Why Power BI is very quickly going to get huge!

by | Power BI

The growth opportunity for Power BI is massive

I am basically convinced that Power BI is about to explode into the most used enterprise analytical tool around the world in no time. I’m imagining we are out the back of a set of waves, the crest has only just appeared on one, but it will soon turn into a tsunami.

I can’t remember ever seeing a piece of analytical technology that is so well positioned in the marketplace and has the right backing as the re-invented version of Power BI. The world has been crying out for a more efficient way to do analysis on an exponential increase in the amount of data itself. I just don’t feel it has actually ever been truly possible to do this at any scale for most businesses until Power BI has shown up.

I’ll list my key reasons below then elaborate on them;

  • Price is so low for what you are getting
  • Seriously awesome features and so easy to get started
  • Rapidly evolving ecosystem of products & solutions
  • Office 365 integration
  • The marketing force behind the product….Microsoft (MS)
  • Microsoft’s full-blown cloud strategy

Price is so low for what you are getting

This is a technology over 20 years in the making. MS have thrown almost all of their analytical IP into this one product and then basically giving it away so that there is almost no way you can’t use it. At $10 USD per month per user, you are getting a piece of technology that cost most businesses more than $100K only 5 years or so ago, if you take into account all the things you get with the Power BI suite. You can even trial it for free for an extended period! (I’ve trialled it for over 6 months previously).

I’m pretty sure Microsoft have run their entire Power BI operation at massive losses over the past while (because they can) as they know that once this technology is embedded into companies, the lifetime value amongst their ecosystem of equally awesome products will be worth so much more to them. This is a fabulous opportunity to get hold of a game-changing business application for almost nothing.

Seriously awesome features & so easy to get started

There are so many features I can’t list them all. But I just constantly think how much more scalable completing analysis in a corporate environment is now. You can automate almost everything you have done in the past with Excel and Powerpoint but do even more quite easily.

The distributing and collaborating of analysis is also revolutionary in my view, including; seamless syncing across all devices, publish to web, collaborating within groups to name just a few.

Rapidly evolving ecosystem of products & solutions

The ecosystem Microsoft are building around Power BI is so exciting I sometimes can’t sleep! The super tanker (MS) is shifting their entire focus to everything in the cloud, and Power BI will be the visualisation tool sitting on top of nearly every set of data that MS’s technologies produce.

The recent marketing around the ‘Business Application Platform’ is great. Integrating Power Apps and Microsoft Flow with Power BI is a great move because I can quite easily see, that this suite combined with Power BI can start changing the way business processes are completed internally.

The Azure platform is also going to be huge, and I can’t get away from the fact regardless of what cloud-based technology is being used such as an SQL database or up the sophistication curve to Machine Learning, all this data is going to have to be visualised some way, and why wouldn’t you use the same tool for these as you would use to visualise a simple data set that sits in excel. I seriously can’t find a reason why you wouldn’t.

Office 365 integration

Office 365 is the future for any enterprise using any of the current Office suites. It’s just a matter of time before most switch over. Microsoft will almost make businesses do it, as it’s in everyone best interest. Power BI is just a seamless extension once you do. I know this cause I use it myself and it’s just ridiculously easy to click into Power BI and then all the analysis I have for my own business is just sitting there.

Thinking about how this works in much larger organizations as well, to just be able to click into any of your associated groups and see every piece of analysis just sitting there updating live. That is immensely powerful.

The marketing force behind the product….Microsoft

I feel Microsoft are just too big, their distribution platform too extensive (through partners etc.) and network effects too great for any other visualisation tool to really compete with them long term.

There are some that have had a head start and are more distributed now, but I can’t see it staying this way for very long. Microsoft (especially ‘Office’) is so engrained in most businesses that it is just so hard to move away, and then when you couple that with this seriously awesome tool (Power BI) that is better than nearly all others out there, priced cheaper than any others, the outcome seems predetermined to me.

I would say that for most other niche data visualisation players out there the customer acquisition cost is way higher than where Microsoft is selling Power BI currently. The problem for them is they don’t have deep pockets like Microsoft and will either slowly die or some other big technology player will buy them out and integrate their IP.

Microsoft’s full-blown cloud strategy

The switch up in strategy since the change in leadership at Microsoft has seen rapid changes made across the entire company. It almost defies belief how quickly they have turned things around and now placing nearly all their focus on the cloud. But it makes sense for everyone, not just them. But with that focus, we are already seeing exciting things across all their product suites.

New releases like Dynamics 365 (MS ERP technology) is pretty exciting. Just think how you could start integrating things that trigger from your ERP systems. For example, Power BI can run the analysis, create alerts or triggers when certain thresholds are reached, that then turns on Microsoft Flow or Logic Apps, automating emails to customers or employees etc. Then stakeholders could use Power Apps to input of response, that then switches on an IOT that then starts another process.

It all pretty darn exciting that’s for sure! Especially all the automation potential.

To wrap it up…

Hopefully, you can see how excited I get when I wake up in the morning. This is a revolution for the enterprise as a whole. I’m seeing it in my customer’s eyes when you show them what’s possible and what the future holds. I’m looking forward to being heavily involved in this space as it evolves even more, and look forward to updating everyone on it as it happens.

author avatar
Sam McKay, CFA
Sam is Enterprise DNA's CEO & Founder. He helps individuals and organizations develop data driven cultures and create enterprise value by delivering business intelligence training and education.

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