Power BI Basics: Getting Started with Power BI Series (Part 1)

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    Summary:  This Power BI Basics Series takes you through the steps of an end to end Power BI process and which personnel should be involved at which stage.    The purpose of this series is to provide a quick overview so you can direct resources and plan the introduction of Power BI to your company This is Part 1:  Power BI Basics:  Tools & Licensing overview
    Article Type: How To (September 2018)
    Related Product(s): This article relates to the following products:

    • Power BI
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    Power BI Basics: Getting Started with Power BI

    There are many “How To” videos on Power BI but sometimes a quick overview of an end to end process can be helpful at the outset.  Once the outline of the whole process has been understood (without detail at every stage) it is then possible to plan how your business should approach Power BI and which personnel should be involved at which stage.  The purpose of this Power BI Basics series is to provide that quick overview so you can direct resources and plan the introduction of Power BI to your company.

    This Power BI Basics series covers the following topics:

    1. Power BI tools & Licensing overview
    2. Importing and Transforming data
    3. Power BI Data Modelling
    4. Creating Visualizations
    5. Publish Docs to Power BI Service

    Power BI Basics: Getting Started with Power BI

    Power BI Basics:  Tools & Licensing overview

    When first working with Power BI it helps to know what tools are available and how the licensing works.   This section is to provide information on:

    • Power BI Desktop
    • Power BI Service
    • Licence Levels
    • Further tools

    Power BI Desktop

    The Power BI Desktop can be downloaded here.  This is the application used by a developer to:

    • Connect to data
    • Transform, model and import data
    • Design reports

    It is typical that a developer will use the Power BI Desktop to generate a dataset and report.  Once completed this is then published to Power BI Service.

    Power BI Service

    This app is available through Office 365 and can be accessed via Power BI sign in page here.  Using the Power BI Service it is possible to develop Power BI reports from scratch however there is a limitation on the data sources, therefore the Power BI Desktop is used in most scenarios. Within the Power BI Service it is possible to:

    • Create a dashboard
    • Share a dashboard
    • Access Apps *

    * Apps were previously known as Content Packs.  They are predefined templates for some standard business applications.  For example, Google Analytics, Dynamics 365 for Sales etc.


    There are three levels of licensing/pricing.  The latest information can be found here.  A summary is below:

    Plan Summary
    Power BI Desktop
    • Free
    • Author reports
    • Publish to Power BI Service
    • No sharing with Office 356 colleagues
    • Publish to public website
    • Limited reloads
    Power BI Pro
    • Per month per user pricing
    • Create reports and dashboard
    • Sharing/collaboration
    • Data reload scheduling
    • Connection to on premise data sources
    • Package and share apps
    Power BI Premium
    • Per node per month pricing
    • Aimed at Enterprise customers
    • Embed content without per user pricing
    • Publish on premise Reports

    Further Tools

    The two applications listed above are the starting points when working with Power BI.  As the requirements develop further, other applications/services may come into play.  For example:

    On Premises Data Gateway

    This is only required if published reports are set to reload and pull data from an on premises data source.  It can only be used with Power BI Pro licence and above.  It is expected that this service is installed on a server within the company domain and that the server is running 24/7.

    Power BI Mobile

    There is a Windows Phone app available as well as one for Android and IOS.

    Power BI Report Server

    This would only be used if running with Power BI Premium and publishing reports on premise.

    Power BI for Excel

    Working with Excel files in which analysis is already established.

    Read the next article (Part 2)  in this Power BI Basics series:  Importing and Transforming data.

    in GeneralHow-toPower BI
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