6 items tagged "microsoft"

  • Business Intelligence software comparison: Looker versus Power BI

    Business Intelligence software comparison: Looker versus Power BI

    Looker and Microsoft Power BI are two popular business intelligence software solutions. Each software has robust features so companies can make better decisions based on their data.

    Here, we compare Looker and Power BI on several factors.

    What is the difference between Looker and Power BI?

    • ​While both software solutions are deployed in the cloud, Power BI is only available in the Microsoft Azure environment. Looker, on the other hand, can be deployed in multiple cloud environments (e.g., Azure, Google Cloud, AWS).
    • Looker requires a custom price quote, but Power BI’s pricing is displayed on its website.
    • Both vendors offer similar customer support features. However, Looker has built-in live chat, while Power BI doesn’t.

    Product Overviews

    The following excerpts from our Looker and Power BI reviews summarize each software solution:


    Google Cloud’s Looker Data Platform is a data-discovery platform that helps companies make better business decisions through real-time access to data. Data, no matter the size, can be analyzed within Looker’s 100% in-database and 100% browser-based platform. Looker analytics integrate with any SQL database or data warehouse, such as Amazon Athena, Greenplum and Microsoft Azure SQL Data Warehouse.

    The platform is accessible on any browser as well as on mobile devices  – reports and data can be shared via email or URLs. Data can be integrated into different applications such as Google Docs, Excel, and even customer and third-party applications. It can also be manually exported in .csv or text files.

    Power BI

    Microsoft Power BI is a cloud-based business intelligence and analytics service that provides users with a full overview of your most critical data. Connecting to all of your data sources, Power BI simplifies data evaluation and sharing with scalable dashboards, interactive reports, embedded visuals and more.

    There are several versions. Power BI Desktop is an on-premise solution that connects to a cloud-based service to easily upload and share data and information across the company. Power BI Mobile has the same capabilities, but in an app, so you can have a 360-degree view of your company anytime, anywhere.

    Power BI has two additional versions with advanced features: Power BI Pro and Power BI Premium. Power BI Pro allows users to share insights with collaborators. They can analyze data by using conversational language (the Q&A feature) and get insights from pre-built visualization and reporting templates. Users can share data in other Microsoft platforms like Teams or Dynamics 365. Power BI Premium allows an organization’s internal or external users (e.g., clients) to view Power BI reports without a license. It also empowers users to prepare and transform big datasets.

    Features Comparisons

    Data Preparation


    Looker connects with over 50 SQL-compliant databases (e.g., Google BigQuery, Amazon RedShift, Snowflake). Its proprietary LookML data modeling tool lets users develop custom data models. After connecting with a SQL database, Looker automatically creates a basic LookML model. Users can then build on that model by adding in their own code or by selecting from over 100 pre-built Looker Blocks, as well as customizing the model with unique metrics. The LookML model can be saved for future use, so users won’t need to write SQL queries each time. LookML can also perform any data transformations at the time of the query, so users won’t need to manually store the data elsewhere.

    Power BI

    Power BI connects with over 100 cloud-based and on-premise data sources (e.g., Excel, Salesforce, Azure SQL database). It includes automated daily refreshes, so data stays up to date. Note that the amount of daily refreshes depends on the tier: Power BI Pro performs up to eight refreshes per day, while Power BI Premium refreshes data up to 48 times daily. Users can prepare their data with the Power Query tool. Power Query has prebuilt transformation functions (e.g., removing columns, filtering rows) that users can simply select from within the interface. If a user needs to add a new transformation function, Power Query automatically adds in an M code, so the user doesn’t need to write any new code.

    Bottom Line

    Both software solutions connect with a variety of data sources. However, their data transformation features are different. Users won’t need to perform any data transformation within Looker as the software handles that automatically. But there’s minimal data transformation work that Power BI users will need to perform manually.

    Data Visualizations and Dashboards


    Looker has interactive visualizations and dashboards that let users drill down into the data at row-level detail. It includes a library of visualization templates in different formats (e.g., timelines, funnel, combined charts, treemaps), but users can build their own visualizations, too. It also includes a drag-and-drop functionality for users to explore and ask questions in their data. Users can also take action or complete a task directly in their data, such as sending an email or a Slack chat, with the Actions feature that has prebuilt integrations for third-party software systems.

