For business management solutions email us or call 020 3004 4600

Comparing Power BI Desktop, Power BI Pro and Power BI Premium – which one should you choose?

If you didn’t already know, Microsoft Power BI is part of the Microsoft Power Platform which is a set of business analytics tools which can be used to help you to analyse data and share valuable insights. You will find that there are a number of Power BI licenses available all of which have their own different features and benefits. This can make it tricky to decide which one is right for your business. 

This is why, in our latest blog article, we will be comparing and contrasting the main Power BI licenses, providing some of the key features for each and providing you with a cost and exactly which businesses are suited to each one. 

So, before we get started, let’s delve into the types of Power BI licenses that are available to businesses! 

You will find that there are three types of Power BI per user licenses: Desktop (free), Pro and Premium. The decision on which license to choose largely depends on where data is stored, how they will engage with the data and if that data needs more advanced features to be used. 

Let’s now get started by taking a look at Power BI Desktop 

You will notice that the Power BI Desktop application can be easily downloaded for FREE directly from Microsoft. Even though this option is FREE, it does include a fair number of useful features. 

So, what are some of the features that it includes? 

  • The ability to share reports via the web. 
  • The ability to both clean and prepare data through the use of modelling tools. 
  • The ability to both connect as well as import data via over 70 sources. 
  • The ability to analyse advanced insights to formulate patterns as well as trends. 
  • The ability to export your reports to Excel, PowerPoint or as a PDF. 
  • The ability to use auto-detect to find and build data relationships between different tables across different formats. 
  • Includes the same visuals and filters that are used in Power BI pro. 
  • 10GB in storage for each user. 

So, what are the drawbacks of Power BI Desktop? 

Given that this is a FREE version, you would expect there to be a few drawbacks in order to encourage you to upgrade to the paid version: 

  • There are no app workspaces. 
  • There is no ability to embed APIs. 
  • There are no email subscriptions. 
  • You are unable to share reports with other users unless you are using the paid version. 
  • You don’t have access to support in order to analyse data in Excel through the Power BI Desktop. 

Why would you choose this option? 

This option is best suited to those that are working on an individual level who don’t require any input from their colleagues. The great thing is that you don’t need to have a Microsoft 365 subscription to be able to use this option and can be easily downloaded from Microsoft for FREE. 

Let’s now move on to Power BI Pro 

As a paid version, you will find that Power BI Pro gives users everything that you get in Power BI Desktop plus some extra functionality including: unlimited viewing and sharing and many different reports to choose from. You will see that we’ve listed some of the additional features below: 

  • The ability to bring in data from over 100 sources. 
  • The ability to embed Power BI visuals in apps such as Teams. 
  • The ability to make use of the mobile app. 
  • The ability to refresh data 8 times on a daily basis. 
  • The use of embedded APIs and controls. 
  • The ability to use AI to create visuals. 
  • The ability to take advantage of data security and encryption. 
  • The ability to use metrics alongside content creation and publishing. 
  • The ability to seamlessly integrate with other Microsoft products. 
  • The ability to easily share visuals, data and reports with other Power BI users. 
  • 1GB model size limit 
  • 10GB in storage for each user. 

That’s great, so how much does this all cost? 

You will find that the pricing structure for this is on a per user per month basis, therefore if you are a business that has 20 employees that need access to all the features of Power BI, you will need to have 20 licenses in place. By having a Power BI pro license, you can give these users the ability to build and view reports. 

The costs for this license arepriced at £8.20 per user per month.* 

*This price is subject to change. 

Let’s now move on to Power BI Premium 

It goes without saying but Power BI Premium is the most expensively priced option for Power BI and is designed to meet the challenges of large enterprise level deployments and workloads. Given the fact that it is designed for enterprise-level businesses, Premium is geared up for this with a whole host of additional features as well as the standard features in the other Power BI versions. Users will be able to take advantage of the following additional features: 

  • The ability to access one API surface. 
  • The ability to make use of XMLA endpoint read/write connectivity. 
  • The ability to use data flows. 
  • The ability to analyse all the data that is stored within the Azure Data Lake. 
  • The ability to embed Power BI visuals into apps such as PowerApps. 
  • The ability to access a larger storage size to extend a deployment if needed. 
  • The ability to access the latest in advanced AI functionality. 
  • The ability to refresh data 48 times on a daily basis. 
  • 100GB model size limit 
  • 100TB in storage for each user. 

That’s great, so how much does this all cost? 

In the past, Power BI premium licenses were only able to be accessed on a per capacity per month basis. However, this has been changed to allow businesses to secure licenses on a per user per month basis with the following pricing structure: 

Power BI Premium Per User 

  • £16.40 per user per month.* 

Power BI Premium Per Capacity 

  • Prices start from £4,105.60 per capacity per month.* 
  • Additionally, you can have access to Microsoft Fabric. 

* These prices are subject to change. 

Next Steps? 

If you are looking to take your business to the next level through the use of Power BI or any other part of the Microsoft Power Platform then please reach out to our team of Power Platform experts to discuss how we can help you to transform the way you work. 

Are you wanting to receive more Power BI comparisons? You can if you sign up to our exclusive mailing list