Microsoft Power BI

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Microsoft Power BI
Power BI logo.svg
Initial release11 July 2011; 11 years ago (2011-07-11)
Stable release
March 2021 Update (2.91.383.0) / March 2021; 1 year ago (2021-03)
Operating systemMicrosoft Windows
TypeData visualization
Business intelligence
LicenseProprietary Edit this on Wikidata

Power BI is an interactive data visualization software product developed by Microsoft with a primary focus on business intelligence.[1] It is part of the Microsoft Power Platform. Power BI is a collection of software services, apps, and connectors that work together to turn unrelated sources of data into coherent, visually immersive, and interactive insights. Data may be input by reading directly from a database, webpage, or structured files such as spreadsheets, CSV, XML, and JSON.


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.[2] In March 2016, Microsoft released an additional service called Power BI Embedded on its Azure cloud platform.[3] 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.[4] It was originally designed by Ron George in the summer of 2010 and named Project Crescent.[5] Project Crescent was initially available for public download on July 11, 2011, bundled with SQL Server Codename Denali.[6] Later renamed Power BI it was then unveiled by Microsoft in September 2013 as Power BI for Office 365.[7] 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.[2] Power BI was first released to the general public on July 24, 2015. It has several versions for Desktop, Web, and Mobile App, etc. [8]

On 14 April 2015, Microsoft announced that they had acquired the Canadian company Datazen, to "complement Power BI, our cloud-based business analytics service, rounding out our mobile capabilities for customers who need a mobile BI solution implemented on-premises and optimized for SQL Server." [9] Most of the 'visuals' in Power BI started life as Datazen visuals.

In February 2019,, a software reviewing company, 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.[10] 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).[11]

Key components[edit]

Key components of the Power BI ecosystem comprise:

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-based (software as a service) online service. This was formerly known as Power BI for Office 365, now referred to as, 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 are used to sync external data in and out of Power BI and are required for automated refreshes. In Enterprise mode, can also be used by Power Automate (previously called 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 Premium
Capacity-based offering that includes flexibility to publish reports broadly across an enterprise, without requiring recipients to be licensed individually per user. Greater scale and performance than shared capacity in the Power BI Service
Power BI Visuals Marketplace
A marketplace of custom visuals and R-powered visuals. You can give life to your business data and take insight from this result. [12]
Power BI Dataflow[13]
A Power Query implementation in the cloud that can be used for data transformations to make a common Power BI Dataset that can be made available for several report developers through Microsoft's Common Data Service. It can be used as an alternative to for example doing transformations in SSAS, and may ensure that several report developers use data that has been transformed in a similar way.
Power BI Dataset
A Power BI Dataset can work as a collection of data for use in Power BI reports, and can either be connected to or imported into a Power BI Report.[14] A Dataset can be connected to and get its source data through one or more Dataflows.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bring your data to life with Microsoft Power BI". Microsoft. Retrieved 4 May 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ a b "Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms". Gartner, Inc. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  3. ^ Caldwell, Nick (2016-03-31). "Embed the wow of Power BI in your applications with Microsoft Power BI Embedded!". Microsoft. Retrieved 4 May 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ "A Glimpse at Project Crescent". Microsoft BI Blog. Microsoft. Retrieved 29 June 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ "Data Visualization Done Right: Project Crescent". Microsoft BI Blog. Microsoft. Retrieved 29 June 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ Unkroth, Kay. "Announcing Microsoft SQL Server Code Name "Denali" Community Technology Preview 3 (CTP3)". Microsoft. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  7. ^ "Office 365 Gets Colorful 3D Charts, Natural Language Search". PC Mag India. ZiffDavis, LLC PCMag India. 26 September 2013. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  8. ^ The Power BI Team, Microsoft (2015-07-10). "Announcing Power BI general availability coming July 24th". Microsoft Power BI Blog. Microsoft. Retrieved 4 May 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ Hathi, Kamal (14 April 2015). "Microsoft acquires mobile business intelligence leader Datazen". Microsoft, Inc. Retrieved 10 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. ^ Research, Gartner (2019-02-11). "2019 Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms". Gartner, Inc. Retrieved 11 February 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ "Microsoft announces the 2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms". Microsoft, Inc. Retrieved 11 February 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. ^ "Power BI Custom visuals on AppSource". Microsoft AppSource. Microsoft. 2017-12-25. Retrieved 25 December 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ Creating a dataflow - Power BI | Microsoft Docs
  14. ^ Get started, Power BI (2022-10-03). "Basic concepts for designers in the Power BI service". Retrieved 2022-04-04.

Further reading[edit]

  • Gunnarsson, Ásgeir; Johnson, Michael (2020). Pro Microsoft Power BI Administration: Creating a Consistent, Compliant, and Secure Corporate Platform for Business Intelligence. Apress. ISBN 978-1484265666.

External links[edit]