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Weaving Business Intelligence into the fabric of the organization with Microsoft Power BI

Headshot of article author Arun Ulagaratchagan

Our customers recognize that in today’s digital economy, data is everywhere – enabling every single employee in their organization to harness the power of all of that data is critical to their competitive advantage.

The Power BI team has a single goal: to enable organizations to embrace a data culture by allowing everyone to make data-driven decisions through beautiful, friendly, and easy to use analytics.

As we kickoff Ignite in Orlando this week, I’m really excited to announce a set of new capabilities in Power BI that help our customers weave business intelligence deep into the fabric of their organizations.

You can watch the session where we delivered all of this news and more on-demand.



World-class Microsoft security capabilities help protect data

Power BI plays a key role in bringing data insights to everyone in an organization. However, as data becomes more accessible to inform decisions, risk of accidental oversharing or misuse of business-critical information can increase.

Microsoft has world-class security capabilities to help protect customers from threats. Over 3,500 security researchers along with sophisticated AI models reason every day over 6.5+ trillion signals globally to help protect customers against threats at Microsoft.

We are excited to announce new data protection capabilities in Power BI that build on Microsoft’s strengths in security and enable customers to empower every user with Power BI and better protect their data no matter how or where it is accessed.

  • Classify and label sensitive Power BI data using the familiar Microsoft Information Protection sensitivity labels used in Office.
  • Enforce governance policies even when Power BI content is exported to Excel, PowerPoint, or PDF, to help ensure data is protected even when it leaves Power BI.
  • Monitor and protect user activity on sensitive data in real time with alerts, session monitoring, and risk remediation using Microsoft Cloud App Security.
  • Empower security administrators who use data protection reports and security investigation capabilities with Microsoft Cloud App Security to enhance organizational oversight.
New protection metrics in the Power BI admin center

Now in public preview, the capabilities are engaged when Power BI is paired with Microsoft Information Protection and Microsoft Cloud App Security.

These updates, combined with the just announced data lineage view, show the strategic importance of incorporating Enterprise Information Management (EIM) capabilities into Power BI.

Power BI integrated with Azure Synapse Analytics and large models public preview

Today, Microsoft announced Azure Synapse Analytics, the next generation of Azure SQL Data Warehouse. With Azure Synapse, big data and SQL data professionals can collaborate, manage, and analyze your most important data with ease—all within the same service.

We’re excited to announce that Power BI is natively integrated into Azure Synapse Analytics.

  • Customers can link Power BI and Azure Synapse workspaces together providing them with a single pane of glass to develop and manage their end to end analytics infrastructure.
  • BI professionals can create enterprise grade semantic models from the Synapse workspace through integration with Power BI Desktop – which helps customers define their KPIs and business logic, apply role based security, and provides a blazingly fast in-memory cache.
  • Customers can build Power BI reports directly from within the Synapse workspace and make these reports available to their end users.
Power BI integrated with Azure Synapse Analytics

We’re also announcing the availability today of the public preview of large in-memory semantic models. As customers work with massive data volumes they will be able to create data models that go up to 400GB of compressed data, taking advantage of all the memory they have in their Power BI Premium capacity. This increase in model sizes unleashes endless possibilities for enterprise models and in conjunction with certified and promoted datasets, enables organization to have one, enterprise-grade version of the truth.

New AI driven augmented analytics and machine learning experiences

Power BI is a pioneer when it comes to bringing AI experiences into business intelligence with capabilities that empower end users, business analysts, and data scientists. Today we are announcing new experiences directly built into Power BI and Power BI Premium with no additional purchase necessary.

Decomposition Tree

Our community voted and we’ve acted – the decomposition tree idea has over 4,500 votes on We are super excited to announce the preview of the decomposition tree visual will ship in the November Power BI Desktop release next week. This visual helps users understand the root cause that contributes to a high or low KPI value broken down by one or more dimensions. The AI component of the decomposition tree is the choice to automatically find the most interesting splits and conduct the root cause analysis for you, instead of splitting manually by dimensions.

The new decomposition tree visual in action

Automated ML General Availability

Last week, Automated ML in Power BI was made generally available. With Automated ML, business analysts can build machine learning models to solve business problems that once required data scientist skillsets. Power BI automates most of the data science workflow to create the ML models, all while providing you full visibility into the process.

The Automated ML model selection screen in Power BI

Cognitive Services in Power BI Desktop (Preview)

The integration with Azure Cognitive Services allows users to better engage with unstructured data by detecting language, scoring sentiment, extracting key phrases, and identifying objects in images. Cognitive Services is available today in Power BI Premium and can be accessed from Power BI dataflows. As of next week, these capabilities will accessible directly from Power BI Desktop.

Cognitive Services menu in the Power BI Desktop Query Editor

Power BI integrated more deeply than ever with Microsoft Teams

Effortless communication using data enables everyone to make fast and accurate decisions. Today, we’re excited to announce deeper integrations with Microsoft Teams are coming soon. They’ll help your organization harness data effectively as individuals work together to achieve shared goals.

  • Starting in late 2019, we will ship a new tab for Microsoft Teams that supports the new workspace experience and reports in organizational apps. This gives all your team members access to data without leaving Microsoft Teams
  • In 2020 we’ll go further by releasing rich previews of Power BI reports directly within Teams channels and chats. We’ll include action button so everyone can quickly act on the data.
Teams and Power BI new experiences for cards and tabs

SQL Server 2019 Analysis Services and Reporting Services

With the general availability announcement of SQL Server 2019, SQL Server 2019 Analysis Services and Reporting Services are now generally available. This release is packed full of new features for both products, including calculation groups in SSAS for calculation reusability, governance settings to protect server resources, and enhanced accessibility options for SSRS. The full list of features in the SQL Server 2019 release, including those for both SSRS and SSAS, are available in the What’s New in SQL Server 2019 documentation online.

See you at Ignite!

With all these exciting innovations, the Power BI team and I are looking forward to seeing many of our customers and community members at Ignite this week. If you are attending Ignite, please attend the “Microsoft Power BI: Business intelligence strategy, vision, and roadmap update”. You can find the full set of Power BI sessions here.