Get Dashboard Subscriptions brings back a list of everyone who has subscribed to a dashboard
What is a Power BI Subscription?
Subscriptions are a great way to assign yourself and other users to get emails regarding report content.
There are certain governance rules we follow.
Report viewers views content via an app. We don’t want report viewers coming into the App workspace. we want them to see carefully selected and brought together content.
If we use Subscriptions we want to push though a really nice screen shot of a report that changes and gets the users wanting to come and see more content within that app. therefore we always have a report or dashboard with visuals that don’t need scroll bars to engage the viewer so they want to see more.
because of this, we want to be able to subscribe people to App content
Go to an App. Note you can add your Subscription here which is a link to the dashboard
for this example, the App dashboard is subscribed to
then we go to try it out from the Microsoft API Page
But this is where logic is not quite working (the hope is that this will resolve fairly quickly). The above API doesn’t give you information back if you subscribe via the app. Only when you subscribe to the actual Dashboard in the workspace.
We want all our report viewers accessing the pre built app so this is where the information is most required.
When the user is added to a dashboard subscription in the workspace. The API is tested again.
What this can show us is anyone in the workspaces that has subscribed to the actual dashboard. We want all viewers with App access.
And see what I’m subscribed too but again, only workspace content
Logically, I feel like our viewers should be subscribing through the apps
this is really good stuff but I feel like they need to resolve the issue with Apps. Apps are the go to areas for users to view content so this is where we want people to subscribe too.
If you look at the information coming back. Here we can see the artifact type is report but there is no where that mentions if the report is in an App or in the workspace and I feel like this is actually important information. I only know because I have tested against both the App and the workspace.
If this could be resolved these APIs would be really useful to help us understand the subscription uptake.
When you start working with Power BI at a smaller scale it can be fairly simple.
You can find your data sources
Import them into Power BI.
Do some work on the data in Power Query Editor.
Create some DAX to create measures
Add visuals into your report.
Publish the Reports and add dashboards.
Then Share them to Other Power BI Pro Users (Or free licence Users if you have Premium but at a smaller scale its very doubtful you would have Power BI Premium due to the costs.
However when you are dealing with a larger organisation there are other consideration. the last thing you want is a sprawling confusion on Power BI Reports and Dashboards, shared to anyone within the organisation (And possibly externally if external users have been added as guests)
Some reports will be really useful, others wont be used at all. Workspaces are being created everywhere and no governance is being applied to the entire set up.
This is where we need to start applying some governance and control. The first thing to understand is which Power BI Set up are you using?
If you are still at user Licence level then everyone will be working on Power BI Pro licenses, whether Contributor or consumer.
If your organisation is large, it will probably be working with a Power BI Premium capacity licence. Therefore if Workspaces are published in Premium, anyone with a Free Power BI Licence in your company can access Power BI content as a Reader
Anyone Contributing as a Developer will still need a Power BI Pro License.
There are three main deployment approaches to be aware of in a large scale environment
Business Led Self Service
This is where uses within the business teams lead on their own Power BI content
users create their own Reports, Dashboards and Datasets and add users when they want to share their content.
This is normally done by sharing at the User level
This is a great way of finding out who your Power Users are. They are the ones creating content and asking questions. get these people involved at all levels and you are on your way to a great adoption roadmap.
IT Led Self Service
This is where the BI team (IT) Create the datasets (Including all the DAX) for the business users. These users can then create all the Visualisations and reports over the data set
We can also now separate the data transformations (Dataflows) from the DAX (DataSets) which gives further opportunity to share work.
There will only be one owner of the dataflow and data set. The person who created it
because this is IT Led the data sets can be promoted (Or certified which is the highest level of attainment)
Promotion and certification is great for data discovery.
Data sets can be used by users (With Access) and Published to other workspaces
Users can also create their own DAX in their own published datasets.
Potentially, if this happens, the DAX, when proved useful should be added by the BI team into the original dataset.
