With the country in the middle of a second national lockdown, organisations are relying on services like Power BI to uncover business-enhancing insights, so to help users, we’ve outlined some of the major Power BI improvements for November that businesses should be aware of.

By now, regular users will be familiar with the programme and its features, but Microsoft has doubled down on its efforts to enhance the user experience, introducing monthly updates that are designed to improve data analysis.

It’s important for users to stay up to date with these developments, taking the time to understand the most recent improvements and their likely impact on daily operations.

Covering a range of key areas, from reporting and analytics to data connectivity and visualisations, November’s update cycle includes a range of highly anticipated features for businesses to utilise.

As we do each month, we’ve taken a closer look at some of the most important updates, allowing organisations to extract maximum value from their investment in technology.

Anomaly detection

One of the most significant Power BI improvements for November is the anomaly detection (preview), which allows users to enhance their line charts by automatically detecting anomalies within their data.

Instead of having to manually sift through data to perform root cause analysis, users can uncover insights and receive explanations in a few easy clicks. The experience is highly customisable, allowing users to configure the algorithm, anomaly and expected range as required.

Once the anomaly has been selected in the chart, Power BI runs analysis across the fields in your data model to receive possible explanations, with contributing factors outlined to help businesses understand the reasons for the results.

Users can select which fields are used for analysis by dragging them into the ‘explain by field’ well. Meanwhile, clicking on an explanation offers a more detailed analysis of the results and how they’ve been reached.

Remember, this is a preview feature, so users will first need to enable it by switching on ‘anomaly detection’ within the settings interface.

Visual zoom slider

For users interacting with cartesian charts, a notable Power BI improvement made in November were the zoom sliders that allow creators and consumers to examine a smaller range of data without using a filter.

These sliders will not affect contextual information like calculated trendlines and can be used by clicking and dragging endpoints to adjust the dimensions of the view window.

Zoom sliders can be enabled in their card in the formatting pane of supported visuals, with the X and Y axis toggles used to enable or disable the zoom slider for each axis.

The zoom state of the visual will also be saved when you publish your report, so that end users view a specific range of data, instead of having to manually adjust it themselves.

These zoom sliders will be enabled for a range of graphs and charts, including bar/column, line, line and bar/column combo and scatter charts.

ZoomCharts: Drill Down Map PRO

Our updates on Power BI improvements wouldn’t be complete without taking a closer look at one of the many custom visuals that have recently been added to the service.

This month, one of the most impressive additions is the Drill Down Map PRO, which has powerful on-chart filtering capabilities and rich customisation options, allowing users to create visually appealing maps with built-in features.

Unique features – such as data clusters as donut charts and multi-page tooltip – enable you to show more data per location, in a structured, user-friendly way.

Using Microsoft Azure Maps or another custom tile server as the base layer, users can then add shape layers on top of that with specific zoom levels to enable dynamic drill down experience.

This custom visual allows businesses to present their data using an engaging map graphic, so that readers can digest information easily.

Ending the year on a high…

We hope you enjoyed our breakdown of Microsoft’s major Power BI improvements for November. There’s no escaping the fact that 2020 has been a difficult year for many businesses, with the ongoing pandemic causing widespread disruption across a range of sectors.

Now, with the country in another lockdown, businesses are keen to transform their masses of information into important insights that will allow them to weather the storm and come out the other side in a strong position.

By having access to timely and accurate information, businesses can overcome obstacles and thrive in the current climate, giving confidence to their employees and investors that the future is a lot brighter than it currently seems.

Microsoft is doing all it can to help businesses achieve this, introducing exciting updates that allow users to harness their data and build engaging reports. Keep an eye on our blog for future software update summaries on Power BI and other Microsoft products.

In the meantime, if your organisation needs help finding an effective Power BI solution, then contact our in-house team of experts for advice.