With the upcoming Microsoft Power Platform Release Wave 1, I wanted to provide a guide to the community of the upcoming feature enhancements that will help make a difference in your deployments. The intention is to provide rolling commentary across the next couple of weeks with a focus on each of the major products within the Power Platform, starting with today with Power BI.
As with previous release waves, the upcoming Microsoft Power BI 2022 Wave 1 release has a number brand new capabilities that are focused on collaboration, performance, and administration.
Here is my top 10 of new features that you should be across in this release.
Collaboration & Productivity Features
Power BI in Teams (PP April 2022)
Microsoft has also turned their attention to richer Power BI experiences within Microsoft Teams by iterating on their previously released integration from 2021.
The key differences from what can be shown within the release notes for 2022, is the Power BI service experience has been substantially uplifted now appearing directly within channels and it has been noted that chats will also have this information available within a single click. We have yet to see exactly how chat and Power BI integration will be implemented so this will certainly be one to watch out for in 2022.
Figure 1 – Power BI and Teams Integration Wave 1 2022
Power BI Integration in Outlook and Office Hub (PP May 2022)
Office is continuing to lead the productivity game and moving well beyond a simple email agent at this point, to a data connected intelligent collaboration tool.
This trend continues with Power BI support within Office Hub enabling faster discovery of BI reports and Outlook in surfacing Power BI content directly within email content as adaptive cards. This effectively lights up relevant data points and further promotes collaboration between Outlook users.
Who knows maybe the technology has sufficiently advanced so that TPS reports are automatically attached to email memos? One can only dream.
Figure 2 – Power BI within Outlook
Power BI in OneDrive and SharePoint (PP July 2022)
One feature that is synonymous with Office 365 is the ability to not only view but also edit, create and share files created with Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
The same functionality will finally be previewed with Power BI, with the same ability to update and edit reports (not just preview) all without having to require Power BI Desktop to be installed.
Power BI Scorecards in PowerPoint (GA September 2022)
Whether you are preparing for that sales presentation or showing the latest student intake numbers, having real-time information available at the time of presentation is a powerful way to both improve your team’s workflow by reducing the number of documents created and having dynamic content at your fingertips.
This will be possible through Power BI Scorecards embedded directly into PowerPoint presentations. Scorecards in Power BI are KPIs (goals) that you define and share among team members. With embed functionality coming to PowerPoint you can now give proper context to your KPIs within your presentations and tailor the messaging to your respective audiences.
Figure 3 – Scorecards
Quick Measures using Natural Language (PP April 2022)
A feature that is bound to be popular with business users is the Quick Measures functionality that takes natural language statements and converts them into Data Analysis Expressions (DAX) formulas.
Take this example from Microsoft, whereby a simple statement such as “What is the rolling 28 day average of sales” is interpreted by the service and quickly converted into an appropriate DAX formula.
Figure 4 – Quick Measures demonstrated within Power BI
Automatic Aggregation (GA May 2022)
An interesting development that uses an AI based algorithm to optimised and learn how to aggregate data and create and manage Vertipaq tables to be used in Power BI Premium datasets.
Vertipaq is a highly performant in-memory database engine that runs on top of Power BI that utilises data compression and encoding to create caches that enable rapid querying of data.
It has a great utility as most Business Intelligence queries are aggregate in nature, therefore by utilising the Automate Aggregation and drawing upon Vertipaq caches will certainly provide a high ROI by massively boosting your query performance.
Hybrid Tables (PP May 2022)
Similar to the above reasons for why Vertipaq tables are powerful for aggregate data, Hybrid Tables allow for data within the same table to be automatically combined with Vertipaq caches when using DirectQuery.
To highlight when this may be useful, take for example a table that stores QR Check-ins. You may have hundreds of thousands of historical records, with Hybrid Tables you can have the QR Check-In records older than today residing in the in-memory Vertipaq caches and the real-time data residing in the DirectQuery range. The result is that direct query results are orders of magnitude quicker with a Hybrid Table that takes advantage of Vertipaq caches versus straight DirectQuery.
Data Protection enhancement (PP Apr 2022)
Data Loss Prevention policies play a crucial role in securing your data from inadvertent data loss, and Microsoft 365 provides extensive capabilities already that enable organisations to secure their sensitive information within applications such as Power Automate.
As part of 2022 Release Wave 1, Microsoft have now announced that Microsoft 365 DLP policy support will be extended to Power BI. It will have the ability to auto classify data as sensitive using pre-defined conditions such as this policy defined for classifying TFNs
Improved Administration via APIs (GA Sept 2022)
This feature will hopefully come as welcome news to organisations that have a rapidly growing Power BI footprint and struggling to meet the demands of managing permissions and understand how reports are currently being used.
Power BI Administrators will soon have access to a set of APIs that enables the identification and reporting on unused Power BI assets, and assign/reassign/delegate access to assets.
Figure 6 – Example DLP Rule
Power BI Report Server (PP May 2022)
Where a customer cannot deploy the Power BI Cloud Service, Microsoft has provided the option for an on-premise Power BI Report Server. Whilst it isn’t intended to have the full breath of the online capabilities it does provide an option for clients who are not ready to completely transition to the cloud.
It is great to see Microsoft committed to supporting on-premise and edge deployments with all their products.
Microsoft continue to make huge strides in all aspects of the Power BI platform, and whilst this is a short overview of my top 10 favourite upcoming features, you can download the entire Release Notes for Wave 1 here:
What did you think of this Wave 1 release for Power BI? Are there features you think should be on this list or are looking forward to. Please do drop me a comment.