Global cosmetics manufacturer Revlon, for instance, has found Power BI to be a credible alternative to Oracle Hyperion, the BI tool the company has traditionally used. Revlon had each country's office submit a report to the head office, the material from which was then reorganized into sections for each brand manager. Traditionally, this compilation would take two days. Power BI offers the ability for the brand managers to compile the data themselves on the fly.
"It has empowered the end users to be a lot closer to the results of the business," Kelly said.
The formal release of Power BI also brings with it a number of new capabilities. It can connect to a number of new data formats, including blob storage and table storage in the Microsoft Windows Azure cloud service, as well as data in Microsoft Active Directory and Microsoft Exchange.
Microsoft has also expanded its catalog of public data for Power BI users. It now includes Wikipedia data as well as financial data from Dun & Bradstreet.
Power BI is part of the Office 365 ProPlus service, which costs $52 per user per month. Organizations that have licensed copies of Office can purchase Power BI and SharePoint online for an additional $40 per user per month. Users of the Office 365 Enterprise E3/E4 packages using a promotion that goes until June would pay $20 per user per month for the additional Power BI capabilities. It will be $33 per user per month after June.
The amount of data that can be stored depends on the Office 365 allotment, which is now 25GB per user. Workbooks are limited to 250GB in size each.
One in four Microsoft Office users are now using Office 365 in some capacity, according to the company.