We welcome a new year, and as always wrap up another quarter with a look back at some of the more useful, relevant or simply interesting updates Power BI has delivered.
Finally entering general availability, AutoML opens the way for all sorts of business users to easily deploy Machine Learning models within Power BI. With a focus on usability and ease of access, AutoML is a huge boon to the non-tech-savvy, who may have never had experience deploying these kinds of powerful tools before. There are also a variety of intuitive options for setting up these models such as a Training Time slider, which allows for rapid running of tests and the creation of proof-of-concepts. Reports of the results have also been simplified in order to make the outputs and conclusions less ambiguous and more actionable to beginners.
As more and more companies adopt Power BI to create reports using their most sensitive and confidential data, a high level of data security and robust information management options are a requirement. With new Enterprise Information Management features entering public preview, these capabilities are strengthened. New classification options, sensitive data at a dashboard, report, dataset or dataflow level can be flagged by a user with the appropriate permissions with a simple toggle. These classifications remain even when the data is exported into a variety of different forms.
Included as part of this data management previews are new methods of visualising data lineage located natively within Power BI. With the addition of Lineage View the context behind individual data points are now visible and the connections between them traceable. Overall, this helps contribute to maintaining a well ordered, structured and ultimately secure workspace.
Power BI Premium cache sizes have been limited to a post-compression size of 10GB. This cache allows for data to be held ready for fast response times when querying. With some of the larger scale projects and voluminous data sets this may not be quite sufficient. For those cases, this size limit has been uncapped and is now limited only to the Power BI Premium capacity size. This is good news for those truly monster projects that are now opened up to blisteringly fast performance.
Similar to the Unified Office 365 Audit Log, Power BI now has an API which pushes a stream of Power BI-specific user and admin activities. Although it does not yet have a user interface, this API is a useful tool for global admins who have to use this sort of data to adhere to certain compliance requirements or to understand how a tenancy can be optimised. By applying a little bit of knowhow, the activity events can be exported into custom usage reports of all kinds, creating admin tools that help develop a clearer picture of how Power BI is being utilised within an organisation.
We look forward to seeing how Power BI continues to evolve into 2020. If you are, like us, a Power BI enthusiast, but feel like your skills aren’t exactly at the level you’d like; sign up for one of our Power BI training seminars to remain on the cutting edge: