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Power BI, part of UW Office 365, is a Microsoft business analytics service. It provides interactive visualizations and business intelligence (BI) capabilities, including cloud-based BI services known as “Power BI Services”, along with a desktop based interface called “Power BI Desktop”. It offers data warehouse capabilities including data preparation, data discovery, and interactive dashboards. Power BI is part of the Microsoft Power Platform.

Currently, the only Power BI product that does not require additional paid licensing is the Power BI Desktop client, which allows a user to explore data on their own system. All other products require paid licensing and other investments from an organization using them.

In order to share reports using Power BI Pro, you and everyone you are sharing it with needs to be licensed for Power BI Pro through the Microsoft 365 A5 license, per details below. You will also need a Power BI Workspace provisioned, per details below.

Power BI Pro

Power BI Pro is a per-user licensed product that requires all report authors and consumers to be individually licensed. At the UW, this will only be available as part of the Microsoft 365 A5 license for users who are not UW students.

Due to changes in the new Microsoft contract, the strategy for delivering Microsoft 365 A5 licenses for accounts that are not students is currently under review, and it is not currently possible to purchase A5 licenses.  Email for more information.

Provide access to Power BI reports to non-UW accounts

The licensing requirement to access reports includes non-UW accounts, as there is no “free” access for external accounts except for completely anonymous public data.  When sharing with external partners using their non-UW identities, it currently requires the external partner organization to have licensed the user account for Power BI Pro in the home (UW) tenant.  If the external organization does not license the user, then a UW NetID must be enabled for this purpose:

  1. If the user does not already have a UW NetID, you will need to sponsor the creation of a UW NetID
  2. Enable the UW NetID for UW Office 365 services
  3. Apply a purchased Microsoft 365 A5 license to the UW NetID

Power BI Workspaces

Power BI Workspaces organize and secure data, connections, and reports. In the UW’s environment, data can be shared across Workspaces, so long as the user(s) have access to the Workspace with the data they want to create reports against.

Because of the enterprise risks associated with unmanaged data, the UW’s targeted data lifecycle for Power BI Workspaces is to delete any Workspace 30 days after it no longer has a Microsoft 365 A5 licensed UW Employee or Shared UW NetID in the administrators group. It is important to ensure Workspaces have multiple valid administrators to avoid data loss, as there is no policy or procedure that would allow change of ownership/administration once a Workspace has become orphaned. Workspace administrators are also responsible for all state records, managing security, and supporting users they have assigned access to.

Creation of, and any questions about, Workspaces is a PPlat Recharge Services request at our standard hourly rate of $134.67 in 15 min increments, billed monthly.

Request PPlat Recharge Services

Power BI Report Server

Power BI Report Server licensing is currently covered under the SQL Server Software Assurance in the UW’s Microsoft Campus Agreement purchase, which runs through May 2025. It allows departments to install and run Power BI Report Server and the required MS SQL services on systems owned and managed by the UW.  UW-IT does not provide support for this product other than download of the software, so we cannot answer if this would fit your needs.  That said, there is an active, public Microsoft Team Power BI Community of Practice where campus departments are helping each other utilize Power BI. We do not know of any changes coming in the new contract renewal, but if Microsoft withdrawals this current benefit or makes pricing unobtainable, departments who deploy these systems are responsible in either purchasing appropriate licensing or shutting down the systems.

Click here to download Power BI Report Server

Power BI Embedded

Power BI Embedded allows a department to purchase Power BI services to be embedded in applications or websites they create via a UW Azure Subscription.  Like Power BI Report Server, UW-IT provides no guidance and support, with the deploying department completely responsible for the configuration, support, and costs.

Power BI Premium

Power BI Premium is primarily a dedicated compute-based licensing model allowing users without Power BI Pro licensing to view reports. It does, however, require all report creators to have Power BI Pro (per above) to create and publish the reports.  Compute costs start at around $33,000 per year.

Pre/Post-Purchase Support

If you have questions about Power BI, we recommend you obtain pre-purchase support before purchasing Power BI licensing by filling out the form below.  Post-purchase support can also be obtained by filling out the form below.

Request PPlat Recharge Services

Last reviewed July 7, 2021