Choosing Microsoft Business Intelligence (BI) tools for analysis and reporting

Choosing the right business intelligence tool can be overwhelming. Learn about the different Microsoft offerings and find the one that best fits your needs.

The following table maps workloads for data analysis and reporting to the Microsoft BI tools that are best suited for those workloads. For more information about a product, click the product link in the table.

If you’re looking for a brief overview of these tools to help you decide which tools are right for you, see Introducing Microsoft Business Intelligence (BI) Tools.

Workloads User BI Tools
Excel SharePoint SharePoint Online Power BI SQL Server
Self-Service BI Analyst/End User
Easily discover, and access public and corporate data Excel 2016 Azure Data Catalog
Create powerful data models Power Pivot Power BI Desktop
Perform self-service predictive analytics Data Mining Add-Ins for Excel (Excel 2016 supported)
Visualize and explore data Power View

3D Maps
Power BI Desktop
Ask questions using natural language query Q & A
Access reports using mobile devices HTML 5 (supports viewing <10MB files)
(using the Power BI apps for mobile devices)
Collaborate and share SharePoint Sites SharePoint Team Sites
Corporate BI IT Pro
Create multi-dimensional/tabular corporate models Analysis Services
Create ad-hoc data visualizations Power View for SharePoint
Create dashboards SharePoint Dashboards

PerformancePoint Services
Dashboards in Power BI
Create operational reports *Reporting Services
Create custom and embedded reports Power BI Embedded
Advanced Analytics Data Scientist
Perform self-service predictive analytics Data Mining Add-Ins for Excel (Excel 2016 supported)
Use data mining algorithms Data Mining in Analysis Services

SQL Server R Services

*Reporting Services has a number features that support delivering modern, paginated reports.