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Power BI Desktop February 2020 Feature Summary

We are super excited for our update this month! We are releasing two of our top community requests: incremental refresh for Power BI Pro and hierarchical slicer. Additionally, we’ve added some improvements to the new ribbon and a couple new DAX functions. Since our last release, there have been several new Power BI visuals released on AppSource, so be sure to try them out! If you want to learn about all the updates and enhancements this month, check out the full blog.

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Here’s the complete list of February updates:

Dataset management

Reporting

Modeling

Visualizations

Template Apps

Data preparation

Data connectivity

Check out the following video for a summary and demos of the major updates:

Important updates –

There was a known issue that resulted in the following error:
“We weren’t able to restore the saved database to the model.”
We have now released a fix for this issue; the version number for that is 2.78.5745.0. Additionally, we’ve just fixed another issue where DirectQuery models with no credentials couldn’t be opened. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience that these issues may have caused.

Before jumping into the details, we also want to encourage you to register for the Microsoft Business Applications Summit in May! There are going to be many great Power BI sessions and a ton of chances to interact directly with the Power BI team.

Dataset management

Incremental refresh is now generally available

We are pleased to announce that incremental refresh is now generally available and is now supported for Power BI Pro licensing, meaning it is no longer a Premium only feature. This has been strongly requested by the community, so we are pleased to make it happen! In addition to support in Pro, incremental refresh operations also now observe the time zone specified in the dataset settings page.

Incremental refresh in Pro feature request

 

Incremental refresh enables very large datasets in the Power BI service with the following benefits:

  • Refreshes are faster. Only data that has changed needs to be refreshed. For example, refresh only the last five days of a ten-year dataset.
  • Refreshes are more reliable. It’s no longer necessary to maintain long-running connections to volatile source systems.
  • Resource consumption is reduced. Less data to refresh reduces overall consumption of memory and other resources.

Check out our documentation to learn more about incremental refresh.

Reporting

Hierarchical slicer (preview)

While there’s been a hierarchy slicer available on AppSource for a number of years (thanks to Jan Pieter Posthuma for building that!), there’s still a lot of demand for the built-in slicer visual to support hierarchies, so we’re excited to deliver a preview of it this month.

When you add multiple fields to the slicer, it’ll appear with a chevron next to the items that can be expanded to show the items in the next level:

Beyond that, the behavior of the slicer hasn’t really changed, so you can still swap between a list and dropdown, and you can also style your slicer how you want.

You can use single-select mode, and you’ll see a semi-selected radio icon for items that have children selected:

To enable this feature for your report, go to the Preview features section of the Options dialog and make sure Hierarchy slicer is checked:

Updates to the new ribbon (preview)

This month, we have a few improvements to the new ribbon (preview):

  • Updates to the title bar
  • New keytips functionality
  • Accessibility update

Title bar updates

Thank you to everyone who has given feedback on the ribbon! The title bar in the ribbon has a new look, and there are some updates to its functionality. Many of you asked to add back the save button, undo, and redo buttons, which you can now find on the left side of the title bar. The sign-in feature has also been added to the right side of the title bar. These updates should help you access these actions quickly and adds to Office familiarity.

Keytips

You can now use keytips to navigate and select buttons in the ribbon and title bar. To activate keytips, press Alt + Windows Key. Once keytips are activated, you can press the shown keys to navigate by using your keyboard.

Accessibility

The title bar, ribbon, and file menu are now fully accessible. You can use Ctrl + F6 to navigate to the ribbon section. Once you are at the ribbon, you can use tab to move between the top and bottom bars, and you can use arrow keys to move between elements.

Modeling

New DAX Functions

We’re excited to announce two new DAX functions:

  • FirstNonBlankValue
  • LastNonBlankValue

These functions evaluate an expression filtered by the sorted values of a column and return the first or last value of the expression that is not blank.

