Power BI
tool icon

Power BI vs Business Objects: An In-Depth Comparison

hero image
Jump to


    Comparing Power BI and Business Objects is essential for businesses seeking the right business intelligence tool. Both platforms offer robust data analytics capabilities, but they differ in integration, user interface, and functionality.

    This comparative analysis will delve into the strengths and weaknesses of each, providing clear insights for organizations to make an informed choice. We'll also touch on how Sourcetable presents a contemporary alternative with an intuitive spreadsheet-like interface that seamlessly integrates with your data for enhanced reporting and analytics.

    Power BI

    What is Power BI?

    Power BI is a comprehensive collection of software services, apps, and connectors developed by Microsoft. It is designed to transform disparate data sources into coherent, visually immersive, and interactive insights. Power BI enables users to connect to various data sources, including Excel spreadsheets, cloud-based data warehouses, and on-premises hybrid data warehouses.

    • Core Elements of Power BI

    • Power BI Desktop: A primary tool for creating detailed reports and publishing them to the Power BI service.
    • Power BI Service: A SaaS (Software as a Service) platform that facilitates the creation, sharing, and consumption of business intelligence insights.
    • Power BI Mobile Apps: Applications that allow users to access and interact with Power BI reports and dashboards on mobile devices.
    • Additional Power BI Features

    • Power BI Report Builder: Enables the creation of paginated reports suitable for printing or PDF generation.
    • Power BI Report Server: Offers the capability to deploy and manage reports and dashboards on-premises, integrating with the cloud-based Power BI service.
    • Power BI APIs: Provided for developers to push data into semantic models or to embed dashboards and reports into custom applications.
    • Integration and Administration

      Power BI is integrated with Microsoft Fabric, which streamlines the administration and enhances the analysis and visualization of data. This integration is particularly beneficial for large organizations seeking to harness business intelligence insights from vast data ecosystems like OneLake and Excel.

    • User Roles and Accessibility

      Designed to be flexible and accessible, Power BI caters to various user roles within an organization. Whether for viewing reports and dashboards, monitoring sales quotas, or embedding insights into custom applications, Power BI provides a compelling suite of tools to bring data to life for business decision-making.

    tool icon

    What is Business Objects

    SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence (BI) is a comprehensive suite designed for data reporting, visualization, and sharing as part of SAP’s Business Technology Platform. It serves as a centralized system for transforming data into actionable insights, emphasizing real-time business intelligence.

    • Centralized suite for data reporting and visualization
    • On-premise BI layer for SAP’s platform
    • Real-time data insight capabilities
    • Facilitates increased user autonomy
    • Supports personalized and dynamic information consumption
    Power BI

    Power BI Features

    Data Connectivity and Visualization

    Power BI provides capabilities to connect to diverse datasets, enabling users to visualize and analyze any data.

    Integration with Everyday Apps

    Users can integrate Power BI visuals into everyday applications, streamlining the data analysis process within their usual workflow.

    Insights and Impact

    Power BI tools help users to discover insights from their data and leverage these in making impactful decisions.

    Support Services

    Chat support is available within Power BI, offering assistance and guidance to users.

    tool icon

    Key Features of SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Suite

    Reporting and Analysis

    Facilitates comprehensive reporting and analysis, enabling users to generate ad hoc queries and BI reports.

    Data Visualization and Analytics

    Includes data visualization and analytics tools to create visual representations of data, enhancing the understanding of trends and root causes.

    Dashboard and Application Development

    Provides a platform for building interactive visualizations, dashboards, and applications tailored to assess risks, optimize efficiency, and pinpoint opportunities.

    Office Integration

    Features seamless integration with office software, allowing for streamlined workflows and data manipulation within familiar interfaces.

    Multidimensional Data Manipulation

    Enables users to filter and manipulate multidimensional data, simplifying the identification of trends and outliers.

    Power BI

    Advantages of Power BI Pro for Business Intelligence

    Collaboration and Sharing

    Power BI Pro enhances collaboration by allowing users to share and collaborate on interactive data visualizations. Integration with Microsoft Teams, Dynamics 365, and Power Platform simplifies the distribution of insights across an organization.

    Self-Service Analytics

    The platform empowers users with self-service analytics capabilities, enabling them to discover insights and share them without extensive technical expertise.

    Data Connectivity

    Its ability to connect to any data source provides flexibility and ensures that all relevant data can be included in analytics, enhancing comprehensive reporting.

    Data Preparation

    With low-code or no-code tools, Power BI Pro facilitates efficient data preparation, streamlining the process of turning raw data into actionable insights.

    Advanced Analytics

    Users benefit from advanced generative AI to uncover deeper insights, making complex data analysis more accessible to a wider audience.

