A core piece of Microsoft’s focus over the past few years has been business intelligence (BI) and analytics. It seems the commitment and effort continue to pay off! Microsoft was recently positioned as a Leader in BI and Analytics in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for the 10th year in a row. Microsoft was rated highly in completeness of vision and ability to execute. The combination of these two makes them a leader in the industry.
Microsoft recognized that with more and more companies transitioning to online platforms, there was more data now, than ever before, for companies to analyze. The problem is, not everyone knows what type of data is out there and how the combination of certain data sets can create actionable insights. Many executives express frustration because they know their business data is valuable, but they don’t know how to ‘get at it’.
Kamal Hathi, the General Manager for Microsoft Power BI, had this to say about the placement from Gartner in an official Microsoft blog post:
Today I’m thrilled to share that for the second year in a row, Microsoft has been positioned furthest to the right for completeness of vision within the Leaders quadrant of Gartner’s 2017 Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms – the 10th consecutive year Microsoft has been positioned as a leader.
We’re humbled by this recognition for the innovation we’ve delivered with Microsoft Power BI in the past year, including significant growth in both the vision axis and execution axis since the 2016 report. But, more importantly, we’re encouraged by the progress we’ve made as a community in executing against the ambitious goal set when Power BI was made generally available only a short time ago in July 2015: Provide BI to more people than ever before, across all roles and disciplines within organizations.
Gartner Magic Quadrant
Gartner is well-known for their “Magic Quadrant” reports where technology solutions are classed as leaders, challengers, visionaries or niche players by their completeness of vision and ability to execute. I find the Gartner Magic Quadrant to be extremely valuable and a good depiction of the marketplace.
Here is how Gartner describes the four quadrants:
Leaders execute well against their current vision and are well positioned for tomorrow.
Visionaries understand where the market is going or have a vision for changing market rules, but do not yet execute well.
Niche Players focus successfully on a small segment, or are unfocused and do not out-innovate or outperform others.
Challengers execute well today or may dominate a large segment, but do not demonstrate an understanding of market direction.
Microsoft Power BI
Power BI is a self-service business intelligence solution delivered through Excel, Office 365 and Dynamics 365. It takes a company’s data and brings it together to create visual reports and dashboards for users to discover trends and actionable insights.
Power BI is built and optimized for the cloud and mobile technology – users can access their reports and dashboards anywhere. Additionally, Power BI makes it easier to analyze and visualize data, uncover insights and track data over time to help make better business decisions. Business can even transform, shape and merge data into compelling and interactive reports. Businesses can deploy Power BI quickly and at a cloud scale while still being in complete control of the cost due to a flexible, subscription-based pricing model.
Power BI is a favorite among our customers. They appreciate its power to generate meaningful reports that help them uncover key insights into their business. Furthermore, some are astounded at just all that Power BI can report on.
Gartner had this to say about Microsoft in their Gartner BI and Analytics Platform report:
Cost: Microsoft is placing downward pricing pressure on the BI and analytics market with both a free desktop product as well as low subscription price per user per month. On an annualized basis, Microsoft Power BI is roughly one-third of the license cost of a three-year perpetual BI license, but 80% lower than other cloud BI products. Low total cost of ownership was cited as the second most important reason for reference customers choosing Microsoft Power BI. However, potential customers should be aware that additional data scale-out options incur additional costs when leveraging Microsoft SQL Azure or HDInsight in the cloud — once they reach the 10GB per user limit in the standard Power BI Pro price. Being free but functionally deficient does not succeed; this was a problem with the first release of Power BI. However, Microsoft has now narrowed feature gaps and successfully executed on its “five by five” strategy — five seconds to sign up and five minutes to “wow” the customer.
Ease of use plus complex analysis: Microsoft’s customer reference scores place it in the top quartile for ease of use and complexity of analysis. Ease of use for content consumers was also the most-cited reason for customers choosing Microsoft Power BI. It was also placed in the top quartile for composite ease of use; however, there is room for improvement in ease of administration and authoring (where the vendor was average). Customers now want ease of use not only with simple queries, but also with increasingly sophisticated types of questions — mashing together multiple data sources from multiple fact tables. Microsoft’s ability to manipulate data from multiple data sources — both cloud-based and on-premises, relational as well as Hadoop-based, and including semistructured content — contributed to this high composite score.
Vision: Microsoft is furthest to the right on the Completeness of Vision axis and has also continued to execute on its roadmap with frequent (monthly) product releases. Microsoft was relatively early to introduce search-based queries with Power BI Q&A, and has recently introduced Quick Insights as a basic form of smart data discovery. Microsoft continues to integrate its machine-learning capabilities as part of a complete solution, the Cortana Intelligence Suite. This vendor has also moved a step closer to linking insights to actions, with the recent integration of Power BI with Microsoft Flow and within its business application, Microsoft Dynamics.
Active community: Microsoft has a strong community of partners, resellers and individual users. This community extends the product with prebuilt apps, visualizations and video tutorials, in addition to the content provided directly by Microsoft. This additional content is available via the Microsoft AppSource, further contributing to Microsoft’s far-right placement for its Completeness of Vision. Microsoft’s reference customer scores placed it in the top quartile for the user-enablement metrics of user community and availability of skilled resources in the marketplace.
You can download the full report here.
As you can tell from what you read above, Microsoft Power BI is well positioned moving forward while still providing exception insight to businesses today. We are happy for the hard working Power BI team at Microsoft and thrilled that we offer such a valuable business tool to our clients.
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