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Driving a data culture in a world of remote everything

Headshot of article author Arun Ulagaratchagan

Welcome to Microsoft Ignite!

You can watch the sessions where we delivered this news on-demand.


Thumbnail of session Deliver insights where decisions are made with Power BI
Deliver insights where decisions are made with Power BI


Thumbnail of session Building systems of insights for enterprise scale with Power BI and Azure
Building systems of insights for enterprise scale with Power BI and Azure


The world has fundamentally changed in 2020. Individuals have had to adapt to working digitally and independently. Teamwork and collaboration are done entirely through screens and entire organizations have become remote work forces.

“We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months. From remote teamwork and learning, to sales and customer service, to critical cloud infrastructure and security—we are working alongside customers every day to help them adapt and stay open for business in a world of remote everything.”

Satya Nadella, Apr 29th, 2020

How we share and consume data must transform as well. Since Power BI was made generally available over 5 years ago, our mission has been to help our customers drive a data culture, where every individual can make every decision better informed by data.


Animation with Power BI 3 circles for data culture: every individual, every decision and every organization.


We have been hard at work and we have some exciting new capabilities to announce today that will help our customers drive clarity when they need it most.



Find out more about these announcements and more in our September 2020 summary post.


Read the blog below and join us for our sessions at Ignite to learn more.


Empower every individual – instantly familiar experiences and AI infused insights.

The Power BI team continues to advance the state of the art in leveraging AI and ML to help business users and business analysts extract insights from both structured and unstructured data. Power BI has a comprehensive set of AI capabilities in the industry – helping our customers analyze text and images, build automated machine learning models, interact with their data simply by asking questions, and automatically detect patterns in their data – all through highly interactive visual experiences.


A list of AI powered experiences in Power BI for data scientists, analysts and business users including Azure ML, Python & R integration, and natural language query & generation.


We have three exciting new announcements today:

Smart narratives (public preview)1 – report authors will be able to add and tailor dynamic, interactive narratives to reports that are automatically generated by Power BI. End users get clear explanations that are continuously updated as they slice and dice the data. Learn more about the visual in our September 2020 feature summary post.


A Power BI report where the new smart narratives visual is added and edited.


Anomaly detection (coming soon)3 report authors will be able to add enrichments to visualizations to automatically find anomalies based on personalized parameters. Selecting an anomaly will trigger a further analysis that explains the anomaly for the end user. These explanations can be customized by the report author.



Power BI for HoloLens 2 update (preview)1Power BI continues to be an industry leader in bringing insights into the real world through augmented reality. We are excited to announce that the Power BI for HoloLens app adds support for HoloLens 2. It makes it easy to view and interact with reports and dashboards on top of your real-world environment. Users can get report pages and dashboards into mixed reality, and once they do, visuals exist there every time they open the app, updated in real time, and persisting until they choose to remove them. Learn more about Power BI for HoloLens 2 in this post.


Power BI for HoloLens 2 demo for elevator inspections showing interactive reports.


Empower every team – BI woven into the fabric of the organization.

The way we get work done has changed dramatically over the past few months. With the shift to remote work, Power BI is making it easier than ever to infuse data into the tools you use to work. Whether that is collaborating in Microsoft Teams, exploring data in Microsoft Excel, or leveraging the Power Platform to turn insights into action. Today, we are announcing several new capabilities that infuse data into user’s everyday tools while enabling IT to feel confident that it is governed and secured.


Power BI app in Teams (preview)2 – Microsoft Teams is helping people stay connected while working apart. The new Power BI app will enable users to quickly discover, search and discuss data without ever leaving Teams. This central, personalized home for data in Teams will ensure that insights are always just a click away from where conversations are happening and where decisions are made. Microsoft Teams administrators can choose to pin the Power BI app to the left-hand navigation of Microsoft Teams, encouraging the entire organization to infuse data into their day to day collaborations.




Dataset discovery in Microsoft Teams (preview)3Soon, users will be able to discover available datasets from across the organization directly from the Power BI app in Teams. Power BI datasets are secured and governed, with permissions-based access, row level security, the ability to certify, and with full support for Microsoft Information Protection. From there, users can quickly generate a Power BI report or choose to analyze and explore the data in Excel. It has never been easier to find the data you are looking for.



Learn more about these Microsoft Teams updates in our blog post about improved collaboration experiences.


Excel Certified Datasets (GA) 3 & Data types (Preview) 1Excel is one of the most widely used tools on the planet for exploring data. Power BI and Excel have made it easier than ever to find trusted datasets that are refreshed, governed, and secured by natively integrating Power BI into Excel. First, we have integrated Power BI into the Excel PivotTable experience. Users can browse shared and certified datasets to create a connected PivotTable without ever leaving Excel. The data remains connected and refreshed, and thanks to row-level security and Microsoft Information Protection labels coming from Power BI, the data also remains secured. In addition, users can find Power BI tables within the Excel data types gallery. This allows users to work with Power BI data directly in the Excel grid – allowing them to use formulas, build spreadsheets and analyze their data in a familiar way, all built on top of Power BI data. Join us on October 29th 2020 to learn more about Power BI data types.



