Why Business Intelligence is growing, and how Power BI contributes to that.
According to the Digital Journal, Business Intelligence is growing at a CAGR of around 8.4% between 2016 and 2021, to reach more than 26 Bn USD. That's a big growth !
Business Intelligence can be defined as all methods and tools a company uses to make better decisions. These tools are, for the vast majority IT sofware : ETL (Extract, Transform & Load), DataBases, Data visualization software, Machine Learning Algorithms, spreadsheets, collaborative tools, Reporting tools...
Power BI, from Microsoft, is quite a newbie in this world, having been released in late 2015. But, as it is seen by many as the future of Excel, Microsoft built an ambitious roadmap for the product : a new release each month, with major updates and new features.
Having tried Tableau Software, as well as a little bit of Qlikview, I can say that PowerBI doesn't have the most intuitive UI (Tableau has). But it is very intuitive anyway, with drag & drop capabilities, Excel-like interface, and all functions without coding.
But the strength of PowerBI is somewhere else. Power BI is merely the most complete software for business intelligence, analytics and reporting.
-The fact that is has an integrated ETL -Power Query- that is so easy to use, is a big advantage (Tableau does not have any ETL capabilities ! Or at least I would say they are limited).
-The fact that Power Query supports so many sources, and built plug & play connectors, is also an advantage.
-The fact that you can just perform the actions in Power Query, and thanks to machine learning, Power Query will translate that into functions and code, makes BI accessible to almost anyone.
-The fact that Power BI works with Cortana, Windows Personal Assistant, and that you can ask questions in natural language to your dataset, is, once more, a differenciating factor.
-The fact that, since recently, you can explore why there is an increase/decrease in your dataset, just by clicking on "Explain", will save tens of hours of time for many of us.
-The fact that Power BI is integrated into the Azure environment, and the Office environment, gives a broad vision to the Product. (ie. MS Visio reports are now integrated with Power BI). Many Excel popular features are in Power BI (New function "What If parameter' is just reinforcing that). Same thing for PowerPoint features. Next month, with the "BookMarks" system ,Microsoft will add storytelling to that.
-The fact that Power BI, when used with PowerApps and Flow (Business Process Management solution), can manage complex IT issues at a corporate level, turn that software into a game-changer.
-The fact that major evolutions of the product are decided by the community will help the product to be in adequation with customer needs.
Power BI is becoming some kind of super aggregator of spreadheet, database, and reporting functions.
The only question we should wonder is : how will be the product in 2 or 3 years ?