Streamline your ETL Process with Sourcetable

Sourcetable simplifies the ETL process by automatically syncing your live Power BI data from a variety of apps or databases.

Contact sales
Jump to


    In today's data-driven business environment, the ability to quickly and effectively transform raw data into actionable insights is paramount for staying competitive. Power BI, a leading business intelligence tool, excels at processing data from diverse sources to produce visually appealing and interactive visualizations. ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) is a critical process that allows Power BI to handle large volumes of data, create a unified data repository, and perform comprehensive data analysis, ultimately extracting meaningful insights. By employing ETL, users can ensure that data loaded into spreadsheets is accurate, relevant, and structured for optimal analysis. On this landing page, we will explore the intricacies of Power BI and the ETL tools designed to enhance its capabilities, delve into the practical applications of conducting ETL with Power BI data, and discuss Data Marts as an alternative to ETL for Power BI. Additionally, we'll provide insights into the new Power BI dataflows feature, a robust data prep tool that simplifies the ETL process, and answer common questions about leveraging ETL with Power BI data using Sourcetable, a versatile platform for data integration and analysis.

    What is Power BI?

    Power BI is a data visualization tool that enables users to connect to and visualize any data. It is designed to help users transform raw data into informative insights through interactive visualizations and business intelligence capabilities. With Power BI, users can create and infuse visuals into the applications they use daily, enhancing the decision-making process and providing a more integrated data analysis experience.

    As a software, Power BI offers robust functionalities to connect with various data sources and visualize the data through a user-friendly interface. It empowers users to create personalized dashboards and reports that can be infused into everyday apps, facilitating access to important metrics and trends.

    Beyond the software aspect, Power BI also provides a service known as the Power BI service. This is a SaaS (Software as a Service) that enables users to consume, interact with, and share reports and individual visual elements through a web browser. It is especially useful for large organizations, as it is integrated with Microsoft Fabric, which allows for a seamless experience across various Microsoft services. The service includes apps designed to create comprehensive dashboards and reports using online data sources, such as OneLake or Excel, turning them into actionable business intelligence insights.

    ETL Tools for Power BI

    Power BI enhances data preparation capabilities through Power Query in Power BI Desktop and extends these capabilities online via Power BI dataflows. These dataflows are adept at ingesting, cleansing, transforming, integrating, enriching, and schematizing both transactional and observational data. They are particularly useful for self-service data preparation for big data, employing a model-driven calculation engine to manage transformation and dependency logic. Dataflows are maintained within app workspaces and store the data in Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2, making it accessible to data engineers and data scientists. They are also aligned with the Common Data Model, facilitating the creation of datasets, reports, dashboards, and apps from within Power BI.

    Portable, Stitch, and Blendo are notable ETL tools that integrate with Power BI. Portable stands out with more than 300 built-in connectors and the capacity to develop custom connectors, though it lacks support for major enterprise applications. Stitch offers over 130 data sources and allows transformations through both scripted and GUI-based interactions, but does not support on-premise deployments. Blendo, with support for over 45 data sources, provides built-in monitoring and alert features but does not permit teams to create new data connectors. These tools each have their place depending on the specific needs of the Power BI user.

    When comparing these ETL tools, it is apparent that each serves different use cases. Portable is ideal for organizations with specialized, long-tail data sources, given its extensive library of connectors and custom development offerings. Stitch, part of the Talend ecosystem, supports a variety of data transformations and is suitable for teams that rely on commonly used data sources and require basic transformation support. Blendo is optimized for teams that manage a smaller set of data sources and do not necessitate transformation capabilities within their ETL processes.

    Sourcetable Integration

    Streamline Your Power BI Data Management with Sourcetable

    Transitioning your ETL processes to Sourcetable from traditional third-party tools or custom-built solutions can significantly enhance efficiency and data accessibility. Sourcetable provides a seamless experience for syncing live data from various applications, including Power BI, into a user-friendly spreadsheet interface. This approach is not only intuitive but also eliminates the complexity and maintenance overhead associated with other ETL methodologies.

