15 September 2022
The Power BI September 2022 update: what you need to know
Microsoft have released update 2.109.642.0 to Power BI, from September 2022.
This update brings a wide range of useful changes, including changes to the formatting of visuals, along with features for more robust governance and sharing of datasets both across tenancies and with external users.
As an external BI consultancy company, we are particularly excited about the cross-tenancy functionality, which could change the way that we access and share data.
Cross-tenant dataset sharing
Summary: The latest update allows customers to share their Power BI datasets with external users, allowing them to access them in their own Power BI tenant.
Our Thoughts: This will allow external companies to access data without requiring additional credentials or accounts created. Given the services that we provide as a BI consultancy, this is potentially very useful for us and our clients, along with business analysts and other external users. It’s also useful for companies who have multiple tenants set up, such as a parent company.
Auto-generate reports on existing datasets
Summary: Microsoft have added the function to create a report from datasets in the Power BI service, making it easier than ever to explore all accessible datasets. This could be helpful for exploring what is available, and the best way of formatting data within the Power BI service.
Our Thoughts: This feature is particularly useful for creating proof of concept reports – highlighting the art of the possible within Power BI. It might be that tweaks are required to the auto-generated reports, but automatically generating them will save time by not having to start from scratch.
Discoverability Feature for B2B Content
Summary: A new section/tab is being added to PBI service, which makes it easy to find content which is shared from an external tenant.
Our Thoughts: Combined with the update for Cross-Tenant Dataset Sharing, this will allow companies to very quickly find the data they are looking for, which will save time and effort.
Translations support for composite models on Power BI Datasets and analysis services – Preview
Summary: Translations are now supported for composite models on Power BI datasets and Analysis Services. These were previously ignored. Going forward, any translations defined in the source will be exposed in the composite model, so the table and column names will be translated to the user’s language.
Our Thoughts: This could be particularly useful for companies who have offices in multiple countries, but who want to share reports across offices.
Hierarchical axis by default
Summary: There has been an update to visuals which use categories and sub-categories. By default, labels now have concatenation set to off, and visuals are sorted by the top-level category.
Our Thoughts: This change will save users time by changing the defaults to values that were largely already used. The change has come from feedback that in order to implement a hierarchical graph, users had to go through lots of steps. It’s reassuring to know that Microsoft are listening to the feedback of users.
There is still the option to change the settings back to previous values, which is useful for reports where features such as drilldowns are required.
Improved display name for summarized fields
Summary: There has been an update to the display name for summarized fields to include the default or selected aggregation
Our thoughts: This will increase the understanding that end users have of presented data, and reduce questions regarding which fields are being aggregated and what type of aggregation is being used.
Information protection update
Summary: When using a dataset with a sensitivity label, Power BI will automatically apply the live dataset’s sensitivity label to the PBIX file to maintain the data’s classification and protection as it leaves the Power BI service.
Our thoughts: This is a great addition in terms of governance. Previously, the classification of PBIX files would rely on users remembering to add them manually. This update removes that reliance.
Mobile formatting options
Summary: Mobile formatting options had previously been in preview; this has now been added to general release, allowing users to have separate formatting for mobile and web versions.
Our thoughts: This has been in preview for a little while, so it is good to see that it has been rolled out into general release. It will allow users to build convenient reports on the go, without having to compromise on functionality. It is good to hear that Microsoft have said that more functionality will continue to be added to mobile formatting as feedback builds.
New Visuals have been added:
- Calendar by Datanau
- SuperTables by Apps for Power BI
- Selection Slicer by Walnut Innovation
- Shielded HTML Viewer by Nova Silva
- Drill Down Combo PRO by ZoomCharts
- Intelligent Narratives by Arria NLG
Power BI fonts are now available on iOS and Android mobile devices. Previously the PBI mobile app used the default font from the device.
A new library is available for embedding Power BI content in Vue.js applications. This is publicly available on npm and GitHub.
Previously there was an update to allow conditional formatting on each data label rather then across all points. This has been extended, so now includes visuals without a field in the legend, which was previously excluded.
It is now possible to export paginated reports with Power BI datasets as a data source when the caller is a service principal, given that all downstream data sources are SSO-disabled.
The changes for September highlight that Microsoft are listening to user feedback when deciding what to focus on. The decision to change default behaviour on visuals with a category hierarchy and make the mobile formatting functionality public demonstrates just this.
The new feature for cross-tenant dataset sharing could be a game changer in terms of how external companies, such as those that offer BI services, are granted access to data.
We look forward to seeing how much impact this will have, and what the uptake for companies will be.
Access our wide range of insights in our Power BI hub here.