FirstNonBlankValue

If you are familiar with the FirstNonBlank function, FirstNonBlankValue is similar except it will return the first measure value that is not blank. Check out our documentation to learn more.

LastNonBlankValue

If you are familiar with the LastNonBlank function, LastNonBlankValue is similar except it will return the last measure value that is not blank. Check out our documentation to learn more.

Visualizations

Funnel and pyramid chart by xViz

The xViz funnel and pyramid chart acts as a two-in-one visual. It functions in two different visualization modes: default and 3D mode. It is highly customizable with an extensive deck of properties for configuring every aspect of the visual.

Key features:

  • Advanced conditional formatting options with easily configurable properties
  • Number formatting options to customize values based on various business scenarios
  • Data labels can be customized for categories and values individually
  • Swap between default and 3D mode with a single click
  • Visualize data in funnel or pyramid, using the same custom visual

 

Use cases:

  • Lead-customer conversion process for sales analysis
  • Efficient SEO analysis using funnel chart
  • Hierarchical visualization to analyze business data across various geographies
  • Organizational hierarchy can be depicted in an interactive manner using pyramid chart

Download the visual from AppSource or check out a sample report.

OEE Dashboard by 3AG Systems

Specifically designed for the manufacturing and mining industries, OEE Dashboard from 3AG Systems allows operations teams to display Overall Equipment Effectiveness and associated sub-components.
It is meant as a tool for companies to measure production efficiency across different machines on a factory floor.

There are a few ways to calculate OEE:

  • OEE = time spent producing good product ÷ shift length
  • OEE = good product made ÷ the amount of product that could have been made
  • OEE = Availability × Performance × Quality

Which of the above approaches you use will depend on what you produce. Check out this blog post to learn more about OEE.

In addition to OEE, you can use this visual to track the following KPIs:

  • Availability
  • Performance
  • Quality

You can also enter percentage values, number of incidents and total duration of incidents for the following sub-components:

  • Slow cycles
  • Planned stops
  • Small stops
  • Unplanned stops
  • Startup rejects
  • Production rejects

Download the visual from AppSource or check out a sample report.

Organization chart by MAQ Software

The organization chart by MAQ Software is a powerful way to display hierarchical information and relationships between different entities. While visuals such as KPI grid by MAQ Software can represent numerical hierarchical information, the organization chart supports displaying images at each node.

Business use cases:

  • Sales: Display sales structure along with territory responsibilities and actual sales. Group field can be used to visually indicate if a salesperson is below, on, or ahead of the target.
  • Marketing: Display various marketing campaigns at highest level. Illustrate various tactics and activities, including information such as cost, and other marketing KPIs measuring the impact of the campaigns, tactics, and activities.
  • Organization: Structure human resources according to respective departments and hierarchy.
  • IT: Display organizational IT assets, showing various asset categories and their availability volumes, which can be broken down to specific assets.
  • Operations: Display a manufacturing process with a breakdown of the components or ingredients to produce the product along with their respective quantities in a hierarchical format.
  • Finance: Display budget allocation by divisions or projects, breaking them down into subdivisions or subprojects and color coding the components based on a group-by field to distinguish those which are on budget, over budget, or within budget.

Key features:

  • Includes an optional image column to show images
  • Modify the look of the connector links
  • Color the cards based on a legend column
  • Ability to customize the card dimension, border and corner radius
  • Interactivity with the cards to expand or collapse levels and cross-filter other visuals
  • Font formatting for labels and sublabels
  • Ability to zoom and drag the position of the visual
  • Configurable legend position and formatting
  • Support for context menu

Download the visual from AppSource or check out a sample report.

PI VIZpack by PQ Systems

PI VIZpack by PQ Systems is a collection of eight process improvement charts that provide an easy way to visualize and evaluate process behavior and performance. Get started with a free trial today! After the trial, you may continue using the basic features or upgrade to the premium version.

