Email from MS landed in my inbox few days ago. It states that Power BI introduces new product called Power BI Premium valid since 2Q 2017. Hand in hand with this announcement comes another one of quite high importance.

It will not be possible to share dashboards in the Power BI free product. Some Pro features have been added but the most important one have been removed. Power BI dashboards will not be available for sharing throughout the company  using free account. Vision is quite clear, Power BI is slowly becoming a tool for big customers. Power BI free is going to be an Evaluation product or more of a personal tool.

Sure, free version always had some restrictions compared to the Pro. But from what I know, this is the first time MS announced removal of well-functioning and key feature for Power BI free users. Not the best news for small companies which built their reporting solution on free tier. Opposed to them, big companies are clapping. With (hundreds) thousands USD in monthly savings with Power BI Premium (compared to Pro) they will even get better service.

Changes in Free Power BI and Comparison of Present vs. Future

Power BI is used by more than 200 000 companies. Most of them are free versions and a high percentage of them are companies which build their reporting on this tool. Huge changes occurred on Power BI Free Tier. Some features were added and one already mentioned and very important feature was removed.

All changes come into effect from 1st June 2017 with possibility to enroll for extension of Trial version Power BI Pro from 1st June 2017 till 31st May 2018. This should secure enough time for customers to adapt to these changes. Meaning for them to start using Power BI Pro, Premium or revamp their reporting structure.

Today 1.6.2017 (resp. 31.5.2018 s Trial Pro)
    – Live connections limitation     – No restriction
    – PBI Gateway limitation     – No restriction
    – Lower limit for dataset capacity     – Same as in Power BI Pro
    – Sharing of simple dashboards     – Absolute sharing restriction

Power BI Premium – MS Will Pamper Their Big Customers

Big players can start celebrating. They will get what they wanted for some time. Licensed model of Power BI Pro for 10 USD/month per user would be very expensive for big corporations (with thousands of employees). They simply would not get suitable counter value according to the expenses. This does not change now.

Power BI Premium will be licensed to a certain capacity and clients will get assigned certain HW sources. Functioning on basis of shared means was simply not sustainable for big customers.

Already published Power BI Premium features. More will surely come later:

Changes effective immediately after Power BI Premium release:

  • Noisy neighbors isolation – Performance will be secured by exclusivity of HW sources assignment
  • Capacity limits – capacity will be raised from 10GB up to 100TB
  • Number of datasets updates – number of datasets updates will raise from 8 to 48
  • Power BI Report Server – on-premise alternative to SQL Server Reporting services for customers who do not want into cloud

Changes still in development and will be published later:

  • dataset caching – standard dataset size will be raised from 1GB up to 50GB
  • Geographical datacenter distribution
  • Incremental data refresh
  • in-memory caching

More info in Power BI Premium whitepaper

To Summarize

Power BI Premium is great fun for big clients but I am a fan of small companies :). These are the businesses (20 – 50 employees) that will be in my opinion most affected ones by these changes. They will certainly need to decide how to manage their future reporting. Some will go back to Excel, some will get Power BI Pro. In any case, expenses for Power BI Pro are not terminating. 120USD/user/year is still doable.

What I see here is a big space for boom of tools such as PowerPivot, PowerQuery and PowerView for Excel. These tools are already in sub-consciousness of users and can offer full alternative to Power BI free. These tools will not be affected by mentioned changes (hopefully not even in future). Demand for tools as SQL Server Reporting Services or alternative Open source BI tools will certainly raise.

I arranged myself by buying  Microsoft Corporation stocks 🙂

Rate this post

Ing. Jan Zedníček - Data Engineer & Controlling

My name is Jan Zedníček and I have been working as a freelancer for many companies for more than 10 years. I used to work as a financial controller, analyst and manager at many different companies in field of banking and manufacturing. When I am not at work, I like playing volleyball, chess, doing a workout in the gym.

🔥 If you found this article helpful, please share it or mention me on your website

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *