BI Tools – Microsoft Power BI vs. Google Data Studio

Published: Sep 17, 2019

Are you looking for cutting-edge business intelligence and data visualization solutions? Microsoft Power BI and Google Data Studio are gaining pretty much momentum these days. Both are of a kind where one allows you to create customized charts and reports in seconds while the other offers interactive charts with powerful business intelligence capabilities. The following post provides a brief comparison between the two in regards to software development:

  • Ease of use
  • Complexity and integration
  • Reliability
  • Pricing

Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence (BI) is a group of architectures, techniques, and activities. BI is a technology-driven process that helps BI consultants transform raw information into useful information to analyze and carry out lucrative activities to assist corporate end consumers in executing their business plans for an expected SharePoint achievement.

BI has a direct effect on the strategic, tactical, and operational business decisions of an organization. BI involves a broad range of tools, applications, and methodologies to make a fact-based decision by following the below chronological steps on the data.

  1. Gather the data from inner systems and external sources.
  2. Prepare that data for analysis and run queries against it.
  3. Create reports, dashboards, maps, graphs, charts, etc.
  4. Make analytical results based on the data visualizations.

Importance of Business Intelligence

  1. BI has a direct or indirect impact on a business’s operation and profitable decision.
  2. BI’s primary goal is to possibly benefit business intelligence tools, including accelerating and enhancing decision-making, optimizing internal business procedures, increasing operating effectiveness, driving fresh revenue, and gaining a competitive advantage over competitors.
  3. It is generating KPI (Key Performance Indicators) based on historical data.
  4. The BI systems help companies to identify market trends, identify & set benchmarks for various business processes, and spot the business problems that need to be addressed by BI consultants.
  5. BI data include historical data stored in a data warehouse, as well as fresh data collected as it is produced from source devices, allowing BI tools to have a data visualization for enhancing the data quality and supporting strategic & tactical decision-making processes without sparing its quality.
  6. BI assists in identifying customer behavior and feedback, analyzing company performance with the past, optimizing company activities, identifying market trends, and helping to address any business problems or issues.
  7. Initially, data analysts and other IT experts who conducted analyzes and generated query results reports for company users used BI tools mainly. It can be used more and more nowadays, not by enterprises but by SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises).

BI Tools

The data discovery, which used to be restricted to sophisticated analytics experts, can now be done by everyone using these BI tools. These instruments offer perspectives into things like growth, solving pressing problems, collecting all data in one location, forecasting future results, and so much more.

There are many BI tools available for BI consultants in the market, and some of them are mentioned below. Keep in mind that these tools differ in robustness, integration capabilities, ease of use (from a technical point of view), and pricing.

In this blog, we will go through the BI tools provided by the two giants companies: Microsoft and Google.

  • Microsoft Power BI
  • Google Data Studio

Microsoft Power BI

Power BI is a business intelligence platform developed by Microsoft.

  1. It is a web-based business analytics tool suite that excels in data visualization.
  2. Power BI is a robust, extensive modeling and real-time analytics tool as well as allows for custom development.
  3. It is allowed to connect multiple data sources for preparing dashboards or reports.
  4. It is providing a user-friendly interface and excellent data visualization capabilities.
  5. This software enables customers to integrate their applications and produce reports and dashboards in real-time.
  6. As it is web-based, it is possible to access Microsoft Power BI from almost anywhere. It has a cloud-based and on-premises data warehouse.
  7. It targets medium-sized businesses and large enterprises.

There are main key parts of Power BI –

  • Power BI DesktopIt is a window desktop application to allow developers to build reports and dashboards.
  • Power BI Service – It is Online Software as a Service called Power BI Service.
  • Power BI Mobile AppsIt’s a mobile application for iOS, Windows, and Android to view dashboards or reports on mobile devices.
  • Power BI Serverwhich allows BI Consultants to publish reports in the On-premise version after creating reports in Power BI Desktop.

Google Data Studio

Data Studio is a BI tool by Google.