    Power BI

    Users can create visualizations using the drag-and-drop tool by choosing from many templates from Microsoft and third-party providers or by creating their own. They can create mobile-optimized reports by selecting the Phone Layout button, and then adjusting the chart or graph. The Power BI Pro tier lets users share the reports with their external or internal colleagues. Those colleagues can add comments to the visualization, as well as subscribe for updates or alerts.

    Bottom Line

    Both software solutions have robust visualization and dashboard options, but Looker currently doesn’t offer the ability for other users to add their comments to the visualization, while Power BI does. We do want to note that due to its Actions features, Looker users can perform tasks in their data without logging onto their third-party system account, while Power BI doesn’t have this functionality.

    Embedded Analytics


    Companies can offer their clients and employees the opportunity to analyze data within their existing third-party application. Developers can build their app with Looker’s native integrations and public APIs, and they can also collaborate using Git version-control and workflow features. Companies can grow their revenue streams by offering product tiers that feature customization, ad hoc analysis, data granularity and admin reporting functionalities.

    Power BI

    With Power BI Embedded on Azure, developers and software vendors can insert Power BI into their software application using JavaScript SDK, and monitor performance and automations with REST APIs. Some of its features include custom-built visuals, the ability for end users to create and edit dashboards, and single- and multi-tenant deployment with row-level security.

    Bottom Line

    Looker has a multi-cloud data platform, but Power BI can only be deployed in the Microsoft Azure environment.



    Looker provides custom pricing that’s tailored to each organization based on deployment scale, number of users and other factors. Prospects will need to contact the vendor directly for a quote. Looker does offer discounts to nonprofits and schools.

    Power BI

    Power BI Desktop is free to individual users. Here’s the pricing for Power BI Pro and Power BI Premium:

    • Pro – The Pro version costs $9.99 per user, per month and includes a mobile app, the ability to publish and share reports, a 1 GB model size limit, eight data refreshes daily, the ability to connect to over 100 data sources, embedded APIs and controls, AI visuals, data security and encryption, metrics for content creation and publishing and up to 10 GB per user maximum storage. Pro is available for free for companies that have the Microsoft 365 E5 solution.
    • Premium (per user) – The Premium per user plan costs $20 per user, per month. It includes all of the features of the Pro plan, plus paginated reports, a 100 GB model size limit, 48 data refreshes daily, advanced AI features, XMLA endpoint read/write connectivity, data flows, the ability to analyze data stored in Azure Data Lake Storage, application lifecycle management and up to 100 TB of maximum storage.
    • Premium (per capacity) – This version starts at $4,995 per month, per dedicated cloud compute and storage resource. It includes all of the features of the Premium per user plan, plus on-premise reporting, a 400 GB model limit, multi-location deployment management, Bring Your Own Key (BYOK) and autoscale add-on.

    Bottom Line

    Looker prefers to provide custom quotes to prospective clients, while Microsoft displays its pricing up front, which may be preferable to some customers.

    Customer Support


    Users can access Looker’s Help Center to:

    • Browse articles
    • Submit a support request

    In addition, the Looker Community allows users to network with other users and receive troubleshooting tips, ideas and best practices.

    Users can also email the support team or contact them via live chat directly from the Looker platform. Looker has the following response times based on severity (during normal business hours):

    • Severity 1 (critical) – Up to one hour
    • Severity 2 (urgent) – Up to four hours
    • Severity 3 (tolerable) and Severity 4 (non-critical) – Up to one business day

    Finally, Looker offers guided learning paths via its Looker Connect solution for users to grow their BI skills.

    Power BI

    Microsoft offers several resources:

    • FAQs
    • In-depth documentation on tools and features
    • Guided learning courses
    • A community forum
    • Samples of Power BI reports and dashboards

    In addition, Power BI Pro users can submit a support ticket.

    Bottom Line

    While both vendors provide customers with a help center and community forum, Looker has live in-app chat, and Power BI doesn’t offer this feature at all.

    Author: Melissa Pardo-Bunte

    Source: BetterBuys

  • Content Copyright Clash: New York Times' Legal Battle with Microsoft and OpenAI  

    Content Copyright Clash: New York Times' Legal Battle with Microsoft and OpenAI  

    The New York Times Co. sued Microsoft Corp. and OpenAI Inc. for using its content to help develop artificial intelligence services, in a sign of the increasingly fraught relationship between the media and a technology that could upend the news industry.

