Power BI in Education – What is it and what can it do for me?

Following on from our recent blog post on Power BI within Office 365 Education, we have had a number of questions via both the blog and Twitter seeking some additional information on how Power BI can help you take advantage of the data within your institution, big and small.

For those that missed our previous post, Power BI for Office 365 is a collection of features and services that enable you to visualise data, share discoveries and collaborate in intuitive new ways. Power BI works seamlessly with Excel and allows you to create compelling content, data models and visualisations and then share and collaborate around those insights with your colleagues, teams and study groups.

More specifically, features within Power BI that extend the data-specific capabilities of Excel 2013 include the following:

Analyse data with Excel: Easily discover and access public and corporate data

Power Query, a feature of Excel, enables you to more easily discover, combine, and transform data from multiple data sources with the familiarity of Excel

  • Search both public and institutional data
  • Clean and transform data for ease of analysis
  • Merge data from multiple sources


Visualize and explore

Power View and Power Map, features of Excel, allow you to create interactive data visualizations to explore and uncover insights and present findings.

  • Bring your data to life with interactive data visualizations
  • Add depth with 3D geospatial analysis
  • Tell stories with interactive data views and tours

Create powerful data models

Power Pivot, a feature of Excel, provides powerful analytical modelling. Data is processed in-memory allowing you to work quickly with data volumes in excess of 100 million rows, in split second times.

  • Create relationships, custom measures, hierarchies, KPI’s
  • Analyse data quickly with in-memory processing

Share and Collaborate with Power BI for Office 365

Enable anyone to quickly create a collaborative BI site to share data and insights with Power BI.

  • Create Power BI sites to share data and reports
  • View and explore live reports up to 250MB in size

Keep reports up to date with data refresh

Keep your reports up to date by scheduling when the data should refresh. The Data Management Gateway allows reports that have been saved to the cloud to connect back to on-premises data sources to refresh data.

  • Scheduled data refresh for your reports
  • Connect cloud based report to on-premises data

Manage data queries for the team

With Power BI people can share not only workbooks but also the queries they create using Power Query in Excel. This allows members of the team to build and manage data queries for others to use when creating their own reports.

  • Create and share queries using Power Query in Excel
  • Manage and monitor query usage in Power BI

Maintain a Data Catalog of searchable data

Your IT departments can now use the Data Catalog feature of Power BI to make it easier for everyone to find and connect to corporate data. Searching for data with Power Query in Excel will return accessible corporate data.

  • Enable data search for IT managed corporate data
  • Enable data search for data queries saved to Power BI
  • Track data usage across your organization

Ask questions of your data in natural language

With the Q&A feature of Power BI people can type questions they have of the data in natural language. The system will interpret the question and present answers in the form of interactive visualizations.


Stay connected with mobile access to your reports

Mobile access to reports in Power BI is provided through new HTML5 support and through the Power BI mobile app.

  • Navigate and explore browser based reports in HTML5
  • Access your favourite reports in the Power BI mobile app

To learn more, and request a free trial, visit out Power BI microsite for more information.

Additionally, if you are looking to get up and running our 'Getting Started Guide' can be viewed/downloaded below.

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