Power BI improvements for April

by | May 15, 2020

Over the past month, Power BI has introduced a range of exciting features, despite the ongoing crisis that is causing disruption for many businesses.

As always, Microsoft has taken customer feedback on board, making improvements based on the needs of its growing userbase, in a bid to enhance the user experience.

The most recent updates cover a range of key areas, including reporting, analytics, visualisations, template apps, data preparation and data connectivity.

These changes include a new visual personalisation feature that allows end users to explore and personalise visuals, providing more in-depth analysis for readers.

In this blog, we take a closer look at some of the most significant updates and the impact they will have on our clients.

Change detection for page refresh

Specific refresh intervals can be inefficient, as unnecessary queries result in expensive resource usage. In response to this, Power BI has a new automatic page refresh feature known as ‘change detection’, which uses a lightweight query to check if data has been changed before refreshing the entire report.

With this release, a new ‘change detection’ option is available for users, allowing them to specify how the programme should query for changes and which measures should be frequently monitored.

To enable this feature, users must first turn on the ‘automatic page refresh’ preview switch in the options dialogue, before going to the modelling section in the ribbon and selecting ‘change detection’ for the same outcome.

From there, authors can create a specific change detection measure and specify how frequently the platform should check for changes. It’s important to note that change detection will only work if the report is published to a premium workspace and is enabled in the premium capacity.

This feature allows businesses to become more efficient when handling their data, delivering important, up-to-date insights without unnecessary delays.

Comicgen by Gramener

A Power BI update review wouldn’t be complete without a close inspection of some of the latest visuals to be introduced to the platform.

The Comicgen visual adds comic characters to the report, whose emotion, pose and angle can be controlled by data, with KPI’s displayed as emotions through the visual.

Using the control panel, you can select what the character is doing and whether it is static or animated depending on your selections.

Users can choose different comics, giving them access to a wide variety of characters and bringing added personality to their reports by showcasing data in a fun and interactive way.

It’s important to note that a maximum of two KPI’s can be displayed at a time.

Personalise visuals

One of the long-term requests of many Power BI customers was for end users to be given the tools needed to personalise visuals when viewing the report.

Previously, end users had no control over how visuals were displayed, as they had to be in the full editing experience or have the report author duplicate and amend the original report to meet their requirements.

Now, authors can place the power in the hands of their readers, giving them the ability to explore and personalise visuals within the consumption review of the report.

This feature is currently in preview mode, so it must be switched on inside the ‘file’ menu and applied to specific reports before it can be used.

This update will allow readers to get the insights they need, using the visuals that appeal to them most.

What does your data mean?

Collecting masses of data without a purpose is counterproductive, so it’s important that your business transforms this information into business-enhancing insights.

During an uncertain period, it’s crucial that trends are spotted early, so that businesses can capitalise on what is happening around them – it’s all about being proactive, not reactive.

Microsoft’s commitment to quality means that it is constantly looking for new ways to improve the service, listening closely to customer feedback and implementing changes where necessary.

If you’d like to understand how Power BI can help take your business to the next level, then contact our in-house team of experts for more advice.