    The technology firms relied on millions of copyrighted articles to train chatbots like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and other AI features, allegedly causing billions of dollars in statutory and actual damages, according to a lawsuit filed in New York on Wednesday. The Times didn’t specify its monetary demands.

    OpenAI has faced criticism for scraping text widely from the web to train its popular chatbot since it debuted a year ago. While it has been sued by prominent authors, this is the first challenge to its practices by a major media organization. The startup has sought licensing deals with publishers, much like Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Meta Platforms Inc.’s Facebook have done in recent years. The Times’ lawsuit said the publisher reached out to Microsoft and OpenAI in April and couldn’t reach an amicable solution.

    “We respect the rights of content creators and owners and are committed to working with them to ensure they benefit from AI technology and new revenue models,” an OpenAI spokesperson said in a statement. “Our ongoing conversations with the New York Times have been productive and moving forward constructively, so we are surprised and disappointed with this development.” Microsoft declined to comment.

    In July, OpenAI signed an agreement with the Associated Press to access some of the news agency’s archives. OpenAI cut a three-year deal in December with Axel Springer SE to use the German media company’s work for an undisclosed sum.

    “We’re hopeful that we will find a mutually beneficial way to work together, as we are doing with many other publishers,” OpenAI’s spokesperson said Wednesday.

    OpenAI has been the target of multiple lawsuits from content producers complaining that their work has been improperly used for AI training. The company faces class actions from cultural figures including comedian Sarah Silverman, Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin, and Pulitzer-winning author Michael Chabon.

    The cases are still in their early stages and could take years to fully resolve. A judge in San Francisco earlier this month hinted at trimming Silverman’s copyright lawsuit against OpenAI. The judge had already narrowed a similar Silverman suit against Meta.

    New Financing

    OpenAI is currently in talks with investors for new financing at a $100 billion valuation that would make it the second-most valuable US startup, Bloomberg News reported last week.

    Microsoft is OpenAI’s largest backer and has deployed the startup’s AI tools in several of its products. In the lawsuit, the New York Times alleged Microsoft copied the newspaper’s articles verbatim for its Bing search engine and used OpenAI’s tech to boost its value by a trillion dollars.

    Microsoft’s share price has risen 55% since ChatGPT debuted in November 2022, increasing its market capitalization to $2.8 trillion. Shares were little changed Wednesday, closing at $374.07 in New York.

    “If Microsoft and OpenAI want to use our work for commercial purposes, the law requires that they first obtain our permission,” a New York Times spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “They have not done so.”

    Date: January 2, 2024

    Author: Mark Bergen

    Source: Bloomberg

  • Microsoft lanceert nieuw big data analytics platform

    microsoft3Microsoft presenteert een nieuwe big data oplossing op basis van de computercode R en de technologie die het binnenhaalde bij de overname van bedrijf Revolution Analytics.

    Technologiereus Microsoft heeft een nieuw geavanceerd analytics platform onthuld op basis van de programmeertaal R: Microsoft R Server. De knowhow deed Microsoft vorig jaar op door de aankoop van Revolution Analytics, een provider van software en diensten in de R computertaal.

    Microsoft R Server werkt met Windows, Linux, Hadoop en Teradata software. De software is gebaseerd op Revolution R Enterprise (RRE), een product van Revolution Analytics. Het pakket Microsoft R Open, dat een “verbeterde distributie van R van Microsoft” voorziet, is een voorwaarde om gebruik te maken van het R Server platform, zo stelt Microsoft.

    “Microsoft R Server is een snel en kostenefficiënt professioneel big data geavanceerd analytics platform dat een waaier aan big data statistics, predictive modeling en machine learning mogelijkheden ondersteunt,” vermeldt de beschrijving van de software op het Microsoft Developer Network, waar het beschikbaar is als download voor abonnees van het netwerk. Het platform is ook te vinden op DreamSpark, het academische programma van Microsoft.

  • Microsoft takes next cybersecurity step

    Microsoft takes next cybersecurity step

    Microsoft just announced they are dropping the password-expiration policies that require periodic password changes in Windows 10 version 1903 and Windows Server version 1903.  Microsoft explains in detail this new change and the rationale behind it, emphasizing that they support layered security and authentication protections beyond passwords but that they cannot express those protections in their baseline.  

    Welcome move

    This is a most welcome step. Forcing users to change their passwords periodically works against security, it means consumers have to write them down to remember them and it does nothing to stop hackers from stealing current passwords. Hackers generally use stolen passwords very quickly, and password complexity does little to prevent use of stolen passwords either, since hackers can just as easily capture or steal a complex password as they can a simple one.

