Which Power BI license should you use?


Date: Tuesday, November 27, 2018

So, you’ve decided to say the final ‘goodbye’ to your 36 spreadsheets (and the many hours you spend creating ad-hoc reports each week!) and say hello to Power BI. However, you’re not entirely sure which of the license options you should choose. In this post, you will learn about the licensing plans in Power BI from a less-technical point of view and at the end of it, hopefully, you will have a better idea of what will fit the bill for your business.

Power BI Free

As its name suggests, Power BI Free offers all the core functionality of Power BI free of charge. However, you will not be able to share your reports privately with other parties, whether they are inside or outside the organisation. You will be able to share your reports to web users by using the “Publish to Web” functionality. “Publish to Web” generates an URL that you can share with your users, and the report can be viewed by anyone who has the URL. This should only be used if you are sharing information that is not harmful for your organisation when it is viewable by the public.

Power BI Free is a good choice for your business if you:

  • are a small business or a start-up owner
  • have little data to analyse
  • have no budget for intelligence tools

Power BI Pro

If you have more than one person doing reporting work or have people you want to share your reports with securely, you will want to consider the Power BI Pro license. In addition to the above, this license will give your business the ability to collaborate and share reports inside the organisation. You will also have the power to choose how you distribute your reports to your users, audit data usage and govern how the data is accessed. At the time of writing, the Pro license costs at £7.50 per user per month, and you will need a license for all users, those creating, sharing, and viewing reports inside the Power BI Service.

Power BI Pro will fit the needs of most small and medium-sized organisations. It will be a good choice for your business if you:

  • have a dedicated reporting team or teams
  • need to share reports within the organisation
  • need to apply privacy levels to reports containing sensitive data

Power BI Premium

Power BI Premium is not a user license. With the Premium license, you will be able to share data with users inside and outside the organisation without the need for a per-user license. The licensing cost is based on your capacity needs for the month and is billed monthly with an annual commitment. This allows your business to publish reports across the organisation without having to worry about if the recipient in the organisation is equipped with a Pro license. This license targets large organisations who otherwise would be faced with the costs of purchasing 1,000’s of Power BI Pro licenses to users who only might occasionally consume reports. In addition to the above, your organisation will have access to other features not available to Pro users. If you have a rough idea of how many people in your organisation are creating reports, you can calculate the costs with Microsoft’s Power BI Premium Calculator

Power BI Premium is a good choice for your business if:

  • your organisation is large
  • you have large volumes of data
  • you have a lot of users who need to consume content, but only a few who create it

Still not sure?

Village Software is a North West based software engineering agency with an experienced business intelligence practice. Our initial requirements analysis together with the depth of our in-house experience will enable us to design and deliver a bespoke Power BI solution that best suits your organisation. You can send us an enquiry through the contact form to arrange a meeting in our Liverpool office or have our BI team come to you.

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Anni Veijalainen

Anni has a knack for pinpointing what users want and what they really need. She drives us to deliver software that is the perfect fit for the client’s situation. With enthusiasm for design and user experience, she is helping with our development of data visualisation tools and comparing our kiosk user experience design with best practice, to allow us to improve our products.

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