Self-service Business Intelligence Tools A Game-changer In Market Insights -While key competitors have drifted away, Microsoft remains “high and right” in Gartner’s new Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms. We met with Amir Netz, the “father” of Power BI at Microsoft, to gain insight into the product’s success.
The latest Gartner Magic sector for analytics and business intelligence (BI) is out, and Microsoft has re-entered the “Leaders” sector (see image above). In fact, Microsoft claims to be the leader in business intelligence for the 14th year in a row. While Microsoft remains in the same position as last year, its closest competitors have gained ground. Thoughtspot is located in the Visionaries quadrant. While Qlik has grown along the “vision fulfillment” axis, it has lagged on the “ability to execute” axis. Meanwhile, the table has been turned around on both sides.
Self-service Business Intelligence Tools A Game-changer In Market Insights
This offers Microsoft and its Power BI behemoth a significant advantage over the competition. And, while it’s easy to think of Microsoft as a successful juggernaut due to its size and corporate dominance, I can tell you from personal experience that this wasn’t always the case. I’ve been working with the Microsoft BI stack since its beginnings in the late 1990s, and I was a member of the company’s BI Partner Advisory Council (PAC) from about 2005 to 2011. While Microsoft was controlling the BI server infrastructure for SQL Server Analysis Services at the time, its power on the application and data visualization side of the personal service was primarily defined by 15 years of hits and fails.
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So, what has changed? What did Microsoft begin to do correctly? And how has it improved its real-world success on the BI platform front? I held an hour-long talk with Amir Netz, Microsoft Technical Fellow and the father of Power BI, to obtain insight from Microsoft’s perspective. After Microsoft purchased the technology that would later become Analytical Services from Panorama Software, an Israeli BI business (now headquartered in Canada), Netz joined Microsoft. I knew Netz was a great technologist, professional, and marketer the moment I met him 15 years ago at Microsoft’s BI PAC. So, even though I had prepared a story for the ad, I was interested in his perspective.
Netz claims that Power BI’s traction and success in its first two years was due to the product’s low cost (Power BI Desktop is free, as is the entry-level cloud subscription), low adoption of the argument that the price. a site powered by an enthusiastic and large user/customer community started by both. He also believes that going “all” cloud at a time when the majority of the company’s data was still on-premises was a risk that paid off. He attributed the decision, as well as the tenacity with which he pushed it through a hesitant product group, to James Phillips, Microsoft’s President of Business Applications. Phillips joined Microsoft from Couchbase, where he was the company’s creator and CEO in its early days. Although Netz did not explicitly state it, it is evident that bringing Phillips’ startup ethos to Microsoft was critical to Power BI’s success.
Perhaps as a result of Phillips, the Power BI team began a monthly release cycle for the product, introducing new features at an unprecedented velocity. Platform changes could only be implemented when SQL Server or Microsoft Office launched a new version, which meant updates every 18 months at best when I was in Microsoft’s BI PAC. Along with the sudden increase in the rate of innovation came a new level of transparency, with members of the Power BI product team, including developers and program managers, connecting with the larger community via blogs, social media, and accompanying films. The product’s monthly output.
That level of community participation has greatly aided Power BI. While many people believe that Microsoft’s market position allows them to easily promote new goods, the truth is that new products at Microsoft face an uphill battle and are inferior to startups and other small businesses. To compete with their aggressive sharers, Microsoft’s local vendors have long focused on selling well-established, high-ticket products and services such as Office, SQL Server, and now Azure. Field sales, on the other hand, have had very little room to introduce new products at low pricing. And, unlike well-funded companies that can recruit their own sales force, Microsoft’s product teams do not have this luxury.
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However, a low fee and a wonderful community can only take you so far. So, what occurs next to maintain growth? According to Netz, all of Microsoft’s BI workarounds at the individual and departmental levels frequently lead to future company adoption. That means the product had to meet the needs of the company. Meanwhile, because of the Analytics Services legacy (and the fact that Power BI and Analytics Services shared fundamental engine technology), Microsoft was prepared for, and passed, the test of business complexity. Power BI eventually evolved from a tool that compensated for the flaws of prior BI systems to a well-balanced platform for self-help and enterprise power.
With the advent of Power BI Premium, that oneness was codified. Its premium entrance price, which starts around $5,000 per organization/month (vs $10 per user/month for Power BI Professional), makes economic sense for the huge businesses that it is aimed towards. Above all, the enterprise push implies that all people pursuing careers in Microsoft’s enterprise BI stack will be able to access the Power BI ecosystem and community. This was a win-win situation: those professionals received fresh sales and were able to extend their cloud franchise, and Microsoft gained further traction in the BI industry.
Power BI’s interoperability with other Microsoft platforms is another benefit. Excel; Azure Synapse Analytics, a cloud-based data warehouse and data lake analytics platform; Azure Machine Learning; Azure Purview, Microsoft’s data catalog and management platform recently launched in public preview; and, most importantly, Microsoft Teams, especially in the Pandemic era.
According to Netz, the goal of Group integration is to make data as significant as chat and calendar, to make it one click, and to allow automatic analysis by saying “want to know more?” situations. Netz claims that this cultural shift has taken hold at Microsoft, alleging that data now accounts for 50% of the content of Microsoft’s internal leadership briefings.
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This has been a pretty long essay, and there wasn’t enough space to discuss every element of the narrative, but I’ll end by pointing out that it clearly confronts some obstacles, even with Power BI. For example, Microsoft is excluded from a significant community of data scientists, developers, analysts, and business customers who first avoided Windows due to the lack of a Power BI desktop client for Mac. Tableau was once only available for Windows. It addressed this by providing a completely working Web interface as well as a real Mac client. As a result, it has been the default choice for the aforementioned groupings of Macs.
Speaking of Tableau, its acquisition by Salesforce, which also recently bought Slack, means that Power BI-Teams integration may have stiff competition. Another issue, as Gartner explained in his analysis, is that Power BI has a natural association with the Azure cloud, which creates a barrier to the gung-ho crowd’s adoption of numerous clouds. Tableau and independents such as Qlik, Sisense, and ThoughtSpot do not have this issue. And, because it was acquired by Google, Google Cloud View is more cloud-agnostic.
So, yeah, Power BI is now operational. But it must keep an eye on the future, because the world of business intelligence will remain highly competitive, growing, and strategically designed for consumers, enterprise software companies, and public cloud providers alike. The Power BI team is Microsoft’s lucky charm in all of this.
This is true, and it is prudent to avoid “old Microsoft”-style arrogance. Perhaps most critically, the crew has maintained a high level of morale throughout the product’s lifespan. To put it another way, the crew is content. As a result, the product is enjoyable to use, which spreads to partners and customers. It also appears to help with analyst firms. Everyone is talking about ChatGPT. What is it capable of? How does it accomplish this? Is my job secure? We investigate this transformational intelligence and examine what it can (and cannot) do. We are particularly interested in its commercial impact and capacity to revolutionize a wide range of activities and your value chain. Senior executives are cautioned not to bury their heads in the sand because of its great potential. Generative AI must be tuned before it can be used to benefit your business.
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