Review of new features & Announcements for #PowerBI – From the Microsoft Business Applications Summit
I was once again very fortunate to make it across to the Microsoft Business Applications Summit in Atlanta.
I had 3 sessions which I presented at, and they went well.
It was great to meet new people (some of whom I had only read their blog posts or viewed their videos) and reconnected with existing people.
As I did last year, there was a whole host of new features and future announcements that are coming to Power BI.
Please find below all the details and links of what is coming to Power BI, and there is a LOT of AWESOME things that have been released or are coming.
Enjoy the read.
Below is an overview of some of the announcements and things that were not product specific.
The first picture below is incredible in terms of seeing how big the Power Platform is.
Particularly if you look at how Power BI ingests more than 20PB of data month, hosts more than 25 million data models too!
This picture below shows how Power BI has grown over the years and for me personally that is a really steep upward trend that is ongoing!
Another incredible take away is that 95% of the Fortune 500 companies are using Power BI, that is a great achievement for a product that is only coming up to being 4 years old.
Power BI Desktop
There was an incredible number of announcements of new features in Power BI Desktop too!
This picture below was one of the first releases of Power BI Report Designer, and it is interesting to see how it was then when it was launched.
And having a look at it now, and how it has evolved and has got so many features in the few years it has been going!
One of the most requested Custom Visuals that has been request I think ever since it was no longer available in SharePoint is the decomposition tree. Not only is it coming soon, but it has been vastly improved to be more interactive and to even suggest which values make up the totals. It is going to be AWESOME.
There are a whole host of updates coming to the Q&A Visual and as shown below when you use it, it will auto generate some questions that it thinks might be applicable.
Not only that but it is surfaced with nice easy to click and easy to read buttons.
They are also going to integrate it with Office Synonyms which will mean that even if the name is not in your data, it will use a synonym to find the data for you.
Which means that users will be able to find the data that they need quicker and easier.
Some of the other Q&A features are the following:
- It allows you to then go and help with questions that it does not understand, which will then allow other users to be able to get the right answers to their questions.
- Right within the Q&A Visual you can also add in a list of synonyms instead of having to go and do it in the data model.
- And you can also review and edit the terms that are taught in Q&A
Another much requested feature is to have KPI visuals being shown in table and matrixes. And as shown below this will be coming to Power BI Desktop.
NOT only that, but you will also be able to put in your own GIF for the icons.
Another new feature that will be coming to Power BI desktop is have automatic refresh of reports.
When you have a data source that is using DirectQuery, you can then set the refresh interval where it will automatically update based on the frequency interval.
As shown below, this was Will Thompson playing a video game where all the data was being written to an Azure SQL database and was then streaming the data and viewing it directly in Power BI desktop.
The ribbon in Power BI Desktop is now going to be using the same ribbon as is used in the Office Team. As you can see below it has got the familiar interface and easy to use changes.
You will also be able to click on a visual or multiple visuals and click on the Formatting area as shown below and quickly and easily change the fonts, sizes, and bolding quickly and easily.
This image below shows how easy it will be to change the themes.
Finally, after much talk they have released the Power Query Website, where you can now go for everything relating to Power Query
Here is a link to the website: https://powerquery.microsoft.com/en-us/
Other Power BI Desktop Announcements
- Certified datasets will also be coming, which will work the same as the current shared and certified datasets.
I saw a presentation where the new AI capabilities that you get in Power Query online, will also be coming into the Query Editor in Power BI desktop.
- I personally think that this is fantastic as it will allow users to have the Machine Learning outputs directly into their data model, which will make it quicker and easier to show how this affects their data. Enabling them to make well informed data decisions.
June 2019 Release
To coincide with the MBAS, was the June release of Power BI Desktop, I am going to go over very briefly some of the new features that came out.
The updated panel design as shown above looks great, and I do know that people always like a change.
This is a BIG one, having the capability to be able to use visual level filters on Slicers, this has been a BIG ask!
There have already been some updates to the Performance Analyzer where you can now sort by the metrics
There have also been conditional formatting updates for the following as shown below.
Finally, after a lot of requests, there now is the option to label the table & matrix totals with your own text.
There have been the following updates to the Key Influencers visual
- Live Connection to Power BI Datasets
- Key Influencers accessibility
- Support for Cloud Row Level Security
There is a new DAX Comparison ==, which now performs a strict comparison between BLANK Values
You can now customize your visualization pane with your custom visuals, so everytime that you open Power BI Desktop they will be available to you.
The new capability of Shared and Certified datasets now means that you can have one golden dataset which then can be shared across multiple app workspaces.
Not only that, but the dataset can also be certified which means that users in the organization know that the data in this dataset is good to be used and can trust the numbers.
The new dialog below makes it easy to use the datasets
There have been some improvements made to Intellisense where there now is parameter hint support in the formula bar.
As well as if you hover over a functions and query step names it will display the definition.
