New version of data analysis tool Power BI will be available for free

Rebecca Lambert
Rebecca Lambert
By Rebecca Lambert on 28 January 2015
New version of data analysis tool Power BI will be available for free

Microsoft is making available a free version of its data analysis tool Power BI.

The cloud-based business analytics service, which was first launched last February, is designed to enable non-technical business users to understand what’s going on across their organisation through interactive visual reports and dashboards. The solution has already proven popular with business customers – tens of thousands of users already use it, including Microsoft’s very own CEO Satya Nadella.

Now, though, Microsoft is making Power BI available to more people by allowing them to try out a new preview version for free.

At the moment, anyone with a US business e-mail account can sign up to preview the new Power BI. International availability is coming soon.

When the new Power BI comes out of preview (details of when this will happen are yet to be revealed), customers will be able to choose between a free version – Power BI – or a version with additional features and data capacity called Power BI Pro, which will cost US$9.99 a month – 75% cheaper than the current version.

Microsoft has also confirmed that it will be releasing mobile app versions of the tool. A preview of Power BI for iPad is already available to download from the App Store, and iPhone, Android and Windows versions are coming soon.

Currently, Power BI already integrates with a wide variety of data sources including GitHub, Marketo, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Salesforce, SendGrid and Zendesk. According to James Phillips, Microsoft’s general manager of data experiences, more integrations are coming in the next few months, including connectivity with Inkling Markets, Intuit, Microsoft Dynamics Marketing, Sage, Sumo Logic, Visual Studio Application Insights and Visual Studio Online.

Customers will also be able to benefit from a new tool – Power BI Designer – which allows business analysts to connect to, model and visually analyse their data, before publishing the results to any Power BI user.

“With Power BI, customers can wring every drop of value from each byte of their data,” said Phillips. “Whether it’s in a data centre, private cloud, our public cloud — or a combination of all three — customers who store their data in the Microsoft platform stand to realise a greater data dividend than with any other vendor.”

If you’re based in the US, you can sign up to preview the new tool by visiting the Power BI web site.

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