Data Capacity & Distribution
For larger organizations, Power BI Premium maybe your best option. While Power BI Pro is an individual license, Premium is an enterprise BI platform for everyone in your organization. Premium offers dedicated capacity to deliver more consistent performance and support larger data volumes in Power BI. For individual users, Premium also enables the widespread distribution of content by Pro users without requiring per-user licenses for recipients viewing the content. You’ll be able to publish datasets up to 10 GB and refresh up to 48x per day.
You really can’t go wrong with either choice. If the basic software is not enough for your needs, you can upgrade easily. In most cases, it’s good to start with the free version and get familiar with the features before moving to the enterprise level. Microsoft also offers a 60-day trial for Power BI Pro, so you can always take it for a spin and see if it’s worth the investment.
Power BI Apps
With the impending deprecation of Content Packs, Power BI has introduced Apps, to deploy a collection of related dashboards and reports to a wider audience, empowering more individuals to make data-driven decisions. Apps offer a way to group several dashboards and reports into a single workspace. Unlike Content Packs which lose their grouped identity once published, Apps maintain their grouping and identity even after installation. This facilitates navigation over time. App producers can give permissions to specific individuals to be installed automatically or can send a link to the App. Data updates automatically to the dashboards and reports within the app. This feature is only available for Power BI Pro users.
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