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Microsoft launches Power BI service for Office 365

Microsoft's Power BI for Office 365 is now available to everyone.

The business intelligence (BI) service debuted in July as a preview, giving customers tighter control of company data tracking.

Now, anyone running Office 365 can access tools like a public and corporate catalog of data sets, rich interactive visualisations, and a natural language system.

"Together, these capabilities will not just change the kinds of insights we can gain from data, but change the reach of those insights as well," Quentin Clark, corporate vice president of Microsoft's data platform group, wrote in a blog post.

This general release includes features like Power Query in Excel, which allows for the search and access of data within a user's organisation or from a public source. It also comes with the ability to ask questions using natural language, and find answers in the form of interactive charts or graphs.

Redmond's Office Team name-dropped early Power BI partners, including Conde Nast, Carnegie Mellon University, and MediaCom, which use the program to merge and visualize data from third-party sets, like Nielsen TV, comScore, Kantar, and a number of social media sources.

Users can also quickly create collaborative BI sites, schedule data refreshes, manage data queries, maintain a catalogue of searchable data, ask questions in natural language, and stay connected via mobile apps.

Interested users can sign up online for a free trial, which also comes with 30 days of free Office 365 ProPlus access and the latest Excel version—compatible with the Power Query and Power Map add-ins.

"Office has its eye on the future as we transform ourselves to progress in the dynamic world of services," the Office Team said in a separate blog post. "Power BI for Office 365 is a great example how we're staying ahead of what our customers need and want, by helping them make informed decisions through insights locked within their data."