Our Favorite Updates from Power BI’s Feature Summaries 2020
Every month, Microsoft Power BI’s blog releases a Features Summary. This article is about our favorites from the January, February, and March 2020 summaries.
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This article is not a deep-dive but a high-level overview, it is in direct reference to Microsoft’s reports. To view Microsoft’s full report, use the buttons below.
Microsoft Partnership and Custom Power BI Solutions Provider
Before we dive into the updates, here is some background on our company to help you understand our experience and approach with Power BI.
Vizion360 partners with clients to help them harness the power of their data with Power BI. Our custom Power BI platform and industry-specific BI solutions are driven by a Gold Partnership with Microsoft in Cloud Platform and Data Analytics.
Between the months of January and March 2020, Microsoft Power BI released updates for their
- Reporting: KPI visual formatting, data exporting, filter pane updates, and more.
- Analytics: Conditional formatting, new DAX functions and more.
- Visualizations: New charts, updates to tables, charts and more.
- Data Preparation and Modeling: Profiling Enhancements, DAX, and Query diagnostics
- Others: Template Apps, Dataset Management, Data Connectivity, and General Performance
They’ve included a lot of updates and features of choice that are highly requested by the Power BI community in addition to other features, functions, and updates deemed necessary or helpful by Microsoft.
Top Highlights from Power BI's 2020 Feature Summaries
#1 Gain Visibility into your Power BI Users with the New Activity Log and Improved Report Usage Metrics
Number one on our list is a combination of two updates: A new Power BI API, the activity log, and enhanced report usage metrics in modern workspaces.
The activity log gives you the ability to track admin activities and users within a tenant – giving service admins an easier way to monitor user actions. Learn More about the activity log API for Power BI.
As a Power BI partner and custom solution provider, we can help our clients integrate with Power BI APIs such as this one.
In addition to the activity log, improved report usage metrics are now available. In modern workspaces, you can now toggle new usage reports on to access insights, such as unique viewers, opening times for reports and ranking.
While we love this feature, it’s important to note that you can only run this for one workspace and you must use the data model provided. Learn More about Improved Report Usage Metrics.
With Vizion360, you can customize your Power BI solution to get out of the box insights and share reports externally.
#2 Improved Power BI Integration in Microsoft Teams for Collaboration
We use Microsoft Teams to communicate, share, and collaborate internally at Vizion360, so this feature was high on our list. The new tab allows you to share reports, add permissions, have conversations on reports, and open reports directly in Power BI– driving a data-driven culture for many teams.
Licensing does play a key role here – because you won’t be able to share with those who do not have Pro or Premium Licensing. There are other ways to share reports, as Vizion360 users on the Impact Portal can share reports to various team members, different departments, and externally.
#3 Better Page Navigation and UX with New Buttons
Every company loves efficiency, and sometimes extra tedious steps add up over time and irritate users. Two page navigation updates were added in the March Desktop Summary that improve navigational efficiencies.
First - Instead of saving a bookmark, creating a button with a bookmark action and then adding that button to your dashboard - you can now use a built-in page navigation action.
Second - You can now streamline navigating to a drill-through page with a new "drill through action as a preview" to highlight important drill-through reports.
Intuitive page navigation saves major development time with regards to bookmark management and increasing user experience for drill through scenarios. This is why it's #3 on our list. Learn more about the page navigation updates here.
#4 Slicer Updated to Support Hierarchies
There was a lot of demand for this feature within the Power BI community. It’s straightforward, but with the demand for it and the efficiency boost, it landed at number 4 on our favorites list. It greatly increases efficiency and usability when working with filters and Vizion360 has adopted this as part of our standard report library.
#5 The COALESCE DAX Function
While many DAX functions and updates were released in the 2020 so far, we are highlighting this one because it is just a wrapper for IF. Many DAX functions are just wrappers and users should continue to be aware of IF performance implications. A shout out to SQLBI for confirming this in their article that goes a little more in-depth.
Vizion360 is a Power BI Partner and Gold Partner of Microsoft, our Power BI professionals are able to identify which ones are wrappers and optimized, and which ones are not. If you have any questions around this, you can contact our Power BI Center of Excellence here.
#6 Incremental Refresh is Now Available for Pro Users
Up until now, this has been a Premium-only feature. It’s widely used and was the #2 highest voted item on Power BI’s post for feedback. This feature will use the time zone in the dataset settings page as well. As we mentioned, Vizion360 users already have access due to our custom Power BI solution, but we are very pleased that it’s now generally available.
With this feature, Power BI has simplified the management experience for enterprise BI. Learn more about incremental refresh here.
#7 Power BI Subscriptions for External Users Available for Premium
One of the many things that can be frustrating for Power BI Users is restricted sharing of reports to due licensing – it can make it difficult to share things with other departments, depending on your workspace. For Power BI apps and workspaces backed by premium – sharing externally via email is now available to empower collaboration.
Vizion360 offers Power BI Subscriptions for Pro users as well as data-driven subscriptions. We enable you to share externally with clients, investors, vendors and more as well as internally to your team or other departments. This is the value of investing with a Power BI partner, it enables you to take your Power BI reporting to the next level.
#8 New Ribbon is Now the Default User Interface
We included this update as an FYI to Power BI users. While many of the ribbon updates were introduced earlier, they officially announced the new ribbon will be on by default in the March 2020 Update.
Every user will see an announcement for this new default setting. Learn more about the new ribbon in Microsoft's full update here.
If you want to learn more about these new features, how you can better utilize Power BI at your organization, or to get started with Power BI, fill out the form below to contact our Power BI Center of Excellence.