Power BI: Everything You Need To Know About Microsoft Power BI Pricing

DashboardFox - Alternative to Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft’s Power BI is one of the most well-known products in the business analytics space.

Power BI is a popular business intelligence (BI) tool that excels at what it’s designed to do — sort through mountains of data, analyze it, and turn it into actionable intelligence in the form of comprehensive, easy-to-understand visuals.

One of the reasons Power BI is so well known is because it’s Microsoft. Having such a well-known and (mostly) well-respected brand name attached to a product means it’s going to automatically have a lot of adopters – and it’s not unwarranted, as Microsoft certainly creates some quality products.

But of course, not every platform is going to be the right fit for every organization, and while Power BI might be the perfect fit for some businesses, for others there might be some flaws. Often, one of those is pricing. One of the checks in the “pro” column for Microsoft is that, unlike some other platforms, they publish their pricing clearly on their website.

However, it is essential that potential buyers take out the calculator to see what their actual costs will be based on product level needed, number of user licenses, and several other factors that may not be immediately apparent.

TL;DR; Power BI Pro starts at $119.88 per year and a license is needed for all users. Power BI Premium bumps the starting cost to $59,940 per year.

We’re going to be focusing on Power BI Pro in this article, so we’ll just quickly touch on Power BI Desktop, which is free for a single user – it installs on just one local computer, and is really intended as a companion app for Power BI Pro. It might be a viable solution for a small company but doesn’t include a lot of frequently used features. A Power BI Pro license is needed for distributing content to other users, peer-to-peer sharing, publishing content to Power BI Premium or Power BI Report Server, and receiving content from most other users unless that user is associated with dedicated capacity in Power BI Premium.

Power BI Premium falls on the other side of Power BI Pro in the features and cost model. More robust than Power BI Pro, it can be a self-hosted, local-server-based option, unlike the cloud-based Power BI Pro service, which uses Microsoft Azure to sync reports and data stored in the cloud. Some organizations prefer to not trust their data to the cloud and want a self-hosted server on their private network that offers more data processing power as well. This comes with a sizable price tag, however. Power BI Premium is billed on a resource basis rather than per user, and starts at $4,995 per dedicated cloud compute and storage resource (Plus you have to purchase at least 1 Power BI Pro license so add $119.88 per year to that price). Annually, that makes the smallest server size $59,940. It is definitely advisable to have a good understanding of power and storage requirements before entering into a Power BI Premium contract.

Microsoft Power BI Pro Costs and Licensing Model

The entry level cost of Power BI Pro is $9.99 per month, or $119.88 per year for a single user. That per-user cost might be reasonable for small teams, but as the number of users increases, so does the price tag – organizations may find they are paying nearly $2,000 a month for a team of 200. That adds up to $23,976 per year.

As with many software platforms and most Microsoft products, discounts may be available for education and non-profit usage, so it is worth looking into if your organization falls into one of those categories. Often, free trials are available as well, knocking a little off the total of an annual subscription. And Office 365 Enterprise subscribers will get a Power BI Pro license tacked onto the subscription for $35 per user per month, so that’s another calculation to work out. Unlike Tableau, which offers subscription pricing but requires an annual buy, Power BI does allow users to pay per month.

Microsoft Power BI’s Non-Cost Factors

While Microsoft does publish the costs of its products, as you can see, they aren’t necessarily as simple as that sounds. Additionally, there are many factors not directly associated with the product’s price tag that must be considered as well.

As we’ve noted, Power BI Pro is a cloud-based platform that requires synching with Microsoft Azure cloud. If your data is stored in an on-premise database behind a firewall (and it should be!) then you’ll need Power BI Gateway to push that data into the cloud. Gateway allows for a connection between Power BI Pro’s cloud-based processing technology and the on-premise data. It must be installed on local servers, which requires a knowledgeable IT team and places more of a burden on a department that is often already overworked.

Additionally, Power BI Pro limits automatic refreshes to eight per day, which may not be a problem, but is worth noting. There is also a mobile app required for smartphone access, which is free to download. However, depending on your company policies around change control, there may be operations and maintenance costs associated with app deployment, security, and app upgrades (users who need Power BI Desktop installed to create reports will face these same issues).

All these functions require an IT team that is well-versed in Microsoft technologies. Unless you have certified Microsoft professionals on staff, you may find yourself spending a lot of time with Microsoft support – taking away from time doing other jobs.

Additionally, because Microsoft products are so commonly used, it can be difficult to get one-on-one support without an expensive support contract. In fact, Microsoft is rolling out changes to its support contract structure, from Premier Support to Unified Support. Pricing for Unified Support is based on a percentage of the organization’s annual costs related to Microsoft software, and some reports show a significant price increase over Premier Support.

