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Power BI expands access to intelligence for external guest users

Headshot of article author Nikhil Gaekwad

Power BI was first introduced with a simple commitment: Empower people and organizations with access to critical intelligence. The recent general availability of Power BI Premium in June broadened the service’s reach, allowing organizations to distribute BI content broadly without requiring recipients to be licensed individually.

Today I am happy to announce that Power BI users can seamlessly distribute Power BI apps and dashboards to guest users outside of their organization – recipients are able to securely sign into the service using their own organization’s security credentials or personal email address, while the content owner is able to maintain control over the internal data.

This new feature is the result of Power BI integration with Azure Active Directory (AD) business-to-business (B2B) collaboration.

For example, consider a scenario where an automotive manufacturer working with many diverse suppliers wants to streamline its supply chain logistics – all the components, materials and services necessary to run its manufacturing operations. The organization plans to use Power BI to monitor key supply chain performance metrics by building a BI portal its employees and partners can access.

Previously the automaker would have needed to create duplicate identities for users belonging to partner organizations, requiring those users to remember multiple sets of credentials, and creating challenges for governance enforcement and identity management. Alternatively, the automaker could have invested the time and cost of building an app with Power BI Embedded that employs custom authentication.

In this instance Power BI’s integration with Azure AD B2B enables seamless, secure access for guest users from partner organizations – the automaker can create a Power BI app in the service, invite guest users, and distribute the BI content to them to access by authenticating via their organization’s Azure AD credentials.

External users can be licensed to receive BI content in two ways – either the content is allocated to Power BI Premium capacity, or the external user is assigned a Power BI Pro license. And in the instance of the external user being assigned a Power BI Pro license, this can be done by either the external user's administrator or, as a new capability, by the sharing organization's administrator.

Power BI integration with Azure AD B2B provides the peace of mind organizations can employ trusted Azure AD authorization policies to protect their data, including conditional access policies and risk-based authentication. Admins are also able to set policies for external B2B invites, such as the ability to turn off or restrict the ability for users to send invitations.

Next steps:

  • AAD B2B with Power BI is available starting today.  Read the documentation and try inviting an external user now!
  • For more information and a step-by-step guide to distributing BI content with Power BI and Azure AD B2B read this whitepaper. Also visit Azure documentation for more information on Azure AD B2B.