When I first started working with Power BI, Apps were still way off in the future. Therefore when they came in I was a little confused. What are they for? Why do I need to use them?
Before talking about apps its worth having a quick look at the Power BI workspace environment
Your own personal workspace. You can’t share company level reports from here because you are the only one with access. Use for your own reports. This is available for free
Workspaces: App Workspace
The app workspace was called Group workspace. Group workspaces used to be office 360 workspaces and individuals were invited to the workspace. All with the same access rights.
The app workspace allows for multiple admins. Dashboards and Reports are shared to a wider audience from here. Nothing is affected if there are personnel changes
Apps – Are a 1 to 1 map to an App workspace and provide end users a read only experience for the particular objects in the workspace that you want them to see. It is the only way to share if you use the Premium license.
But we can already add users into the app workspace or share dashboards or reports. Why do we need to create apps?
Business users often need multiple Power BI dashboards and reports to create real business insight.
If you imagine the scenario without using an app. In Power BI you click on Workspaces and view an App Workspace containing: Sales, HR, Marketing, Opportunity Analysis, Distribution, Production, Finance and Accounting Dashboards and Reports
Managing permissions on each individual dashboard is time consuming with a large number of users. Its also difficult for end user because they have lots of dashboards to navigate.
We need an easier way of deploying sets of dashboards and reports to large audiences.
And from my own point of view. Once I started creating apps for my users, It just looks good. Its a really nice way of sharing your reports.
Using my Adventureworks Demo as an app example
Ive created some reports and I want to publish them to an App Workspace.
First of all I set up the App Workspace in Power BI Service (At the bottom of the workspace left hand menu)
I make it look pretty with a nice logo and a name.
Save the new App workspace. And Ill come back to the sharing later
Then I go back to Power BI Desktop and Publish my reports to my new App Workspace.
Once published I can then go in, create the dashboards in the app workspace and generally make them look good enough to show to my users.
I work with one other person on these reports so I want that person to have access to the Workspace
This is where Access comes in. Click on Access
I’m setting that person up as a contributor. Contributors can “Create, edit, and delete content in the workspace” and “Publish reports to the workspace, delete content.”
This means that the new Contributor will be able to see the Dashboards and Reports via Shared with me
Now we are both happy we want people to start using the Adventureworks Dashboards and reports, we want to share with our users (Who are external but have Power BI Pro)
Time to Publish your app
There are 3 screens to work through
For Permissions simply add all your users and then publish the app
Once published you will get the following message
You can sent the URL to the User and they can download the app. Then the user can see a great age of Published Apps
All sorted and after the initial confusion its fairly straight forward