    The time has long passed for organizations to stop relying on interactive passwords that users have to enter altogether. Hopefully this move by Microsoft will help move the transition to more secure forms of authentication. Finally a big tech company (that manages much of our daily authentication) is using independent reasoned thinking rather than going along with the crowd mentality when the crowd’s less secure password management practices are, however counterintuitive, less secure.

    Alternative authentication forms and decentralized identity (DID)

    Biometrics on their own can also be hacked. So can one time Passwords, especially those that use SMS and other authentication methods where man-in-the middle or man-in-the browser attacks are possible. What is more secure (and private) is another method Microsoft and many other organizations are starting to support: Decentralized Identities, where users control their own identity and authentication information.

    Using this method, the user’s credential and identity data is maintained in a hardened enclave only accessible to the user using their own private key that is typically unlocked using the user’s private mobile phone and optionally another authentication factor. In the end, the consumer just gets a notice from the site they are trying to log into to confirm the log in on their mobile phone (or other device) by just clicking 'yes' (to the login request) or additionally and optionally by using a biometric, e.g. a fingerprint or an iris scan.

    The bottom line is there is layered user authentication and the user doesn’t have to remember or enter an insecure password. And most importantly the user owns their own secured credential and identity data and no one can access it without user permission.

    Decentralized identities, the path to individual control

    DIDs are supported by many organizations today. Most (but not all) mega tech companies are joining the move to standardize DID technology. The companies not joining are generally the ones that continue to earn a living by monetizing consumer data, largely through advertising and data resell activities.  Adding fuel to the fire, some of these companies have an abysmal record when it comes to securing consumer data.

    Hopefully consumers will start protesting the monetization of their data by adopting DID as an authentication mechanism. It’s certainly a chicken and egg problem but there is gradual adoption across sectors. For example, even the Bitcoin network just started accepting DIDs, and British Columbia in Canada has also implemented them for small business identification.

    Web 3.0

    For sure, I will gladly sign up for a DID as soon as someone asks me too. I really am at my limit in tolerating password management policies. And I’m even more tired of being subject to continuous massive data breaches that steal my most personal and sensitive information, just because I live and transact.

    I don’t think anything else short of a massive re-architecting of the web and how we manage identity data will solve all these problems of data breaches and consumer data monetization and abuse.

    Author: Avivah Litan

    Source: Gartner

  • Research details developments in the business intelligence (BI) market that is estimated to grow at 10% CAGR to 2020

    HOIThe global business intelligence market report, an analyst says In the past few years, social media has played critical roles in SMEs and mid-sized organizations. Many SMEs are increasingly embracing this trend and integrating their BI software with social media platforms.

    Market outlook of business intelligence market - market research analyst predicts the global business intelligence market to grow at a CAGR of around 10% during the forecast period. The growing adoption of data analytics by organizations worldwide is a key driver for the growth of this market.

    The majority of corporate data sources include data generated from enterprise applications along with newly generated cloud-based and social network data. business intelligence tools are useful in the retrieval and analysis of this vast and growing volume of discrete data.

    They also help optimize business decisions, discover significant weak signals, and develop indicator patterns to identify opportunities and threats for businesses.

    The increased acceptance of cloud BI solutions by SMEs is also boosting the growth of this market. The adoption of cloud services allows end-users to concentrate on core activities rather than managing their IT environment.

    Cloud BI solutions enable applications to be scaled quickly, can be easily integrated with easy integration with third-party applications, and provide security at all levels of the enterprise IT architecture so that these applications can be accessed remotely.

    Market segmentation by technology of the business intelligence market:

    • Traditional BI
    • Mobile BI
    • Cloud BI
    • Social BI

    The mobile BI segment accounts for approximately 20% of the global BI market. It enables the mobile workforce to get business insights by data analysis, using applications optimized for mobile and smart devices.

    The growing smartphone adoption is likely to emerge as a key growth driver for this segment during the forecast period.

    Market segmentation by deployment of the business intelligence market

    • Cloud BI
    • On-premises BI

    The on-premise segment accounted for 86% of the market share during 2015. However, the report anticipates this segment to witness a decline in its shares by the end of the forecast period.

    In this segment, the software is purchased and installed on the server of an enterprise. It requires more maintenance but is highly secure and easy to manage.

