Skip to main content

Announcing New AI and Enterprise features for Power BI

Headshot of article author Arun Ulagaratchagan

As we kick off the Microsoft Business Application Summit with our amazing community at Atlanta, I wanted to share some exciting Power BI news as part of the event.

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



In a world in which data is coming from everywhere, Power BI is about helping our customers embrace a data culture, where every employee can make better decisions based on data. The growth of Power BI has been staggering – customers ingest more than 20PB of data to Power BI every month, lighting up over 30M reports and dashboards, and the Power BI service processes over 12M queries per hour.

But you don’t have to take our word for it. Gartner named Microsoft a Leader in the Magic Quadrant for Analytics and BI Platforms for 12 consecutive years.

Today we’re making significant new announcements that will help our customers driver a data culture.

Simple, fast, intuitive experiences

To build a data culture, everyone in an organization needs to be empowered to work with data. At its core, BI is a collaborative process. We’re investing in simple, intuitive experiences that are familiar to users of Excel and PowerPoint. Users get monthly updates that include navigation, streamlined viewing, and user collaboration—focusing on simpler ways to explore, find, and share insights. In addition, we are always listening and learning from our Power BI community. Several capabilities today have come directly from the community’s feedback and from our Ideas forum.

● New look for Power BI Desktop: The new UI for Power BI Desktop allows “citizen analysts” to explore data, get answers, and make decisions without relying on learning specialized skills. It employs the familiar PowerPoint experience to accelerate the ability to perform data analysis regardless of role.

● New look for the Power BI service: Report consumers, on the other hand, will have a new consumption experience including new navigation UI elements to match the consistent fluent design language allowing users to find and consume content more easily.

● Siri Shortcuts: We’re happy to announce that the Power BI Mobile iOS app is now integrated with Siri shortcuts. Now, you’ll be able to just say “Hey Siri, open my report” and you’ll get the content you’re looking for. Learn more about the preview.

● Visual level filtering on slicers: We are also excited to announce the release of visual level filters for slicers, a top 10 item in our ideas forum with over 2,800 votes. A great example of user-driven innovation.

● Personalized visualization pane: The personalized visualization pane is available, giving report authors the ability to choose which marketplace visuals are available for them persistently in Power BI Desktop. Marketplace visuals are widely used by the Power BI community and now they are easier than ever to integrate into Power BI reports.



Try the new UI today by downloading the June release of Power BI Desktop.

Unified Platform for Enterprise BI

With Power BI, your organization can get the best of self-service analytics with centralized reporting capabilities, all atop a single enterprise-grade platform with unified governance and security.  Today, we are releasing new capabilities to advance this vision:

● Paginated Reports General Availability. Based on the widely-used reporting technology in SQL Server Reporting Services, Paginated Reports bring new enterprise reporting capabilities to Power BI Premium.  Perfect for highly formatted, pixel-perfect reports with a variety of export and subscription options, Paginated Reports can be published in Power BI alongside existing interactive reports and can be built atop the same Power BI datasets.  Read the details and try it today.




● Shared and Certified Datasets Public Preview.  A key enabler of data culture in organizations is the pervasive availability of standard, authoritative datasets that represent a single source of truth, allowing users to make decisions on trusted data, remix to create insights, all with unified governance.  Shared datasets are a set of features that enable this reuse.  Last week we published a blog outlining our vision for shared datasets.  Today, we have completed the release of shared and certified datasets in the Power BI service and have released support in the June release of Power BI Desktop.



● Public preview of calculation groups. Enterprise-scale models can include hundreds of measures to facilitate diverse reporting and exploration tasks. Calculation groups simplify the presentation of similar measures to end users as well as improve management for BI professionals.  Calculation groups are available now in Azure Analysis Services and will be coming soon to Power BI. Learn more about calculation groups.



● Aggregations general availability coming in July, including support for row-level security. Aggregations will reach general availability in the Power BI Desktop July release, enabling interactive analysis over petabyte-scale datasets.  By GA, we will add support for row-level security (RLS) datasets. Unlock big data in a way that would otherwise be impossible!