Histogram

A histogram is a bar chart that represents the frequency distribution of data. The height of each bar corresponds to the number of items in the class or cell. The width of each bar represents a measurement interval. The histogram shows basic information such as central location, shape, and spread of the data being examined. The bars give a visual indication of central location (mean), width of spread (range or sigma) and shape. Histograms are traditionally displayed with some collection of statistics. These are often called descriptive statistics because they describe the population of data being charted. This visual includes additional process indices: Cpk, Ppk, and DPM.

When to use:

  • When you want to visualize the central location, spread, and shape of a data set
  • When the process is stable and you want to predict capability indices
  • When you want to study the capability of some process to meet customer requirements

Download the visual from AppSource or check out a sample report.

Individuals control chart

You can use the individuals control chart when you want to analyze process stability where the sample size is one.
An individuals chart is used to determine if a process is stable and predictable; it creates a picture of how the system changes over time.  These charts are also used to monitor the effects of process improvement theories.

In general, control charts are designed to help to understand and reduce variation in a process over time. More specifically, they are designed to minimize two common mistakes:

  • Adjusting a process when it would be better to leave it alone
  • Not adjusting a process when an adjustment is likely required

If a reasonable number of data points all show as in-control on a control chart, you can make a useful prediction about your process. Unless the process is changed in some way, it will continue to produce results centered on this mean and varying within these control limits.

If the control chart shows data points that are outside the limits or trends, or runs above or below the mean, this does not allow you to make a useful prediction about your process. This process is not stable and not predictable. Unless something is changed, you cannot be certain about the mean or the dispersion of data resulting from this process.

This predictive nature of control charts and their ability to minimize the mistakes described above are what makes them such valuable business tools.

When to use:

  • When you want to see if your process is stable and predictable
  • When you want to see how planned change affects a process
  • When the time order of the data values is preserved
  • When you have collected data in subgroups of one (one value at a time)

Download the visual from AppSource or check out a sample report.

Individuals and moving range control chart

You can use the individuals and moving range chart when you want to analyze process stability where the sample size is one.
An individuals and moving range chart is used to determine if a process is stable and predictable; it creates a picture of how the system changes over time. The individual chart displays individual measurement while the moving range chart shows variability between one sample and the next. Individuals and moving range charts are also used to monitor the effects of process improvement theories.

The moving range chart creates range values to plot by finding differences between consecutive samples.

When to use this chart:

  • When you want to see if your process is stable and predictable
  • When you want to see how planned change affects a process
  • When the time order of the data values is preserved
  • When you have collected data in subgroups of one (one value at a time)

Download the visual from AppSource or check out a sample report.

Multi-group individuals chart

You can use a multi-group individuals chart when you want to analyze data in segments that highlight sources of variation and instability. The multi-group individuals chart has the same specialties that a basic individuals chart does, but it is particularly helpful when your individuals data has specific identifiers that may be used to segment the data to several subprocesses. Example identifiers could be shifts, line numbers, or locations. After the segment is made in the individuals data, it makes it easy to see if certain segments output results that differ in amounts of variation (distance between limits), central tendency (center line), or process instability (runs that continually rise or fall on one side of the mean line). This type of analysis can help shine a spotlight on environments upstream that should be considered first for process improvement.

When to use this chart:

  • When your process has data which allows segmentation on properties like locations, shifts, material types, etc.
  • When you want to see if your process is stable and predictable
  • When you want to see how planned change affects a process
  • When the time order of the data values is preserved

Download the visual from AppSource or check out a sample report.

X-bar control chart

You can use the x-bar control chart when you want to analyze process stability of data containing multiple measurements per subgroup. This chart type is used for sub-grouped data, where each subgroup is made up of two or more values. Points plotted on this chart are the average (x-bar) of the subgroup data. This chart shows an indication of central tendency (where the charted data is centered). X-bar charts can give an understanding about the variation between subgroups.

