Deep-Dive of Microsoft’s Power BI for Office 365

By Errin O'Connor posted 06-30-2014 12:21


Microsoft’s Power BI for Office 365


Microsoft Office 365’s Power BI contains a collection of features and services that enables organization to visualize data and share these discoveries in a very similar manner as SharePoint 2013's on-premise business intelligence environmental capabilities.

Power BI is cloud-based and can also be configured in a hybrid cloud scenario for organizations who have both SharePoint 2013 on-premise as well as Office 365 in the cloud for seamless reporting of data of different classification types (i.e. PII, PHI, HIPAA and/or less confidential data) to limit risk and compliance concerns. 

Power BI provides organizations with a cloud based self-service business intelligence infrastructure and brings the Excel workbook sharing together with online collaboration. Power BI allows team to work together on analyzing sets of data in "Shared Queries", as shown in the image below:

Note: There is a centralized Power BI Admin Center for managing your organization’s Power BI infrastructure.

In the new “hybrid cloud” environment that is developing in most organization’s throughout the globe, the Data Management Gateway is a feature that will connect on-premises data to the cloud.


Power BI works seamlessly with Excel to create content, data models, and visualizations which also providing the capability to share, collaborate, and extend those insights.

Note: It is important to review your licensing model to ensure you have this capability available. For example, Excel is not part of Power BI for Office 365, but your organization’s licensing model more than likely already provides you with Microsoft Excel.

Power BI’s features and functionality are robust and are as follows:

  • Power Query allows users to easily discover and connect to data from public and corporate data sources.
  • Power Pivot allows users the ability to create a sophisticated Data Model directly in Excel.
  • Power View creates reports and analytical views with interactive data visualizations and search your data, as shown in the image below:

  • Power Map provides for users to explore and navigate geospatial data on a 3D map experience in Excel.
  • Power BI Site(s), as shown in screen shot below, allow users to share, view, and interact with reports in these collaborative Power BI sites.
  • Power BI Q&A is a feature that uses natural language queries to find, explore, and report over your data.
  • Query and Data Management provides for users to share and manage queries and data sources, and view query usage analytics.

A Power BI Site for users to share, view, and interact with the available reports


  • Power BI app, available via the Power BI Windows Store, allows you to view reports on the go with your mobile device, as shown in the image below:


SharePoint & Office 365 Business Intelligence “From the Consulting Trenches”

I will continue to share EPC Group's SharePoint & Office 365 Business Intelligence (BI) deep-dive blog series in the weeks to come to touch on the real-world “from the consulting trenches” approach that EPC Group has successfully implemented for hundreds of organizations throughout North America.


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