Power BI Features

What Are Power BI Features?

Power BI features refer to the business intelligence capabilities and functionalities of the Power BI software that enable users to analyze and visualize data. Some of the key features of Power BI include data modeling, data visualization, data transformation, customizable dashboards, data analysis, seamless collaboration, and integration across other Microsoft suites of products.

In the subsequent sections below, we will cover some of these key features of Power BI.

Key Takeaways
  • Power BI is a powerful business intelligence tool that enables users to analyze and visualize their data effectively.
  • Power BI offers many features and capabilities, including data connection, data relationships, custom visualizations, and mobile access.
  • Power BI is designed to work seamlessly with other Microsoft products, making it an excellent choice for businesses that already use Microsoft tools
  • Power BI supports free and paid plans, and the cost of these options can vary depending on the offered features and capabilities.
  • Power BI supports Q&A features which are free and interactive natural language query allows users to post queries, explore datasets, and even receive suggestions to form queries.
  • Power BI can schedule automatic data to refresh for reports and dashboards and paginated report visuals and filters to refine the dashboards.

Here are the top 9 features of Power BI:

#1 – Data Connection

Power BI enables users to connect to various data sources, including Excel spreadsheets, cloud-based services such as Salesforce and Google Analytics, and on-premises databases. Such a more comprehensive coverage of data connections makes Power BI one of the most powerful data analysis and visualization tools available. The screenshot below shows the various data connection options the Power BI tool supports.

Power BI Features - Data Connection

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#2 – Data Relationships

Power BI allows users to create and manage relationships between data tables, enabling them to create more complex and accurate data models. The below screenshot shows the relationships across multiple tables created through the data modeling option in Power BI.

Power BI Features - Data Relationships

#3 – Power Query, Power Pivot Access

Power BI provides access to the powerful data transformation and modeling tools of Power Query and Power Pivot, allowing users to transform and analyze data quickly. For example, you can perform data transformation and manipulation on the dataset using Power Query, as shown in the screenshot below.

Power BI Features - Power Query

#4 – Cost of Power BI

Power BI offers a range of pricing options, including a free version and paid plans with additional features of Power BI and capabilities. In addition, power BI has the following pricing options.

  • Power BI Desktop is a free version of the tool which comes with limited features and data capacity.
  • Power BI Pro is a licensed version that allows individual users with modern, self-service analytics to visualize data with live dashboards and reports and share insights across your organization. The license cost comes at $13.70 per user/month.
  • Power BI Premium comes with two different plans.
    • Per user option allows individual users to accelerate access to insights with advanced AI, unlock self-service data prep for big data, and simplify data management and access at enterprise scale. The license cost is $27.50 per user/month.
    • The Per capacity option allows an organization with the capacity to accelerate access to insights with advanced AI, unlock self-service data prep for big data, and simplify data management and access at enterprise scale—without per-user licenses for content consumers. The license cost is $6,858.10 per capacity/month

Let’s quickly compare Power BI with other BI tools to understand the costing parameter.

Power BITableauQlik SenseSSRS
Power BI Pro costs $13.70 per user/per month. Power BI Premium costs $27.50 per user/month for individual users, whereas, for large organizations, the cost is 6858.10 per capacity/month.Tableau Creator costs $70 per user/month. Tableau Explorer costs $42 per user/per month. Tableau Viewer costs $15 per user/per month.The paid version starts at $30 per user per month for the Qlik Sense Business plan and $70 per user per month for the Qlik Sense Enterprise plan. The Enterprise plan is designed for larger organizations and offers more advanced capabilities.SSRS cost depends on the number of reports/hr and users. For example, a user needing 30 reports per hour pays $116.80 monthly. Monthly commitment plans also allow users to save up to 32% on Windows Azure.  

#5 – Custom Visualizations

Power BI allows users to create and use custom visualizations, enabling them to represent their data in unique and meaningful ways.  In addition, it has many built-in visuals to create dashboards and reports. The below screenshot shows some of the built-in visuals that Power BI supports.

Custom Visualizations

#6 – Power BI Question and Answers

Power BI includes a natural language query feature called “Power BI Q&A,” which allows users to ask questions in plain English and receive answers in charts and visualizations. Using this feature, you can explore the dataset, ask specific questions and suggestions to form your questions, and even refine or expand your questions. Power BI Q&A is interactive, free, and available to all users.

Power BI Features - Power BI Question and Answers

Power BI Q&A also supports the autocomplete feature, which shows relevant and contextual suggestions to help you quickly be productive with natural language. It resembles the results of a search engine.

