The idea behind Power BI is simple: take data from anywhere, from Excel spreadsheets to accounting systems to external software like Salesforce and Oracle and mix everything into graphs and graphs that show how your business is working right now.
On Monday, at Microsoft's Data Insights Summit in Seattle, Power BI corporate vice president and chief James Phillips took the stage to announce that Power BI Premium, a high-end service for its largest customers, is now available. The goal, says Phillips, is to take what Microsoft already likes about Power BI and make it more accessible to everyone.
"It's by far the most used service we use within the company other than Office 365 email," says Phillips. "Everyone is using Power BI to run their businesses."
Grown up like a forest fire
With Nadella as their biggest fan, Power BI has "grown like a forest fire" within Microsoft, says Phillips.
By your saying, you can not enter a building on the Microsoft campus without seeing some kind of screen with Power BI running. "We use it for everything from Satya down," says Phillips.
Nadella's right-hand man, cloud boss Scott Guthrie, has said he checks the first thing in Power BI early in the morning to see how the cloud business in the company works. CFO Amy Hood uses Power BI to manage the company's treasury for $ 158 billion. Surface's hardware equipment uses it to track the supply chain. The Office business uses it to keep track of active users. Even the customer service department uses Power BI to keep track of incident resolutions.
The fact that Microsoft is such a powerful Power BI user is really a boon to the company's sales efforts, says Phillips: he cites a recent "two-hour" meeting with Bill Gates to show Power BI's progress. Instead of giving Gates hypothetical uses, Phillips was able to demonstrate how he uses Power BI and show the impact.
"She loves it," says Phillips. He's a big fan.
Not well understood
According to Phillips, it's good to be able to tell that story.
Because Power BI technology looks solid, analyst firm Gartner is favorably positioned against competitors such as Tableau, Oracle and Salesforce, and praises Microsoft's "ability to execute" - Phillips fears that the service may not be " As customers wonder if this is "a small project for Microsoft".
Microsoft does not reveal Power BI customer numbers, noting that customers have created 11.5 million data models, the official term for mashed up data templates, with 30,000 more aggregates daily.
According to Phillips, Power BI plays a vital role in modern business that will prove itself. Services such as Microsoft's own Office 365 productivity suite and Dynamics CRM software give you an enormous amount of data that is difficult to understand. That's not to mention the data that connected devices like thermostats, cameras and other sensors are beginning to pour into business IT systems.
Power BI can suck all that along with external data from sources like Salesforce, Google Analytics and Oracle databases, and make it readable for the average human being. Phillips calls Power BI "the base of Office 365 and Dynamics".
"The pace of innovation in this company is overwhelming," says Phillips.
Phillips says the plan is to continue hammering the product, with the goal of making it clear that Power BI is, and will continue to be, a major focus for Microsoft in the future.