  1. It allows a user to create a branded dashboard with data visualizations.
  2. It is a fully web-based custom software solution that enables you to produce customized graphs and reports in seconds.
  3. It is easy to use, customize, and share reports.
  4. It’s also designed primarily for consumers and small businesses.
  5. It provides almost any widget or visual which the user wants to represent data—for example, Bar, Line, Geo map, etc.
  6. Users can also change the logo or image or color/size of the font in the report.
  7. Google data studio provides functionality for sharing and permission the same as Google Doc and Google Sheet, so users can easily share this report with another person or configure permission on reports.
  8. Users can also configure reports as public web. So, there is no credential required to view this report.

Features Listing

Sr.No. Features Microsoft Power BI Google Data Studio (GDS)
1 Released Power BI was published the year 2013 before GDS and published to the public. As part of the Google Analytics 360 suite,
Google Data Studio (GDS) was released in 2016.
2 Availability Power BI has a desktop and cloud-based version. Google data studio has a cloud-based version.
3 Data Source There are approx. 110 data connectors
are available divided into 6 different categories.1. File: Excel, CSV, XML, etc.2. Database: SQL, Access, Teradata, SAP, etc.3. Power BI: Power BI dataset and Power BI data flow.4. Azure: Azure SQL database, Azure SQL data warehouse, Azure blob storage, etc.5. Online Services: Dynamic 365, SharePoint Online, Salesforce, Google Analytics, etc.6. Other: Microsoft exchange, ODBC, OLEDB, Spark, R Script, etc.
Currently, approx. 180 data connectors
are available divided into 3 main categories.1. Google Connectors: BigQuery, Google Sheets, Google Ads, etc.2. Partners Connectors: Custom JSON/CSV/XML, Facebook Ads, Amazon Ads, Instagram Ads, LinkedIn Ads, Twitter, Vimeo, YouTube, etc.3. Open Source Connectors: GitHub, Stack overflow
question, Meetup, Google Fit, etc.
4 Scheduling
  • For scheduled functionality, users need to purchase the Pro version of this tool.
  • There is no schedule functionality available in the free version.
Users can schedule the process of
downloading the report in PDF
and sending it to you, or your customers’
weekly/monthly by mail.
5 Chart Template
or Widget
  • Basically, it provides approx. 30 charts, but Power BI is providing a feature to add more charts from the marketplace.
  • MPB provides 2 options to add more visuals as below.

