Power BI Update | February 2021
Power BI recently released their first feature update for 2021, with some powerful new features!
Below is a brief overview of my top picks for this month's release:
DirectQuery for PBI datasets and Azure Analysis Services Updates (preview)
This exciting preview feature opens a whole new set of possibilities for data modelling.
By enabling DirectQuery for connecting to Power BI datasets, additional data sources can easily be added into the .pbix file for building on top of an already curated dataset.
Use cases for this might include adding financial reporting information on top of an operational data model, allowing you to maintain the one source of truth for operational data whilst ensuring a separate level of security around the combined data model.
As this feature is currently in preview, it has to be enabled from the 'Options' menu under 'Preview features'.
To bring it in line with Microsoft's other applications, particularly the Office suite, Power BI has released a search bar on the ribbon.
When you click on the search bar, Power BI uses contextual help to suggest some actions for you to take based on the current state of your report.
As you type in a keyword, the search results will update to show you buttons that are related to your search. There is the option to click “Get help” and be directed to Microsoft documentation.
Whilst a visual or field is selected, the context-specific tabs that are displayed, such as "Format" will have their buttons appear in the search results.
This new feature will assist users to discover recommended formatting or transformation options for their data and adds a more seamless feel between Power BI and the Office suite of applications.
Anomaly detection now in ribbon
This month, Power BI's new Anomaly detection feature is now being made available under the 'AI' section of the 'Data/Drill' tab in the ribbon.
Also, the minimum number of data points required to use this feature has been reduced to 4.
This feature provides a quick and handy way to identify any data points that warrant investigation due to their abnormality, reducing the amount of manual data processing needed to identify such outliers.
Email subscription attachment
A new feature for the Power BI service is the ability to create a subscription to a report that includes all pages of the report as an attachment, eliminating the need to subscribe separately to each section and in many ways is the same as generating an export of the report. Attachments may be generated as either a .pdf or a PowerPoint.
This provides a handy new way to handle report distribution to users and removes the need for creating an individual subscription for each page, or even the requirement to go into the Power BI service to view up to date information.
Presently, this feature is only available to those users in a Premium workspace, or with Premium-per-user licensing.