What Makes Microsoft a Business Intelligence Leader?

The business intelligence (BI) solutions provided by Microsoft help any organizations transform data into intelligent, easy-to-understand visualizations that are surfaced wherever decisions are made. Using these solutions organizations can create amassing data-exploration experiences that look and work like the other Microsoft technologies one uses every day so they can get […]

Business Intelligence

The business intelligence (BI) solutions provided by Microsoft help any organizations transform data into intelligent, easy-to-understand visualizations that are surfaced wherever decisions are made. Using these solutions organizations can create amassing data-exploration experiences that look and work like the other Microsoft technologies one uses every day so they can get started quickly. They can also avail the perks of the library of data connectors to access popular cloud and on-premises sources such as Excel, SharePoint, Azure SQL Database, Dynamics 365, and Salesforce and add others.


Potential Benefits of BI Services

Microsoft’s BI solutions enable organizations to prepare and model data with ease through built-in automation and intelligence. They can bring their data to life through hundreds of data visualizations, AI-powered features, and branding options so their report fits the users. BI solutions offered by the tech giant serves everyone in an organization—from business analysts and BI professionals to business users—powerful, self-service analytical and enterprise BI tools that drive better, faster decision making.

Another benefit of Microsoft’s BI solution is that it can maintain data accuracy and data security. Its business intelligence systems use an organization’s most valuable business data and require stringent security and privacy capabilities. Users can better safeguard their data so that it meets the compliance standards and certifications for the industry while using national clouds to meet local regulations on service delivery, data residency, access, and control.


Significant BI tools

Microsoft’s most renowned business intelligence tool Power BI bridges the gap between data and decisions with easy-to-use reports that appear wherever decisions are made. The company’s Power BI Embedded tool offers customers world-class analytics without letting them build it themselves. Moreover, where Azure Analysis Services helps browse massive amounts of data using a fully managed platform that provides enterprise-grade data models in the cloud, Azure Synapse Analytics serves data for immediate BI and machine learning needs through a unified experience.


User Benefits of Microsoft’s BI Tools and Competitor Analysis

The BI tools and services offered by the tech giant leads the race with features including visual and mobile exploration and authoring. They can offer advanced embedded analytics and can demonstrate proven results in comparison to other popular BI services like Qlikview. Moreover, Microsoft’s tools are better at data source connectivity and simplify support through integration with platforms like Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce, Google Analytics, GitHub, comScore, Adobe Analytics, Circuit ID, Azure Mobile Management, Mailchimp, MS Excel, and significant others.

The Power BI tool furthermore offers a better user-friendly interface and can be employed by everyone, including Marketing, Sales, and other associated functions. Also, Microsoft’s tools are quite cost-effective as well.


Qlikview Vs Power BI

In terms of architecture, security, and administration QlikView is at par with the Power BI platform. However, when it comes to data source connectivity, ease of use, cost-effectiveness, Power BI outperforms the other.

Only the professionals with Data Science background are able to work with QlikView but for others, it can turn out to be complicated. On the other hand, Power BI’s interface is user-friendly.

QlikView’s analytical purposed features can be intimidating for people who do not prefer to dive into the code itself and experiment with models they create.

In terms of cost-effectiveness, the Power BI fee structure is much convenient. Its desktop version is free and the Power BI Pro is priced at US$10 per user per month, which comparatively cheaper than contemporary products. In contrast, the QlikView website offers two editions of pricing – Enterprise and personal. Where the personal version is free and apt for personal computers, the cost for the enterprise version can be known only after getting in touch with the sales team.


Power BI Vs Tableau

Where Power BI is the business data analytics tool to analyze the business data and derive valuable insights from it, Tableau, on the other hand, is the BI tool for generating reports and data visualization with enhanced flexibility.

Power BI does not possess the ability to connect to Hadoop databases but it does enable data extraction from Azure, Salesforce, and Google analytics. Whereas Tableau enables better access to data in the cloud while offering the capability to connect to Hadoop databases.

Moreover, Microsoft’s tool offers a number of data points to provide visualization: around 3500 data points for diving deep into the dataset and conduct an analysis. Users can create charts without any coding language through Tableau using the drag and drop method.

In terms of set-up, Power BI is available in 3 categories including Desktop, mobile, and service, where very basic set up is Azure Tenant. On the other hand, Tableau enables the sharing of results generated in Tableau desktop over Tableau Online or Tableau Server.

