February 2019

Here’s a summary of the updates Microsoft released for Power BI Desktop in February 2019. Full details on this months updates can be found on the Power BI blog Feb-19.

PowerBIFeatureListFeb19

The feature we’ve picked out as the highlight for February is the Key Influencers visual. Watch the below video to see this feature in action, the video will automatically start and end in the relevant places.

This is the first PBI visual that uses Artificial Intelligence (Machine Learning under the hood). We expect this visual will prove most useful where the selected metric has a small number of values (up to 10 perhaps). Beyond this, the user will have too many values to pick from before seeing the Key Influencers that result in the selected metric value. One option to reduce the number of metric values listed for selection may be to group them.

We think this visual will be particularly useful when looking at hit/miss, true/false based metrics, where the Key Influencers for these can be quickly and easily seen and compared.

Having to manually think about and select the dimension attributes that could be Key Influences will be OK in most cases, particularly if the data set isn’t too large and/or is well understood by the report creator. However, it would be nice if there was a way by which the dimension attributes that are Key Influencers could be suggested or selected for us. Perhaps using other features such as explain the increase/decrease, or the auto-generated suggested questions for Q&A could help the report author in this sense.

It’s important to note that the Key Influencers visual is a Preview feature for now, so if you want to use this you need to activate it in Options (found under the File menu). It’s also important to note that the metric you add to the Analyse field cannot be a measure, it must be a column.

Other features of particular note for us are the before mentioned Auto-generated suggested questions for Q&A and the option to Update the default visual interaction to cross filter. The feedback from users we speak to is they much prefer cross filter to cross highlight in most cases – it’s just a shame this needs setting within each individual file, a global setting would be better perhaps.

March 2019

Here’s a summary of the updates Microsoft released for Power BI Desktop in March 2019. Full details on this months updates can be found on the Power BI blog Mar-19.

PowerBIFeatureListMar19

The feature we’ve picked out as the highlight for March is the New modelling view (which also now includes Folders for grouping objects)Watch the below video to see this feature in action, the video will automatically start and end in the relevant places.

The New Modelling view has been around in preview form for a little while now, and its allowed us to break down a large data-set/cube/model into smaller more digestible chunks/views – so you only see the Actual related tables in one view and only the Forecast related tables in another perhaps.

This is useful to the data set developer, but isn’t something that the report consumer would see or use. What a report consumer will see and use though is the new Folder option. This allows a data set developer to group objects (measures and columns). The data set developer may also choose to use this to group and separate measures, fact columns and dimension columns – so report developers can more easily understand what insights can be obtained from the data set.

There’s a number of other features worthy of mention in the March update, including; the Heat Map option for Bing maps (a feature that was available to us in Excel Power Map for those who remember that), the tool-tip formatting (but lets remember Report Page tool tips are an option available to us as well), and the Azure Cost Management connector may be of interest to those administering Azure subscriptions.

Please do post any questions or comments you have below. We’d love to hear from you and we’ll certainly get back to you if you need us to.

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