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What’s new with Power BI?


At the Microsoft Business Applications Summit 2021, a ton of new features for Power BI where announced. Below is my list of top ten new features, but there were plenty more. For a list of all the announcements, see Microsoft Business Application Summit Recap.

Lineage view and Impact analysis support for DirectQuery for Power BI datasets

Coming soon. Microsoft is adding support for the DirectQuery for Power BI datasets preview feature to the lineage view and impact analysis both in the Service and in the Power BI Desktop. Regardless of if the dataset is in the same workspace as the source datasets or in a different workspace you can see it in lineage view and impact analysis.

Make datasets discoverable and request access 

Coming soon. In a culture of data reuse, analysts should be able to see what data is available in their organization for them to use. To this end, another big step Power BI has taken is to allow a data owner to make their dataset discoverable even by users who don’t yet have access to the data it contains.

As an admin or a member of a workspace, when you endorse a dataset, by default you’ll also be making it discoverable by other users, who can then request access to it if they don’t have access already.

Now that datasets can be made discoverable, users can find data that interests them and request access to it in the Datasets Hub and in Power BI Desktop.

In many cases, getting access to data goes through a process that is unique to your org and to your dataset. Recognizing the variety of processes for requesting and granting access, Power BI allows any dataset owner (workspace admin/member/contributor) to customize per-dataset instructions for how to get access. When an end-user requests access to the dataset, they will be shown a dialog message with details about how to get access.

By default, if no instructions were set, the access request will be sent by email to the user who created the dataset or to the one who assumed ownership.

Request accessing instructions can be set on a dataset.

Achieve more and stay on track with goals in Power BI 

In preview. Goals in Power BI will redefine how you measure key business metrics, outcomes, and milestones. Using goals, individuals can aggregate metrics with deep ownership and accountability. Goals helps you streamline the process of collecting, tracking, and analyzing all your business metrics in one place. You can create scorecards with writeback capabilities, define status, check in with notes, and assign goals to individuals. Goals can be powered by data coming from one or more Power BI reports, spanning different workspaces.

New Insights and Governance functionality for Power BI admins 

Coming soon. Azure Monitor integration will allow you to connect Power BI Premium/Embedded environments to Azure Log Analytics workspaces.  Log Analytics provides long-term data storage, retention policies, ad hoc query capability, and the ability to analyze activities in Power BI using a built-in connector.  You will have access to detailed logs on Analysis Services dataset activity, capacity utilization, and report usage and performance in near real time.  You will be able to view template reports and apps so you can understand how, when, and by whom content and resources are being consumed.

Azure Monitor integration will allow you to connect Power BI Premium/Embedded environments to Azure Log Analytics (LA) workspaces.

Modern Usage Metrics will be updated to provide 90 days of history. You will be able to access built-in usage reports on aggregated/trend data and drill down to each individual page level view.  Each page view will have performance information, including breakdowns of query and render duration.

Microsoft will also release a new series of Admin APIs to provide detailed visibility of access rights. You will be able to determine the users, groups and permissions on a given Power BI artifact such as report, dashboard, dataset, dataflow, app, workspace or capacity. You can also specify all the content and permissions any specific user has access to and satisfy audit and compliance needs.

Paginated report visual for Power BI reports 

Paginated report visual for Power BI reports.

Coming soon. Microsoft is bringing together paginated reports and interactive reports for the first time with the new paginated report visual. You can embed a paginated report directly in your Power BI report, and use filters/slicers and cross-highlighting to interact with the visual just as you would other Power BI visuals. Additionally, you will be able to export and print the paginated report directly from the Power BI report canvas and preserve all formatting.

Automatic Aggregations 

Coming soon. Automatic aggregations unlock massive datasets for interactive analysis as Power BI automatically creates and manages in-memory aggregations based on usage patterns to boost query performance and user concurrency. Automatic aggregations will support DirectQuery datasets over Azure Synapse, Azure SQL Database, Snowflake and Google BigQuery.

Deployment Pipelines automation 

Coming soon. Automate the release of content updates with a set of new APIs for deployment pipelines.

With these APIs, BI teams can:

  • Deploy multiple pipelines at a scheduled time.
  • Cascade deployments of Power BI content.
  • Easily integrate Power BI release processes into familiar DevOps tools, such as Azure DevOps or GitHub actions.
Automate the release of content updates with a set of new APIs for deployment pipelines.

Automated Insights 

Coming soon. Automated Insights combine all Power BI AI functionality ranging from Anomaly Detection to Smart Narratives and the Decomposition tree into a single end to end experience directly catered to your needs. When you open a report, Automated Insights runs behind the scenes, and surfaces details that need your attention. You can also click into the new ‘Get Insights’ button in the ribbon whenever you want to get additional insights about the visuals you are seeing.

Hybrid tables

This allows you to have a single table which is automatically created with different data refresh requirements (Import or DirectQuery). In the example below, older data is imported while the more recent data is using incremental refresh to keep it up to date. In addition, the current day query is using DirectQuery to keep it near real-time.

Streaming dataflows

Coming soon. Streaming dataflows allows Power Query transformations on top of streaming data.

To learn more

The Power Platform release plan (formerly release notes) for the 2021 release wave 1 describes all new features releasing from April 2021 through September 2021 for Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate, AI Builder, Power Virtual Agents, and Common Data Model and Data Integration.  You can either browse the release plan online or download the document as a PDF file or via the Power BI Release Wave.

Share your feedback on the community forum for users of the “Power” suite of products (Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power Virtual Agents).  Microsoft will use your feedback to make improvements. And you can also vote for new features:

More info:

Driving a data culture with Power BI– Empowering individuals, every team, and every organization | Microsoft Power BI Blog | Microsoft Power BI

Incredible Power BI Announcements at Microsoft Business Applications Summit 2021

All Power BI Announcements of Microsoft Business Applications Summit 2021 in One Place

My favorite Power BI announcements from the Business Application Summit

The post What’s new with Power BI? first appeared on James Serra's Blog.

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