1. Import from file: User can add its own custom visual (Chart template)

2. Import from a marketplace: Users can add it from a marketplace where some other developer has added custom visuals.

It is providing approx. 30 chart
templates, for example, Table, Time series, Pie, Line, Geo map, etc.
6 Pricing Power BI has a pricing plan. Free version
with basic reporting feature and Pro version
gives you full features with real-time dashboard
updates. For pricing, refer to this link.
  • In May 2016, Google announced a free version of a data studio for individuals and smaller teams.
  • At the time, there were differences between the paid and the free versions, such as the number of reports that could be created per account.
  • By February 2017, Google announced free, unlimited Data Studio reports.
  • Since then, the free version of Google Data Studio has continued to add powerful features and usability enhancements.
7 Sharing
  • Power BI’s weak point is to pay if you want to correctly handle access rights and share.
  • The only caveat with the free limited version is that you can’t manage users.
  • The only way the data can be shared is to go public – anyone with the link can see the report and access it.
  • Like Google Docs & Sheets, one can share dashboards, set up views or edit user-level privileges.
  • One can share the shared report via a link.
8 Reliability
  • It is more powerful compared to Google Data Studio.
  • The data is fetched based on the complex queries, which means more things in the puzzle can eventually break.
  • Power BI users sometimes had problems with refreshing information and choices for visual customization.
  • Despite the reality that GDS has just emerged from beta testing, it does result in a small margin in this category.
  • Google Data Studio is more accurate as the key sources (AdWords + GA) are directly integrated, so data refresh should not be a problem.
  • Since it has fewer features and fewer moving parts than Power BI, the code is more stable, of course.
9 Complexity and Integration
  • It can gather data from more business apps, including Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce, Excel, GitHub, and Google Analytics as well.
  • It has everything from KPI trackers and forecasts to visual calendars and designers for infographics
  • It even has a long list of features that allow you to mix and add fresh metrics from various sources.
  • GDS has Google Analytics, Sheets, and AdWords indigenous support.
  • It has conventional bar, line, and pie charts for visualization choices.
  • Its functions are highly restricted and need to discover a manual workaround to do half of the stuff that Power BI can do.
10 Data Cleanup & Transformation
  • In Power BI, one will find the same Power Query as in Excel.
  • Power Query within Power BI appears to be slightly ahead in terms of updates.
  • Available Power Query implies one can do standard operations such as Filtering & cleaning raw information, converting unique characters, changing letter instances, renaming columns, Combining 2 tables into 1, etc.
  • Here, Google Data Studio is behind Power BI.
  • Google Data Studio expects to obtain nice and clean data that need only to be viewed.
  • Before loading to Google Data Studio, one cannot do any cleaning.
11 Ease of use
  • When it comes to ease of use, the clear winner is Power BI.
  • That’s because it shares UI aspects with familiar services like Excel and Word from Microsoft, and it’s always where one expects them to be the features one needs.
  • It also has drag-and-drop features that allow one to add graphics and information areas to a report with just a few mouse clicks.
  • In user-friendliness, GDS is not too far behind.
  • Like Power BI, one can drag and drop graphics and data to generate immediate reports, but users who have never worked with Google Analytics may find it hard to navigate the menus and adjust the visuals and charts.
12 Visualization
  • Power BI provides the same set of graphs and tables, like GDS, including custom colors, font sizes, etc.
  • One feature that excels in Power BI is the dynamic connection between all graphs and tables on the current page.
  • By choosing values (e.g. “Department”) in one’s sizes (e.g., “Tickets”), one communicates with his dashboard in real-time. In real life, the report will be like an image under the ‘Microsoft Power BI Report Example’ title.
  • This interactive, dynamic relationship feature is not present in GDS.
  • This feature does not lag GDS behind Power BI.
  • It is already ahead by the “time comparison” feature i.e., one can easily compare the current data with the previous one. It is something that is only semi-friendly in Power BI.
  • Refer image under the ‘Google Data Studio Report Example’ title.

Microsoft Power BI Report Example

Power-BI-Report

Google Data Studio Report Example

Google Data Studio Report Example

Advantages and Disadvantages of using Power BI and Google Data Studio

Whilst in this world, everything has its two sides. In a similar manner, Microsoft Power BI and Google Data Studio have their own Pros and Cons.

Microsoft Power BI

Sr.No Pros Cons
1 It is a perfectly integrated Microsoft platform. It is taking a bit more time while dealing with a large amount of data.
2 It is compatible with mobile devices. Users cannot share a report with another person outside of the domain.
3 It has the capability of complex data transformations. For security and sharing features, one must have to use its Pro version.
4 It allows combining & merging data before visualizing. The overall cost of its Pro version is higher than other suites.
5 Lots of out-of-the-box visualization options and widgets. It does not accept larger files of more than 250 MB.
6 The large community of users and resources. In the free version, it has a limit of 1GB of data per user.

Google Data Studio

Sr.No Pros Cons
1 It is free. No data source is merging before visualizing.
2 Ease of creating data visuals – a user doesn’t need to be an expert in manipulating the charts. Browser only. There is no desktop tool to create reports.
3 Custom metrics and dimensions can be created directly within the platform. Limited data visualization options and widgets compare to Power BI.
4 Versatile, especially if utilizing other Google marketing products. The customization option is less compared to Power BI.
5 Ease of sharing reports with a URL link that anyone can access and use it. It is not mobile-friendly.
6 Users can download the report in PDF formats. Only basic widgets and features are there, while the full suite of reporting features is not available.
7 Flexible GA (Google Analytics) Integration and Live Editing. The dynamic relationship feature between all graphs and tables on the same page is not available.

Conclusion

Finally, we have studied two of the most popular BI tools – Microsoft Power BI and Google Data Studio. If there is a limit of cost, then one can go with either the free version of Power BI or the Google Data Studio. Basically, if one is not willing to pay for, have nice and clean data already, don’t need to carry out any data clean-up, combining & merging before visualizing, don’t need to display data from different sources in one chart, etc. then stick to the Google Data Studio. On the other hand, if one expects custom software solutions to perform complex data transformations, is willing to pay, needs to view information from advertising systems outside the globe of Google, etc. then Microsoft Power BI is the best choice.

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