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Power BI Service January Feature Summary

Headshot of article author Sirui Sun

As you probably know, the Power BI service is updated weekly with fixes and new features. When we release major features, we always to make sure to release a coinciding blog post explaining the new features in detail so you can begin using them right away.

In addition to these individual feature posts, we’re starting a monthly feature summary for the Power BI service, similar to the posts you know and love for Power BI Desktop.

So, without further ado, here’s the complete list of January updates in the Power BI service:

Power BI admin role

The Power BI admin role is a new role in Azure AD, meant for those tasked with administering Power BI for their organization. Office 365 user admins can assign users to be Power BI admins within the Office 365 Admin center, or via PowerShell script. Once a user is assigned, they'll be able to access the Power BI Admin portal. There, they will have access to tenant-wide usage metrics, and can control tenant-wide usage of Power BI features.

Here is how you can assign the Power BI Admin role to one of your users through the Office 365 Admin portal:

1. Visit the O365 Admin page and select users


2. Click on the user you want to make Power BI Admin and click Edit Roles


3. Click on Edit Roles

4. Select Customized Administrator and check Power BI Administrator


Hit Save.

You can also assign the Power BI Service Administrator role through PowerShell using the command below. To run the PowerShell command, you must have the Azure Active Directory PowerShell Module installed, which you can download here.

Add-MsolRoleMember -RoleMemberEmailAddress "" -RoleName "Power BI Service Administrator"

That user should now have admin rights to Power BI for your tenant. There, they will have access to tenant-wide usage metrics, and can control tenant-wide usage of Power BI features.


Audit logs globally available

Power BI audit logs are now available for use in all regions. For the time being, however, they remain in public preview, and all data collected by the logs will make their way to datacenters in the United States. Nonetheless, audit logs are a powerful tool for allowing Office 365 admins to track usage of Power BI across their tenant with a high level of detail. Learn more


E-mail subscriptions public preview

With Power BI e-mail subscriptions, you can quickly subscribe to emails of the report pages that matter most. Once subscribed, Power BI will regularly send screenshots of that report page directly to your inbox whenever the data changes. The image in your inbox will show up exactly as it does in Power BI, and include a link to the report where you can drill into any interesting findings. Thanks to email subscriptions, it’s never been so easy to stay up-to-date about the data that matter most. Full blog post


New APIs available for custom visuals developers

We released version 1.4 of our developer tools and custom visual APIs. With this release, we introduced localization support, so that custom visuals are locale-aware, and can therefore localize the content of their visuals accordingly. See more details on GitHub. Full blog post

Real-time streaming general availability

Earlier this week, we announced the general availability of our real-time streaming feature set, which allows users to easily stream data to Power BI via the REST API, Azure Stream Analytics, or PubNub, and to see that data instantly light on their dashboards. Since we announced public preview earlier last year, we’ve been delighted to see thousands of users across a dozen industries leverage these capabilities to gain insights and take action on their data, right as changes happen. As part of this release, we are excited to announce that Azure Stream Analytics will now output to Power BI streaming datasets. In addition, the Publish to Web will work in reports build on top of streaming datasets. Full blog post


Push data to Power BI using Microsoft Flow

Coming hot on the heels of our data alert Flow trigger, we've added a new action to the Power BI Flow connector which pushes rows of data to a Power BI streaming dataset. With this connector, pushing data to a Power BI streaming dataset can now be automated without writing a single line of code. Simply create a Flow with the “push rows to streaming dataset” action and Flow will automatically push data to that endpoint, in the schema that you specify, whenever the Flow is triggered. Even better, you’ll be able to choose from hundreds of Flow triggers to act as data sources. Full blog post


Azure Active Directory content pack

We introduced a new pre-built content pack, which combines the deep insights surfaced by the Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) APIs with Power BI’s rich visualization experiences. Quickly and easily understand how your employees and partners are using Azure AD. Use that information to plan your IT infrastructure and maximize business value. Full blog post


Have questions, or feedback? We’d love to hear from you. Be sure to cast your votes on UserVoice to help us prioritize features. Questions are always welcome in the comments below, or on the community forums.