Power BI vs EDA


I am searching for a tool that will show me data, dashboards, graphs, etc.

Has anyone used both Microsoft Power BI and Epicor Data Analytics? If so, what made you choose one over the other?

Thank you!

We started with EDA, the issue we ran into with it is limitations around business intelligence and some of the custom things that the business was looking to do. It’s a quick implementation and is super user friendly so our end users that were doing just data analysis really liked it and it required very little IT support to get going. We are switching and use Power BI for our executive reporting. We need to be able to better control the approved data sources and how the information is shown between companies as well as pull in other SQL data base sources. For our needs, Power BI is a better long term solution. We are building our own data warehouse. It is a longer implementation and build out than what we experienced with EDA.


I would think if you’re looking at BI tools the conversation shifts to compare PowerBI vs Grow. I think EDA will be a thing of the past at some point since the acquisition of Grow.


I agree with this assessment.

What EDA has going for it is it will be much better out of the box.

If the EDA pre-set ‘syncs’ aren’t giving you the data you want, in the way that you want, customizing it can be (imo) clunky/impossible, depending on how comfortable you are with SQL.

If you are comfortable writing BAQs to extract and massage the data you want out of Epicor, Power BI is very much a lateral move. You can even add BAQs as data sources in Power BI.

Also, if you are looking to do anything near real-time, EDA is not a realistic option. I tell people the fastest they will get with EDA is what happened yesterday.

I’ll agree with the assessments here but let me add a few things

EDA - quick startup and very easy to edit a few SQL scripts to get all the data you want out of Epicor. It’s a bit clunky but you can actually split up your data synch streams and get much smaller refresh intervals for certain datasets - say every hour for production data, but every day for sales/finance. The security, options for additional data sources (using the Synch tool) as well as XLSX uploads, and the continued functionality updates make EDA a very viable product.

Grow - about a year too soon - it’s license model and synch options are not quite where they need to be. It has some good features too that differ from EDA and I think I would prefer to use it over PowerBI most of the time. There wasn’t a whole lot of time to play with it at Insights, but it’s in good hands with the PM and dev team, so I look forward to seeing it again next year.

PowerBI - it’s a Microsoft thing - and they make everything entirely too complicated. I still believe that PowerBI will always require IT support and never really be self-service reporting unless your users are good at it. But it certainly can consume and chug through a ton of data and has great presentation layer if you’re willing to spend the time on it.

Epicor Data Discovery - don’t forget about this one - especially if you have some BAQs already set up. It’s not as fancy as the others but makes for a good dashboard with drill down for almost all the users.

The one thing to keep in mind is that they were all designed for a specific type of BI analysis.

  • BAQ/Dashboard - today, this week, right now, quick and dirty. Best for KPIs
  • EDD - today, this week, this month, quick drill down and pivoting although limited. Best for KPI style analysis
  • EDA - all the data, all the ‘cubes’ you want to create. Building cubes takes time, so it’s best for monthly, quarterly, year(s) of analysis.
  • Grow/PowerBI and the countless others like Qlik and Tableau - if you want custom everything and are willing to spend the time and money, these will pretty much do everything for you. But I still feel these are best for long-term analysis, or large dataset type stuff.

Your overall solution should allow for the use of more than one of these, both to save time and money, and to utilize the best tool for the job.


Mike this is awesome, thanks.

Some of this also factors differently with cloud and on-prem as well.

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Give this man the solution!

This should go in Expert’s Corner.


Power BI for one is easy and free for Excel users to get a sense of if it’s compatible with you and your resources. Data connections are handled in M language, the same that Power Query uses in Excel. If that fits your available skills, you can literally copy-paste the same M code between the two, and I normally do because loading a dataset into Excel makes reality checking it easier.

Where Power BI gets its reputation for complication are the set-based DAX methods. It’s a tough cognitive leap at first for non-programmers since it looks like a scalar Excel formula but it’s actually working in the entire context of a field’s relationships. Recognizing that set-based context makes the kind of DAX work that ERP reporting requires pretty basic. Hard DAX does exist, but might as well pivot to R / Python nowadays at that point.

As for the presentation layer; if you can do SSRS and pivot charts, you’ll be fine. It’s (too…) easy to get a trial period to test drive and make sure.

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Yes- it is easy to trial/buy if you already have office 365 accounts already and it is also lower cost compare to EDA.

When we moved our data analysis/reporting to Power Bi (from Phocas aka Epicor EDA), the management said let the finance team create Power Bi reports because Power BI is easy. When they tried and couldn’t do it so we got the external consultant do it (/help them).

I have a completely different opinion about this topic since I was paid handsomely to evaluate a good and easy reporting solution for a client. I tried all the “Epicor-branded” products going way back to the FRx/AFR days and it was my opinion it took forever to setup a sales demo and when the demo was held, it was all smoke and mirrors. At least at the time, those EDD/EDA products were “cloud” based and you need to replicate your data to their internal Epicor Server. It took forever as this was a very large company with lots of real-time transactions. We tried to get Epicor to do a “real” demo with our own data and of course it took forever to get back a quote and then they wanted a ridiculous amount of money just to demo their own product with our data. Typical Epicor bureaucracy and overhead. Pretty much like CSG if you have worked with those guys – slow and things never work the first time (ever).

I scrapped those as it was taking too much time and decided to review PowerBI. PowerBI is nice, but still uses the same garbage report writer that Reporting Services does. IMO, Crystal Report writer was and still is a better report writer over RDL any day of the week. We had 100’s of reports in all different formats – Excel, Access, Crystal, Reporting Services. It was going to take too much time.

I then came across a new company called FastClose based out of the UK who came up with their own home grown BI Tool specifically built to build easy financial reports in Epicor with prebuilt templates. They gave us a demo the same day we called them. Then gave us a demo with our own data in a few days with no charge ! Having worked with OLAP on different projects, I was surprised at the ease at the learning curve. The developer worked with me for a few hours directly to modify and build my own cubes. Best of all, it is on-server platform and the speed was awesome. I have no affiliation with these guys or getting any kind of kickback, but if you are looking for a great BI tool to use specifically for Epicor Financials (GL, AR, AP, etc.) with good drill-down ability then this one is hands-down the best.


EDA - yes. EDD - no. Epicor Data Discovery uses BAQs and does not require replication anywhere. EDD is suited for real time queries but not for trending analysis - IMHO.

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