Power BI is Microsoft’s flagship business analytics service, and last month saw a number of updates.
Below is a summary of the major Power BI May 2017 updates.
The announcement of Power BI Premium
This is one for the ‘coming soon’ category, but Microsoft did announce its forthcoming Power BI Premium last month. This is aimed at providing dedicated, scalable capacity for Premium customers, allowing enhanced performance and larger data volumes without requiring the purchase of individual per-user licences.
Usage metrics for dashboard and report authors
This new feature provides easy access to valuable usage metrics for dashboards and reports. Users can, for example, compare the number of views and viewers for content to those for other dashboards and reports within an organisation. Users can also filter in a number of ways, such as viewing how report recipients received access and whether this was via the web or mobile app.
Availability of Power BI SharePoint web part preview
The Power BI report web part for SharePoint Online was announced in February, allowing users to embed their Power BI reports in their SharePoint Online portals. This was initially available only to Office 365 First Release customers, but the preview has now been extended to all SharePoint Online users.
On-Premises Data Gateway now supports PostgreSQL
Users no longer have to connect to PostgreSQL using the ODBC connector. The latest release of the On-Premises Data Gateway now supports full connectivity to the open source object-relational database.
Data Connector SDK developer preview
As part of the Microsoft Build event, Power BI announced a developer preview of the Data Connector SDK, allowing developers to start building their own custom data connectors. Power BI describes these data connectors as the “extensions on the connectivity/Mashup engine that powers the ‘Get Data’ experience in Power BI and Excel”. Essentially, they are what a business uses to connect to Power BI’s hundred-plus supported data sources.
Multiple URL parameter filtering
A feature allowing users to filter a report using a URL query string parameter was introduced a couple of months ago. Initially, this feature only worked with a single filter. A new update now provides support for multiple URL query string parameters.
Power BI Apps gets a public preview
Many businesses and other organisations need multiple Power BI dashboards and reports. For example, a sales manager might use one dashboard to monitor the leads funnel, another to monitor the sales leaderboards, and a third to monitor and analyse sales forecasts. Power BI Apps are now in public preview and are designed to fill this requirement. Basically, they allow collections of custom-built dashboards and reports to be deployed to a large number of business users.
New service content packs
The Office 365 adoption content pack was announced back in April, but a number of new service content packs have since been released. These include Microsoft Dynamics 365 – Social Engagement, Dynamics 365 for Financials, TyGraph for Yammer 3.0, Easy Projects, Webtrends for SharePoint and Transit IQ.