RStudio Connect Server vs Power BI

rstudioconnect

#1

Has anyone done a comparison between R connect Server and Power BI. We are trying to work on the benefits of R Connect server over Power BI in order to convince our super strict IT management to go with R Connect Server.
Thank you.


#2

As heretic as it may seem, there actually are benefits of running Power BI :slight_smile:

Consider Power BI if complex security requirements are an issue - it is, not surprisingly, well integrated with the walled garden of Microsoft; this includes Active Directory. Given that most corporations run on Microsoft this can be a benefit from UX point of view.

Also consider that it is easier offloading administration of Power BI reports to "the IT guys" while you would be probably stuck with the R Studio Connect yourselves. Depending on the size of your company and your team this can be a chore.

For backward looking reporting in complex organizational hierarchy and strict security requirements Power BI is hard to beat. On the other hand it struggles with forward looking models and projections; this is area where R has stronger hand.


#3

As with all Microsoft products, it depends on what you want to do and what license you buy (which is, itself, a thoroughly confusing subject).

We started using PowerBI Desktop to develop a dashboard to publish as a public web page. All stats are calculated using R and then bundled into the dashboard. Recently, I wanted to have PowerBI use the record table to calculate stuff on the fly. We're relying on Microsoft's servers for hosting, and PowerBI Server has too many limitations to do this: it can only do simple aggregations, cannot include R visuals, and I refuse to write statistical equations in PowerBI's custom query language. Sadly, I doubt my IT would maintain a Shiny server for just two statisticians proficient in R.

It could be that PowerBI meets all your needs. In that case, great. But make sure beforehand! The limits it has are hard walls, and I've never had much luck looking for help. The Desktop version is free, and the Pro version has a demo, so play around with those first.


#4

Hi all. This is a great question. Maybe is better to think of these products not as competing, but rather complementary. If we think beyond comparing the dashboard capabilities of PowerBI vs Shiny, and think of the other artifacts that can be deployed to RStudio Connect such as: RMarkdown reports, Plumber APIs, HTML decks, Tensorflow Serving models, scheduling, and plot publication, the proposition changes a bit. A Data Scientist will have more tools to create very complete solutions for his or her enterprise. For example, a model that comes out of a Data Science project could be "productionize" in multiple ways using Connect. Yes, one could be via a Shiny app, but others could be via an Schedule RMarkdown document that uses the model to score in batch and save results back to a database, an additional output could be a Plumber app that returns a single score based on a REST API call from a downstream application. This means that PowerBI could read scores from Connect, and depending of what a particular dashboard is for, it could either read it from the Database, or by making REST calls to the Plumber API. Thanks.