    Geographical segmentation of the BI market

    • Americas
    • APAC
    • EMEA

    The Americas dominated the market during 2015, with a market share of around 56%. The high adoption of cloud BI solutions in this region is the major growth contributor for this market.

    The US is the market leader in this region as most of the key vendors are based out of here.

    Competitive landscape and key vendors

    Microsoft is one of the largest BI vendors and offers Power BI, which helps to deliver business-user-oriented, self-service data preparation and analysis needs through Excel 2013 and Office 365. The competitive environment in this market is expected to intensify during the forecast period due to an increase in R&D innovations and mergers.

    The market is also expected to witness a growing trend of acquisitions by the leading players. The key players in the market are expected to diversify their geographical presence during the forecast period.

    The key vendors of the market are -

    • IBM
    • Microsoft
    • Oracle
    • SAP
    • SAS Institute

    Other prominent vendors in the market include Actuate, Alteryx, Board International, Brist, Datawatch, GoodData, Infor, Information Builders, Logi Analytics, MicroStrategy, Panorama Software, Pentaho, Prognoz, Pyramid Analytics, Qlik, Salient Management Company, Tableau, Targit, Tibco Software, and Yellowfin.

    Key questions answered in the report

    • What will the market size and the growth rate be in 2020?
    • What are the key factors driving the BI market?
    • What are the key market trends impacting the growth of the BI market?
    • What are the challenges to market growth?
    • Who are the key vendors in the global BI market?
    • What are the market opportunities and threats faced by the vendors in the BI market?
    • Trending factors influencing the market shares of the Americas, APAC, and EMEA?
    • What are the key outcomes of the five forces analysis of the BI market?

    Source: WhaTech

  • Toegang tot RPA-bots in Azure dankzij Automation Anywhere

    Toegang tot RPA-bots in Azure dankzij Automation Anywhere

    Automation Anywhere heeft het mogelijk gemaakt om toegang te krijgen tot zijn Robotic Process Automation (RPA)-bots vanuit Azure. Het bedrijf stelt dat er een uitgebreide samenwerking is opgezet met Microsoft, die gezamenlijke productintegratie, gezamenlijke verkopen en gezamenlijke marketing mogelijk moet maken. 

    Automation Anywhere koos daarnaast voor Azure als zijn cloud-provider, waardoor gezamenlijke klanten altijd en overal toegang hebben tot automatiseringstechnologie, schrijft idm. Organisaties kunnen het RPA-platform van Automation Anywhere op Azure, on premise en in een public of private cloud hosten.

    Alysa Taylor, Corporate Vice President van Cloud and Business bij Microsoft Business Applications and Industry, stelt dat de visie van Automation Anywhere overeenkomt met die van Microsoft. 'Dat is de visie om data en intelligence in al onze producten, applicaties, diensten en ervaringen te stoppen'. Volgens Mihir Shukla, CEO en mede-oprichter van Automation Anywhere, stelt de samenwerking bedrijven in staat om efficiënter te worden, de kosten via automatisering te verlagen en om werknemers de kans te geven om te focussen op wat ze het beste doen.

    Microsoft gaat op zijn beurt de automatiseringsproducten van Automation Anywhere uitlichten in zijn Executive Briefing Centres wereldwijd. Daardoor kunnen klanten hands-on demonstraties krijgen van Microsoft-producten, die mogelijk worden gemaakt door Automation Anywhere-technologie.


    Automation Anywhere kondigde in april aan ook een samenwerking te hebben opgezet met Oracle Integration Cloud. De twee bedrijven willen intelligente automatisering versnellen en de adoptie van door kunstmatige intelligentie aangedreven software-bots in de Integration Cloud mogelijk maken.

    Met het RPA-platform van Automation Anywhere moet het voor klanten van de Oracle Integration Cloud mogelijk worden om complexe zakelijke processen te automatiseren, zodat de werknemers zich op werk met meer waarde kunnen focussen. Ook moet de organisatorische efficiëntie verhoogd worden.

    Als onderdeel van de samenwerking wordt de enterprise RPA-platform connector voor de Integration Cloud beschikbaar. Oracle-klanten krijgen verder toegang tot de software-bots van Automation Anywhere, en de twee bedrijven werken samen aan extra bot-creaties speciaal voor Oracle. Die bot-creaties moeten beschikbaar worden in de Automation Anywhere Bot Store.

    Auteeur: Eveline Meijer

    Bron: Techzine

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