Pyramid Analytics is a Microsoft co-seller and gold partner. Our enterprise analytics platform, BI Office, is the only business intelligence product able to host Power BI content. Given that, I want to address Microsoft’s Power BI Premium announcement. The announcement has caused quite a bit of chatter—a lot of it from confused Microsoft customers. Allow me to make clear what Power BI Premium means.
Power BI is Now More Expensive
You have to read through a lot of marketing material and dig into the fine print, but it’s important to do so if you want to understand how Microsoft makes their offering a very expensive choice. This new offering, figuring minimum requirements, is at least a $60,000 annual expense. To see the numbers yourself, use Microsoft’s own calculator to check your scenario. Power BI Premium includes Power BI Cloud and the new Power BI Report Server (which is basically a tool to present limited Power BI reports).
For organizations focused on on-premise only, Microsoft has another option—you can deploy Power BI Report Server if you have SQL EE + Software Assurance. Of course, what is not immediately clear to readers is that you need to purchase Power BI Pro licenses for each Power BI Desktop user who wants to author and then publish their reports to the on-premise Power BI Report Server. Conversely, with Pyramid Analytics, you can publish reports from Power BI Desktop (no need for a Pro license) to the Pyramid Analytics platform. Doing so allows you to maximize your Microsoft BI investment, eliminate security concerns, improve manageability, and provide a much richer analytics experience—all on a web-based, on-premise platform.
Read the Fine Print: For Power BI Premium, You Will Need a Power BI Pro License
Those who simply want to view and have basic interaction with Power BI content can do so without purchasing a Pro license. But, read the fine print. If those viewers want to export content out of Power BI or publish it, they will need to purchase a Pro license.
For another perspective on Microsoft’s announcement, read this post from Dan English, a Microsoft MVP. Dan’s organization uses Pyramid Analytics’ BI Office (which can host Power BI content). He states:
"For [Pyramid Analytics’] BI Office on-premise Power BI is provided and supported and there are no hidden fees, taxes, charges, costs, etc. associated with the product to get this functionality. All we need to do is pay our yearly maintenance agreement (and that is like 60% less than what we would need to pay for Power BI Premium). And in addition to Power BI on-premise we also get all of the [Pyramid Analytics’] BI Office features like dashboards, R integration, and much more! I can actually incorporate BI Office reports, SSRS reports, Power BI reports, and more all on a single dashboard page and they can all interact with each other!!! How cool is that?"
For On-Prem, is Power BI Enough?
Microsoft continues a long relationship with Pyramid Analytics as a co-selling ISV partner for BI deployments, for good reason. The Microsoft sales team is aware of the limitations of its new offering. Microsoft openly states that “natural language query, Quick Insights, dashboards, and other Power BI features are not available with Power BI Report Server”. The lack of dashboards alone is a surprising omission. While Power BI does work in certain limited use cases, it is not enough to meet the needs of an enterprise—beyond the cubicle, team, or department.
Key features such as KPIs, dicing, time intelligence, parameterization, and asymmetric reporting are missing from Power BI. Additionally, any advanced analytics you’d like to conduct require you to write code like a BI expert. For a completely different experience, the Pyramid Analytics enterprise platform makes it easy (truly easy) for non-technical users to do some amazing advanced analysis. Pyramid Analytics also makes better use of Microsoft’s SSAS than Power BI does, fully supporting standard and advanced functionality. You can learn more by watching this short video featuring Amir Netz—Technical Fellow, BI Microsoft.
Power BI Report Server does not provide an integrated analytics experience for current workflows. It forces customers to use separate Microsoft products that cannot be used together in an integrated fashion. This disrupts current workflows, prevents streamlining of processes, and can impede adoption of BI as users get frustrated.
Furthermore, Power BI Report Server does not enable everyone in your organization to create meaningful narrative reports. There are no dynamic elements (text or images), and creating reports requires Reporting Services functionality, customization, and a technical reporting development staff.
Pyramid Analytics is a True On-Premise Enterprise Analytics Platform
Pyramid Analytics encompasses all the requirements of a true on-premise enterprise analytics platform. Don’t interpret that as more features, knobs, bells, and whistles that overwhelm and under deliver. Unlike other options in the market, it isn’t a bolted together solution that intimidates the business users who weren’t hired for their programming knowledge, confuses even skilled analysts with its inconsistent user experience, or stresses the IT professionals who were hired to keep critical systems securely running.
"Pyramid Analytics is a platform built from the very first bit by those who understand how real people turn data into valuable information that drives business success. This is a platform you don’t have to build, you don’t have to coax people to use, and you don’t have to rearrange your strategic plan around."
Pyramid Analytics is uniquely capable of supporting the strategic initiatives that seek to realize the business value of data because it is a true enterprise analytics platform. It provides exactly what is necessary to make data initiatives successful—the ability for nontechnical users to extract business value from data (not mere individual productivity value), while safely navigating the risks inherent in working with it.
The Pyramid Analytics enterprise platform:
- Offers a shared yet secure environment where decision-makers at all organizational levels can unlock data and insights traditionally trapped in individual desktops.
- Enables everyone (not just developers or technical experts) to create meaningful narrative reports that not only make sense of the data, but make readers take notice.
- Provides analytics functionality that allows employees without a degree in statistics or data science to easily make the most of their data—instead of running into roadblocks that require them to stop the work they were hired to do and ask for help.
- Offers an integrated end-to-end analytics experience that supports current workflows.
It does all of this at a total cost of ownership that makes enterprise analytics feasible. I hope this post has been helpful to those seeking clarity in the world of BI offerings. To learn even more, review the resources below and please reach out to Pyramid Analytics directly. We’d love to talk with you.