Microsoft goes live with cloud-based Power BI for Office 365

Microsoft has fully released Power BI for Office 365, its cloud-based business intelligence (BI) platform designed to deliver analytics and visualisation tools to a broader business audience.

Announced on Microsoft’s official blog, Power BI for Office 365 has already been available as a preview since last summer. The platform is intended to give Microsoft customers access to tools that can deliver valuable business insights, extending the capabilities of the tools that they already have such as Excel and Office 365.

“Today business intelligence is only used by a fraction of the people that could derive value from it,” said Quentin Clark, corporate vice president for Microsoft’s Data Platform Group. “What we all need is modernised business intelligence, which will help everyone get the information they need to understand their job or personal life better.”

Power BI for Office 365 enables users to quickly create collaborative BI sites to share workbooks containing data and insights with colleagues, manage data queries for their team, and ask questions of their data in natural language via the Q&A features.

IT departments can also now use the Data Catalog feature of Power BI to make it easier for all users to find and connect to corporate data by searching for it from within Excel, the firm said.

Now Power BI has been fully released, Microsoft said that it will be available for a limited time at the promotional price of $20 (£13) per user per month to new or existing Office 365 Enterprise E3 or E4 customers.

A free trial version of Power BI for Office 365 is also available, which includes a 30-day trial of Office 365 ProPlus edition. This gives users access to the latest version of Excel, enabling them to download and install the Power Query and Power Map add-ins.