Power BI

Last updated: May 22, 2024

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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.

  • Power BI Services – cloud-based SaaS (Software as a Service) collection of apps, data, and connectors
  • Power BI Workspace – houses data models, reports, connectors, etc. for collaboration
  • Power BI Desktop – free desktop app required for data analysis, modeling, and design


Power BI Pro is a per-user licensed product that requires all report authors and consumers to be individually licensed. At the UW, Power BI Pro is included as a part of the UW Microsoft Advanced and Student service levels.

Provide access to Power BI reports to non-UW accounts

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. You will also need a Power BI Workspace provisioned, per details below.

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 their tenant. For example, if there is a guest/external user from Fred Hutch Cancer Center then Fred Hutch needs to have licensed the user. 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.

Due to the risks associated with unmanaged data within Power BI Workspaces, only those with UW employee status have access to create workspaces. Responsibility for managing state records, security, and supporting the individuals who have access to the workspace falls to the administrator(s) of the workspace.

Additionally, it is important to ensure that all workspaces have more than one administrator. The lifecycle process for UW Power BI Workspaces is to delete any workspace 30 days after it no longer has an active Microsoft 365 account with UW employee status in the administrator group.

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