So unless you have a team well-versed in Microsoft technology or hire a contractor (more costs!) you may need to get out the calculator again to make sure you’re getting an accurate overall picture of the cost of dedicated support. For these reasons, many organizations shy away from Microsoft, preferring to work with smaller, more responsive companies with support teams that can provide needed assistance without adding to the costs.

Limitations of Microsoft Power BI

We’ve already noted the limit of eight automatic refreshes per day in Power BI Gateway. Power BI Pro also limits the size of each data set to 1 GB maximum. With Power BI Pro there is also a 10 GB maximum storage limitation per user, requiring organizations with larger data requirements to upgrade to the much more expensive Power BI Premium if they want to stay in the Microsoft ecosystem.

Power BI Pro also has some limitations on pixel perfect style report output. Unlike many other BI platforms, Power BI Pro does not provide paginated reports with fixed-layout documents optimized for printing and archiving.

How can organizations determine the right Power BI licensing path for their needs?

Determining the appropriate licensing path for Power BI within an organization can be a daunting task. With a landscape that is constantly evolving and a multitude of options to choose from, this creates a complex and challenging process. It often feels as though one is trying to find a way through an intricate labyrinth. However, despite this complexity, there are specific techniques and strategies that can help navigate through this demanding journey, enabling organizations to identify a path that best suits their individual needs.

What considerations should organizations keep in mind when deciding on Power BI licensing?

When deciding on Power BI licensing, organizations should keep in mind the double-edged sword of flexibility with a lot of options. While the flexibility allows for customization, it also requires careful consideration for even small decisions. Organizations should consider factors like the amount of data and users, the specific features needed, and the use case they have in mind. Additionally, having a roadmap for scale is crucial to ensure that the chosen licensing option can accommodate future growth.

How can organizations determine the right Power BI licensing based on their specific needs?

Organizations can determine the right Power BI licensing by taking an incremental and empirical approach. They should evaluate the volume of data and users they have, consider the specific audience they are targeting, assess the features and functionalities needed to meet their requirements, and have a roadmap for scale in the future. By aligning these factors with the available licensing options, organizations can make an informed decision.

What variables should organizations focus on when choosing the right Power BI licensing?

When choosing the right Power BI licensing, organizations should focus on four variables: volume, audience, features, and use case with a roadmap for scale. It’s important to consider the amount of data and users involved, the specific features and functionalities required, and how the organization plans to scale its usage of Power BI in the future.

What are the considerations and variables to keep in mind when choosing the right Power BI licensing?

Choosing the right Power BI licensing undoubtedly presents a maze of considerations and variables. While it may seem somewhat daunting, with attention to certain key factors and a clear understanding of organizational needs, the decision-making process can be simplified and streamlined.

What is the importance of features and use case with a roadmap for scale in choosing the right Power BI licensing?

Features and use case with a roadmap for scale are significant considerations when choosing the right Power BI licensing. Different licensing options offer varying features and functionalities, so it is important to assess the specific requirements of the organization’s use case. Additionally, considering the future scalability and growth plans can help select a licensing option that can accommodate the organization’s long-term needs and goals.

What is the importance of audience in choosing the right Power BI licensing?

The audience is another crucial factor in choosing the right Power BI licensing. The licensing option should align with the number of users who will be accessing and utilizing the Power BI platform. Understanding the audience size helps determine the appropriate licensing plan and ensures that all users have the necessary access and capabilities.

What is the importance of volume in choosing the right Power BI licensing?

Volume is an important consideration when choosing the right Power BI licensing. The number of users and the amount of data that needs to be processed and analyzed can impact the choice of licensing. Different licensing options may have limitations or cost implications based on the volume of usage, so it is essential to assess the volume requirements.

What variables should be kept in mind when choosing the right Power BI licensing?

When choosing the right Power BI licensing, it is crucial to keep in mind four variables: volume, audience, features, and use case with a roadmap for scale. These variables help determine the most suitable licensing option based on the specific requirements and goals of the organization.

What are the considerations for choosing the right Power BI licensing?

The considerations for choosing the right Power BI licensing include flexibility, volume, audience, features, and use case with a roadmap for scale. It is important to have a lot of options to mix and match according to your exact needs, but there are many factors to consider even for seemingly small decisions.

How Can DashboardFox Help?

DashboardFox is an alternative to Microsoft Power BI that may be a better fit if cost, complexity, or other limitation make Power BI not an ideal fit for your environments.

