Clearing up some confusion around the Power BI "Release"

Hey folks.  Thanks again for checking out my blog.


Yesterday (8/12/2013), Power BI received some attention from the press.  Here's one of the articles that I had seen talking about the "release" of Power BI:


Some of us inside Microsoft had to address all sorts of questions around this one.  For the most part, the questions revolved around the *scope* of what was actually released.  You have to remember that Power BI is a broad brand name that takes into account:


* Power Pivot/View/Query/Map (which is available now, for the most part)

* The Office 365 hosting of Power BI applications with cloud-to-on-premise data refresh, Natural Language query, data stewardship, etc..

* The Mobile BI app for Windows and iOS devices


Net-net: we announced the availability of the Mobile app (in preview form).  At present, it is only available on Windows 8 devices (x86 or ARM) - no iOS just yet.  The rest of the O365 / Power BI offering is yet to come.  Check out this article to find out how to sign up.


So, the headline story is really all around the Mobile app.  You can grab it today from the Store - just search on "Power BI" and it should be the first app that shows up.



Yep it's that dark-blue app in the top-left corner of the list.  Install that, and you'll be able to play with the app.


When you fire up the Power BI mobile app, you have the option of using three sample applications (Healthcare, Olympics, and Car Sales.) 


I'm guessing, though, that you may want to see your own data pop up in the app.  You can surely do this with the preview edition, but be aware of the following:


* You'll need an Office 365 Enterprise tenant to host your workbook.  You can get a free trial here:

* The Power BI mobile app is still in preview mode.  Some aspects of Power View (e.g. maps, scatter plots) will not render with the initial version.  As with other apps downloaded from the Microsoft Store, you can expect simple updates to bring along new/fixed features.


Here's how it works - you create an Excel workbook that includes your Power Pivot models and some views of the data.  Views can be built out with either conventional PivotTables/PivotCharts and/or Power View.  Once you have created all of the content, you publish it to your Office 365 site.  From there, you can point the Mobile BI app (using the "Browse" feature) to your Office 365 site,  Your Power BI mobile app is now connected to your data - and you'll see the content coming through the app.

I put together a video demo of how to get things working with your own data.  If you know how to create a Power Pivot model, these steps should be easy-peasy.

Keep in-mind that the mobile app lets you browse and interact with BI content.  It is *not* a tool that can be used to create any reports/dashboards/etc...









Comments (8)
  1. matt simpson says:

    I have looked on my phones windows app store but no results for Power BI.

  2. Nicky van Vroenhoven says:

    I did see it in the Windows 8.1 app store though (laptop and surface both worked).

  3. Donald Parish says:

    Thanks! Seemed like a soft launch! Gives something to demo, the lack of maps and scatter plots help explain why these examples aren't the best.

  4. Jean-Pierre RIEHL says:

    I've just started a new O365 tenant and got an "Unavailable Feature" error.

    With my company tenant (SharePoint 2010), I can open an Excel Workbook, I can see screenshots but when I open a view, it is empty.

    Screenshots available

    Seems clarifications need to be clarified.

  5. AJ Mee says:

    @Matt – No Wp8 app yet.  Win8 (x86/ARM) first, then iOS, then ???

    @Nicky – thanks – I can confirm the app works on 8.0 (RT and x86)

    @Donald – Yeah, that's an understatement.  There's so much going on – sometimes it's hard to get all of the schedules lined up.

    @JP – You need an "Enterprise" O365 tenant (running SharePoint 2013 under the hood).  If you don't have access to E3, you'll see that "Unavailable Feature" message.  I tried against a Midsize O365 tenant and got the same message you did.

  6. Michael says:

    So, I tried another trail subscription where I used an US based subsidary as well, but the error is the same. What am I doing wrong?

  7. Michael says:

    Oh, my first post seems to got lost. I now tried three different sites. Two new created E3 subscriptions (on SP15) and both didn't work. I always get the error that the feature I'm trying to use isn't available. Any Ideas?

  8. Brian says:

    Until cloud-to-on-premise data refresh is available, the limitations of Power BI in O365 supersede the benefits (in my opinion).  Do you know when data refresh is going to become available?

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