08 Jan Business intelligence arrives on-premises with Microsoft Power BI Report Server
Analyst giant Gartner makes annual predictions regarding the business and technology landscape which help business leaders make IT decisions. Their predictions on analytics trends, particularly those involving business intelligence (BI) are often highly anticipated, and a recent Gartner forecast suggested that, by the end of 2020, the BI and analytics software market will grow to $22.8 billion.
Business intelligence tools were initially developed with data analysts in mind and required an extensive amount of analytical training. But today, BI tools can be deployed by regular business users. Microsoft’s Power BI is a prime example of this. Available in the cloud with Office 365, Power BI lets any user parse through data to find patterns, create data visualisations and reports without the need for extensive training.
Microsoft very recently announced Power BI Report Server, which brings the cloud-based functionality of Power BI to on-premises servers. Users deploy Power BI Report Server on their own internal servers to create, publish and manage reports. Like several other moves Microsoft has made this year to cater to their on-premises and hybrid audiences, Power BI Report Server will make a great addition for any server-side business looking to harness the benefits of data analytics and reporting.
Having released the preview of Power BI Report Server in August 2017, the software is now generally available to all users. Let’s explore the new Power BI Report Server, looking at some of the best features and benefits and how you can use the platform in your organisation.
Power BI Report Server features
Power BI Report Server is included with Power BI Premium: Microsoft’s most dedicated business intelligence offering to date. Let’s look at some of the main elements of Power BI Report Server:
- Web portal
The web portal allows you to view your Power BI dashboards in any modern browser. In the web portal, you can organise and display reports, as well as store existing Excel workbooks. Content on the web portal is categorised into the following: Power BI reports (see below), mobile reports, paginated reports (see below), Excel workbooks, KPIs, and more.
- Power BI reports
A Power BI report includes individual data visualisations that represent different insights from your dataset, so you can create a snapshot of that data. A single dataset will power a single Power BI Report. Reports are highly interactive, and visualisations update automatically if the data changes.
- Paginated reports
Paginated reports are paginated document-style reports, and are great for generating fixed-layout documents to be used in PDFs or Word documents. In a paginated report, the more data you have, the more rows are added to tables and pages to the report. Find more about building paginated reports here.
- Report Server programming features
The programming features of Power BI Report Server allow users to extend and further customise their reporting, with APIs to integrate or extend data and report processing in custom applications.
Power BI Report Server can help your push to the cloud
One of the main obstacles to cloud migrations is the security of content; a large factor to why large organizations still operate on-premises. But for business intelligence, large enterprises demand greater scale, increased performance, and strict governance of data while being able to deploy reports and dashboards to many employees.
Power BI Report Server and Power BI Premium are designed to address the challenges of large enterprise deployments, enabling organisations to serve many users who need to view and explore dashboards and reports without the need of licensing each user individually.
Granting large enterprises the data analytics prowess of agile, cloud-based businesses, Power BI Report Server is a great stepping stone for organisations interested in making a move to the cloud and Office 365. For hybrid organisations building a bridge to the cloud, Power BI Premium may be the final push you need to invest in cloud working. The service provides dedicated capacity in the cloud, and includes Power BI Report Server for your on-premises reporting.
From on-premise to the cloud
For on-premise businesses that are considering taking their data analytics and reporting to the cloud, Power BI Report Server can help you build an infrastructure to get ready for cloud working.
Power BI Report Server lets you build your business intelligence environment on premises, distributing reports behind the security of your company’s firewall. But that on-premises infrastructure is also part of a cloud-ready solution – compatible with Power BI in the cloud and Office 365. You can create reports with Power BI Desktop, publish and manage them with Power BI Report Server, and then distribute them to users to consume on the web. Ultimately, this means you are not constrained to one environment or another in the long term, but instead have ultimate flexibility.
For more information on Power BI Report Server, or the benefits of business intelligence in the cloud with Office 365, get in touch with CPS today.