MSBI vs Power BI: Differences And Features

Vidhi Gupta
September 18th, 2023
8:00 Minutes

The demand for data transformation is increasing and so is the demand for Business Intelligence. In the coming years, both these needs are going to go a notch higher. The tools that are the most popular in this field are MSBI and Power BI.

These tools are making the headlines because they aid in accessing data points, integrating compiled reports, analyzing datasets, and creating visualizations, all as per business needs. Professionals having Power BI and MSBI certification are in huge demands these days. Let us take a closer look at what these two are individually and get to an evaluation of MSBI vs Power BI: differences and features.

An Introduction to MSBI (Microsoft Business Intelligence)

MSBI is a widely used ETL-capable (extract, transform, load) tool. It aids the users in organizing and visualizing multidimensional data, along with extracting, transforming, and loading it. In short, raw data can be converted into meaningful insights to be used by the organization.

Components that Help in Implementing ETL Capabilities

Microsoft Business Intelligence (MSBI) has three main components that help in implementing ETL capabilities-

1. SSIS - SQL Server Integration Service

Working as a data integration service, SSIS carries out ETL operations as it extracts data from multiple sources and then transforms it all into structured form.

2. SSAS - SQL Server Analytics Server

SSAS provides OLAP (online analytical processing) services to help the user discover data patterns.

3. SSRS - SQL Server Reporting Service

It facilitates the user in creating server-based reports. Additionally, users can print reports and generate visuals by assessing them via web interfaces.

Features of MSBI

MSBI is jam-packed with features and here are a few you should know about -

  • Cost-effective
  • Easy integration tools
  • Supports SEMO warehousing operations
  • Easy installation
  • Easily operational GUI
  • User-friendly
  • End-to-end business solutions 

An Introduction to Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft Power BI is an amazing tool that offers multiple modeling capabilities like creating interactive dashboards, data discovery, and data preparation. All of these help businesses in making powerful, goal-oriented decisions. This tool allows data to be pulled in any form (videos, images, Excel sheets, etc.) to visualize it.

Main Components 

The three main components of Power BI are-

1. Power BI Desktop

This is a free application and it can be accessed upon installing Power BI on a desktop. This application allows the user to connect, visualize, and modify the available data.

2. Power BI Mobile Apps

Power BI Mobile Apps allows the user to avail the service anytime, anywhere without the need to be on the desktop. It is supported by iOS, Android, and Windows 10 devices.

3. Power BI Service

A cloud service powered by Microsoft, Power BI Service simplifies the process of working with Power BI projects. It allows collaboration and sharing of reports and summaries to accumulate all important data at one place.

Features of Power BI

There are a lot of features that have led to the popularity of Power BI. Here are a few -

  • Tons of data visualizations
  • Customizable dashboards via graphical forms
  • Multitude of useful buttons like data analysis functions, feedback, help, etc.
  • Data set filtrations
  • Natural language Q&A box
  • Navigation pane
  • Flexible tiles

Don't forget to read this- How to Become a Power Bi Developer?

MSBI vs Power BI: Differences And Features- 

Let us move on to the part that this blog has been curated for - getting a better view of Power BI vs MSBI. Here are a few basis for comparison and what each of them entail in it.



This comprehensive platform uses SSRS to create reports from SQL-Server-based data. It is a Microsoft product that brings together data programming and processing to test and deploy reports on the server.

Power BI-

It is a collection of multiple BI processes and tools that facilitates the user to extract raw information from a myriad of sources. It then creates reports and dashboards to gain better insight, which can further be shared on the cloud with stakeholders and other business users.

Benefits - Power BI vs MSBI


MSBI, along with SSRS follow a drill-down approach to garner detailed information centered on certain factors. This enables the users to measure the product's market performance precisely and make better decisions.

Power BI-

This tool was designed to further improve the capabilities of SSRS in MSBI, creating the space to bring forth a strong visual representation of the data. With its rich visuals and data modeling capabilities, even a non-technical person can make and share compelling reports with others.



It is a client-server application or an on-premises software. Thus, it can be installed on computers and local servers. It uses SSAS and SSIS to extract and analyze data.

Power BI-

It is a cloud-based service that is hosted on the vendor's servers. The user can access it via web browsers, applications, and software. Power BI offers different tools like Power BI Service and Power Query to implement the capabilities.

Data Handling


In terms of data handling, very little stress is put on the data engine by MSBI because it deals with only structured and semi-structured data. SSRS allows the user to create larger reports.

Power BI-

With Power BI, structured, unstructured, and semi-structured data can be handled within a limited capacity. Direct queries can be run through Power Query to get the result in case the file has larger sizes or more rows.

Working Mechanism


Growing cloud-based services might turn into a security nightmare. But for now, MSBI has ensured high cloud protection and low information security issues as an on-premises solution.

Power BI-

Power BI is equipped with various cloud-based tools that have simplified access to data and sharing reports even over the internet.


Microsoft Power BI and MSBI are two of the leading Business Intelligence tools today for a reason. Major companies panning across all top industries are making use of these tools to manage their data. Becoming an expert in either of these tools will ensure you enjoy a successful career in the tech world.

Enrolling in a good MSBI course or a Power BI online training program will give you the scope to make a career as a developer in a leading organization. A lot of doors will open up for you and a lot of options will become available. All you have to do is pick the best course today and get going.

MSBI Vs Power BI FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. Is there a MSBI certification?

Ans. The top MSBI certification is Microsoft Business Intelligence certification. A good training will help you master various MSBI tools such as SSRS, SSAS, and SSIS using SQL server.

Q2. Does MSBI require coding?

Ans. Yes, you will need a strong grasp in Power BI, SSIS, SQL, SSRS, and SSAS. awareness of data warehousing concepts and physical data modeling is also essential. MSBI training will help you polish all the important skills.

Q3. Is MSBI easier to use than Power BI?

Ans. Power BI is easier and more efficient to use because of a more graphical component.

Q4. How many types of SSIS are there?

Ans. There are three types of transformation in the SSIS data flow namely fully-blocking, semi-blocking, and non-blocking.

Q5 What is the future of MSBI developers?

Ans. MSBI developers are high in demand today and will continue to enjoy this increased attention in the coming years also.

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