The benefits of Power BI have been well-documented in our previous blogs, but readers are perhaps less familiar with the topic of Power BI licensing and the options that are available to them.

One such option is Power BI Premium per user (PPU) – a flexible solution that gives users the ability to share important insights and make a more significant impact, creating a data-driven culture throughout the organisation.

With PPU, employees can access all of the Pro license capabilities, removing the need for businesses to invest in two different types of licensing, streamlining the entire implementation process for new customers.

Not only will users have access to the Power BI Pro features, but they can also use tools like paginated reports and AI, which are capabilities reserved for Premium subscribers.

In this blog, we have explored the benefits of selecting this licensing option, showing businesses how they can extract maximum value out of the platform with this approach.

The emergence of PPU

For quite some time, the gap between the pricing model of Power BI Pro and Premium licensing has proven to be a barrier to entry for businesses who were keen to adopt the technology but couldn’t justify the cost.

With Premium capacity starting at £3,700 per month, this equates to approximately 500 Power BI Pro licenses which is a considerable investment for businesses where data and analytics is still consumed by modest audiences.

Essentially, PPU has been introduced as a middle ground between the Pro and Premium options, giving users access to some of the features they required for Power BI adoption but without the significant initial investment.

Whilst you don’t get the dedicated hardware of Premium capacity, you do get an upper limit on model sizes, as the PPU license comes with 100GB of memory – a feature that was originally only accessible through Premium.

Simply put, PPU offers an alternative licensing option that will suit certain organisation sizes and workloads, unlocking a range of features the community previously wanted, but did not have the finances needed to access them.


Premium per user or Premium capacity

Before discussing the management of PPU licensing, it is important to understand how it compares with Premium capacity, to see which features are included in this option.

Your organisation may decide to supplement their Premium capacity with PPU licenses for certain groups and departments, but there is no new dependency on PPU for authors who are already publishing to Premium capacity using a Pro license.

One notable difference is that unlike a Premium capacity, there is no management of memory/CPU with Premium per user, meaning features cannot be turned on or off. Instead, Microsoft handles all of these processes on your behalf, as they currently do with Power BI Pro.

Whilst your tenant admin has the ability to manage select feature settings like auto-refresh, they do not have the authority to disable workloads like paginated reports. A new menu option can be accessed through the tenant settings, allowing those on PPU to manage their settings accordingly.

Once you have marked a workspace as Premium per user, a diamond icon will appear to let employees know that Pro capabilities are available.

Viewing shared content

Remember, to access content in a PPU workspace/app, users must have a Premium per user license in order to view and interact with it. This also applies to scenarios where they are accessing content through the XMLA endpoint, Analyse in Excel and Composite Models.

From the table provided, you can get a better of idea of how shared content is viewed between the different licensing options.

In terms of email subscriptions, businesses will have the power to subscribe anyone with a PPU or Pro license to receive the subscription and any attachment it includes, provided it is the same for all users.

When new features are introduced that have different content attachments for different recipients, this will require a PPU license for each individual.

The entire tenant will still have the same 100 TB limit like a Premium capacity would in terms of storage that is pooled across the PPU license holders.

Finding the right approach…

For new Power BI customers, a lot of time is spent considering the perceived benefits of the platform itself, as businesses weigh up the pros and cons of investing in a solution that will help them uncover data-driven insights.

Understandably, licensing options and the accessibility of premium features ends up becoming an afterthought for many, despite it being a very critical part of the process, both in terms of the money and time that can be saved finding the right approach.

PPU is a flexible alternative that gives organisations the power to select which departments and individuals have access to better capabilities and features. Instead of having to pay £3,700 a month, premium features can now be accessed for just £15 per user through this approach.

Of course, there are other licensing options available to businesses that may be more suitable, so it is worth exploring all the options thoroughly before making an investment and continuously evaluating the licensing model as your Power BI implementation evolves.

For more advice on the available licensing options, contact our in-house team of experts to find the right approach for your business.