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Power BI Licensing in a Nutshell

Power BI Licensing

You’ve played around with Power BI and you think your organization could benefit from it. All of your users have it included in their licensing, so you’re good to go, right? Not quite.

There are three user versions of Power BI: Power BI Free, Power BI Pro, and Power BI Premium. There are also options for licensing Power BI at the tenant level. This post breaks down the differences between each and what you need to make sure your users can collaborate on the data they’re working with.

User VS Tenant Based Power BI Licensing

User-based licensing is what it sounds like: licensing is acquired and assigned individually. This differs from tenant-based licensing, where an organization can purchase a single license at the tenant level and does not need to assign anything to individual users to enable capabilities. The primary things to consider are money (tenant licensing is cheaper for organizations with more than 250 users) and time (how many hours a week are spent on license management and do those hours increase your overall licensing cost). After cost, the next thing to consider is the organizational use case for Power BI. The key questions to answer are: who will be creating reports, do those reports require premium features, and who needs to consume them? Collaboration between Power BI tiers is restricted, so knowing the answers to those three questions will impact your licensing strategy significantly.

User Based Licensing

There are three user versions of Power BI: Power BI Free, Power BI Pro, and Power BI Premium. As noted above, the collaboration between the three tiers is restricted. Those constraints change in a tenant-based licensing scenario, so keep in mind this section applies to individual licensing. Here’s a quick breakdown of what each license lets you do when licensed at the user level:

Power BI Free $0.00 / User per Month Can create

Can not share
Power BI Pro $10 / User per Month Can create

Can share with other Pro users
Power BI Premium $20 / User per Month Users can publish content to other workspaces, share dashboards,

subscribe to dashboards and reports
Power BI Premium Per User Add-On $10 / User per Month Step-up license for organizations that already have Power BI Pro licensing
Power BI Premium Per Capacity $4,995 / Tenant per Month Allows users without individual Pro or Premium licensing to consume content created by Pro or Premium users.
  • Power BI Free

    • $0.00 / User per Month
    • Users can create their own reports, but can’t share them with others or view reports created by others
    • Has full access to non-collaborative Power BI capabilities
  • Power BI Pro

    • $9.99 / User per Month
    • Users can share reports and dashboards they’ve created with other Pro users, as well as reports created by other Pro users
    • Cannot view reports created by Power BI Free or Premium users
    • Power BI Pro is included in the Office 365 E5 and Microsoft 365 E5 licenses
    • Has full access to collaborative and non-collaborative Power BI capabilities
  • Power BI Premium Per User

    • $20 / User per Month
    • Users can publish content to other workspaces, share dashboards, subscribe to dashboards and reports, share with users who also have a PPU license
    • Includes all Power BI Pro license capabilities, and adds features such as paginated reports, AI, and other capabilities that are only available to Premium subscribers
  • Power BI Premium Per User Add-On

    • $10 / User per Month
    • Step-up license for organizations that already have Power BI Pro licensing (standalone or included in other licenses, such as Office or Microsoft 365 E5) and want to move up to Power BI Premium

Tenant Based Licensing

Power BI Premium Per Capacity (also referred to as Power BI Premium P-series), is the tenant path for Power BI licensing. Any users creating content in a Premium capacity will still need an individual license, however, the tenant license allows users without individual Pro or Premium licensing to consume content created by Pro or Premium users.

The cost-benefit of a tenant license kicks in when an organization has at least 500 users that need to consume (but not create) Power BI Pro dashboards and reports or 250 users that need to consume (but not create) Power BI Premium dashboards and reports. Power BI Premium Per Capacity has five available tiers, with the first tier starting at $4,995 per month.

 Users with this license can view the content
Pro Premium Per User Premium Per Capacity (No Named License)
If you create or share Power BI Content with this type of license Pro Yes Yes No
Premium Per User No Yes No
Premium Per Capacity Yes Yes Yes

Need Expert Microsoft Licensing Help?

This blog was provided by Kristy Guy, Program Manager and resident licensing expert at Agile IT. We help organizations of all sizes manage their Microsoft licensing intelligently, avoiding over-licensing, redundancies, and compliance issues. To find out how much you could save on your Microsoft Licensing, request a free consultation.

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