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Microsoft Ignite 2022: Do more with enterprise self-service business intelligence

Headshot of article author Kim Manis

Welcome to Microsoft Ignite 2022! This year’s event will be a dynamic experience with global in-person and virtual sessions where you can explore amazing new Microsoft products and features that will help you do more with less. Across the Microsoft Cloud and Microsoft Power Platform, you’ll discover ground breaking technology designed to help you get more speed, productivity, and time to focus on what matters while reducing your costs.

Power BI is no different. We are thrilled to be back with you to share an array of exciting new features that will help you create and collaborate more efficiently. We have tightened integration with Microsoft 365 products to streamline collaborative report building and made sharing datasets, reports, and other artifacts easier with external organizations to help business-to-business (B2B) partnerships work together more effectively. We also added a new ribbon called Optimize for those building DirectQuery reports with large data models and released a preview of an Azure Analysis Services to Power BI Premium migration tool. These features will be highlighted and demoed throughout many different sessions at Microsoft Ignite. Please navigate to the end of the blog to find links to sessions that include these new features.

You should also check out the following video where I join Kelly Kaye to give a brief overview of all the features we announced at Microsoft Ignite:

Now, let’s take a deeper look at each of these new additions to the Power BI platform.

Explore and interact with Power BI reports directly from OneDrive and SharePoint

In May 2022, we announced game-changing integrations with Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Outlook, and Microsoft Office Hub that better help you tell amazing data stories. We are thrilled to announce even more integration with Microsoft 365—with OneDrive and SharePoint. Almost every Microsoft 365 user relies on OneDrive and SharePoint to share, view, and explore their documents, files, and now Power BI reports. With this integration, we are enabling users to preview and interact with Power BI report files directly from their OneDrive and SharePoint experience.

In Power BI Desktop, users can choose to save their reports directly to a cloud location in OneDrive or SharePoint instead of saving to their local drive. Once saved, users can explore and interact with the report directly from OneDrive or SharePoint without needing to download and launch Power BI Desktop or manually publish to Power BI Service. This capability not only makes it easier to share Power BI reports but also simplifies the workflow for users that want to quickly analyze the reports from OneDrive or SharePoint itself. Currently, this new integration is in private preview with our non-disclosure agreement (NDA) audience only. If your organization would like to join our NDA audience to try this preview, reach out to your Microsoft account manager.

A screenshot of a Power BI report being opened in a separate tab directly from OneDrive

Deploy faster with Power BI in the Office 365 installer

Along with these Microsoft 365 integrations, we are reducing deployment effort for IT by automatically installing Power BI for Microsoft 365 users as part of the Office 365 installer. The rollout will begin with E5 monthly licenses and then roll out to E3 licenses and eventually E1 licenses. Users with semi-annual Microsoft 365 licenses will not be impacted until 2023 and consumer licenses of Microsoft 365 will be unaffected.

Simplify external collaboration with cross-tenant sharing and B2B discoverability

We are also excited to announce a much-improved cross-tenant sharing experience for datasets, reports, and everything else to help make collaboration easier and more fruitful across organizations.

Cross-tenant dataset sharing

Cross-tenant dataset sharing enables you to share datasets with external organizations such as business partners, customers, and vendors in an easy, quick, and secure manner. When the dataset is shared with external users, they can access it in their own tenant, build composite models on top of the shared dataset with their own internal data, and build and share reports based on the model. They can access all their external datasets in one, easy-to-find place in Power BI Desktop.

To help you share securely and responsibly, Power BI admins can control which users and groups are allowed to share datasets across tenants and even disable cross-tenant data sharing entirely.

A screenshot of the new "external data" tab on the Data Hub pop up in Power BI Desktop

Business-to-business discoverability

Along with dataset sharing, we are also making it easier to find reports, datasets, folders, dashboards, metrics, and other items shared with you by an external user. When you log into the Power BI service, you will see a new tab on your home page called “From external orgs” that will list all the artifacts shared with you and allow you to filter and sort to help you quickly find the content you need. The list will even show which organization shared each artifact to help you keep track and stay organized. When you click on an artifact, a new window will open and take you to the relevant provider for access.

A screenshot of the new "From external orgs" tab in the Data Hub in the Power BI Service

To learn more about either of these features, check out Parul Bansal’s blog, “Introducing Cross-tenant Power BI Dataset Sharing.”

New Optimize ribbon in Power BI Desktop

Working with DirectQuery reports with large data models? You’ll love the new Optimize ribbon menu in Power BI desktop, which includes options to pause and refresh visual queries and optimization presets. The pause visual button allows you to add or remove field list items to a visual without the visual updating until you are ready. You can also refresh individual visuals without refreshing the whole page. Another useful feature is the ability to one-click apply optimization presets. There are preset options for query reduction, interactivity, and customizing the settings, providing both a quick way to see which settings might work best for your report and the ability to customize these settings even further. All these features are available for import and DirectQuery reports, but DirectQuery report authors may find them most useful. A preview of the Optimize ribbon will be coming soon.

A screenshot of the new Optimize Ribbon in Power BI Desktop which includes options to pause visuals, refresh visuals, and optimization presets

We’ve also made editing your data models a more seamless experience, especially for large datasets. We’ve added the ability to edit relationships using the properties pane in the modeling view, including editing multiple relationships at once. This experience is geared towards query reduction, so your changes are only validated when you click apply changes and there is no data preview. However, the relationship dialog with as-you-go validation and data preview is also still available if you prefer that instead.

screenshot of the relationship editing capabilities on the properties pane in the modeling view in Power BI desktop.

