Today, Microsoft highlighted improvements to Power BI dataflows as part of the September update to the service. Earlier this month, a feature summary detailing changes for the desktop version of the data visualization service was published as well.
Now, the tech giant has unveiled a release overview guide and a walk-through video, both of which explain the changes coming to Power BI as part of the 2019 release wave 2. This release period will continue from October this year through March next year, and bring about some major new capabilities.
In a condensed form, this is what users can expect for Power BI in the next few months:
- Unified platform for enterprise BI
- Data Protection (Preview)
- Shared and Certified Datasets
- Data lineage capabilities (Preview)
- Open platform connectivity (XMLA Read/Write) (Preview)
- Datasets larger than 10GB in Power BI Premium (Preview)
- Admin usage metrics
- Unattended Power BI template app installation
- Self-service analytics for everyone
- New experience for report consumption
- Home customization
- Mobile Home
The video below explains these updates in a more detailed fashion:
In particular, data protection capabilities such as the classifying and labeling of dashboards, reports, datasets, and dataflows have been highlighted. Label-specific permissions will also be allowed to apply on files exported from Power BI. For example, an exported file with a "Highly Confidential" label will maintain this sensitivity level when transferred to Excel, PowerPoint, or in the form of a PDF document.
It will also be easier for dataset owners, as well as users, to manage shared and certified datasets. Tenant administrators will be gaining more control over how these datasets are used. Then, there's also a new Data Lineage view, allowing for the viewing of all interdependencies between Power BI artifacts. This can be visualized as shown below:
As a follow-up to the preview for XMLA read-only support in March, the feature will now be expanded to enable full read/write access for datasets, and connectivity to datasets for third-party tools. Moreover, the size limit for datasets in Power BI Premium was previously limited to 10 GB; this limitation is now being removed, with allowance for sizes to only be limited by the capacity. With this change, dataset sizes have been brought to parity with Azure Analysis Services model sizes.
And finally, Home in Power BI is now being revamped, making it much more customizable. Some of the ways in which it will be made so are noted below:
- User customization of pinned tiles: Allowing users to choose which dashboards or reports show up on top of Home for an at-a-glance view of their key metrics.
- Organizational branding: Allowing administrators to insert a company logo, change the header color, and add a background cover image on Home to match their corporate brand.
- Promoted content: Allowing administrators or designated content creators to promote and set the default recommended content. By setting default content, an organization can ensure that users have a consistent, standardized experience for navigating within the service.
- Configure learning resources: Allowing administrators to configure the documentation links in the Learn how to use Power BI section for their tenant.
Only some of the host of new capabilities being brought in release wave 2 have been discussed. Aside from watching the video attached above, you can also download and read the release overview guide to learn more about the upcoming enhancements.