When to use this chart:

  • When you want to see if your process is stable and predictable
  • When you want to see how planned change affects a process
  • When the time order of the data values is preserved
  • When you have collected data in subgroups of two or more

Download the visual from AppSource or check out a sample report.

X-bar and range control chart

You can use the x-bar and range control chart when you want to analyze process stability and variability of data with many values per subgroup. This chart type is used for sub-grouped data, where each subgroup is made up of two or more values.

When to use this chart:

  • When you want to see if your process is stable and predictable
  • When you want to see how planned change affects a process
  • When the time order of the data values is preserved
  • When you have collected data in subgroups of two or more

Download the visual from AppSource or check out a sample report.

P-chart

You can use a P-chart when you want to analyze process behavior over time for data collected in proportions or percentages. A p-chart is an attributes control chart used with data collected in subgroups of varying sizes. Because the subgroup size can vary, it shows a proportion on nonconforming items rather than the actual count. The process attribute (or characteristic) is always described in a pass or fail form. For example, you can use a p-chart to plot the proportion of incomplete insurance claim forms received weekly. The subgroup would vary, depending on the total number of claims each week. P-charts are used to determine if the process is stable and predictable and to monitor the effects of process improvement theories.

A p-chart should be used instead of a u-chart when the result is expressed in a proportion. For example, the number of items found to be defective during an inspection.

A u-chart shows process changes over time by looking at the number of nonconformities produced by the process. The plotted values represent a ratio. The subgroup size can vary, so control limits can adjust to reflect this, just as p-charts do.

When to use classification (attributes) control charts:

  • When you want to see if your process is stable and predictable
  • When you want to see how a planned change affects the process
  • When the data you are examining represents counts of some type
  • When the time order of the data is preserved

Download the visual from AppSource or check out a sample report.

U-chart

You can use the u-chart when you want to analyze process behavior of data with nonconformities of events per unit. A u-chart is an attributes control chart used with data collected in subgroups of varying sizes. U-charts show how the process (measured by the number of nonconformities per item or group of items) changes over time. Nonconformities are defects or occurrences found in the sampled subgroup. They can be described as any characteristic that is present but should not be or any characteristic that is not present but should be. For example, a scratch, dent, bubble, blemish, missing button, and a tear are all nonconformities. U-charts are used to determine if the process is stable and predictable and to monitor the effects of process improvement theories.

A u-chart shows process changes over time by looking at the number of nonconformities produced by the process. The plotted values represent a ratio. The subgroup size can vary, so control limits can adjust to reflect this, just as p-charts do.

U-charts should be used over p-charts when the number that is being counted can be larger than the number you inspected. For example, if each stain is counted on an individual item of clothing, there is a possibility that the total number of stains counted can be larger than the number of items inspected.

When to use classification (attributes) control charts:

  • When you want to see if your process is stable and predictable
  • When you want to see how a planned change affects the process
  • When the data you are examining represents counts of some type
  • When the time order of the data is preserved

Download the visual from AppSource or check out a sample report.

Updates to Zebra BI tables and charts

In December, we announced that Zebra BI released two Power BI visuals: Zebra BI tables and Zebra BI charts. Since then, there have been several updates to these visuals:

Updates to Zebra BI tables

Zebra BI has released a new version (version 4.0.2) of their tables visual. This updated version provides new features that will further enhance the flexibility of table-based and matrix-based reporting. This time, the Zebra BI team has tackled the important challenge of column structures in tables by allowing users to easily manage:

  • Column grand totals
  • Column subtotals
  • Expand or collapse groups of columns
  • Renaming any column in a table (including subtotals and grand totals)
  • Sorting by any column or total in a single click
  • Displaying any column (including the totals) as a table or a chart

Both the grand totals and the subtotals can be easily renamed, shown or hidden directly on the visual, which makes the user experience fast and easy. In addition, the user can sort the tables by any column, subtotal or grand total with a single click:

Here’s a real-life example where an additional measure for previous year is added to the visual, creating a flexible variance table or matrix:

Download the visual from AppSource or check out the documentation to learn more.

