July 2022 Power BI monthly review

18 July 2022

July 2022 Power BI monthly review

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There’s a veritable smorgasbord of delights from the team at Microsoft Power BI this month, including Error Bars, updates to Metric visuals and Datamart’s, and improvements to query performance and the data hub.

We’re particularly excited by the new Data in space mobile feature that utilises augmented reality and the enhancements to accessibility for embedded reports.

What’s new

Error Bars – Generally Available

Summary: Not only are error bars generally available (released into Preview in last month’s update) but the boffins at Power BI have added additional functionality around the feature. You can enable data labels and display upper and lower bounds straight onto the visual, based on percentage, percentile and standard deviation options. In terms of formatting, you can choose to “Match series colour” or unleash your inner designer, go off-piste and configure both the series and the background as you wish. Finally, there is also a “make symmetrical” option for your “by field” error bars that allows you to choose just one relative measure for your bars and mirrors that field in both directions.

Our thoughts: This feature has been a long time coming, but now it’s here it opens up a lot of data visualisation opportunities. The enriched options and features enhance the capability of Power BI.

Filled Map for Azure Maps visual – Preview feature

Summary: Filled map layers are now available in the Azure Maps visual allowing coloured shapes to differentiate data, helping to present variations or patterns across geographical areas.

Our thoughts: Filled maps are a fantastic way to visualise numerical data aggregated at a regional level or for categorical data with regional variation.

Composite models on Power BI datasets and Analysis Services – Preview

Summary: Support for Power BI datasets that have Dynamic M Query parameters defined has been added in this release allowing you to enrich or extend them.

Our thoughts: Report viewers have, until now, been limited to interacting with data in visuals. Using Dynamic M Query parameters allows users to use filters or slicers to set parameter values in M Query.

Modelling – New DAX function: NETWORKDAYS

Summary: This function calculates the whole working days between two dates. It’s customisable to allow you to set a weekend (default Saturday and Sunday) and you can also specify holidays!

Our thoughts: A welcome addition to the Calendar toolset and a neat and succinct solution to a regular requirement.

Connect to datamarts – Preview

Summary: It’s now easy to connect to Power Platform datamarts from the Get Data menu.

Our thoughts: The two options available with this feature are Connect (auto-generated dataset), which links to the datamart’s underlying auto-generated dataset using live connect, and, Connect to SQL endpoint which allows either a direct query or import options. Both provide an easy discovery experience, with the latter removing the headache of finding and copy-pasting the datamart’s SQL connection string from the datamart settings or info page.

Introducing Data in Space

Data in space allows you to connect your business data to real-world places. The use cases across all sectors, like facility management, manufacturing and retail, are endless and will allow you to put real-time data literally in the hands of employees where they need it, enabling them to make better, faster more informed decisions.

Think about a retail scenario where a store manager can pin reports showing stock levels based on sales rates, replenishment information, and stock levels in nearby locations. Or facilities management where sensors provide data on air quality, temperature, and floor occupancy. Staff can visit these areas where they can discover and access reports simply by using their Power BI mobile app.

Data in space is powered by an integration of the Azure Spatial Anchors service and the Power BI mobile app.

What’s changed

Bold/Italics/Underline for text inside the header tooltip

Summary: This was introduced for text and Power BI is ensuring that these options are available everywhere.

Metric visual updates

The creation and streamlining of sharing metrics have been enhanced.

  • Scorecard visual will now include metric visuals, allowing you to view notes, perform check-ins, and set up rules just like a regular scorecard
  • Move/copy scorecards
  • Follow metrics
  • Share a direct link to a metric

Support multi-role RLS in the composite model

Model owners can now assign a single user to more than one RLS role in a composite model.

Query performance improvements

This update ensures that RLS filters are directly propagated from the dimension table to the fact table in the basic visual query. As a result, users don’t encounter the common challenges of navigating unexpected error or handling slow performance.

Closing comments

The items highlighted in the blog only really scratch the surface of what has been released this month. Power BI is engaged with its user community and responds to requests, suggestions and improvements, even making the release notes, roadmap and feature requests more easily accessible.

The features and updates in this month’s release continue to expand the capability of Power BI, not only as a data visualisation tool, but also by allowing users to quickly and effectively connect to their data and empowering decision making.

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