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Power Pivot vs Power BI

Qlik vs Power BI

Power BI and Power Pivot are two of the most popular business analytics tools. Since both these tools have highly competitive features and characteristics, it can be tough to choose the most suitable option for your business.  

Research shows that businesses generate about 2 exabytes of data per day, which is a massive number. However, it can be difficult to make sense of all this information as most of it is in an unstructured form. To make sense of this raw data, businesses need effective analytics tools. 

That said, we’ll do a full comparison of the functionalities and capabilities of Power Pivot vs Power BI. Also, we are going to explore their key features, pros, and cons to help distinguish both tools so you choose the one best for your needs. Let’s get started.  

What is Power BI?

Power BI is a business analytics tool developed by Microsoft that helps you analyze data, get valuable insights from it, and share the results with your team. You can use it to make sense of the raw data, which will then help you to produce accurate decisions for your business.

Key Features of Power BI

This analytics tool is packed with awesome features, and here is a brief overview of some of its top-notch capabilities. 

Data connectivity: Through this Power BI feature, you can connect to a wide variety of data sources, such as Excel, SQL databases, cloud services, and more. This means you can easily bring all your data together in one place, regardless of where it’s originally stored.

Data modeling: With Power BI’s data modeling capabilities, you can shape and transform data to create meaningful relationships between different tables. This feature enables you to build a solid data model that accurately represents your business’s analytics. 

Interactive reports and dashboards: Power BI lets you create dynamic reports and dashboards with interactive visualizations. You can explore data, apply filters, and break down specific details to uncover valuable insights and make data-driven decisions via this tool.

Pros of Power BI

User-friendly interface: The BI analytics tool has an intuitive and user-friendly interface, making it easy for users to create interactive visualizations without extensive technical knowledge. You can just drag and drop data elements to create compelling reports effortlessly.

Collaboration and sharing: Power BI allows you to collaborate with team members by sharing reports and dashboards, making it easier to work together and communicate insights effectively.

Advanced analytics capabilities: There are some advanced analytics features in Power BI, like predictive modeling, data mining, and machine learning, which makes it a more efficient tool. 

Real-time data updates: Power BI lets you connect to live data sources and set up automatic data refresh. With this, you can ensure your reports and dashboards always display the most up-to-date information.

Mobile accessibility: You can also access Power BI on mobile apps for iOS and Android, allowing you to check your reports and dashboards on the go. This makes it convenient to stay updated and access data from anywhere.

Cons of Power BI

Limited customization options: While Power BI offers a wide range of visualizations, the customization options can be somewhat limited. You may find it challenging to create highly customized visuals or implement complex design elements. 

Steep learning curve: Power BI can be complex for beginners. It requires a good understanding of data modeling, DAX formulas, and Power Query. The learning curve can be a bit steep, especially if you’re not familiar with these concepts.

What is Power Pivot?

Power Pivot first came into existence in 2010. It is an add-on in MS Excel that allows you to analyze and manipulate large amounts of data right inside the spreadsheets. Through this tool, you can create relationships between different tables, perform complex calculations, and generate insightful reports.  

Key Features of Power Pivot

There are several remarkable features of Power Pivot, but some of the most prominent ones are as follows:

Data modeling: With Power Pivot, you can easily create complex data models by combining multiple tables from different sources. This allows you to visualize and analyze large datasets efficiently, making it a powerful tool for data analysis.

Advanced calculations: Power Pivot provides advanced calculation capabilities, letting you create complex formulas and calculations using functions like SUM, AVERAGE, and COUNT. You can also create custom measures and calculated columns to perform calculations based on your specific business requirements.

Data analysis expressions: DAX is the language used by Power Pivot, which is a powerful formula language specifically designed for data analysis. It allows you to perform complex aggregations and time intelligence calculations to analyze data in a more meaningful way.

Relationship management: You can establish relationships between different tables in your data model via Power Pivot. This helps in creating meaningful connections between related data, allowing you to perform powerful analysis and generate accurate reports. 

Pros of Power Pivot

Increased data capacity: By using this tool, you can work with large volumes of data from multiple sources without hitting the row limit in Excel worksheets. 

Rapid information analysis: Power Pivot’s efficient data handling capabilities enable analysts to explore data from various angles, identify patterns, and uncover valuable insights in a shorter amount of time.

Seamless sharing of insights: You can create interactive reports and dashboards using Power Pivot, which can be easily shared with colleagues or stakeholders.

Cons of Power Pivot

Limited compatibility: Power Pivot is not available in all versions of Excel. It is primarily compatible with higher-end versions like Excel 2013 Professional Plus, Excel 2016, and later versions. This may limit its accessibility for users with older Excel versions.

