In principle yes, but it depends upon what your Access UI does. If the UI is just a presentation layer, then Power Bi can do all of that and more for you. If the Access UI has forms and the like and you are maintaining the data, that is a different paradigm. None of the Power BI components are (yet) designed to provide that sort of functionality, working on the assumption that the data is maintained elsewhere.
For the specific one I'm working on, SQL is the back end and Access is the UI. Does Power BI allow me to replace Access as the UI, at least for "view only" users? They'll be doing things like looking at financial data (revenue, volume, etc. for financial transactions) by client, sales rep, product (including things like top 25 clients by product), trends/variances in revenue, revenue per transaction, etc.
Can't talk about Tableau as I haven't used that with Access, but Power BI functions just fine, and have no trouble with an Access or SQL Server database (or both in a mashup). As to what they offer, well they are a different product in that they are data aggregators and dashboarding tools, but they do not provide and type of RDMS, that is what Access, SQL Server and the others do. But Power BI can be very good at pulling data in, from multiple sources, cleaning that data up (Power Query), extending the data without changing the database (Power Pivot), and then creating nice shiny dashboards (Power View). Personally, I couldn't be, and wouldn't want to be, without it now. The other great thing about Power BI is that is where MS are investing their R&D nowadays, not in Excel, not in Access, so you will see far more developments in that arena.
What are experiences and opinions on using Tableau, MS Power BI, or other such programs with Access/SQL data? How easily do they utilize Access/SQL data? Which ones do you prefer? What do they offer that Access can't to, or not do as well/easily?
Posted by: "Bob Phillips" <email@example.com>
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