2020 has been a challenging year, and with the effects of the pandemic likely to be felt for months to come, it’s important for businesses to transform their existing information into business-enhancing insights.

For this reason, many organisations are now relying on Power BI to help them thrive in the current climate, as the service allows them to spot emerging trends and make smarter business decisions.

As businesses begin to recognise the importance of having access to timely and accurate information, Microsoft is working tirelessly to implement new and exciting features that will enhance the user experience.

During October, Microsoft announced a range of important updates across various key areas, including reporting, analytics, data preparation, data connectivity, visualisations and template apps, with many of these improvements delivered in direct response to customer feedback.

Below, we have outlined some of the most significant improvements over the past month and analysed their impact on the userbase.

Canvas watermarks

Although a lot of readers actively use Power BI, there are still some organisations yet to utilise the service, as they are put off by the idea of having to familiarise themselves with it.

Like all new experiences, the first couple of days can be difficult, as users spend more time finding their way around the service than using it productively. For this reason, Microsoft has introduced on-canvas watermarks to guide and teach new users.

The watermarks show users which steps to take to get data, populate the fields pane and drag/drop visuals, allowing them to get down to business immediately, without having to spend hours figuring out what to do or where to go.

As part of this update, Microsoft has also added their first sample dataset to the Power BI desktop, streamlining the entire process for new users, who would have had to invest a lot of time finding another dataset.

By clicking ‘try a sample dataset’ from the canvas watermark, new users can follow along with a sample dataset tutorial or load the sample dataset directly to start building visuals.

Personalise visuals

In May, Microsoft released a public preview of the personalise visuals feature, which allowed end-users to make tweaks to visualisations in reading view.

Following its success, the feature has now been made generally available in the most recent update cycle, meaning end-users can change a measure or dimension in the visualisation, with a range of exciting new capabilities also added.

These include several usability improvements, including drag and drop support and first-time coachmarks, as well as embed for your organisation, which extends support for common embed scenarios.

The first-time coachmarks will remind new users that they can personalise visuals when they land on a report page with this feature enabled. Meanwhile, drag and drop support gives users the ability to quickly move fields within the same visual property.

Remember, if you’re planning to use this feature, you need to turn it on in the settings of Service or Desktop, as it is disabled by default.

RoadMap by ADWISE

Regular readers of our Power BI update blogs will know that we always like to explore at least one of the new visualisations, as building visually engaging reports is one of the main appeals of the service.

This month, RoadMap by ADWISE was one of the standout visualisations added to the service, allowing businesses to plan, roadmap and time schedule phases and milestones.

Users can build their visual quickly with only three fields required to start the process, helping them present their project, product or campaign plans efficiently.

Tooltips functionality has also been added to better describe items on the roadmap, whilst group text can be configured to meet your unique requirements.

These custom visuals give users the tools needed to compile interesting reports, presenting the data in a way that engages end-users and encourages them to digest information properly.

Planning for the future…

Although 2020 has been difficult, now is the perfect time for businesses to implement a Power BI solution that allows them to deliver better results during the pandemic.

With a new year just around the corner, organisations will be keen to turn their fortunes around and implement a flexible solution that offers a competitive edge in 2021 and beyond.

Microsoft are very aware of this and are constantly looking for new ways to improve the Power BI service, allowing businesses to continue their data journey productively, by harnessing data and building engaging reports.

Ultimately, there is no point in collecting and storing masses of data if you’re then unable to transform it into important, business-enhancing insights.

If you’re yet to unlock the true potential of Power BI for your business, then contact our in-house team of experts and find a solution that meets your unique requirements.