Our Power BI monthly review: March 2022

21 March 2022

Our Power BI monthly review: March 2022

Microsoft have recently released update 2.103.661.0 to Power BI for March 2022, so what’s different? 

The changes we are most excited for this month are the tweaks to the Azure Maps visual, which allow locations to be added, rather than a longitude/latitude input. Pie charts can also be included in the same visual, making it easier to report across different dimensions. 

The introduction of error bars is also intriguing, and will be particularly useful when looking at predicted or future data. Read on for a complete list of changes and what they mean for Power BI’s offering.  

What’s new 

Error bars (in Preview)

Summary: Error bars can now be added to line charts, allowing users to specify upper and lower bounds to the values. 

Our Thoughts: The introduction of error bars is a useful addition. We are particularly interested in seeing this being used when the data being shown isn’t exact – for example, when there is a prediction of future data.  

The fact that the look and feel of error bars can be adjusted by the user means that it can be tailored for different users/requirements for greater flexibility and personalisation, so we look forward to seeing how this is used in the future.  

Dynamic format strings are now supported for all chart elements

Summary: Reports with AS data sources can provide dynamic format strings, or cell-level formatting, to customize the formatting of their data. Reports with calculation groups will also convert regular format strings into dynamic format strings.

Our thoughts: Previously, dynamic strings were inconsistent in their formatting, so the fact that this has been resolved is a boost that should allow us to use this feature with more confidence.

 

Updates to Azure Maps visual

Summary: Location data, such as specific cities, can now be added to the Azure Map Visual. Pie charts can also be used to represent this data on the visual too.

Our Thoughts: The option of putting in location, rather than coordinates, is a great addition in terms of efficiency and ease of use. Now, instead of having to research specific latitude and longitude for a location, it’s simpler than ever to enter a determined location.

The addition of pie charts also allows different dimensions to be shown on one visual, such as sales categories by city, for example. While previously this could be achieved by using multiple visuals, this latest update simplifies the process more than ever before.

Quickly create reports from SharePoint document libraries

Summary: Microsoft already had a feature for SharePoint lists that allowed users to create a Power BI report off of list data. Now, the same functionality is being made available on SharePoint document libraries.

This will allow users to easily create reports based on file metadata.

Our thoughts: This is a change that will enable users to view BI for document libraries, without having to take extra steps, such as pass metadata into a SharePoint list or spreadsheet. This has been a requirement we have seen in the past, so there is definitely a use case out there. The ability to pull metadata for files within folders would be required to truly make the most of this – Microsoft have said it is only for the root folder currently, but we look forward to seeing how these new capabilities evolve in future.

What’s changed

Updates to sensitivity labels update

Summary: PBIX files over 2 GB in size can now be saved with a sensitivity label that carries protection; optimising a previous limitation on saving labelled/protected PBIX files.

Our thoughts: While we don’t see a large number of PBIX files over 2GB, it’s good to know that this change has been implemented as it allows companies whose governance requires labelling to use PBI for larger files.

 

Improvements to the datasets hub

Summary: The datasets hub now shows users all the datasets that they have access to. “Trusted in your org” is a newly added tab, which allows users to see a list of all the endorsed datasets in their organization. The certified datasets are listed first, followed by the promoted datasets.

Our thoughts: These improvements could help boost the awareness of data within organisations and will also significantly reduce the duplication of reports/data collection for enhanced clarity.

Power BI Goals Enhancements

Summary: Custom statuses for Power BI Goals have been implemented, alongside additional Goal Teams notifications which have been added for updates and check-ins.

Our thoughts: Statuses seem to be an integral part of tracking goals, so this is a welcome addition.

The addition of Teams notifications continues the integration of Power Platform components and Teams, and we’re excited about what these integrations mean for implementing a data-driven culture throughout businesses.

Additional changes

New Visuals have been added to Appsource:

  • Event viewer
  • Power Slicer
  • Dual Axis Linechart with Legends
  • Stacked Columnchart With Custom Legend Placement
  • Bullet Chart with Custom Label Placement
  • Cluster Bar chart Side By Side
  • StackedBarchartWithDatalabel&Datapercentage
  • BarChart With Custom Tooltip
  • Pie Chart with Full legends Label
  • Column Chart With two X-axis
  • Side By Side Barchart
  • Column Chart with Dual-Y-Axis
  • Multiple Vertical Line Chart
  • Barchart with colour formatting

New Connectors have also been added, alongside bug fixes and new features for some existing connectors such as: Anaplan, BitSight Security Ratings, AssembleViews and FactSet Analytics.

The feature for Multi-row card selection should have been included in the previous release, but Microsoft have included it in March, instead of February.

The New Format pane, which has been in preview for a few months, is being made generally available in May, meaning that all users will be using it. We have found no issues using the new pane, but recommend any issues that are found are reported so that they can be resolved before the general release.

Recently Microsoft introduced a simplified Power BI Home to Layout. This is being changed to the default selection for all users.

Closing comments

The changes for March introduce significant improvements for the Azure Map Visual alongside a wide number of quality-of-life updates. We are interested in seeing how the location function works for common place names used without further details – such as if the data reads Birmingham UK or USA if the user enters ‘Birmingham.’

The pie chart being included within maps simplifies the process of showing dimensions against location, which a is a very helpful development. What’s more, the error bars being added to line graphs enhances the experience for users using uncertain data, and the fact that this is in preview means that further enhancements are possible. It will be interesting to see how these progress over time.

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