Microsoft Power BI Tools - Gartner Magic Quadrant Ranking

Microsoft Dominates Gartner’s 2017 Magic Quadrant for BI and Analytics Platforms.

This post features excerpts and summations from Gartner’s 2017 Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics platforms. The full report can be read here.

The business intelligence and analytics platform market’s shift from IT-led reporting to modern business-led analytics is now mainstream. Data and analytics leaders face countless choices: from traditional BI vendors that have closed feature gaps and innovated, to disrupters continuing to execute.

The Five Use Cases and 15 Critical Capabilities of a BI and Analytics Platform

Gartner assessed and defined 15 product capabilities across five use cases as outlined below.

Vendors were assessed for their support of five main use cases:

  • Agile Centralized BI Provisioning. 
  • Decentralized Analytics. 
  • Governed Data Discovery. 
  • OEM or Embedded BI. 
  • Extranet Deployment.

Vendors were also assessed according to the following 15 critical capabilities. 


  1. BI Platform Administration, Security and Architecture. 
  2. Cloud BI. 
  3. Data Source Connectivity and Ingestion.

Data Management

  1. Metadata Management. 
  2. Self-Contained Extraction, Transformation and Loading (ETL) and Data Storage. 
  3. Self-Service Data Preparation. 

Analysis and Content Creation

  1. Embedded Advanced Analytics. 
  2. Analytic Dashboards. 
  3. Interactive Visual Exploration. 
  4. Smart Data Discovery.
  5. Mobile Exploration and Authoring. 

Sharing of Findings

  1. Embedding Analytic Content. 
  2. Publish, Share and Collaborate on Analytic Content. 

Overall platform capabilities were also assessed

  1. Platform Capabilities and Workflow. 
  2. Ease of Use and Visual Appeal.

How Did Microsoft Do? According to the Gartner Report…

Microsoft offers a broad range of BI and analytics capabilities with its Power BI suite, delivered via the Azure cloud. Power BI Desktop can be used as a stand-alone, on-premises option for individual users, or when power users are authoring complex data mashups involving on-premises data sources. Power BI offers data preparation, data discovery and interactive dashboards via a single design tool.

(Microsoft Reporting Services and Analysis Services are covered in our Market Guide for traditional enterprise reporting platforms, as on-premises offerings. Excel is frequently used for data analysis, and while it is not considered here as a BI and analytics tool per se, the integration with Power BI has continued to improve.)

Microsoft is positioned in the Leaders quadrant again this year, with continued strong uptake of Power BI, accelerated customer interest and adoption, and a clear and visionary product roadmap that includes vertical industry content.


  • Cost: Microsoft is placing downward pricing pressure on the BI and analytics market with both a free desktop product as well as low subscription price per user per month. On an annualized basis, Microsoft Power BI is roughly one-third of the license cost of a three-year perpetual BI license, but 80% lower than other cloud BI products. Low total cost of ownership was cited as the second most important reason for reference customers choosing Microsoft Power BI. However, potential customers should be aware that additional data scale-out options incur additional costs when leveraging Microsoft SQL Azure or HDInsight in the cloud — once they reach the 10GB per user limit in the standard Power BI Pro price. Being free but functionally deficient does not succeed; this was a problem with the first release of Power BI. However, Microsoft has now narrowed feature gaps and successfully executed on its “five by five” strategy — five seconds to sign up and five minutes to “wow” the customer.
  • Ease of use plus complex analysis: Microsoft’s customer reference scores place it in the top quartile for ease of use and complexity of analysis. Ease of use for content consumers was also the most-cited reason for customers choosing Microsoft Power BI. It was also placed in the top quartile for composite ease of use; however, there is room for improvement in ease of administration and authoring (where the vendor was average). Customers now want ease of use not only with simple queries, but also with increasingly sophisticated types of questions — mashing together multiple data sources from multiple fact tables. Microsoft’s ability to manipulate data from multiple data sources — both cloud-based and on-premises, relational as well as Hadoop-based, and including semistructured content — contributed to this high composite score.
  • Vision: Microsoft is furthest to the right on the Completeness of Vision axis and has also continued to execute on its roadmap with frequent (monthly) product releases. Microsoft was relatively early to introduce search-based queries with Power BI Q&A, and has recently introduced Quick Insights as a basic form of smart data discovery. Microsoft continues to integrate its machine-learning capabilities as part of a complete solution, the Cortana Intelligence Suite. This vendor has also moved a step closer to linking insights to actions, with the recent integration of Power BI with Microsoft Flow and within its business application, Microsoft Dynamics.
  • Active community: Microsoft has a strong community of partners, resellers and individual users. This community extends the product with prebuilt apps, visualizations and video tutorials, in addition to the content provided directly by Microsoft. This additional content is available via the Microsoft AppSource, further contributing to Microsoft’s far-right placement for its Completeness of Vision. Microsoft’s reference customer scores placed it in the top quartile for the user-enablement metrics of user community and availability of skilled resources in the marketplace.

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