If you would like to watch the video and read more details you can find the blog post here: Power BI Desktop June 2019 Feature Summary
Power BI Service
There was also a lot of new and future updates coming to the Power BI Service.
As shown below there is a new look and feel that is coming to the Power BI Service.
As shown below there are the following features:
- The buttons that are the most frequently used appear right there, cleaning up the area and allowing you to easily access the buttons.
In the middle it now also will show you the last time your data was updated, and if you click on the drop down, it will give you more information as to who the owner is and when it was updated.
- This also uses the new App design which has been rolled out.
Another update that is coming is the ability for the user to NOT only change the visual type, but they can also change what they see in the visual.
The Power BI Service will remember what the user selected, and if they do not want it, they can then reset to default to go back to the default settings!
That is incredible because once again it allows the report users to get the reports in a format that they want and understand.
Going forward which ties in with the shared and certified datasets will be data lineage.
What this will do, as shown below is allow you to see not only the source of your data on the left-hand side, but where your shared dataset is being used, in which App Workspaces and then which reports and which dashboards.
That is another way to better understand the reach of your data and how it is being leveraged.
One concern that I have heard from multiple customers is that once my data is in the cloud it is easy to export the data and then it is out of my control.
Coming soon is the integration with the Microsoft Cloud App.
What this means is that if when you use the Microsoft Cloud App classifications it can also be used within Power BI.
When a user then wants to export the data, it will then see if the user has got access and based on their access it will either download and allow the file to be opened as shown below.
Or if the user does not have the permissions based on the classification of the data, they will then be blocked from downloading the file as shown below.
They are also going to be building in the data protection reporting into the Admin Portal so that Power BI Admins will be able to get some reporting on the data security.
Here is what the reporting would look like.
You can feel that your data will be secure, as with the image shown below, which shows how Microsoft secures all the data in Office 365 on a monthly basis.
As you can see below it is a massive amount of data that they secure!
There are changes coming to dataflows which means that not only can you use it in DirectQuery, it will also return the data out of dataflows much much faster by using a SQL Cache off the dataflow files.
I personally know of a few people who have been asking for the ability to be able to do DirectQuery off dataflows and it is here already!
If you want to find out more information on the Microsoft Cloud Security you can find more details here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/office365/securitycompliance/sensitivity-labels
As shown below, when you connect to your data, you will then able to connect to the cached dataflow.
Although a little small below is the planned roadmap for dataflows going forward for the next few months.
A new setting which will be coming to the Admin Portal is the capability to be notified for service outages or incidents, which will be great instead of having to go and try and find out if there is an outage or incident.
There was also a lot of new announcements and capabilities coming to AI in Power BI.
As shown below there are a whole host of updates coming for all users from End Users all the way to data scientists.
And from the demo’s that I did see a lot of it will be very easy to use and can be done in few simple clicks.
This means that having the ability to do AI is not only easier, but simple enough for business users to use some of the features and gain insights which were previously thought to be only done by data scientists.
If you are interested in all the capabilities there is this blog post here with more details: https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/announcing-ai-premium-workload-cognitive-services-and-azure-ml-general-availability/
Some organizations are hesitant to move to the cloud because they do not own the keys to encrypt their data. Well that has all changed with the announcement of the ability to bring your own key. I am not 100% sure exactly how this works, but it will evolve over time!
Power BI Mobile
As shown in the Keynote, there is now Siri integration with your Power BI reports and dashboards.
This allows you to ask a question and get the report to show up, that is very cool.
If you are interested in this, you can find more details here: https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/introducing-siri-integration-with-power-bi-mobile-ios-app-preview/
The Power BI Mobile App is the most recommended app, and it also has over 50X more reviews that all the other competitors combined.
NOT only that but it has an incredible 4.7 out of 5 rating!
Power BI Report Server
There was the announcement that Power BI Report Server is now generally available.
This is great for organizations who were looking to move to the cloud but only move once it is generally available so that will also be fully supported.
You can find all the blog post details here: Announcing Paginated Reports in Power BI general availability
Coming soon, there will be the ability to be able to open the RLD files directly from the Power BI Service, edit them and then save them back.
Some of the other features as detailed below.
When using Azure Analysis Services currently the Queries work on First in First Out (FIFO).
Going forward they are going to be introducing Query Interleaving and as shown in the picture below, this will mean that if there is a long running query either the shorter queries can share the CPU, or if set a short query can pause the long running query to get their query completed and the long running query will the continue.
Another big announcement which will possibly be coming to Power BI Premium and Azure Analysis Service is the ability to extend the amount of memory used from the current 400GB to 4TB or more.
They have not announced the exact details, but it does mean that you will be able to host an incredible size of memory for your datasets.
And finally, here is a brief recap of some of the announcements.
Thanks for reading and I have to say once again, it was an incredible conference, amazing presentations, amazing people and I am looking forward to the next 12 months.