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It is what Excel should have evolved into. I still think Microsoft should have bought them and merged it into Excel.

I think PowerBI compares with Tableau quite favorably. For the most part PowerBI is a clone of Tableau, but it goes farther and adds in much more powerful scripting(M, Python, R), a library of custom visuals, Power Query which is a nice GUI for data transformation, and deep formula language (DAX). I think it's easy for an Excel or Tableau user to pick up in a day, but it scales much more as you have more data analysis expertise.

Also MS has been improving it like crazy over the past few years. They clearly want to maintain their dominance in the data analysis space, but see the winds shifting away from Excel and are not waiting to become irrelevant.

The typical business user wants nothing to do with Python or R. Those are nice features, but not really where the bulk of the market is.

The model isn't that a business user would use Python or R. Rather, a data scientist shares live-computed analytics to business users through a report / dashboard.

Microsoft has PowerBI which is already almost magic for many business users with it's ease of connectability with different databases and SaaS services. Transformations, parsing, mixing data from different sources and reporting capabilities are also easy to start with and quite powerful in the right hands. It's not integrated into Excel directly but sits quite well imho in the MS ecosystem.

PowerBI wants to be Tableau based on the number of times Microsoft sales has demoed and whatnot.

But I haven’t met databiz people who switched from tableau to PBI. I’m not sure why as they look pretty similar on paper.

I think Tableau’s mental model is about exporting and storytelling while PBI is about reporting.

Personally, I find it harder to work with PBI because it’s the only license model more confusing that Tableau. And there’s no Tableau Public equivalent.

This - we had power pivot in excel - then for some licensing reasons we didn’t. I know how to buy excel and firms buy it blindly - tie power bi into that sales channel

They took it out of Office Pro 2016 for some reason, but it's back in Office Pro 2019. (And 365)


Probably because there are high switching costs for users who are already familiar with Tableau, and vice versa.

I think that’s part of it. But I now start people with PBI because it’s free with other MS licenses and many switch to Tableau.

Power BI also has a free version that is quite capable. I find the charts easier to work with than Excel.

It's good but the free version doesn't let you share your results.

for free reports sharing take a look to https://www.seektable.com

Can't you share them publicly?


Is it effective to query across different data sources / SaaS services without first aggregating all the data in some sort of data warehouse?

Didn't Microsoft acquire the Vertipaq/xVelocity engine and then go to use that in Excel (Power Pivot), SSAS Tabular Models and Power BI?

Yes, but that's just the back end. Not to minimize it, but that's nowhere near as appealing to business users as the front end is.

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