    By choosing Sourcetable for your ETL needs, you gain the advantage of automation and advanced business intelligence capabilities. The platform's ability to automatically pull in data from multiple sources and allow for easy querying streamlines the ETL process. This ensures that your data is always up-to-date and ready for analysis without the need for manual intervention. Sourcetable's spreadsheet-like interface is ideal for users who are accustomed to spreadsheet software, offering a gentle learning curve and a quick start to data manipulation and reporting.

    The benefits of using Sourcetable over other ETL tools or in-house solutions include a reduction in development time, costs, and the need for specialized ETL knowledge. With Sourcetable, you can focus on deriving insights and making informed decisions rather than getting bogged down in the technicalities of data integration. Experience the power of streamlined ETL with Sourcetable and take your data management to the next level.

    Common Use Cases

    • P
      Sourcetable Integration
      Using Power Query to extract and transform Excel file data for analysis in Power BI
    • P
      Sourcetable Integration
      Employing Power BI Dataflows for ETL of large datasets at scale
    • P
      Sourcetable Integration
      Implementing a simple ETL solution with Datamarts using Power Query without IT involvement
    • P
      Sourcetable Integration
      Integrating Power BI with a dedicated ETL tool for processing long-tail connectors
    • P
      Sourcetable Integration
      Leveraging Power BI and a dedicated ETL tool for handling large dataset ETL use cases

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What are ETL tools in Power BI?

    ETL tools in Power BI include Power Query and dataflows. These tools allow users to extract, transform, and load (ETL) data from various sources for analytics and reporting. Power Query is used to import, clean, and reshape data, while dataflows enable complex ETL processes on big data, including ingesting, cleansing, transforming, integrating, enriching, and schematizing data.

    How does Power BI handle big data ETL?

    Power BI handles big data ETL through dataflows, which allow users to perform ETL logic on large datasets. Dataflows can ingest, cleanse, transform, integrate, enrich, and schematize big data from a wide variety of sources. They are built to handle complex data preparation challenges and can be used to create advanced data transformation pipelines.

    Can Power BI ETL tools work with data from different sources?

    Yes, Power BI ETL tools can work with data from different sources. Power Query allows users to connect to various data sources, including Excel spreadsheets and hybrid data warehouses. Dataflows can ingest data from a large set of supported on-premises and cloud-based data sources. This enables users to turn multiple unrelated data sources into cohesive and interactive insights.

    What is the purpose of Power Query in Power BI?

    The purpose of Power Query in Power BI is to facilitate the importation of data from various sources and to allow users to clean, transform, and reshape that data within Power BI. It utilizes the M language for querying data sources and is one of the key ETL tools included with Power BI for data integration and preparation tasks.

    Can Power BI ETL tools perform transformations on ingested data?

    Yes, Power BI ETL tools can perform a wide range of transformations on ingested data. Dataflows use a model-driven calculation engine to handle transformation and dependency logic, and allow for in-storage computations using computed entities. This enables users to create advanced data transformation pipelines within Power BI.


    Power BI, with its robust data visualization capabilities, is further enhanced by ETL tools such as Power BI dataflows, Power Query, and external tools like Portable, Stitch, and Blendo. These tools streamline the data preparation process, offering easy ingestion, transformation, and integration of data from a myriad of sources. Power BI dataflows extend this with features like incremental refresh, support for the Common Data Model, and the creation of Linked and Computed entities. For organizations with diverse and challenging data requirements, Portable emerges as a prime choice with its extensive connectors and responsive development support. However, if you're looking for an alternative to traditional ETL tools that integrates seamlessly with spreadsheets, look no further than Sourcetable. Sourcetable simplifies the ETL process into spreadsheets, making it accessible for users who prefer a spreadsheet interface. Sign up for Sourcetable today and elevate your data management to the next level.

    ETL is a breeze with Sourcetable

    Analyze data, automate reports and create live dashboards
    for all your business applications, without code. Get unlimited access free for 14 days.