Updates to Zebra BI charts
This new version of Zebra BI charts (version 4.0.1) now fully supports custom themes provided in the JSON format. This allows users to set up their preferred theme or style to align their Power BI reports and dashboards with their company’s corporate design.

Once you create a custom theme (JSON file) you can import it by using the standard Power BI Import theme command. The theme covers all design settings and options for all Zebra BI charts in one place:


Even more importantly, a custom theme can now control any setting available in Zebra BI charts (as well as Zebra BI tables). This enables extensive and detailed corporate governance over all reporting aspects in Zebra BI for Power BI.

In the example below, a custom theme enforces grand totals in Zebra BI charts by default, switches the data label format for negative numbers in both Zebra BI visuals to parenthesis instead of being presented with a leading minus (-) sign, and sets the policy of displaying axis labels to rotate instead of trim in cases where space is limited:

Download the visual from AppSource or check out the documentation to learn more.

Template Apps

This month we have several new additions to our Power BI templates on AppSource. Save time by starting from prebuilt datasets and reports that were carefully curated by our partners.
Grab a template app, customize it, and share it across your organization. Additionally, if you want create your own template app to publish in the marketplace, check out our documentation to learn more.

Microsoft 365 usage analytics

We are excited to announce that there is now a template application for Microsoft 365 usage analytics. This app helps you better understand how your organization is adopting the many services within Microsoft 365 through cross-product reports, showing usage information over the last 12 months. The app also uses metadata from Azure Active Directory to help you better understand usage based on the location, department, and organization.

The Microsoft 365 usage analytics app shows you information though five reports:

  • Executive Summary: A high-level, at-a-glance view of Microsoft 365 adoption and usage
  • Overview: Shows you detailed views of your adoption and usage information, along with views into what solutions people are using to communicate, collaborate, and store information
  • Activation and Licensing: Helps you understand service plan activations in your organization, the types of licenses you own, and how many users are assigned to each license type
  • Product Usage: Product-level reports for Exchange, Office 365 groups, OneDrive, SharePoint, Skype, Teams, and Yammer that measure total enabled vs. total active users, counts of entities such as mailboxes, sites, groups, and accounts, as well as other measurements of activity
  • User Activity: User-level detailed usage data joined with Active Directory attributes that cover the last completed month.

This Usage Analytics for Microsoft 365 template app will replace the existing Microsoft 365 usage analytics content pack. The data used for the content pack is the same data used in the template application. The biggest change you will see is the new user interface. If your organization is currently using the content pack, you can continue to use it, but we recommend that you start to use the template app as it will be supported and updated moving forward.

Download the app from AppSource or check out the documentation to learn more.

NFL analytics by P3

P3 partnered with professional football statisticians to show the power of Power BI in a fun, entertaining way.  This NFL analytics app is powered by approximately 1,500 hours of detailed film review blended with sophisticated calculations and visuals courtesy of Power BI.

Every QB, every game, and every pass is delivered with unprecedented detail.

You can now install all of this for free on your own tenant to show off Power BI’s capabilities to your colleagues!

To stay updated, connect the app to data, set authentication to Anonymous and privacy to Organizational. Once the refresh is done, schedule a refresh to pick up the updates during the offseason!

Download the app from AppSource.

Acterys for Quickbooks, Xero & WorkflowMax

The new Power BI Template App for QuickBooks, Xero and WorkflowMax provides you with a professional data model and fully editable Power BI dashboards and reports that integrate your accounting, SaaS data and other sources.

You can easily connect to your ERP or accounting system and profit from immediate insights with financial reports, sales analytics and comprehensive consolidation for multiple entities. Additionally, the you unlock even more insights using the latest Power BI advanced analytics like natural language query, key influencers, and decomposition tree analysis, which are all optimally configured for immediate use.

