MS Power BI

What to expect from your MS Power BI

What is Power BI

It is a modern analytics and business intelligence (BI) platform that integrates well with the Office 365 vision for the University. It analyzes data to provide insights for fact-based decisions. Power BI is one of the front-runners in this software category, providing many features for business users. The created visualizations allow users to spot patterns that can lead to improved services and operations. Watch this video for an overview (1:33 min).

Basic components

  • Power BI Desktop is the application that runs on a Windows computer, mainly to design and publish reports. It is free and available to all employees. This version will allow a user to create reports for personal use or to export for others.
  • Power BI Pro is the licence distributed at the University although other versions exist. Its interfaces have similarities with Excel thus reducing the learning curve for many. The Pro version provides data governance and content packaging and distribution.

    The Power BI Pro is licensed by the university. This license is required if:
    • A user needs to create a dashboard to share with others.
    • A user needs to view a shared dashboard.
  • Power BI Mobile Apps run on your iOs and Android mobile devices.

How to request Power BI Pro

The manager of the requesting employee must make a request to the Service Desk to approve the request. Include the following information:

  • Name of the employee needing the license
  • The uOttawa employee’s email address
  • The employee number
  • Justification for Power BI Pro license

Please plan for a 2-week turnaround.

How to download MS Power BI Pro

Microsoft Power BI logo

Once the Power BI Pro license has been activated for the employee’s Office 365 account, the software will need to be installed from Some users have enhanced protection on the computer and may not be able to install it. In those cases, the employee should make a Service Desk request for an analyst to install it on their computer.

Note: When you use the Publish feature, one of the options is to have reports exported to the web, whether internal or external. This is disabled by default. If you need these permissions, make a request to the Service Desk.


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  • Feature-related questions are via the vendor, there is no internal expertise for the product within Information Technology. We recommend users to rely on other Power BI practitioners or consult online training on Microsoft’s Power BI support site. 
  • For licensing or technical questions, contact the Service Desk.
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