We all know that data is power. It is essential in every aspect of business—whether for accounting, finance, marketing, operations, and research. But what’s the best tool to visualize the data you have and get the insights you need? Let’s drill down the features of each product.
What Is Power BI?
Are you having difficulty gathering and understanding data from different sources?
Let’s face it, as a business owner, it’s a tedious task to analyze data from different sources. Have you ever wished to have it all in one place and get insights at a glance? If so, what you need is a software solution that has AI capabilities and sophisticated data analytics and visualization tools—that is what Power Bi is all about.
Power BI stands for Business Intelligence. It is ideal for consolidating, managing, and visualizing big data from different sources into one platform. It makes gathering insights fast and easy, regardless of the amount of data one has to digest.
With Power BI, you can discover relevant information, get and share insights with the team as it can connect to excel spreadsheets, cloud, all sorts of databases, and flat files. It is not only for business owners and enterprises, but for professionals who work heavily with data such as research, national government, and the like.
- Advanced AI capabilities – Extract important information by recognizing an image, analyzing text, and identifying the key drivers while seamlessly integrating it with Azure Machine Learning.
- Data visualizations – Regardless of how complex it is, Power BI visualizes your data into infographics or interactive presentations that would suit your audience.
- Dashboarding – Simplify all the data insights you got and have it all at one glance for easier monitoring.
- Reporting – Keep everyone aligned by sharing reports with the team. With Power BI, you can generate a single sheet or multiple-page reports with adjustable filters that allow users to see specific data.
- Accessibility– Anyone who has been granted access can view, manage, and edit the data even on their mobile phones.
- Intuitive interface– Everything is intuitive and easy to navigate.
- Third-party data integration– You can connect it to different apps and platforms to import and export data.
- Uncompromising security – Apart from end-to-end encryption, it is built on Azure’s system and uses the same security control as used by organizations with the world’s most sensitive data.
- Real-time access monitoring– It lets you and the team stream, make changes, and update the information in real-time.
These are all important factors when you are comparing power bi vs excel.
Pros and Cons of Power BI
|Custom and Interactive Visualizations||Configuration of Visuals|
|Excel Integration||Crowded User Interface|
|Data Connectivity||Rigid Formulas|
|Prompt Updates||Handling Large Data Volumes|
|Power BI Embedded||Complex to Understand and Master|
What Is Excel?
Excel is another great tool to input, sort numbers, and data with formulas. It is widely used by students, professionals, and entrepreneurs for basic data analysis. Organizations use it for all business functions, but most especially for financial analysis. However, there is a limit to what excel can handle, as it can only store and analyze a certain amount of data.
- Graphical presentations of data into the chart and picture format – you can present the data in charts, free form shapes, smart and clip arts.
- Chart options – column, line, area, scatter, data series, axes, chart sheet, trendline, combination chart, Gantt, Pareto, and gauge.
- DataBase to input, store, sort, and manage up to 1 million records – summarize and sort information with pivot tables, slicers, sparklines, sort, filter, data validations, and grouping.
- Functional tools to formulate and calculate data – it has over 300 built-in formulas to calculate information and automate repetitive tasks.
- Sort by order, color, list, and function
- Filter by number, date, text, data, and values
- Conditional Formatting by rules, bars, color scales, icons, and heat map
- Pivot Tables options – group, multi-level, frequency distribution, slicers, calculated field, and pivot data
- Analysis tools to get insights from data – What-if analysis, histogram, statistics, ANOVA, f-test, moving average, t-test, z-test, regression, correlation, and tables for quick analysis.
Did you know any of these differences between power bi vs excel?
Pros and Cons of Microsoft Excel
|Data Organization||Calculation Errors|
|Third-Party Support||Time Consuming|
|Office Integration||System Compatibility|
Similarities between the two platforms
- Both are used in data sorting and visualization
- Both can create dashboards
- Both use pivot
- Both can add integrations
Difference between Excel and PowerBI
|Excel||Ideal for tabular financial reports and forecasts |
Allows duplicate tables
Mostly used for deep driver analysis
|Limited data handling |
Doesn’t allow cross-filtering between charts
For surface-level analytics
Can slow down when processing a large data set
|Power BI||Ideal for big data analysis and visualizations through KPIs and dashboards. |
Allows advanced cross-filtering between charts
For high-level analytics
Flexible data sharing
Uncompromising data security
Can build up customized reports
Speed processing even for the larger data set
Mobile-optimized and suitable for any device
|Can’t show duplicate tables |
Premium access is expensive
Pricing difference between Excel and Power BI
The minimum cost for Power BI is $9.99 per month while excel is $1.99 only. Power BI is expensive compared to excel, but it is considered cost-efficient with all the benefits that it can provide. It allows you and the people in your organization to have an automated and efficient workflow while having data-driven decisions. There are also other premium features that you can integrate as you upgrade your subscription.
|Power BI Pro||$9.99 Per-user/month||Self-service analytics Data visualizations with dashboards and reports Data and insights sharing to multiple channels/teams|
|Power BI Premium – per user||$20 Per-user/month 2||Includes the core functions of Power BI Pro AI capabilities for advanced insights generation Big data preparation Easy data management Enterprise-level access|
|Power BI Premium – per capacity||Starts from $4,995 Per capacity/month||Includes all the functionality in Power BI Premium Enables content publishing Autoscale is allowed with an Azure subscription|
If you are unsure yet if Power BI is the right software for your business needs, you may get started with a free trial. Simply download the Power BI desktop application and start generating reports and visualizations for free. You can even work on the go with the Power BI Mobile app. Both applications are free.
As for Excel, it is already part of Microsoft Office 365 subscriptions. Almost everyone already has it installed in their operating system, but there’s also a free version of it for Mac users. There’s also a free web-based version of excel accessible through one drive.
It’s hard to say that one tool is better than the other as both have advantages and disadvantages. It would depend on what the user needs. To sum it up, Excel is mainly for organizing data with numbers and formulas, whereas Power Bi is for enterprises handling a large amount of data.
Advantages of Power BI over Excel
Power Bi is for extensive data analysis that requires AI capabilities and is designed for deep data gathering and insights. If the goal is to have the data in a spreadsheet and calculate the mathematical and statistical formula, then Excel is the tool to use.
You may start with excel and move to Power BI as needed because excel can also be integrated into Power BI. But for a data-driven organization that requires high-level data visualization, reporting, and collaboration, better to invest in Power BI right away.