Why are there so many different parts to Power BI?

Apr 21, 2022 | Power BI Hints and Tips

Power Bi is a bit different to most other packages in many ways and one of these is that there are different parts to the software which are used at different times for different reasons.  These comprise of Power BI Desktop, Power BI Service (sometime known as Power BI), Power BI Pro, Power BI Premium and Power BI mobile. 

Power BI Desktop 

This is where you get started in creating a Power BI file.  It is free!!  You can connect to a wide range of different data sources, tidy up your information using the query editor and produce amazing reports by adding a mix of visualisations to 1 or more pages.  Once this has been done the report can be published. 

Power BI Service 

When the report is published it is saved in Power BI Service (also known as Power BI).  This is part of the Microsoft 365 suite so you will need a Microsoft 365 licence to publish.  Connection to a data source and using the query editor cannot be done here but visuals can still be added to the dashboard and the pages editted in much the same way as in Power BI Desktop.  There are also a lot of technical features that can be done here such as automatic refreshing.  These options are often controlled by a Power BI team.  One of the most significant advantages of using Power BI however is the ability to share the resultant pages with others and they are still interactive at this point. 

Power BI Pro 

To share the resultant dashboards with others the person publishing will need a Power BI Pro licence.  If the company is relatively small and not sharing the reports with many people it is likely that they will enable this to happen by purchasing a Power BI Pro licence for each recipient too.  However, there is an alternative. 

Power BI Premium

For larger companies it is often more cost effective to purchase a Power BI premium licence to facilitate dashboard sharing.  This means that individuals who want to view the shared reports do not need a Power BI licence themselves.  This is all controlled from the publishing company.  This makes it simpler to share reports outside of the existing company but is only financially sensible when the recipients are significant in number. 

Power BI Mobile

Sometimes it is handy to be able to access the Power BI Dashboards on the go.  The Power BI mobile app facilitates this.  The functionality is limited but the advantage of being able to check out reports anywhere is a really useful feature to have available. 

Further Reading

If you’ve enjoyed reading about the different parts to Power BI, there’s some other blogs below that you might find useful:

Want to learn more about Microsoft Power BI? Then email lara@laramellortraining.co.uk to discuss how I can help or have a look at the Microsoft Power BI courses I run.