Smart business leaders know that data analysis is critical to staying ahead of the competition. After all, understanding current internal and external trends, and then basing your decisions on actual evidence is the most effective method of influencing your company’s future.
Microsoft Power BI is taking analytics to the next level; democratizing access to information so that users don’t have to possess specialized technological skill sets in order to make the most of available data. However, transitioning to the Power BI tool does require an understanding the differences between free Power BI and paid Power BI Pro.
At the simplest level, the primary difference between the free and paid versions of Power BI is this: The free version is a Web-based cloud application, whereas the paid version is a desktop client. However, there are a variety of other useful Power BI Pro features, like a much larger data capacity, that we’ll discuss later in the post.
The free version offers basic analytics and visual dashboards, where you can easily generate high-quality reports that illustrate a data set. Consider starting with the free version of Power BI if your spreadsheets are currently in order, and you don’t have to connect to a variety of data sources or model the data to make it useful.
The Power BI “Pro” desktop client, on the other hand, is intended for customers that require additional customization, with the ability to perform deep-dives into information. Businesses who use the desktop client generally need a tool that connects to multiple resources and enables real-time communication and updates. If you plan to do significant data mining across different data sources, the paid version is more appropriate for your needs.
The following features are available for all users with the free version of Power BI:
The paid version of the Power BI desktop client – Power BI Pro – includes all of the features of the free version and adds the following additional features:
You can’t make a wrong decision when it comes to free Power BI vs. paid Power BI Pro, but you can be strategic in terms of how you make your choice. For example, if you’re unsure which version you should go with, take the standard version for a test drive before making any sort of financial commitment to Power BI. It may fit your needs perfectly. If not, you can always choose to upgrade in the future — Microsoft currently offers a free 60-day trial for the Power BI Pro service.
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