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What is Power BI?

Venkatesan M
Jun 14, 2021 10:53:53 PM

In Simple terms Power BI is a Business Intelligence (BI) Software. As per Microsoft definition “Power BI is a collection of software services, apps, and connectors that work together to turn unrelated sources of data into coherent, visually immersive, and interactive insights. Your data may be an Excel spreadsheet, or a collection of cloud-based and on-premises hybrid data warehouses. Power BI lets you easily connect to your data sources, visualize and discover what's important, and share that with anyone or everyone you want.”

The parts of Power BI

Power BI consists of many elements that are together, starting with these three basics elements:

  • A Windows desktop based application called Power BI Desktop.
  • A Web SaaS (Software as a Service) service called the Power BI service.
  • Power BI mobile apps for Windows, iOS, and Android devices.

What is Power BI

These 3 elements—Power BI Desktop, the Power BI service, and the Power BI mobile apps—are designed to let you create, share, and consume business insights in the way that serves you and your role most effectively.

Beyond those three, Power BI also features two other elements:

  • Power BI Report Builder, for creating paginated reports to share in the Power BI service. 
  • Power BI Report Server, an on-premises report server where you can publish your Power BI reports, after creating them in Power BI Desktop.

Lets Understand the Power BI elements in detail below.

What is Power BI Desktop?

Power BI Desktop is a free tool you can install on your local computer which helps you connect to, transform, and visualize your data from multiple data sources and combine them (often called modeling) into a data model. This data model helps you build visuals, and collections of visuals you can share as reports, with other people inside your company. Most users who work on business intelligence projects use Power BI Desktop to create reports, and then use the Power BI service to share their reports with others.

what is power bi desktop

The common uses for Power BI Desktop are as follows:

  • Connect to data from the different data source
  • Transform and clean that data, to create a data model
  • Create visuals, such as charts or graphs, that provide visual representations of the data
  • Create reports that are collections of visuals, on one or more report pages
  • Share reports with others by using the Power BI service

Power BI Training

What is the Power BI service?

The Microsoft Power BI service (, sometimes referred to as Power BI online, is the SaaS (Software as a Service) part of Power BI . In the Power BI service, dashboards help you identify the pulse of your business. Dashboards display tiles, which you can select to open reports for exploring further. Dashboards and reports connect to datasets that bring all of the relevant data together in one place.


What are the Power BI mobile apps?

Power BI offers a set of mobile apps for iOS, Android, and Windows 10 mobile devices. In the mobile apps, you connect to and interact with your cloud and on-premises data.

what is power bi mobile apps

You create reports in Power BI Desktop. You create dashboards and view dashboards and reports in the Power BI report service ( All these reports and dashboards are available in the Power BI mobile apps, whether they're on-premises or in the cloud. Try viewing and interacting with them on your mobile device, be it iOS (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, or Apple Watch), Android phone or tablet, or Windows 10 device.

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