Dashboards in Power BI
We’ve been able to overcome or find workarounds for most issues and we’ve even spent some time looking at how dashboards in Power BI can be setup to run on displays with a full-screen kiosk-like view and rotation through dashboards. None of this stuff is supported (yet) in Power BI but with a few browser plugins we’ve been able to make this work very satisfactorily.
The hardest part of building reports in Power BI isn’t actually the reporting building bit at all, it is getting your data model right and this is true of any BI tool. Power BI has a limitation that data models can’t be more than 250MB in size, your typical database is going to be bigger than that so you really need to think about abstracting a data model that’s built purely for reporting purposes. In SQL Server terms this is usually a series of views that “denormalise” the data or in Access a series of saved Queries. Power BI Desktop then makes it relatively easy to create relationships between these so that the slicing and cross-referencing can take place in the reports.
Once the data model is right creating data visualisations is relatively straightforward, these can be created in Excel using a combination Power Pivot, Power Query and Power View, directly in Power BI online or using Power BI Desktop. We’ve concentrated our efforts with Power BI Desktop which supports the publishing of reports directly to Power BI online. After publishing the reports you can start building your dashboards by pinning the required visualisations from your various reports.
One thing to note is that currently you can’t share Power BI dashboards outside of your own organisation (O365 domain) which at the moment is the most requested feature by the Power BI community and something that Microsoft cannot ignore and is arguably the biggest failing of Power BI in its current incarnation. C2 are in the process of investigating how dashboards can be shared outside of organisations utilising scheduled screenshots, whilst we appreciate this static view of data is far from ideal it is the best that can be achieved within the limitations of the current release of Power BI.
Power BI is definitely a game changer for BI and tangible benefits are achievable today, in the future it can only get better and more powerful. Given Microsoft’s move to a more agile approach to updating their products these enhancements should come relatively quickly in small releases.
If you would like to discuss your BI requirements and how C2 can help you please Contact Us for further information.