Back just a few months ago in April 2021, Microsoft released a major update in their Power Platform that truly tethered two of their most impactful products; Microsoft Power Automate and Microsoft Power BI.
Well, What’s the Big Deal?
For those out there who might not know just yet, Microsoft Power Automate is one of the leading cloud automation software out on the market. This software enables users to consume, transform, and post data from a large array of sources to an even larger array of destinations depending on the task at hand. The ability to streamline business processes completely unseen in the cloud is where so many users absolutely love this product.
Within the Power Platform also resides Microsoft’s major reporting solution, Power BI. This tool has helped many users on the global scale consume their data and visualize it in a first-class fashion to help provide actionable insights. With the ability to import data stemming from a significant number of sources using Microsoft Power Query, and the M-Code language, each ‘Power-User’ is given the ability to stage any scenario they could imagine and make it accessible to their team. Once the data in scope has been tailored for reporting, users can leverage a language called DAX to help code high-level calculations to perform across all their data. This marriage allows Microsoft Power BI to keep its place as a premier solution in the industries of reporting, analytics, and business intelligence.
So, here’s the big deal. As of this past April of 2021, Microsoft finally published a release that enabled users to leverage both software outlined above within the same platform in Power BI. This solution was derived from the constant desire of users to impose actions upon the data that is being reported on. As the days of flat, black and white reporting are becoming less and less valuable, this release displays a major increase in BI functionality.
What Would I Use This For?
To be honest, the possibilities are limitless. What you really would want to be asking is, what problem can I solve with this? One of the most common use-cases for a synergistic platform like this, is an approval workflow. Let’s say for example, you are using Microsoft Power BI to report against Opportunity records from your local CRM solution. Your every-day tasks consist of analyzing these records, and spotting any trends in the estimate and actual values of these opportunities. Now let’s say you find that a new opportunity came in that has a surmountable value. Well typically, you might need a second, or even third, opinion on this matter to ensure that it makes its way up the approval chain. Typically, this type of situation would require you to send an email to the first approver notifying them of this record, have the first approve then go into your CRM and review the record, and then repeat this process as many times as there are approvers. Now, with a solution like Power Automate for Power BI, a user would be able to select the context of any give record on their Power BI report, and leverage the Power Automate visualization (which renders as a button) to take all of the data on the table related to the record being selected, and pass it on to the next approver.
Since Power Automate Flows are completely customizable, a user would be able to add any nuance to this approval process that might pertain directly to their company. The fact that this is not a one-size-fits-all solution, lends itself greatly to overall efficiency. Though this is only one use-case out of the vast many, it helps depict what possible solutions are out there for your organization.
How Do I Implement This for My Organization?
To start, you will want to download the Power Automate for Power BI visual from AppSource. This visual will download into your Power BI Desktop application, and will then render itself as a button on the screen you elect to display it on. After you have resized your button, you will then want to take any datapoints from your model that you would like to use as you dynamic inputs, and place them into the data fields drop-box. In the More Options Menu (…), you will need to select the Edit option (denoted by the pencil icon), which will then open up a new wind to start the creation of your Microsoft Power Automate Flow. Currently, there are a few Flow templates to help assist users onboard with this process. These templates include:
- Sending a Teams message from Power BI
- Updating and Excel table from Power BI
- Creating and item for a SharePoint list from Power BI
- Creating an Outlook task from Power BI
Though these templates encompass a large range of processes that might help your organization boost its efficiency, and overall automation, in leveraging Microsoft Power Automate for Power BI, every user will still have the ability to connect to all the data sources, and perform all the same actions as they normally could when using Power Automate on its own. Whatever the process might be, a user can likely achieve it. And, if you find that you do not see the connector your are looking for, put a Compose block in your Flow and see what data you are being passed from Power BI to get the full scope of the effects.
It goes without saying how import the update to merge the power of Microsoft Power Automate and Microsoft Power BI is. This update is something that continues to display why the Power Platform is leading the way in all of its respective markets. This product is absolutely something your organization should be using today.
If you would like an demonstration of this product, or would like more information on Microsoft Power Automate, Microsoft Power BI, or the Power Platform, please contact us, and we will be more than happy to work with you.