Microsoft Power BI: Business Intelligence Software Review

William Elcock

Updated · May 22, 2021

Microsoft Power BI is business intelligence (BI) software that helps businesses turn data into actionable insights. 

See below to learn about BI software and what Microsoft Power BI has to offer in terms of features, integrations, use cases, users review and pricing. 

Business intelligence software 

BI software allows businesses to gather, analyze and transform data into business insights. 

Those insights help businesses gain a competitive edge as well as react to problems before they start to have significant effects. The data is also used to produce information such as reports and visualizations.

Previously, BI usually meant processing information and generating quarterly or yearly reports. However, with advances in big data, BI is far more prevalent in everyday business operations and capable of generating real-time information. 

Businesses take the insights gained from BI software and use them to make sense of their data and informed decisions across their organization.

Microsoft Power BI features

Microsoft Power BI has several key features that make it an attractive BI option for enterprises:

  • Handle high quantities of data that may be difficult for other applications to handle

  • Ensures data is safe by providing controls on the accessibility of data

  • Makes use of artificial intelligence (AI) to find answers quickly

  • Insights gained from both structured and unstructured data, including text and images

  • Cloud-based platform

A screenshot of Microsoft Power BI's sales and marketing dashboard visualizations. Photo via Microsoft.

A screenshot of Microsoft Power BI’s sales and marketing dashboard visualizations. Photo via Microsoft.


Microsoft Power BI can be integrated with several other applications, including from the Microsoft family.

  • Microsoft products, such as Power Apps, Power Automate, Sharepoint, Office 365 and Dynamics 365. 

  • Non-Microsoft applications include Google Analytics, Salesforce and Spark

Use cases

Microsoft Power BI can be useful for many different business scenarios in a variety of industries:

Airports and travel

Heathrow Airport in London is using Microsoft Power BI to show their employees data at a glance, letting them know how airport passenger traffic is changing in real-time. Pre-covid, 80 million people passed through the airport daily. The airport pulls data from back-end business systems to gain information on what’s transpiring there. Weather tracking, flight schedules, baggage tracking, cargo tracking and other types of data are used to keep employees informed, so they can prepare for traffic. For example, if a flight is delayed, all relevant employees are notified to quickly allocate resources to deal with the situation. 

Food and beverage

The food company Nestle uses Microsoft Power BI to help it maintain sustainable organic growth. Nestle is able to stay competitive by processing data from all of its subsidiaries and providing access to Power BI to all relevant employees. With the data gained from the software, they adapt their portfolio quickly to meet customer and market demands.


Nokia is a telecommunications company that used Microsoft Power BI to help manage employees all across the world. Their HR need was exacerbated after the company acquired Alcatel-Lucent and had to account for 50 000 new employees, growing to nearly 95,000 employees. The HR team was able to merge all of the employee data after a massive integration effort. During the COVID-19 pandemic, HR also used the software to assess the needs of employees, see how they were being affected and react based on data. 

A screenshot of a Microsoft Power BI application report on Outlook. Photo via Microsoft.

A screenshot of a Microsoft Power BI application report on Outlook. Photo via Microsoft.

User reviews

In reviews of Microsoft Power BI, users often cite its ease of use, functionality, value and level of support offered.

TechnologyAdvice rating: 4.5/5

TrustRadius rating: 8.3/10

G2 average rating: 4.3/5


Microsoft Power BI is offered under three pricing tiers, with features varying based on the package.

Microsoft Power BI Pro

  • $9.99/user/month

  • Individual users have self-service analytics

  • Visualize data with live dashboards and reports

  • Insights can be shared across the organization 

Microsoft Power BI Premium 

  • $20/user/month

  • Individual users have advanced AI

  • Self-service preparation for big data

  • Access at an enterprise scale 

Microsoft Power BI Premium

  • $4995/per capacity/month

  • Store data in different geographic locations based on data residency requirements. 

  • Choose encryption methods

  • Report server is included

BI market

The BI market is expected to grow from $23.1 billion in 2020 to $33.3 billion by 2025, according to MarketsandMarkets.

This growth will be influenced by factors such as the focus on digital transformation, demand for visual data and cloud adoptions. 

BI software makers

These are some of the other top providers of business intelligence software:

  • SAP Business Objects

  • Dundas

  • SAS Viya

  • Geckoboard

  • Sisense

  • Oracle BI

  • Tableau

  • Domo

  • Zoho

  • Teradata BI

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