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

SQL Server 2016 and later

Updated: September 12, 2016

Applies To: SQL Server 2016

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.

WorkloadsUserBI Tools
ExcelSharePointSharePoint OnlinePower BISQL Server
Self-Service BIAnalyst/End User
Easily discover, and access public and corporate dataExcel 2016Azure Data Catalog
Create powerful data modelsPower PivotPower BI Desktop
Perform self-service predictive analyticsData Mining Add-Ins for Excel (Excel 2016 supported)
Visualize and explore dataPower View

 3D Maps
Power BI Desktop
Ask questions using natural language queryQ & A
Access reports using mobile devicesHTML 5 (supports viewing <10MB files)HTML 5 (supports viewing <1GB)

 Power BI apps for mobile devices
Reporting Services
(using the Power BI apps for mobile devices)
Collaborate and shareSharePoint SitesSharePoint Team Sites
Corporate BIIT Pro
Create multi-dimensional/tabular corporate modelsAnalysis Services
Create ad-hoc data visualizationsPower View for SharePoint
Create dashboardsSharePoint Dashboards

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

SQL Server R Services

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

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