Is Microsoft’s Power BI Premium Right for You?

By Dan Brewster

Director of Client Services, Microsoft, NPI

June 26, 2019

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Power BI is a super data visualization tool and enterprises of all sizes are using it to share data insights throughout the organization. Microsoft offers three types to meet different customers’ analytics needs – the free Power BI Desktop, Power BI Pro and Power BI Premium.

Power BI Desktop is free and gives you the ability to publish your visualizations to the Power BI Service – alas, a public service. While the URLs of your visualizations are complex and would be hard to guess, there is little security for your reports when publishing to the free Power BI service.

Power BI Pro increases the dataset capabilities and permits you to publish in-house to your own SharePoint sites. It’s priced at $9.99 per user per month. Prior to the release of Power BI Premium, all users – content creators or content consumers – needed a Power BI Pro license.

Power BI Premium is a capacity-based solution and is provisioned based upon dedicated hardware reserved for your use – as referenced in this Power BI Whitepaper: “Power BI Premium enables dedicated capacity, a set of resources (read: hardware) reserved for the exclusive use by you—the customer.” One of the best changes to Power BI Premium is only content creators need a Power BI Pro license. Content consumers do not need a Power BI Pro license.

Microsoft offers an online pricing calculator for Power BI to provide some transparency into cost. However, it’s worth noting that many NPI clients have been able to lower their costs by using Power BI Premium versus simply buying Power BI Pro licenses for all users.

As with all things Microsoft it’s important to understand your business and user requirements going into the Power BI purchase. This, coupled with a detailed understanding of Microsoft’s licensing options, will help you accurately analyze which product mix best meets your organization’s needs at the lowest cost.