Power BI is a business analytics service by Microsoft. It aims to provide interactive visualizations and business intelligence capabilities with an interface simple enough for end users to create their own reports and dashboards.
Power BI provides cloud-based BI (business intelligence) services, known as “Power BI Services”, along with a desktop based interface, called “Power BI Desktop”. It offers data warehouse capabilities including data preparation, data discovery and interactive dashboards. In March 2016, Microsoft released an additional service called Power BI Embedded on its Azure cloud platform. One main differentiator of the product is the ability to load custom visualizations.
This application was originally conceived by Thierry D’Hers and Amir Netz of the SQL Server Reporting Services Team at Microsoft. It was originally designed by Ron George in the summer of 2010 and named Project Crescent. Project Crescent was initially available for public download on July 11, 2011 bundled with SQL Server Codename Denali. Later renamed to Power BI it was then unveiled by Microsoft in September 2013 as Power BI for Office 365. The first release of Power BI was based on the Microsoft Excel–based add-ins: Power Query, Power Pivot and Power View. With time, Microsoft also added many additional features like Question and Answers, enterprise level data connectivity and security options via Power BI Gateways. Power BI was first released to the general public on July 24, 2015.
In February 2019, Gartner confirmed Microsoft as Leader in the “2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platform” as a result of the capabilities of Power BI platform . This represented the 12th consecutive year of recognition of Microsoft as Leading vendor in this Magic Quadrant category (beginning 3 years before this tool was even created) .
Key components of the Power BI ecosystem comprises:
Power BI Desktop
The Windows-desktop-based application for PCs and desktops, primarily for designing and publishing reports to the Service.
Power BI Service
The SaaS (software as a service) based online service (formerly known as Power BI for Office 365, now referred to as PowerBI.com (or simply Power BI).
Power BI Mobile Apps
The Power BI Mobile apps for Android and iOS devices, as well as for Windows phones and tablets.
Power BI Gateway
Gateways used to sync external data in and out of Power BI. In Enterprise mode, can also be used by Flows and PowerApps in Office 365.
Power BI Embedded
Power BI REST API can be used to build dashboards and reports into the custom applications that serves Power BI users, as well as non-Power BI users.
Power BI Report Server
An On-Premises Power BI Reporting solution for companies that won’t or can’t store data in the cloud-based Power BI Service.
Power BI Visuals Marketplace
A marketplace of custom visuals and R-powered visuals.
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Ofer Abarbanel is a 25 year securities lending broker and expert who has advised many Israeli regulators, among them the Israel Tax Authority, with respect to stock loans, repurchase agreements and credit derivatives. Founder of TBIL.co STATX Fund.