You can install the app right in the Power BI service and set its parameters to your Acterys account. Once you install it, the report is now yours, so you can customize it and share it across your organization.
Download the app from AppSource or check out the documentation to learn more.

Data preparation

Non-admin support for query diagnostics

With the initial release of query diagnostics, some users of the Microsoft Store version were unable to run diagnostics if they didn’t have admin rights. With this release, you have the option to support non-admin tracing. You can find this setting in the Diagnostics section of the Options dialogue. This will allow tracing in the Query Editor only, and it does not support capturing traces from refreshes in the Report section of Power BI Desktop.

Data connectivity

MicroStrategy connector is now generally available

We are happy to announce that the MicroStrategy connector is now generally available.
The MicroStrategy Dataset Connector for Power BI allows users to fetch data from reports or cubes that reside in MicroStrategy project and import them into Power BI Desktop.
The connector supports several additional features:

  • MicroStrategy Standard and LDAP authentication
  • Import of multiple datasets at once
  • Multi-form attributes

This connector can be found in the Other category of the Get Data dialog.

Check out their documentation to learn more.

FHIR connector is now generally available

We are excited to announce that the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®) connector is now generally available.

Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®) is the next generation standards framework for healthcare data. Microsoft offers a fully managed Azure API for FHIR service, which is a turn-key solution for storing, searching, and exchanging clinical information. Data from FHIR servers can now be integrated with Power BI using the FHIR Power Query. The connector supports all FHIR resources in FHIR versions DSTU2, STU3, and R4. In addition to full schema coverage in all versions, the connector also translates Power Query expressions into FHIR search queries, which allows efficient data imports and reporting on large FHIR datasets.

This connector can be found in the Other category of the Get Data dialog.

Factset connector

We are happy to announce a new FactSet connector this month!
FactSet provides integrated software and data solutions for investment professionals. The FactSet Analytics connector for Power BI brings FactSet’s portfolio analytics, vault performance, and “Style, Performance, and Risk” reports into Power BI through the FactSet calculation engine APIs. Time series, snapshot, and multi-portfolio reports are available, and can be customized with portfolio, benchmark, date range, and other parameter overrides. Finally, functions to look up available resources (portfolios, benchmarks, and others) are included as well.

This connector can be found in the Online Services category of the Get Data dialog.

TIBCO connector

This month we are releasing a new TIBCO connector!
Overcome data bottlenecks to make data available throughout the organization with TIBCO. Our market-leading data virtualization capabilities enable you to combine multiple data sources into a single virtual data layer on-demand without copying or moving data. TIBCO’s data virtualization capabilities provide you the agility to adapt to new data sources and technology at breakneck speed and cost-effectiveness.

This connector can be found in the Other category of the Get Data dialog.

Jamf Pro connector

Another connector we are releasing this month is the Jamf Pro connector!
Extend the reporting capabilities of Jamf Pro and capture it within your Power BI architecture to quickly share across your organization. Using the Jamf Pro instances API, we collect computer and mobile devices details, installed applications, extension attributes, and their group relationships. Keep in mind that large environments of over 30K devices may require an extended data refresh time.

This connector can be found in the Other category of the Get Data dialog.

Asana connector

This month we are releasing a new Asana connector!

Asana customers can now bring their Asana work data into Power BI with a simple copy and paste. With the Asana connector for Power BI, customers can build custom, actionable dashboards based on Asana inputs such as custom fields. This allows customers to visualize their work and extract real-time insights into projects and workflows using the tools they know and love. Asana empowers teams to plan, organize, and execute all of their work (from daily tasks to strategic initiatives) in one easy-to-use platform. Get started for free with Asana Business today!

This connector can be found in the Online Services category of the Get Data dialog.

That’s all for this month! Please continue sending us your feedback and don’t forget to vote for other features that you’d like to see in Power BI Desktop. For any preview features, you can always give us your feedback in our active community forum. We hope that you enjoy the update!

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