Empower every organization – scale to the most demanding enterprise needs.


As adoption of Power BI grows in an organization, IT must scale to meet the most demanding needs of the enterprise including exponential data and usage growth, performance, governance, security, and compliance. Today we are announcing new capabilities in Power BI that enable IT to meet these requirements while managing a healthy TCO and meeting business SLAs.


Power BI Premium Gen2 with Power BI Premium Per User licensing model (coming soon)3

Power BI Premium provides capabilities that are unmatched in the industry – everything from building automated machine learning models, to cognitive services, pixel perfect paginated reporting, and data preparation at scale on Azure Data Lake Gen2.

Premium has been available on a per capacity licensing model since launch. With this new generation of Power BI Premium, we have made improvements to the underlying architecture which will help customers increase their ROI, scale rapidly and get up to 16X faster performance. Customers will also get visibility into utilization at the Workspace level, enabling consistent utilization analysis and cost-management.  In addition, customers will have the ability to opt-in to a new capability to scale capacity as and when needed. This feature called autoscale, will add one v-core at a time for periods of 24hrs when there are overloads detected due to unplanned usage. V-cores are automatically removed during idle periods. Additional v-cores will be charged to an Azure subscription on a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) basis.

We are also very excited to announce Premium Per User – which provides capabilities of Power BI Premium, now on a per-user license model as a new option for customers. This addresses a key customer and community ask – to provide a lower cost entry price point to get access to Premium capabilities. Premium Per User will be available at no cost during public preview. Premium per user will be uniquely affordable and highly competitive among individual user offerings in the industry.  Stay tuned for the official pricing announcement as we get closer to the GA timeframe.  I guarantee you won’t want to miss it. For more information on purchasing Premium Per User and to be notified when preview goes live, sign up here.

With per user and per capacity licensing options, customers can choose the best and most cost-efficient package for their needs and enjoy the benefits that Premium provides.



Power BI performance accelerator for Azure Synapse Analytics (preview)3 – this new capability, turned on in Azure Synapse Analytics, tracks the most utilized Power BI queries in an organization and creates cached views to optimize query performance, ensure data is always up to date, and improve access to insight.​ With the performance accelerator, Azure Synapse and Power BI together become a continuously learning system optimizing performance as usage grows and usage patterns evolve.



Visual data preparation (coming soon)3 We are introducing “Diagram View” within the Power Query Editor, that provides an interface to easily create your queries and visualize your data preparation process. We want to simplify the experience for analysts to get started, speed up the data preparation process, and help quickly understand the data flow, both the ‘big picture view’ of how the queries are related and the ‘detailed view’ around specific data preparation steps within a query. This feature will become initially available within Power Query Online (e.g. within Power BI dataflows) and will become available in Power Query Desktop within the next calendar year.



Deployment pipelines (GA)1 – allows content creators to improve Power BI content publishing efficiency and accuracy by moving it through development, test, and production environments. GA release includes support for incremental refresh, government clouds availability and improved user experiences. You can learn more about deployment pipelines in our GA post.



Data source impact analysis (preview)1 allows content creators identify which datasets and dataflows use a specific data source across the whole Power BI tenant, then notify respective contacts re potential changes or problems in the data source. Learn more about data source impact analysis in our September 2020 feature summary post.



MIP sensitivity labels in Power BI – Power BI is the only BI product in the industry to support MIP sensitivity labels, helping enterprises classify content in Power BI and protect it even as data is exported to Excel, PowerPoint and PDF files. This capability has become critical for customers as COVID results in large parts of the organization accessing corporate data remotely. We are adding support for more data loss prevention (DLP) customer asks:

Power BI dataset MIP sensitivity label applied on Excel file when using live connect (recent release): Excel automatically inherits the sensitivity label from Power BI when a user directly connects a PivotTable to a Power BI dataset. Label changes will also be updated automatically upon data refresh.

MIP sensitivity labels in Power BI desktop (preview)3 – We’re expanding MIP sensitivity labels support to Power BI desktop, to enable creators to apply sensitivity labels and protection on PBIX files while author dataset and reports in Power BI desktop. The label applied in desktop will persist upon publish dataset and report.



As you can see, we have a ton of exciting new capabilities teed up for you in the coming months. You can learn more about all these capabilities in the Ignite sessions below:

We are looking forward to seeing you in these sessions and like always, thanks to all our Power BI community members who even under the current circumstances, help us make Power BI better every day.

Additional resources

The way we work is changing dramatically. It’s more connected, collaborative, and often done remotely. Organizations need tools to help everyone infuse data into every decision. Watch this webinar to learn how the new Power BI integrations for Microsoft Teams make it easier to discover and use data within your organization: Drive a Remote Data Culture with Power BI and Microsoft Teams.


1 – Available today
2 – Scheduled to be available later this month
3 – Scheduled to be available later this year