To deliver on the evolving expectations of customers and the evolving market for products, the company focuses on constant innovation, released through two semiannual waves. With PowerApps, Power BI, and Power Automate updates expected to land on the product between April 2021 and September, we’re excited to share a sneak peek of the changes coming to make your people smarter and your life easier.

Understandably, we can’t share everything in the hundreds of pages of documentation, but we would like to explore how Microsoft is working to make life easier for users in the coming months. Today, we’re looking at some of the highlights in Power BI and next month, we’ll dive into the other Power Platform products.

Power BI: Affordable and Easy to Use Business Intelligence

Power BI is considered a godsend by many organizations. Affordable, user friendly, and incredibly robust, companies like Wildlife Trading CompanyKayco, and AP&G leverage this solution with the help of competent partners to build models and link data. We’ve been on board with Power BI since it was introduced and have helped our clients to use the product in ways they wouldn’t have expected.

Core Focuses

Microsoft Power BI continues to invest in three key areas that drive a data culture: amazing data experiences, integrations where teams work, and modern enterprise BI.

  • Amazing Data Experiences: Microsoft is focused on making it easier than ever for people to work with data. Power BI will continue to advance AI and ML to help everyone easily discover insights.
  • Integrated Where Teams Work: By integrating Power BI deeply with Office 365 – Microsoft Teams, Excel, PowerPoint, and more, we bring insights to where everyone works and collaborates.
  • Modern Enterprise BI: Power BI can scale to meet the most demanding needs of large enterprise customers. Delivering an open platform at the data tier and semantic tier, Power BI makes it easy for systems to understand each other.

Power BI Embedded

Power BI Embedded enables developers to offer world-class analytics without building it themselves. Developers can quickly and easily provide customer-facing reports, dashboards, and analytics in their own applications by using and branding Power BI as their own. Here are a few things to look for:

  • Power BI Embedded Gen2: With General Availability in June 2021, the new generation has improved the architecture, helping customers to get visibility into utilization at the workspace level, enabling consistent utilization analysis and cost management.
  • Easy Export of Power BI Reports: Built on the One Microsoft mentality, users will be able to export Power BI report to PDF/PPTX/PNG by September 2021, offering both interactive and non-interactive export, depending on the needs of the user.
    • Filter and Visual Export Options: Additionally, users will be able to easily control the presentation by setting filters and exporting visuals only.

Power BI Premium

With each release, Microsoft Power BI Premium continues to deliver features that help organizations accelerate the delivery of insights at scale, meeting the most demanding needs of an enterprise. Focused on flexibility, integration, predictability, interactivity, and security, Microsoft is focused on making its product as good in the enterprise as it is for a smaller business.

Here are some of the things with General Availability in the coming wave.

  • Performance Accelerator for Azure Synapse Analytics: Planned for release in August, Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics will automatically create and manage materialized views for larger Power BI Premium datasets in DirectQuery mode. In turn, performance will improve no matter how many users are working at the same time.
  • Azure Data Lake Storage Workspace Level Attach: Available to the public in May 2021, Azure Data Lake Storage can now be attached at a workspace level (in addition to a tenant level) in the Power BI service. This makes it possible for creators and admins to attach Data Lake Storage and control and to assign permissions for individual workspaces.
  • ODBC Connectivity Support for Paginated Reports: Also coming in May, paginated reports will be able to connect through the on-premises data gateway to any data source with an ODBC option. This will allow customers to migrate their existing reports from SQL Server Reporting Services to the Power BI service.
  • Report Server Enhancements: For customers unable to use cloud products, Power BI Report Server’s May 2021 release will continue to provide more flexibility and usability for on-premises users. Microsoft will continue to bring more of the Power BI Desktop reporting capabilities to Power BI Report Server. These include reporting, modeling, and analytics capabilities of Power BI reports.
  • Paginated Report Visual for Power BI Reports: Scheduled for September, the paginated report visual will be available in Power BI Desktop and the Power BI service. This will help to make exporting and printing easier.

Power BI Pro

The accessible and affordable option for mid-sized businesses, Power BI Pro is focused on empowering companies to expand their data culture. Whether that is authors creating reports using the free Power BI Desktop tool, consumers exploring data in the Power BI service or mobile applications, or users in Office using data to make better decisions, Power BI will continue to evolve to make it easier than ever to work with data. With many things planned, here are the things featuring general availability in Release Wave 1.

  • Smart Narratives: Available in May 2021, the Smart narrative visualization helps you quickly summarize visuals and reports by providing relevant out-of-the-box insights that are customizable. Using this feature, creators can add narratives to their report to address key takeaways, point out trends, edit the language, and format it to address specific audiences.
  • Anomaly Detection: Avoid mistakes more easily with Anomaly Detection in May 2021. Creators will be able to enrich their charts with automatic anomaly detection for time series charts. When a user selects an anomaly, that selection will trigger a further analysis that explains the anomaly. These explanations can be customized by the report creator.
  • Quick Create: Scheduled for June, Quick Create will help new users get started using the Power BI service by providing a guided experience. This new guided experience will allow them to type or paste some data into Power BI and instantly get an autogenerated report that they can start slicing and dicing.

Power BI in Action: MIBAR and Kayco Present BI for Corporate Finance Webinar at Controllers Council

Being in the know matters. With a job title like CFO or Controller, you need to keep up with all the latest at your organization to understand how it affects the finances. Luckily, for those organizations who embrace it, Business Intelligence (BI) provides the insights needed to improve decisions and position firms for greater understanding.

We were recently invited to share our thoughts and expertise with the Controllers Council, the fastest growing community of finance professionals, in an exciting webcast titled Business Intelligence: Simplified for Corporate Finance.

Highlighting the value of BI, we invited our friend and client at Kayco, Corporate Controller Amir Bednarsh to share how Power BI gave the company  an interactive, customized, and remarkably user-friendly reporting environment to provide users 24/7, cross-device and real-time access to their data.

Learn more here.

MIBAR: Your Trusted Power BI Partner

At MIBAR, we’ve long specialized in delivering Microsoft products for our customers. What started with a focus on Dynamics has continued to evolve, and we’ve quickly become a leading provider of services for companies who want to make the most of Power Platform applications.

Get to know more about how to make your business more successful with the Power Platform. Contact us to learn more.

Bonus: Learn More in April 6 Business Applications Launch Event

With so much on the horizon for Microsoft Business Applications users, those interested in taking their business to the next level can learn even more in the highly anticipated Business Applications Launch Event.

Scheduled for April 6, 2021, the event will highlight how Microsoft can help you to:

  • Bring a new level of innovation and agility to your organization with modular applications that all work together.
  • Unify relationships, processes, and data with connected, comprehensive, cloud business applications across your organization.
  • Gain end-to-end visibility while enabling your teams to achieve greater outcomes faster.
  • Thrive as your business changes by extending existing applications and building new solutions.
  • Give your organization the tools it needs to provide a safer workplace while maintaining productivity as teams work remotely.

Additional Business Intelligence Resources

5 Key Considerations When Implementing a Modern BI

The Right Information in the Right Hands: How Real Users Leverage Power BI

The Power of Dashboards: How to See the Big Picture with Power BI