30 August 2016

Power BI Tips: Start And Embed

Power BI iconPower BI is a Microsoft suite of business analytics tools for Office 365. It is very useful for exploration and visualization of data, for example data from usage of SharePoint or Outlook products. I have recently begun recording a series of demonstrations about Power BI, and the first two have now been published in the Tips section.

Power BI is based on a self-service concept, where users can analyze data in an Excel-like interface and create custom reports. The idea is that users should be able to interact with data directly, without having to go through an IT department each time.

Power BI sketch

Get started
Each user has to connect Power BI to their Office 365, so in the first demo about Power BI I show how to do that. I select the online version, but I will come back to the desktop version later. In the introduction demo I also show how to import an Excel file and start playing with the data. The Power BI dashboard reminds of the Excel pivot table, but the interface is much more user friendly and intuitive. Calendar Browser for Outlook icon Statistics
Power BI supports multiple data sources, but the reason I chose to use an Excel file is that most products Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint icon give various Excel reports on data in databases or SharePoint lists. The data in these reports can very well be explored and visualized in Power BI.

Thus you can study statistics about how resourcesFolder HelpDesk for Outlook icon are used within your organization, how time is spent, how support cases are followed up, how projects are managed and so on, depending on which product you are using. Different kinds of default reports are generated, and you can also create custom reports.
Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint icon
Embed Power BI in SharePoint
The second demo shows two ways to embed a Power BI report in a SharePoint page. The built in "Publish to web" feature is the easiest method, and it is good for public data.

The built in method should however never be used for restricted data, because it gives a link that does not require login. Therefore I also describe a more secure method where users have to log in to Power BI with their SharePoint work account to see the report.

It is always a good idea to use Power BI with SharePoint to have updated reports, and I will go deeper into that in a later demonstration. For now you are welcome to watch the Get started demo below and to learn more in the Tips section.

Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions