Power BI releases this quarter have included a more powerful deployment process for reports, new capabilities to instil better data governance practices, enhanced mobile analytics and several more ways to improve reports. With data quality being one of the most vital aspects of analytics, tools that help facilitate it can help build trust in data organisation-wide. Every quarter, Power BI enhancements like these help us deliver better outcomes in this area to our clients. We also like to spotlight some of the more interesting announcements for our community to get excited about as well.
Lineage View for Power BI has entered general availability. This means that now developers and data engineers have the ability to easily visualise the entire sequence of transformations and dependencies for any data asset. We are frequently expounding on the benefits of data lineage due to the valuable context that it provides, increasing the functionality and usefulness of reports.
This update also includes the ability to perform something called Dataset Impact Analysis. This allows dataset owners to see, at a glance, where certain datasets are being used across the organisation. This allows them, as per the name, to identify not just what derivative data assets might be affected, but specifically the users who work with them. This allows a manager to effectively communicate to the right users when to expect changes or even identify which datasets aren’t receiving the level of usage that is expected.
Moving from an update that focused on Power BI data engineers to one with the end user very much in mind. Personalize Visuals is a new feature in preview that gives consumers of visual reports more flexibility as to how they choose to view them. They can now customise many aspects of their reports based on their own unique requirements, including swapping axes and changing the type of visual entirely. They can then save their modified visuals in their own personal library to refer back to them later.
This is good for when you have advanced users and want to give them the power to consume your reports in different ways without necessarily building out different variations of the visuals baked in.
The new Power BI Development Pipelines has introduced into public preview something that was formerly a gap in the report development cycle. This new feature gives report developers a fast and easy ability to move reports between production environments, from development to test and finally into the ultimate deployment. With no previous coding or Devops experience required, it allows for a more managed progression of reports and dashboards across the different stages of development and testing even with a team of not very advanced Power BI creators.
Another boon for Power BI administrators comes in the form of the Refresh Summary page that is now available to users of Power BI Premium. With this addition it is now possible to get a summary of all scheduled refresh actions that have run over the last 7 days as well as relevant metrics such as average refresh durations, time slots and number of refreshes per day. Any errors are also highlighted on this page, allowing for easier identification and resolution of issues. This is also facilitated by a list of all the users who are the “owners” of these data refresh tasks, who can then be quickly contacted to resolve any potential issues.
Something relatively small and simple, but a gift to those who prefer viewing their reports as actual, literal reports on the page. Paginated reports can now be viewed in Page View mode which provides a more document-like feel to scrolling through the content, not unlike viewing a pdf. However, interactivity is maintained and it is still possible to change parameters and click on links. Currently, only the Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge browsers are supported for this new viewing mode.
The capabilities of Power BI Desktop have been expanded by enabling direct support for the ALM Toolkit, DAX Studio and Tabular Editor. Access to these tools is now possible directly from a new tab in the interface and their functions can be performed with minimum disruption: application lifecycle schema comparison for ALM toolkit, tighter control over DAX queries with DAX Studio and hierarchical, well-organised tabular model management with Tabular Editor. Registering these third-party tools once they are installed on your system is simply a matter of entering several fields into a JSON file.
High quality mobile authoring is something we see many clients want, but lack the resources and time to properly commit to. Publishing reports to mobile has been an option for quite a long time with Power BI Desktop, but it was always relatively slipshod, with results that could be unpredictable. With this new WYSIWYG mobile-centric editor, visuals can be specifically tailored and elements accurately positioned with mobile users primarily in mind. Visualisations no longer have to look like they are simply awkwardly ported from desktop reports, especially with the new ability to layer report elements and utilise made-for-touchscreen action buttons. Mobile reports no longer have to play second fiddle and can get the fine-grain design attention they deserve.
Do you want to know more about the potential of Power BI? Do you want to use the features mentioned in this summary as well as many more to make stylish, well-crafted reports presenting your most vital business data? Register for our Power BI training and get the knowledge you need to use this powerful tool with confidence.