    Usability and Familiarity

    Power BI Pro leverages familiar tools, reducing the learning curve and increasing user adoption within businesses.

    Data Governance

    Secure data governance is assured, allowing businesses to manage their data with confidence and in compliance with regulations.

    Unified Experience

    Microsoft Fabric integration offers a unified experience, centralizing access to tools and data, which streamlines the business intelligence workflow.

    Power BI

    Disadvantages of Using Power BI for Business Intelligence

    Learning Curve and Customization

    Power BI presents a steep learning curve which can be a significant barrier for new users. The platform also suffers from limited customization options, both in terms of visual aesthetics and functional adaptability, potentially hindering tailored reporting needs.

    Data Management and Performance

    The service has notable limitations regarding data management, including restrictions on data volume and lack of in-memory data processing. This can affect the efficiency and scalability of data analytics in business environments. Additionally, Power BI has performance issues when handling large datasets, leading to slower data analysis.

    Integration and Compatibility

    Power BI may not support some specialized data sources or data types, which can be a drawback for businesses relying on diverse data ecosystems. Moreover, compatibility issues with non-Microsoft applications can pose challenges for seamless integration within a company's existing IT infrastructure.

    Usability and Interface

    Users may find the query editor slow, impacting productivity, while the outdated user interface could detract from user experience. Limited visual formatting options further restrict the ability to create reports that are both information-rich and visually compelling.

    Data Security and Integrity

    Concerns around data security in Power BI could pose risks for businesses handling sensitive information. The platform also has data integrity issues when integrating with Excel, which can compromise the accuracy of reports and analyses.


    Being an online-only application, Power BI requires an internet connection for access, which can limit usage in scenarios where connectivity is inconsistent or unavailable.

    Power BI

    Frequently Asked Questions About Power BI

    What is Power BI?

    Power BI is a cloud-based business analytics service that allows users to visualize and analyze data from a variety of sources.

    How does Power BI make data analysis easier?

    Power BI dashboards make data analysis easier by providing a user-friendly interface to visualize data and extract insights.

    What are the different versions of Power BI and who are they for?

    The free version, Power BI Desktop, is for creating reports and is used by data scientists, report designers, and developers. Power BI Pro is a paid version that allows users to access all content and collaborate with other Pro users. Power BI Premium provides capacity for larger data volumes and more consistent performance, suitable for widespread distribution of content.

    Can I use Power BI on my mobile device?

    Yes, Power BI native apps are available for Android, iOS, and Windows 10 devices.

    How can I undo an action in Power BI?

    You can undo an action in Power BI by pressing Ctrl+Z.

    Use Cases for Power BI

    • Power BI

      Personal BI for individual data analysis and reporting

    • Power BI

      Team BI for collaborative content creation among team members

    • Power BI

      Departmental BI for distributing content within a specific department

    • Power BI

      Enterprise BI for large-scale content distribution across an organization

    • Power BI

      Self-service real-time analytics for producing real-time reports by business analysts

    tool icon

    Advantages of Using Business Objects for Business Intelligence

    User-Friendly BI Applications

    BusinessObjects is recognized for its user-friendly business intelligence applications, streamlining complex tasks into manageable operations for users.

    Enterprise Reporting Management

    Organizations leverage BusinessObjects to efficiently handle their Enterprise Reporting needs, ensuring data accuracy and consistency.

    Ad-Hoc Query Capabilities

    With BusinessObjects, users can perform ad-hoc queries, facilitating dynamic data exploration and immediate insight retrieval.

    Robust Data Analysis

    BusinessObjects offers robust data analysis tools, enabling comprehensive examination and interpretation of business data.

    Cost Efficiency

    Implementing BusinessObjects reduces total cost of ownership by minimizing the resources required for BI tasks.

    Productivity in Business Intelligence

    BusinessObjects enhances business intelligence productivity by streamlining processes and reducing time-to-insight.

    Operational Stability and Efficiency

    BusinessObjects contributes to increased operational stability and efficiency, a cornerstone for successful business operations.

    Scalability and Flexibility

    As a scalable and flexible business intelligence platform, BusinessObjects adapts to growing business demands and evolving data environments.

    tool icon

    Disadvantages of Using Business Objects

    Cost Implications

    Deploying Business Objects incurs high costs, making it a significant financial commitment for businesses seeking business intelligence solutions.

    Upgrade Challenges

    Businesses face difficulties when upgrading Business Objects, which can lead to disruptions in business intelligence activities.

    Data Migration Complexities

    Business Objects presents specific challenges in data migration that are more intricate than general data migration issues, potentially affecting reporting and analytics efficiency.

    tool icon

    Frequently Asked Questions About Business Objects

    What are BusinessObjects?

    BusinessObjects is a suite of front-end applications that allow business users to view, sort, and analyze business intelligence data.

    How can I create reports in BusinessObjects?

    You can create reports in BusinessObjects by using its reporting tool to select data sources, define data fields, and customize the layout and content of your report.

    Can I export data from BusinessObjects to other formats?

    Yes, BusinessObjects allows you to export data to various formats such as Excel, PDF, and CSV for further analysis or sharing.

    How do I troubleshoot errors in BusinessObjects?

    Troubleshooting in BusinessObjects involves checking the error message details, consulting the FAQs or documentation for guidance, and applying recommended solutions.

    Use Cases for Business Objects

    • tool icon

      Enterprise Reporting

    • tool icon

      Data Visualization

    • tool icon

      Dashboard Creation

    • tool icon

      Ad-Hoc Reporting

    • tool icon

      Self-Service BI


    Why Sourcetable is a Superior Choice for Business Intelligence

    • Streamlined Reporting and Analytics

      Sourcetable stands out as a superior business intelligence tool by offering a simplified approach to reporting and data analytics. Unlike Power BI and Business Objects, Sourcetable syncs data across various services into an intuitive spreadsheet-like interface, streamlining the data management process.

    • Enhanced Data Synchronization

      With its ability to seamlessly integrate data from multiple sources, Sourcetable eliminates the complexity often associated with data consolidation in Power BI and Business Objects. The result is a more efficient workflow that saves time and reduces the potential for errors.

    • User-Friendly Interface

      The spreadsheet-like interface of Sourcetable is familiar to most users, reducing the learning curve and increasing accessibility. This contrasts with the more specialized interfaces of Power BI and Business Objects, which may require additional training for users to navigate effectively.

    Power BI
    tool icon

    Similarities between Power BI and Business Objects

    Both Power BI and Business Objects are business intelligence tools designed to aid in data analysis and provide insights to support decision-making. They allow users to connect to various data sources, enabling the integration and manipulation of data for reporting and analysis. Additionally, these tools offer visualization capabilities to present data in a user-friendly, graphical format. By infusing visuals into applications, they enhance the comprehensibility and accessibility of data-driven insights for everyday business operations.

    Data Connectivity

  • Both Power BI and Business Objects can connect to a wide range of data sources.
  • They facilitate the integration of data from different databases and applications.
  • Visualization Capabilities

  • Visualization is a core feature of both tools, making complex data more accessible.
  • They provide various options for data presentation, including charts, graphs, and dashboards.
  • Application Integration

  • Power BI and Business Objects can embed visuals into everyday business applications.
  • This integration helps in making data-driven insights a part of regular workflows.
  • Power BI
    tool icon

    Power BI vs Business Objects

    Connectivity and Visualization

    Power BI is recognized for its ability to connect to a wide variety of data sources, thereby enabling users to visualize any data seamlessly. Its robust connectivity options facilitate the integration of diverse datasets for comprehensive analysis and reporting.

    Integration with Everyday Apps

    Power BI enhances productivity by allowing users to infuse visuals into their daily applications. This capability ensures that insights are readily accessible within the work environment, promoting data-driven decision-making across various business contexts.


    Comparison of Power BI, Business Objects, and Sourcetable

    Power BI vs Business Objects

    Power BI is a modern analytics tool that facilitates data connectivity and visualization, while Business Objects is a more traditional business intelligence platform. Power BI offers capabilities to integrate visuals into commonly used applications, enhancing user experience with interactive data insights. Business Objects, on the other hand, focuses on providing robust reporting and analysis tools for enterprises. Power BI's approach to data is more agile and user-friendly, whereas Business Objects often requires more specialized expertise for complex report generation.

    Power BI vs Sourcetable

    Sourcetable is a newer, collaborative data tool designed for simplicity and team usage. While Power BI can connect to and visualize any data, Sourcetable also emphasizes ease of use and collaboration. Power BI's strong suit is its deep integration with Microsoft's ecosystem and the ability to infuse visuals into everyday apps, which may not be a primary focus for Sourcetable. Sourcetable's approach might better suit teams looking for a straightforward and shared data workspace.

    Business Objects vs Sourcetable

    Business Objects is an established enterprise solution tailored for comprehensive data reporting, whereas Sourcetable targets a more general audience with its user-friendly interface. Business Objects provides extensive data processing capabilities suitable for large companies with complex reporting requirements. In contrast, Sourcetable is designed with collaboration and simplicity in mind, potentially making it a better fit for smaller teams and organizations without the need for advanced data analytics.


    Frequently Asked Questions About Sourcetable

    What is Sourcetable and who typically uses it?

