Getting Started with the Power BI Preview
Posted by denglishbi on March 24, 2015
Last year Microsoft began working on a “new” Power BI version / capability. This was released to a limited group of users for feedback and then last December was released within the U.S. and I posted this first post – Installing Power BI Designer Preview Experience. Now this past week it is available in over 140 countries – Power BI Preview now available worldwide.
So what it so special about this new experience?
Well first of all to get started using Power BI you no longer need to use Excel. Excel has been the main driver of Power BI capabilities and the container where data and reports would be created to then share with others through SharePoint and/or Power BI in Office 365. Now the data can be collected using either the new Power BI Designer or directly through the new browser based Power BI preview experience.
The next item that makes this interesting / attractive is the price. Yes, how much does this end up costing you? Well to get started all you need is to create an account and the rest is actually free. Yes, that is correct, free. Of course the “Free” version does come with some limitations, but for the most part you have the same capabilities as the version that is the paid Pro service of $9.99 user/month. And that is price cut from the previous Power BI online experience of $40/month. Here is more information about the new pricing and feature comparison between the Free and Pro paid versions – Power BI Preview Pricing.
In order to get started you simply need to do the following:
1. Go to the following web site – http://powerbi.com
2. Next sign up by entering your business or educational email address
3. Complete the Microsoft Power BI sign up process by following the link in the email you receive
4. Once you enter in the information and click start you will get a confirmation and depending on the current usage you might have to wait 15 minutes or so for everything to get spun up and ready for you to begin
5. Sign In to the Power BI site specifying that you are using a work or school account
Now in my case this is actually a personal Microsoft account and not provided by my organization, I am simply using my work email for my Microsoft account. I will now switch over and login with my organization provided email, I just wanted to show what the process would look like to get started with the process.
6. Once you are logged in you will now be able to access the Microsoft Power BI Public Preview site
That is all it takes, so in less than 15 minutes or so you can be logged in and ready to roll. Next up, we will go over a quick tour of the layout of the site. Stay tuned!