Slow Data Refresh: If your data sources change frequently, you may need to spend additional time updating and refreshing the data model in Power Pivot.

Complexity: This tool is more complex than a basic Excel Pivot Table. It is designed for handling large and complex datasets, which may be overwhelming for users not familiar with advanced data modeling techniques. 

Power Pivot vs Power BI: Features and Capabilities Comparison

Let’s move ahead and dive deeper into how the different features of Power Pivot vs Power BI compare with each other. 

Data Sources and Connectivity

Power BI is pretty flexible when it comes to data sources. It connects well with various services like SQL, Excel, Azure, and more. You can easily pull in data from different places, which is handy if you’ve got information scattered around.

In comparison, Power Pivot is more Excel-centric. It works seamlessly within Excel, so if you’re an Excel pro, it’s a breeze to integrate your data. However, it’s not as versatile as Power BI in terms of connecting to a wide range of data sources. 

Data Visualization and Presentation

When talking about visualization, Power BI stands out as a leader in the field. It offers various charts, graphs, and interactive visuals to make your data look stunning. 

Power Pivot, on the other hand, is more focused on data modeling and analysis than fancy visuals. While you can make some basic charts in Excel, it’s not as dynamic as Power BI in terms of creating eye-catching, interactive reports. 

Data Modelling

Power BI is strong in data modeling, but it is more focused on visuals. Although you can create relationships between tables, it’s not as intricate as Power Pivot. Contrarily, Power Pivot shines in data modeling. It’s like a data wizard for Excel, allowing you to create intricate data models, establish relationships, and perform advanced calculations with ease.


When it comes to data analysis, you can add dynamic reference lines to visuals, recover data automatically, and collaborate with Azure analytics services with Power BI. All these features are great for interactive reporting and getting quick insights.

On the contrary, Power Pivot is more about in-depth analytics. It introduces Data Analysis Expressions (DAX), allowing you to attempt complex calculations and apply custom measures. If you need to dive deep into data analysis, especially within Excel, Power Pivot is your tool.


With Power BI, you can integrate with various CRM, data management, voice messaging, and accounting tools, including Office 365, Xero, Salesforce, ScreenCloud, and REACH. It’s well-connected for a wide range of business needs.

For Pivot, the primary integrations are within Excel. They are more focused on surveys, sales automation, and supply chain management tools, such as Key Survey, Inzata, Avercast, and CARTO.


Multiple users can work together on reports and dashboards within Power BI. You can share your reports with colleagues, set permissions, and make changes in real time, making it a great tool for team collaboration and data-sharing.

Contrarily, Power Pivot relies on Excel’s collaboration features. While you can work jointly on Excel files using cloud storage or tools like SharePoint, it may not offer the same level of real-time collaboration as Power BI. This tool is more suitable for individual or smaller-scale collaborations within the Excel environment.


In Power BI, it is easy to create interactive reports. It offers a drag-and-drop interface, making it simple to design and share reports with charts, graphs, and filters. On the other hand, Power Pivot lets you create basic reports within Excel, but they are not as visually engaging and interactive as those in Power BI.

Key Differences Between Power BI And Power Pivot 

To make it easy for you to understand the basic differences between the two tools, here is a Power Pivot vs Power BI chart. 

MetricPower BIPower Pivot
Cost Starting from $10Included in Excel and Office Products 
Installation Simple processEasy Installation
Formula Language DAX and MDAX
Cloud capabilitiesMicrosoft Azure ServicesNone in itself 
User-friendlinessIntuitive with drag-and-dropRequires Excel proficiency and has a steeper learning curve
Automatic Reports RefreshYes, you can schedule the reports to get them generated automatically in specific durations.No
Dashboard Customization OptionYesNo
Tabular Reports NoYes

EPC Group’s Excellence in Power BI Services

To sum up the Power Pivot vs Power BI debate, both are useful analytics tools for businesses to streamline their data needs. But when it comes to comparing both, it’s clear that Power BI emerges as the ultimate winner due to its easy-to-use, interactive design and dynamic features. 

If you’re looking to upgrade your data analytics and visualization operations, Power BI is the solution your business needs. And when it comes to getting top-notch Power BI services, your search ends with EPC Group. 

Our company has a track record of serving the industry for 25 years. We specialize in delivering Microsoft services and end-to-end IT solutions tailored to meet your unique requirements.

So, don’t hesitate and contact us today to integrate Power BI into your business operations and become an extraordinary force in your field. 

Errin OConnor

Errin OConnor

With over 25 years of experience in Information Technology and Management Consulting, Errin O’Connor has led hundreds of large-scale enterprise implementations from Business Intelligence, Power BI, Office 365, SharePoint, Exchange, IT Security, Azure and Hybrid Cloud efforts for over 165 Fortune 500 companies.

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