A few key differences between DashboardFox and Microsoft Power BI

One-time fee vs Subscription costs

DashboardFox has a no-subscription pricing model. Pay once and you have the rights to use the software forever. With Power BI Service, you’re hooked into an Annual subscription and when you stop paying, you lose access to your software and your data

Self-hosted vs Azure Cloud

DashboardFox is self-hosted, so you install DashboardFox on a Windows Server in your environment, that you control. No copying or caching or refresh periods needed for your data to a 3rd party cloud, DashboardFox does a real-time live query against your private databases. And if you don’t want to host or be responsible for managing a Windows Server, don’t worry, we can host DashboardFox for you in our manage cloud with the benefit being, you always have the option to install the software and keep your data if you stop hosting with us.

Leaner, Simpler Approach to Business Intelligence

DashboardFox doesn’t have all the bells and whistles as Power BI. We are the first to tell you that Microsoft Power BI can meet the requirements of some places better than DashboardFox. But for the majority of businesses, who are simply looking to convert data into secure and actionable reports and dashboards, DashboardFox works perfectly (and in some cases better than Power BI). The key, simplicity. By design, we limit the features of DashboardFox to the core things that most organizations need. So we have a user interface designed for business users, no technical pedigree needed. With Power BI you get the software, and you’re probably going to need to have a highly skilled and trained technical developer work with it to get what you need (or pay a consultant). Those are all hidden costs.

Big Fish, Small Pond

DashboardFox is a small, bootstrapped company. Why does that matter? Well as a customer you’re a big fish in our small pond. You’re important and you get direct access to our team (no partners or middle companies to deal with), and we listen and actively improve our product to help you meet your needs. Power BI is already feature rich and powerful, but trying to get support, new features, or just to be heard can sometimes be a challenge.

Let’s Discuss Your Requirements

The best way to know if DashboardFox is a fit for you is to talk to us. Schedule a live demo with one of our experts (not a high-pressured sales pitch) and we’ll listen to what you need and show and discuss if DashboardFox will work or not. Then we’ll help you get set up with a free trial to prove it.

Get started by scheduling a meeting here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some additional Frequently Asked Questions About Power BI Pro

What are the different licensing options for consuming reports?

Consumption-based flexibility plays a vital role when it comes to licensing options for consuming reports. Depending on your specific use case, target audience, and the number of users involved, there are different paths you can take. Microsoft’s documentation provides a comprehensive comparison of these various consumption-based options, offering a high-level overview. In the upcoming section, we will delve into the important considerations that influence your choice between the available licensing routes. By exploring these factors, you will gain a clear understanding of why one licensing option may be more suitable than another for consuming reports.

How can reports be shared with others using a free Power BI account?

With a free Power BI account, it is possible to share reports with others in a few different ways. One option is to use a Premium Workspace or App, which allows you to grant access to other users. However, keep in mind that this requires a separate license.

If you want to share your report publicly for free, you can publish it to your My Workspace and then choose the “Publish to Web” option. It’s important to note that when you publish a report to the web, it becomes accessible to the general public. To ensure security, your admin may have the ability to disable the “Publish to Web” feature as a precautionary measure.

When you publish a report to the web, search engine crawlers can easily discover and index it. So, if you want your report to be freely available to the public, this option is ideal. Additionally, the “Publish to Web” feature also provides an embed code, allowing you to integrate the Power BI report onto your website, blog post, or portal without any cost.

How does report distribution work in Power BI?

Report distribution in Power BI involves several key steps.

Firstly, you begin by creating a report using Power BI Desktop. This is where you build and design your report, adding visualizations, charts, and tables to present your data in a meaningful way.

Once you have created your report, the next step is to publish it to PowerBI.com. This is done within a container called a Workspace, which can be thought of as your development environment. It serves as a centralized location where you can manage and organize your reports, datasets, and dashboards.

Publishing your report to a Workspace allows you to collaborate with others on the report. You can invite colleagues or stakeholders to access and view the report, making it easier to gather feedback and make any necessary changes.

Finally, once your report is ready to be shared with a wider audience, you can publish the contents of your Workspace to an App. An App can be seen as a distribution package for your report. It allows you to package and present your report in a more user-friendly manner.

When you publish your Workspace to an App, it becomes available for others to consume. Users can access the App through Power BI service or the Power BI mobile app. This makes it easier to share your insights and analysis with a broader audience.

In summary, the process of report distribution in Power BI involves building a report with Power BI Desktop, publishing it to a Workspace for collaboration, and then packaging and sharing the report through an App for others to consume. This allows for effective sharing and distribution of insights within your organization or with external stakeholders.




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