Modern collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams fuel an agile and fast paced way of getting more done. Much of this benefit comes from the continuous stream of activity that helps users stay up to date about all the things happening around them.
Now, Power BI is integrating with the Microsoft Teams activity feed. In Teams, you’ll be notified when someone shares a report to you or requests access to a report you own. This helps you get more done without leaving Microsoft Teams or hunting through your emails.
The activity feed notification capability has started to roll-out to commercial cloud customers. Users need to install the Power BI app for Microsoft Teams to receive the activity feed notifications.
Let’s see how these new capabilities work.
Report sharing notifications
Report sharing notifications are sent when someone shares a report to another person and presses the send button. In the past, this only sent an email to that person. For Microsoft Teams users there was a context switch to find and open the email.
Now, if the recipient has the Power BI app for Teams installed, they’ll get a notification right in the activity feed and as a banner (toast card). When they click the notification, the report opens immediately. It has all the features you’d expect like export, share, chat in Teams, all the view modes, and is fully interactive. They’ll still get an email notification, but they won’t have to leave Teams to view the report. So, it’s easier and faster to explore the data right away.
Report sharing notifications are sent for reports in workspaces and my workspace, not for those in organizational apps.
At the top of the report, the Open in Power BI button lets you open the report in the Power BI app for Teams. You can even pop-out the Power BI app to multi-task by right-clicking the Power BI icon in the Teams Left Navigation and selecting pop-out. It’s a great way to keep the report open while you keep going through your other notifications to stay up to date.
Pro tip: Don’t forget to Pin the app so it’s easy to find and one click away. It’s on the same right-click menu.
Report Request Access Notifications
When users need permission to view a report, they can request access in Power BI. It’s important to them to get access quickly so they’re not blocked and wasting time waiting for access. The Power BI app for Teams helps report owners respond more quickly because they get notified when someone requests access directly in Teams.
Like report sharing notifications, request access notifications are sent for reports in workspaces and my workspace, not for those in organizational apps.
This new fully integrated request access workflow is tailor to the needs of busy people. It saves you so much time switching to email and waiting for a access request to arrive. Just click the notification and approve, it’s that easy.
Often if you share a report in a meeting you might get several access requests all at once. They all show up in the list so you can multi-select and approve all of them in one go. Since it’s quick and easy, you’ll fly trough the requests faster and be more responsive to the needs of your colleagues.
The best part is that if the person who requested access is also has the Power BI app for Teams installed, they’ll immediately get a sharing notification when you approve their access request. This really underscores the value of broadly installing the Power BI app for Teams across your organization.
Faster collaboration over data as an integrated experience
These capabilities also help when you collaborate in Teams even if users aren’t sharing reports directly to others.
Often report owners add a report as a tab in a channel, chat, or meeting. Many people send a Chat in Teams link in a conversation. Others paste a URL into a chat with many participants. Likewise, it’s common to present reports in meetings. In each of these cases, it’s common to be inundated with requests for access.
With these new capabilities, it’s just faster and easier to respond. We’ve been testing these new capabilities internally for some time now and I can’t tell you how many people have giggled with pleasure when within seconds of requesting access, they get the notification that the report was shared to them. This faster way of working is a little bit of delight that we can all appreciate.
Here are a few handy tips to help your personal productivity with Power BI in Microsoft Teams.
Tip 1: Find Power BI notifications quickly in Teams
You can quickly filter the activity feed in Teams to list notifications sent by apps and scroll through to see the ones Power BI sent. Click the filter icon at the top of the activity feed, then click the … icon and select Apps. Teams UI doesn’t let you filter to a specific app, but this cuts through very quickly to the ones you most care about.
Tip 2: Reshare your reports from the activity feed
It seems like once one person accesses a report, everyone wants to get the link shared to them. It’s convenient to return to the notification, then use the actions bar to Share the report or send a link through Chat in Teams. They can quickly get the link, click it, and request access if needed, or view the report right away.
Understanding notifications sent for sharing and request access
The sharing and request access scenarios in this release support reports in workspaces and My workspace, they don’t support reports in Power BI organizational apps.
In the coming months we’ll also add support for dashboard sharing and request access for dashboards in workspaces and My workspace.
Managing Power BI notifications using Microsoft Teams user settings
Users in Microsoft Teams can choose how they prefer to get notifications from Power BI.
Pro tip: A user must first receive a notification from Power BI for these settings to appear.
If you’ve received a Power BI notification in your activity feed, click on the “Settings and more” … option at the top of Teams next to your profile picture. Then pick notifications, then Power BI, and select Edit.
This shows the Power BI notification types available for you to configure. Sharing and request access notifications are configured through the Actions and Updates notification type. We’re not using the other notification types yet, but they’re reserved for future use.
We’d love to hear from you what notifications you’d like Power BI to send. Leave a comment on this blog to help us learn from what you need.
Controlling notifications through Power BI tenant settings
Power BI admins can use the Microsoft Teams integration in the Power BI service tenant setting to control whether the Power BI service sends these notifications. When disabled, users no longer receive notifications in Microsoft Teams.
Note: This setting was renamed and was previously called Share to Teams.
By default, the setting is enabled for everyone in the organization. We recommended leaving it enabled since it lets users choose the tools they use to be most productive. Notifications are sent to users who have the Power BI app for Microsoft Teams installed.
Rolling out the Power BI app for Teams to your organization
Organizations can make it easier for everyone to find and use data to make important decision by installing and pinning (recommended, but optional) the Power BI app for Teams for their users.
Now that Power BI supports Microsoft Teams activity feed notifications its even more valuable to install the app broadly. It brings this new way of working that’s faster and more collaborative to more people in your organization more quickly. In the end it’s a scalable way to encourage more people to use data everyday to help achieve their objectives.
As a leader in your organization, you can encourage individuals and teams to start using the Power BI app in Teams by installing it for themselves. As a Power BI admin or a Teams admin, you can encourage broader usage by installing and even pinning the app proactively. Read the guide to learn the options for broad and targeted roll-out to help decide what’s the right step for your organization.