Accelerate your migration experience from AAS to Power BI Premium

Over the last few years, we have brought the powerful Azure Analysis Services (AAS) enterprise model capabilities to Power BI Premium. The full set of Power BI Premium workloads, features, and capabilities now represents a modern, cloud-born business intelligence (BI) platform that goes far beyond comparable functionality available in AAS or SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS). Which is why we announced an automated migration tool at Microsoft Build that helps simplify and accelerate the migration experience from AAS to Power BI Premium. We are excited to share that this tool is in the process of being deployed and will be available in all regions by November 2022.

While we have no plans to deprecate AAS, it now likely makes sense to consolidate tools and migrate AAS datasets to Power BI Premium. Customers who migrate can enjoy improved performance and reliability of Power BI Premium’s Gen 2 distributed architecture, simplified discovery and management of datasets, and a host of additional features, workloads, and capabilities only available in Power BI Premium.

To learn if migrating is right for your organization, please read the Azure Analysis Services to Power BI Premium Migration guide. You can also check out this webinar “Roadmap for Semantic Models: from Azure AS to Power BI Premium” to hear Christian Wade and Ogbemi Ekwejunor-Etchie discuss the roadmap for enterprise semantic models on the Power BI platform.

Screenshot of the Azure Analysis Service to Power BI Premium migration tool.

Other announcements

Embed metrics in Power BI to drive team alignment

We are delighted to see so many of you already using metrics in Power BI to track key business targets for your teams. Building on this momentum, we are releasing the ability to embed metric scorecards across your applications just like any other report. Embedding these scorecards in the apps you already use every day can help ensure every team member is aligned and working towards the same goal. Working from within your business apps, collaboration apps, productivity apps, or even your own custom apps, you can now measure progress against your key performance indicators (KPIs), share updates with teammates, and dive deeper into the data when something needs further analysis.

Quick create SDK for Power BI Embedded

With this new software development kit (SDK), you can embed a quick create experience in your own third-party application that auto-generates basic Power BI reports for your users based on data they are currently viewing (similar to the experiences currently in Microsoft Dynamics 365 or Power Apps). With this addition, users can uncover insights in seconds, customize the auto-generated reports, and save their customized reports to Power BI in one seamless experience.

Contextual on-object interaction with Power BI visuals

Similar to the Microsoft 365 experience for text and images, this feature provides report creators with contextual on-object controls for Power BI visuals—helping bridge the gap between design and functionality. By selecting elements in charts and editing the format or properties of those elements, you can seamlessly create stunning, pixel-perfect reports that match your exact vision. And to save time editing visuals, Power BI will suggest the best visual type as you add data.

A screenshot of a chart with the right click menu opened showing the new on-object controls in Power BI Desktop

Data model editing in the Power BI Service

Continuing the theme of optimizing the authoring experience, we are also working to increase our data model editing capabilities on the web. Now, users on the web will be able to navigate to a dataset and edit it using a similar model view interface as found inside Power BI dataset—allowing users to work and collaborate simultaneously on the same data model. We are enabling you to take an existing dataset and modify the measures, role level security, format strings, and relationships. This is only the beginning of many improvements we are planning to help multiple authors edit data models on the web. Currently, this is in private preview with our NDA audience only. If your organization would like to join our NDA audience to try this preview, reach out to your Microsoft account manager.


Enhancements supporting reports connected to (very) large data sets

With these enhancements, users on the Power BI Service can download reports and datasets in different configurations, depending on the data volumes. Users can even choose which type of file should be downloaded, including a PBIX file (ideal for smaller, more manageable datasets), a PBIT file (ideally for large datasets), and live connected report (ideal when you need to create or adjust a report while maintaining the dataset in the Power BI Service). Lastly, we’re adding the ability for you to save a copy of a dataset in the service in case you wish to take a backup or snapshot. These changes will make it easier for you to rely on the Power BI service as a single source of truth for your data.

Power BI content management in Power Apps solutions

We’re announcing the preview of an exciting new integration between Power BI and Power Apps. Now, app makers can add Power BI reports and datasets as components in Power Apps solutions just like any other Microsoft Dataverse component, enabling full support in embedding and deploying Power Apps solutions across environments and tenants.

A screenshot of the new Analytics menu in Power Apps solutions which includes options to add a Power BI Dataset or a Power BI Report.

Once the report or dataset is added to the solution, the artifacts will be exported and uploaded to Dataverse, and a new dedicated Power BI workspace will be automatically created to store the artifacts. This dedicated Power BI workspace also inherits privileges from several pre-defined roles, giving the Power Apps users permission in the workspace and thus enabling co-authoring between Power Apps and Power BI. This process ensures that your Power BI reports and datasets can be embedded as a system dashboard or inside forms and will survive deployment across environments and tenants.

A screenshot of a Power BI report embedded in a Dynamics 365 Sales Hub application.

With this feature now in preview, you can try it out today. Just download and create a new environment or install it in Power Platform admin center with one click. Soon this feature will be automatically available in every Dataverse environment.

Read more about embedding Power BI reports and datasets into Power Apps solutions.

Join us at Microsoft Ignite

We are so excited to see you all at Microsoft Ignite and hear your thoughts on these new features. You can see several of these features in action in the following sessions:

Also, check out these other Microsoft Ignite blogs to see the scale of innovation happening across Microsoft:

As always, thank you so much for your part in creating such an amazing Power BI community. Your active engagement has helped us make Power BI what it is today.