● Enhanced dataflows compute engine Public Preview. As organizations accumulate more and more data, it becomes increasingly important to quickly perform ETL at scale over these datasets. Today we are announcing a major step forward in overcoming these pains points with a new compute engine for dataflows. Now you will be able to efficiently combine and transform different data sources and manage TB’s of data using dataflows. With the new engine, calculation of computed entities can now be up to x20 faster when working with large scale data volumes.

● Bring Your Own Key (BYOK) Public Preview. With BYOK, customers can control the key used by Microsoft to encrypt data at rest in Power BI Premium. The preview will be made available over the coming week.

Pervasive application of AI

Power BI has led the way in infusing AI with BI through capabilities like Quick Insights which help unearth trends in data and Q&A which enable business users to get answers by simply asking questions.

Today we are announcing the general availability of Azure Cognitive Services and Azure ML dataflows integration, providing our analysts with a toolkit of powerful AI functions:

● Azure Cognitive Services are sophisticated pre-trained machine learning models for intelligent applications. Analysts can use these models to extract insights from images by detecting objects. Text fields like customer feedback can be analyzed for positive and negative sentiment as well as have key phrases extracted. All these AI enrichments can be easily consumed by end users through interactive Power BI reports.

● Azure Machine Learning is a powerful platform where data scientists can develop machine learning models. These models can now easily be shared and used by analysts. Power BI automatically discovers which models an analyst has permissions to and provides an intuitive point and click user interface to invoke them. Analysts can now easily collaborate with data scientists as well as visualize and use insights from the model in their reports.

Learn more about the general availability for cognitive services, Azure ML and the AI workload in Power BI Premium.

We’re also announcing some exciting new capabilities that will be available soon:

● Two new AI visuals—Distribution Changes analyzes what makes a distribution look different, and the Decomposition Tree enables users to drill into any dimension to understand what is driving a key metric.

● We are expanding Power BI’s vision and text analytics capabilities and adding entity detection and text and handwriting recognition, enabling one-click transformations for insights on unstructured data.

● For enterprises that need custom lifecycle management or further tuning, models created in Power BI can be exported to Azure ML

● We are extending Power BI’s natural language capabilities. The new updates include the ability to train Q&A so it understands and adapts to company-specific language like synonyms, phrasings, or specific domains, and the ability for report authors to see every natural-language question asked so they can adjust how Power BI responds.


Enabling solution developers to ship Power BI Apps to customers

Template apps are integrated packages of pre-built Power BI dashboards and reports, configured to connect to specific data sources. With them, Microsoft partners can quickly provide analytics for the apps and services they provide. Partners can also manage the Template Apps development lifecycle, from dev to marketplace to updates. With template apps, users can immediately begin exploring, learning, and acting on key data with off-the-shelf apps. Today, Template Apps become generally available. Users can find and install template apps on AppSource.

Embedded analytics keeps evolving

With Power BI embedded analytics, you can extend the value of Power BI Premium and Power BI Pro. Embed analytics in internal websites, applications, and portals to empower your organization to make data-driven decisions.

Here is some of the exciting news we are sharing today:

Service principals with Power BI are now generally available. With service principal, application developers can authenticate an external application to embed Power BI content or manage and automate Power BI operations with Power BI using an app-only token. Read the full article.

● Use the AI-based ‘Key Influencers’ visualization in your application to allow end users to see which factors affect the metric being analyzed and contrast the relative importance of these factors.

Quick Visual creator. A new API to create visuals in an Embedded Power BI report, enabling application developers to respond to user interactions within their application by embedding an empty canvas and filling it with visuals made with code.

Explore Power BI API with ‘Try-it’ tool. ‘Try-it’ enables you to explore how each REST call works, what are the required params, the structure of response or errors, and what data comes back, all within a minute! Go to our documentation and ‘Try it’.

Performance improvements for embedding Power BI with the new release of the client-side SDK, make sure you always use our latest SDK to get the full benefit of everything we are improving. Explore the Power BI Embedded analytics features.

To learn more about all these announcements and more capabilities in our roadmap, please visit the Business Applications October 2019 release notes.

As always, we are extremely thankful to our community that helps shape the future of Power BI every day and we are very excited to share this great news with them. Remember to download the June release of Power BI Desktop and let us know what you think!