Microsoft aces as a Leader in the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and BI Platforms. Analyst house Gartner, Inc. is out with its list of leading Analytics & Business Intelligence (ABI) Platforms for 2021. In this quadrant, for the 14th consecutive year, Microsoft has been positioned as a Leader for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms, thanks to its enormous commercial reach and its visionary and very comprehensive product roadmap.
According to a report presented by Gartner, Power BI has already helped more than 250,000 organizations, including 97% of the Fortune 500, to develop their data culture. More and more companies are standardizing the Power BI service to a greater extent, thereby empowering everyone in their organization to make data-driven decisions.
As Gartner explains, Microsoft offers interactive dashboards, visual-based data discovery and data preparation, and augmented analytics in data analytics. It is available as a SaaS option running on Azure or as an on-premise option on Power BI Report Server. Power BI Desktop can be used as a free, stand-alone personal analysis tool. Installation of Power BI Desktop is required when power users create complex data mashups involving on-premise data sources.
The report also identifies the commoditization of Data Visualization and shifts towards relevance and persona-specific reporting of KPIs. The leaders on the list have made some significant strides via the application of Natural Language Processing & Query.
Microsoft Power BI Strengths:
Compatibility with Office 365 and Teams: The Power BI service in Office 365 E5 has led many companies to start using it. Additionally, the integration of Power BI with Microsoft Teams has become more critical during the pandemic and rapid growth in remote working popularity. As professionals point out, the Power BI service is now also a frequently scrutinized option among Gartner customers when selecting BI platforms.
Price/power combination: The Power BI service development has drastically reduced the price of tools in the BI platform market since its launch. However, in this case, the low price does not mean limited functionality. The Power BI service available in the cloud is extremely rich in its capabilities, including enhanced analytics and automated ML functions. Artificial intelligence-based services such as text, opinion, and image analysis are available in the Power BI Premium service and build on the Azure platform's capabilities.
Scope of product ambition: Microsoft continues to invest in a broad set of innovative capabilities and integrate them into Power BI. There are currently 80,000 customers using AI services in Power BI deployments. For example, Microsoft continues to encourage use at scale by using ML-based automatic optimization of materialized views in Azure Synapse (and soon other data sources, including Snowflake and Redshift) to adjust query performance automatically.
Functional gaps in the on-premises version: When comparing with the Power BI cloud service, Microsoft's on-premises offering has crucial operational gaps concerning the streaming analytics, dashboards, natural language question and answer, prebuilt content, augmentation (what Microsoft calls Quick Insights) and alerting. None of these functions is supported in Power BI Report Server, it's on-premises offering.
Azure only: Microsoft does not give customers the elasticity to select a cloud IaaS offering. Its Power BI service runs only in Azure. However, customers that utilize Azure can take advantage of the global reach offered by Microsoft's cloud platform. Power BI Premium enables customers to enable multi-geography abilities in their Power BI tenant, and they can deploy their capacity to one of 42 globally available data centers.
Content promotion and publication process: The way in which Power BI handles the publication and promotion of content can lead to a critical administrative overhead for customers. There is a one-to-one relationship between Workspaces (Power BI's collaborative "development" environment) and published Power BI apps - means that organizations may face a situation in which they manually manage many hundreds of Workspaces. Retroactively fixing this issue is a complicated task. How to govern self-service utilization is perhaps the most common question regarding Power BI by users of Gartner's inquiry service. The Power BI team is, however, making investments in governance capabilities to assist customers manage their Power BI environments in a better way.
Down the line there are some surprise entries like Google with the acquisition of Looker. But the secret ingredient to making it to the list revolved around the augmentation of this platform with ML & AI features to improve the user-friendliness quotient by eliminating the need for technical and coding skills requirements.
Get access to the full report by Gartner here.