Power BI Features - Power BI Question

#7 – Report Sharing

Power BI allows users to share reports and dashboards with others, both within and outside their organization, via email, social media, or embedded links

Report Sharing.jpg

#8 – Mobile App

Power BI offers a mobile app for iOS, Android, and Windows devices, enabling users to access their reports and dashboards on the go. You can connect to and interact with your cloud and on-premises data using mobile apps.

You can get the app from various application stores such as App Store, Google Play, or Microsoft stores. The various mobile apps for different devices include

  • Power BI mobile apps for iOS – This covers iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Apple Watch devices
  • Power BI mobile apps for Android – This covers Android phones and tablets
  • Power BI mobile apps for Windows – This covers any Windows 10 or higher devices
Mobile App

#9 – Other Features

Other features of Power BI include

  • Data refresh scheduling and automatic report updates to refresh the dashboard with the latest dataset at a specified date and time
  • The ability to collaborate with teams and individuals on a real-time basis to work together on projects, share data and insights
  • DAX (Data Analysis Expressions) functions to support data transformation, manipulation, calculation, and interactive reports
  • Filters at each page or all page levels to create analysis and dashboards
  • Paginated Report Visuals in your report that are updated on a real-time basis
  • Auto-generated summary of your data to report
  • Integration to Microsoft, Android, and Google apps allowing users to access the report from anywhere.

Features of Power BI also includes several security features to protect data and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements, which include

  • Role-based security enables administrators to define user roles and access levels based on their job function and responsibilities.
  • Data encryption using SSL/TLS mechanism and all data at rest using Azure Storage Service Encryption.
  • Data protection features such as row-level security.
  • Active Directory integration enables organizations to manage user access and authentication
  • Compliant with a wide range of industry standards and certifications, including GDPR, ISO 27001, SOC 1 and 2, and HIPAA.
  • Audit logs enable administrators to monitor user activity, track changes to reports and dashboards, and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.
  • Data classification based on sensitivity and importance, enabling them to implement appropriate security measures based on the classification.

Additionally, some of the advanced features of Power BI include:

  • Features of Power BI include support to advanced analytics features such as sentiment analysis, forecasting, and clustering to enable users to predict future trends
  • Power BI can be integrated with Power Automate, allowing users to automate workflows and processes.

Important Things To Note

  • Power BI is a cloud-based service that requires an internet connection to access.
  • Power BI has a large and active user community, with numerous online resources and forums available for support and assistance
  • While Power BI connects to multiple data sources, however, some of the data sources may require additional configuration or customization for seamless integration.
  • Power BI provides a fully customizable visualization option to access a library of custom visualizations or build your visualization.
  • Power BI may not be a good option if you are dealing with a huge dataset volume and may face performance or connectivity issues.
  • Power BI receives monthly updates on the new features and customer feedback, and only the most recent version of Power BI Desktop is supported. The Power BI Desktop is currently supported on Windows 8 or higher versions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What are the 5 components of Power BI?

The five components of Power BI are:

Power BI Desktop: A Windows application used to create and publish Power BI reports and dashboards.
Power BI Service: A cloud-based service used to share, collaborate, and access Power BI content from anywhere.
Power BI Mobile: A mobile app for iOS, Android, and Windows devices used to view and interact with Power BI content on the go.
Power BI Gateway: A component used to connect on-premises data sources to Power BI Service.
Power BI Embedded: A service integrating Power BI dashboards and reports into other applications.

2. What are the benefits of Power BI?

The benefits of Power BI include:

Data visualization: Power BI offers interactive and visually appealing data visualizations, which help users to identify patterns and gain insights into their data quickly.
Data exploration: With Power BI, users can explore their data in real-time, drill down datasets, and make data-driven decisions.
Collaboration: Power BI allows users to share their data and insights with colleagues, customers, and partners, increasing collaboration and productivity.
Accessibility: Power BI is available as a cloud-based service, making it accessible from anywhere, anytime, on any device.
Integration: Power BI integrates with a wide range of data sources and applications, making it easy to get started and scale up. One of the key features includes seamless integration with Excel where users can import data from Excel spreadsheets, perform data modeling, create data visualizations, and share the reports and dashboards with other users.
Cost Effectiveness: As compared to other BI tools, Power BI is a very cost-effective and affordable tool for business users. There is a free version of this tool available which can be downloaded with some basic features.

3. How can I download Power BI?

To download Power BI, follow these steps:

1. Go to the Power BI website: https://powerbi.microsoft.com/
2. Click on the “Start free” button.
3. Sign in with your Microsoft account or sign up for a free account.
4. Follow the prompts to download and install Power BI Desktop or access Power BI Service.

Power BI Features - FAQ 3.jpg

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Guide to Features of Power BI. Here we provide the top 9 unique features of Microsoft Power BI (Data connection, relationship, power query, etc). You can learn more from the following articles –

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