While Microsoft’s BI tool is a Saas model (Software as a Service), Tableau is available in both on-premises and cloud.


Power BI Vs. SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services)

SSRS is commonly deployed for Pixel perfect reporting and average dash-boarding features whereas Power BI serves a fortified backend data manipulation feature along with the access to simple visualizations.

On one hand, SSRS pricing details only available upon request Microsoft’s BI tools offer a free version with a 1GB limit on the dataset.

While, SSRS License is available on the cloud-like AWS, Azure, and others, Power BI is Free with 1GB storage with 10k rows/hour data streaming.

Power BI uses cloud storage and imbibes easy-to-use processes therefore its implementation is far more convenient that SSRS owing to the latter’s complexity.


Why Microsoft Leads the Business Intelligence Race?

According to the 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms, Microsoft is a Leader in this Magic Quadrant. The company has an extensive and visionary product portfolio roadmap and caters to a huge mass through its MS-Office channel.

The company offers data preparation, visual-based data discovery, interactive dashboards, and augmented analytics in Power BI which is available as a SaaS option running in the Azure cloud or as an on-premises option in Power BI Report Server.

Moreover, Power BI Desktop can be used as a stand-alone, free personal analysis tool. Installation of Power BI Desktop is required when power users are authoring complex data mashups involving on-premises data sources.

Microsoft releases a weekly update to its cloud service, which added hundreds of features in 2019. Recent additions include decomposition tree visuals, LinkedIn data connectivity, and geographic mapping enhancements.

As noted by Gartner, the strengths of Microsoft’s BI services are:

•  Despite the price of Power BI Pro which is available in the market at US$10 per user per month, it has gained much traction in the market, this is secondary to its inclusion in Office 365 E5, which makes it “self-seeding” in many organizations.

•  The Microsoft Office products, like Excel, encourages users to “visualize in Power BI”, which subsequently increases its exposure further.

•  With the releases in 2019, the Power BI Pro cloud service overtook most of its competitors in terms of functionality and outstripped many by including innovative capabilities for augmented analytics and AutoML (Automated Machine Learning).

•  Furthermore, Artificial Intelligence-powered services, such as text, sentiment, and image analytics, are available within Power BI and draw on Azure capabilities.

•  As a futuristic roadmap, Microsoft continues to invest in a broad set of visionary capabilities and to integrate them with Power BI.


Revenue and Growth 2020, So Far!

Microsoft last month reported earnings for its third fiscal quarter of 2020, including revenue of US$35.0 billion, net income of US$10.8 billion, and earnings per share of US$1.40 (compared to revenue of US$30.6 billion, net income of US$8.8 billion, and earnings per share of US$1.14 in Q3 2019). All three of the company’s operating groups saw year-over-year growth, noted Venture Beat.

Analysts had expected Microsoft to earn US$33.7 billion in revenue and report earnings per share of $1.26. The company thus easily beat expectations. Eyes are on Microsoft during the coronavirus pandemic, given its prominent role in the software and cloud industries. And so far, so good: “COVID-19 had a minimal net impact on the total company revenue,” Microsoft said.

Unlike tech giants Google and Facebook, Microsoft doesn’t generate the majority of its revenue from advertising and thus might not feel the impact of the coronavirus crisis as deeply. The company’s stock was up 4% in regular trading and up another 3% in after-hours trading. Microsoft returned $9.9 billion to shareholders in the form of share repurchases and dividends during the quarter.


Microsoft Growth and Fall Trend in Recent Fiscal

According to the report, a 59% revenue increase for Azure indicates a return to slowing cloud growth for the company. The figure has been falling steadily: 76% in Q2 2019, 73% in Q3 2019, 64% in Q4 2019, and 59% in Q1 2020. It rebounded slightly to 62% in Q2 2020. Slowing growth is normal, but the pandemic could accelerate the trend.

Besides, Microsoft continues to see dividends from its LinkedIn as the latter continues to a double-digit rate since its acquisition in 2016. The company’s Surface continues to bring in US$1 billion each quarter. Q1 is typically the company’s worst quarter for Surface, while Q2 is the best. Q1 2020 and Q2 2020 followed that pattern. Q3 2020 was flat, which looks like good news for Microsoft, given that PC shipments were down overall. Moreover, for gaming, Q1 2020 and Q2 2020 were disappointments for Microsoft. Q3 2020 was a little better. Xbox content and services revenue increased 2%, and gaming revenue as a whole declined 1%.

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