Power BI


Launched this week in beta mode, Microsoft's Power BI allows you to export live-updating visualizations to the web.

Power BI is Microsoft's answer to Tableau - providing users with a suite of tools to analyze data, visually organize insights and, as of this week, share them on the web.

For journalists who aren't used to working with data, the suite offers an useful introductory platform to begin integrating data-driven insights into their stories. For example, one cool feature of the suite is that users can derive insights from data using natural language queries.


Additionally, once you start typing, Power BI offers predictive suggestions based on your data's schema, as well as the best visualizations to represent your query.


As well as a standard set of visualizations, develops can create .pbviz files to customize these, and Microsoft offers a free gallery of tested user generated visualizations for less advanced users.

Once you are happy with your visualization, the tool now allows you to embed it online.

The suite offers connectivity with popular business intelligence services like Salesforce and Google Analytics, but data can also be imported from Excel, CSV files, SQL Server Analysis Services Tabular model data, and Azure SQL Databases.

Some examples of projects that have utilized Power BI include The Civic Innovation Project's Global Landscape of Citizen Data and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation's EGPAF Data Dashboard.


Image: Screenshot of the EGPAF Data Dashboard project.

Although the full suite operates on a paid model, the free version still offers substantial functionality for up to 1GB/user.

Visit the Power BI website here.