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Power BI delivers dataflows, enterprise reporting, and major updates to Power BI Desktop

Headshot of article author Arun Ulagaratchagan

As organizations embrace a data culture to drive business decisions, they need an enterprise business intelligence platform that can meet their sophisticated needs – from self-service BI to full enterprise governance, from paginated reports to full interactive data exploration, and from small data sets to petabytes of data.

In July, we laid out the roadmap for Power BI to help organizations unify modern and traditional BI on one enterprise platform, and empower business analysts by expanding self-service data prep for big data.  Since then, we’ve shipped a number of capabilities that deliver on this roadmap: Premium multi-geo allows customers to address data residency requirements, aggregations enable data analysis over petabyte sized datasets with trillions of rows of data, and the new Power BI Home landing page and dashboard commenting make it easier to get to your most important content and collaborate across the enterprise.

Today, we’re announcing the availability of several new capabilities that we laid out in our July roadmap.

Dataflows expand self-service data prep in Power BI

Power BI already includes robust self-service data preparation capabilities in Power BI Desktop through the familiar Power Query based experiences that are used by millions of users worldwide. We are excited to announce the public preview of dataflows in Power BI, taking self-service data preparation to the next level.

  • Dataflows enable business analysts to create data preparation logic that can be reused across multiple Power BI reports and dashboards.
  • Dataflows can be linked together to create sophisticated data transformation pipelines that enable business analysts to build on each other’s work. A new recalculation engine automatically tracks dependencies and recomputes data as new data is ingested.
  • Dataflows can be configured to store the data in the customer’s Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 instance, fueling collaboration across roles. Business analysts can seamlessly operate on data stored in Azure Data Lake Storage, taking advantage of its scale, performance, and security. Meanwhile, data engineers and data scientists can extend insights with advanced analytics and AI from complementary Azure Data Services like Azure Machine Learning, Azure Databricks, and Azure SQL Data Warehouse.
  • Dataflows support the Microsoft Common Data Model, giving organizations the ability to leverage a standardized and extensible collection of data schemas (entities, attributes and relationships)


Columbia Sportswear uses Power BI to empower a broad group of employees to self-discover, share and monitor insights across a diverse range of data sources in the cloud and on-premises. Dataflows unlocks new possibilities for their analysts leveraging large datasets.

“Dataflows are one of the more exciting additions to Power BI,” said Chris Weis, Senior Analytics Product Manager at Columbia Sportswear. “It amplifies Power BI’s ability to handle large datasets. Our analysts can now scale large data transformations beyond the resources of their PC, and accelerate PowerQuery performance in a big way.”

For more background on dataflows, check out Adi Regev’s blog.

SQL Server Reporting Services technology now in Power BI

A modern, compliant and unified enterprise BI platform for business analytics is easier than ever with our latest enterprise operational reporting capabilities.

Our popular SQL Server Reporting Services technology is now part of Power BI and available in public preview, providing a unified, secure, enterprise-wide reporting platform accessible to any user across devices. Pixel-perfect paginated reports can now be included alongside Power BI’s existing interactive reports.

“The availability of paginated reports in the Power BI service removes the last technical barrier to running all types of reports in the cloud,” said John White, Power BI MVP and Chief Technology Officer of Tygraph. “The choice of on premises or in the cloud no longer needs to be a feature decision. Customers with a significant investment in reporting services can now move to Power BI knowing that their reports can move right along with them.”

For more background on Paginated reports in Power BI, check out Chris Finlan’s blog.

Power BI Desktop November Update

We continue to innovate at a rapid pace with weekly updates for the Power BI service and monthly updates for Power BI Desktop. The November update for Power BI Desktop, shipping next week, includes several features the Power BI community has asked for:

  • Follow-up questions for Q&A explorer. You can now ask follow-up questions inside the Q&A explorer pop-up, which means the question will take into account the previous questions you asked as context. For example, you can ask “List customers in London” and then ask the follow up question “What did they buy” and the result for that second question will only be for London customers.

  • New modeling view makes it easier to work with large models. You can now have multiple diagram layouts, customize and save them, leverage display folders, and several additional enhancements that improve performance and experience – available in preview.

  • Expand and collapse matrix row headers.  Row headers on the matrix visual now work like Excel PivotTables, with the ability to expand and collapse individual row headers.

  • Copy and paste between PBIX files. You can copy and paste visuals between PBIX files, greatly improving usability and speeding up the process of creating new reports.

Learn more about the public preview of dataflows and SQL Server Reporting Services technology in Power BI during the PASS Summit at the day 1 keynote. For a deeper dive, please join our session Power BI: the Future for Modern and Enterprise BI on November 8th.  Attendees will see the new capabilities in action and hear more about what’s coming.

We have other fantastic content at PASS that you also won’t want to miss, including sessions covering our latest announcements with Introducing Advanced Data Preparation using Power BI Dataflows and Modern Enterprise Reporting with Power BI Report Server and the Power BI Service.