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How to Choose the Right Version of Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft Power BI is one of the top business analytical tools around. The powerful and interactive business intelligence software helps organizations model data, analyze, and report to others. Some versions also allow users to create presentations and share them with colleagues. With this secure Microsoft-hosted cloud service, organizations can better manage data, uncover new opportunities, and make more precise decisions.

Power BI is available in three software flavors. So how does your company select the right one? Well, speaking to a reputable Power BI consultant is probably the best way to determine what licensing option suits your company best. Here is some more information on Power BI: 

Elements of Power BI:

  • Power BI Desktop: This Windows desktop application is free to download and use. It also doesn’t require a subscription. Power BI Desktop is quite user-friendly, requires a minimal learning curve, and connects to over 70 on-premises and cloud data sources. It’s compatible with various platforms, including Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2012 R2. 
  • Power BI Pro: Power BI Pro license holders can share dashboards, data, and reports with other license holders. Users also have a sizable 10GB of storage.
  • Power BI Premium: While Power BI Pro is suitable for medium-sized businesses, Power BI Premium is best for larger organizations, with a bulk licensing option for the purchaser. Power BI Premium users can take advantage of 50 GB of data sets and 100 TB of cloud storage. 
  • Power BI mobile apps: The mobile software is available for Windows, iOS, and Android devices. 

Power BI Versions 

Power BI Desktop is an excellent place to start for end-users who read reports and need analysis but don’t share. Both the Power BI Free and Pro versions allow you to create customized reports with the same visuals. However, Power BI Pro allows users to share reports too. It also provides more Workspace and Apps functionality. 

Power BI Premium is better for larger companies where more staff needs access to reports and reviews. 

The bottom line is that organizations that create reports and visualizations but don’t need to share them too frequently should be happy with a Pro subscription. Organizations that need to share information internally and externally should probably look at a Premium subscription. 

Power BI Pricing 

If price is a concern, you can’t beat Power BI Desktop because it’s free. On the other hand, Power BI Pro costs 12.99 CAD a month and comes with a 60-day trial. That means you can try Power BI Pro for around two months before buying the license or opting for a different version. 

Power BI Premium is priced for larger organizations at around 6,250 CAD capacity per month. Power BI Premium users can also utilize the Per User package for 25.60 CAD a month. 

M365 E5 users already have access to Power BI Pro. However, they can upgrade to Power BI Premium Per User for another 12.80 CAD.

Get Professional Support 

As mentioned above, an IT consultant can guide your organization if you can’t determine what Power BI licensing option works best. A certified Microsoft Gold Partner like Softlanding will likely offer the most accurate recommendations. Soft landing can also help with data governance, security, user access, and permissions.


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