    Sourcetable is a spreadsheet application that allows users to access data from most 3rd party applications, query data, and build live models that automatically update. It is typically used by growth teams and business operations teams.

    Does Sourcetable require any coding skills?

    No, Sourcetable does not require any coding skills to use.

    How often does Sourcetable sync data?

    Sourcetable syncs data every 15 minutes on the regular plan and every 5 minutes on the pro plan.

    How much does Sourcetable cost?

    Sourcetable costs $50 per month for the starter plan and $250 per month for the pro plan. Additional seats cost $20 per month each.

    Is there a trial period for Sourcetable?

    Yes, all plans have a 14-day free trial period.

    Power BI

    Power BI Pricing Overview

    • Power BI Pro and Premium User Licenses

      Power BI Pro is available at $10 per user per month. Power BI Premium offers user-based licensing at $20 per user per month. Both licenses can be purchased through self-service or the Microsoft 365 admin center, with payment via credit card.

    • Power BI Premium Capacity Licenses

      Starting at $4,995 per month for a P1 SKU, Power BI Premium per capacity offers a fixed-cost solution. Fabric SKUs such as F64 start at $5,002.67 per month, with higher-tier options like the $8,409.60 per month F64 SKU providing expanded capabilities.

    • Content Consumption without User Licenses

      Fabric SKUs starting at F64 and Power BI Premium capacity SKUs P1 and above allow users to consume Power BI reports without the need for additional paid per-user licenses.

    • Autoscale Add-On

      Autoscale can be added for $85 per vCore/24 hours, providing flexibility to scale resources as needed.

    • Free Power BI Services

      Power BI Desktop, Power BI Embedded, and Power BI Mobile are available at no cost, enabling free access to basic Power BI functionalities.

    tool icon

    Business Objects Cost Analysis

    • Initial Pricing

      SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence (BI) starts at $14,000.00 annually or $75.00 monthly.

    • Comparison with Other BI Tools

      When compared to other BI tools such as Tableau and Domo, SAP BusinessObjects BI is more cost-effective.

    • Cost Benefits

    • SAP BusinessObjects BI is less expensive than many other BI products in the market.
    • It provides a standardized solution for various regions of company operations.
    • The tool crosschecks rules, ensuring consistent reporting.
    • Customer Service and Learning Curve

      SAP BusinessObjects BI is recognized for its good customer service. However, it has a medium learning curve for new users.

    • Limits and Integration

      Despite its cost advantages, SAP BusinessObjects BI has limitations, such as a row limit and restrictions on query combinations. It also lacks an integrated solution for data masking.

    Power BI

    User Reviews of Power BI

    Power BI has been recognized as one of the best BI tools on the market, according to top business intelligence review websites. Its sudden popularity is attributed to its exceptional data visualization capabilities and the robust set of features it offers as a Microsoft product. Users appreciate the seamless experience it provides, especially to those familiar with Microsoft's ecosystem.

    • Features and Functionality

      The platform is praised for its highly intuitive UI and short learning curve, making it a powerful tool for business analysts. With 74 data connectors, such as MailChimp and Salesforce, Power BI enables users to incorporate a wide range of data into their analyses. Its simple data loading process and a plethora of custom visualizations available from the Office Store enhance user productivity and data representation.

    • Versions and Pricing

      Users recognize the value provided by the free version of Power BI, despite its limitations in data storage and refresh cycles. Enterprises often opt for the Professional version, which offers increased storage, faster refresh cycles, and collaboration features. The availability of additional modules, like Power BI Gateway - Personal, facilitates secure data transfer and extends the platform's capabilities.

    • Accessibility and Sharing

    • Power BI Publish to web is noted for its ability to let users easily publish reports and visualizations to the web, making the information public.
    • Users appreciate the free download for registered users of both desktop and online versions, fostering greater accessibility.
    • Microsoft's continuous development efforts, with several teams working on Power BI, ensure ongoing improvements and feature updates.
    • Overall Satisfaction

      As an Editors' Choice for self-service BI tools, Power BI is highly recommended by users for both experienced and new data analysts. Its powerful data visualization tools and ease of use contribute to its high user satisfaction ratings.


    In summary, Power BI is known for its robust data visualization capabilities and integration with other Microsoft services, while Business Objects offers comprehensive reporting tools and a mature platform with strong enterprise support.

    For those seeking a more streamlined solution, Sourcetable offers a simplified approach to business intelligence. It syncs data in real-time across all services into an interface that is familiar to many users: the spreadsheet.

    Simplify Your BI Tooling

    Sourcetable is the AI spreadsheet that lets you analyze your data in one place. Get unlimited access free for 14 days.