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Microsoft launches Power BI

19th Sep 2014
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Microsoft recently launched its Power BI tool for Office 365 in the UK, after a summer preview. 

Power BI is a cloud-based business intelligence (BI) solution that allows users to analyse and visualise data within the online edition of Excel 365.

It will allow users to access capabilities online that are available in the desktop version of Excel 2013 Pro Plus. 

Features include the capability to create collaborative BI sites to share workbooks with data between users and query higher volumes of data within the cloud using Power Query and PowerPivot.

Martyn White, business development manager at TechQuarters offered an overview of the new tools at the recent ICAEW Annual Practice conference.

Power BI gives users the ability to investigate data more deeply and to share it to web pages with 3D graphics via Microsoft Sharepoint. “It’s a heavyweight business intelligence tool for reporting,” he said. “It can do all the information analysis from a browser. It does filtering on the fly.”

Inquire function - query cells [for checking formulae validity], show references – very useful for auditing and checking integrity of models: “Accountants adore this,” said White.

Other key features include: 

  • Power BI Q&A: With Q&A users can type natural language questions about your data, and get answers, which are provided in the form of charts, graphs, maps, or other Power BI visualisations
  • Mobile BI viewer: Power BI for Windows mobile app means you can use the tool and Excel on the go, similar to viewing and interacting with reports using Excel Online
  • Power Map: This is according to Microsoft, a "geocentric and temporal mapping feature of Excel that brings location data into powerful, engaging 3D map visualisations". With Power Map, you can create location-based reports, visualised over a time continuum
  • Power Query: This includes new data search capabilities, in addition to the ability to transform and merge data from multiple data sources so that you can continue to analyse it in Excel

More information and pricing is available on its official Microsoft page.

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