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Compare a BI Center site to Power BI for Office 365 sites

 

Applies to: SharePoint Online Enterprise (E3 and E4), Power BI for Office 365, Office 365 ProPlus, Excel Online, Excel 2013

Topic Last Modified: 2014-04-10

Learn about the differences between a BI Center site (available in SharePoint Online) and the Power BI sites application (available in Power BI for Office 365).

Organizations can benefit from a central place to store, manage, and share business intelligence (BI) content. BI content can include data connections, reports, scorecards, dashboards, and other documents that people use to view performance information and make business decisions. Office 365 for enterprises, which includes SharePoint Online (Plan 2), offers customers a Business Intelligence (BI) Center site template that is easy to set up and use. The BI Center site can serve as a central place where people can store, manage, and share basic BI content. For more information, see Create, share, and consume BI content in a BI Center site.

For customers who want a more advanced solution for storing, managing, and sharing BI content, Power BI for Office 365 offers Power BI sites on Power BI for Office 365. You can use Power BI sites on Power BI for Office 365 to transform a basic SharePoint experience to a more visual, dynamic way to share and manage BI content such as Excel workbooks. In Power BI sites on Power BI for Office 365, workbooks are displayed as thumbnail images that make it easy for people to find and open the workbooks they want to see. In addition, Power BI sites on Power BI for Office 365 gives users easy access to the many additional BI capabilities that are available in Power BI for Office 365.

A BI Center site is useful when you want a basic site for BI content. A BI Center site includes a set of prebuilt lists and libraries that are suitable for basic BI needs, and it’s available in SharePoint Online (Plan 2).

Power BI sites on Power BI for Office 365 are useful when you want people to have more advanced capabilities for storing and using BI content. You enable the Power BI sites on Power BI for Office 365 application in an existing SharePoint site to surface BI content across multiple pages and libraries in a single view. Power BI sites on Power BI for Office 365 are available only in Power BI for Office 365.

Want more details?

The following table summarizes some key differences between a BI Center site and Power BI sites on Power BI for Office 365.

 

Item BI Center site in SharePoint Online (Plan 2) Power BI sites on Power BI for Office 365

Licensing requirements

A subscription to Office 365 that includes SharePoint Online (Plan 2)

A subscription to Office 365 that includes Power BI for Office 365

Site setup

Use the BI Center site template to set up a BI Center site. See Set up a BI Center site in SharePoint Online.

Use the Power BI sites on Power BI for Office 365 application to add features and functionality to an existing SharePoint site. See Set up BI Sites.

How to navigate to the site

After a BI Center site is set up, users can type its website address into the web browser. The BI Center site’s address typically resembles http://domainname.sharepoint.com/sites/bicenter.

Once Power BI sites on Power BI for Office 365 is enabled, users can select Site Contents > Power BI in a site in SharePoint Online.

What people see when the site is first created

When it’s first created, the BI Center site looks as follows:

The home page of a BI Center site

When Power BI sites on Power BI for Office 365 is first enabled, the site can resemble a blank Documents page. Any document libraries that contain Excel workbooks or BI files are listed on the page.

Some kinds of libraries are not visible in Power BI sites on Power BI for Office 365. These include the Site Assets, Form Templates, Site Pages, Style Library, and App Packages library. Those libraries still exist. But they aren’t featured in Power BI sites on Power BI for Office 365.

How people find files such as workbooks

In a BI Center site, people must locate a library such as the Documents library to view and open a workbook.

In Power BI sites on Power BI for Office 365, workbooks are displayed as thumbnail images in the portal. Workbooks across multiple pages and sites are featured in Power BI sites on Power BI for Office 365 so that people don’t have to browse to a specific library. Instead, people see workbooks that are available right up front for easy access.

Key capabilities

The BI Center site serves as a central location for people to store, share, manage, and consume BI content, such as data sources, Excel workbooks, reports, scorecards, and dashboards. For more information, see Create, share, and consume BI content in a BI Center site.

Power BI sites on Power BI for Office 365 serves as an easy way for people to access Power BI for Office 365 features and functionality.

In Power BI sites on Power BI for Office 365, files such as workbooks that are designated as BI files (or enabled for web viewing) are displayed in thumbnail images on the site. This makes it quick and easy for people to find the reports they want to view.

People can mark files as their favorites, and they can share files by using different methods in Power BI sites on Power BI for Office 365.

Power BI sites on Power BI for Office 365 supports larger workbooks than SharePoint Online alone. (See File size limits for workbooks in SharePoint Online for more information.)

For more information, see Power BI for Office 365 sites.

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