At this level, the assumption is that access to the App Workspace and App with the different Power BI roles is managed as Azure AD Group Level
This means that we can centrally keep control of who has access to the App Workspaces and what Power BI roles are assigned
Only a small group of users should have certification rights, within the Power BI team. certification is the one we should always be working towards and you should have documentation that establishes the route to certification.
This means that you have control and your Small team of Power BI reviewers can check everything over and then change from promoted to certified
If you own the data set you can promote it, to establish wider use of the data set. This can be done by BI Team members if IT Led self Service and BI team and Business Users with Pro Development License
Corporate power BI
Everything is created by the BI team centrally and consumed by the business users.
This is a great approach when you have to prioritise work and need to move fast. Its great when your report consumers possibly don’t have the skill sets to set up reports and dashboards.
Its also the best approach to take content that has been created Business led or IT Led and move it centrally, with all the security standards and governance in place. Only using the Corporate approach tends to create bottlenecks for business teams because of the longer set up period. it also disenfranchises
Which Deployment Approach to go for
Its always good to start of with the Corporate deployment Approach for your centralised analytics. Then have proper controls and governance in place to enable IT Led and Business Led deployment approaches
We need to aim for the Blended Approach which is IT Managed Self Service BI
So Ideally, you are looking at blending all three approaches. So long as you understand which approach you have used.
You still want users to get involve and want to create Power BI reports. You also want them to engage enough to want them to become certified and moved into central control when the content has proved important and useable.
Moving into the IT Managed model does involve more work. Imagine there is a self service App Workspace that has proved incredibly popular. Time to congratulate Power Users who pulled everything together and make sure they understand that moving into into Managed BI doesn’t mean they cant continue to work on their ideas and new content. Moving the content involves:
Checking that the data sources are good enough to work with.
Possibly updating the underlying Data Warehouse or Data Mart.
If the data is in excel spreadsheets, or text files, making sure this is managed.
There may be a lot of work done within the dataflow on data transformations. Some of this could be moved to the data source, freeing up Power BI resources.
To get the data set certified you may need extra involvement from BI team members to review the data set and verify it as acceptable for certification.
An Example Approach in Power BI
We are in an organisation called Adventureworks.
Within this We have various App Workspaces. All so far are Self Service. There has been no control over the process so far and there are three people with power BI Pro licenses (Imagine if this involved more Pro users. Some creating Separate Workspaces. Some reusing Workspaces)
Within these app workspace, users have been creating content, Reports, Dashboards, Datasets and dataflows
All three Workspaces have used the same data source
Adventureworks contains the most up to date data set and also contains dataflows
AT and JL workspaces contain similar information so on the whole there are three fairly identical separate data sets
For every workspace, users have been added, rather than user groups
Basically, we now have practically the same data source three times in Power BI, when there should only be one.
Bronze Silver and Gold Report template
One approach is to use the Bronze Silver and Gold Approach either via a template or a badge visual you can add to your reports
Bronze if you are doing Business led Self Service
Silver if you are doing IT led Self Service and you are using a dataset to create your own reports
Gold if its been fully checked and managed by the Central BI team. The Data set can be certified to use for Silver projects and all the reports and dashboards have been tested and have been proved as useful to the company.
The Process to entangle what has gone before
There is lots of work to do on the example above.
First of all we need to identify what type of approach have been used. For Jess and Amy, we can say that the Business led Self Service approach has been used. Each report and dashboard can be branded with the Bronze badge for business led.
For the Adventureworks we can again say that the Business led Self Service approach has been used. Dataflows within the service have been created and the data set has been promoted by the person creating the reports and dashboards but it was all done within the business.
In all three cases the user has created all the items for their reports and dashboards. therefore all reports and dashboards can be branded with Bronze.
So far we cant say that we have moved to the IT Managed blended approach, and its clear that users have been added ad hoc without much planning
Step 1. Identify if there is anything in Amy and Jess’s dataflow within Power BI that needs adding to the dataflow within Adventureworks. Then amend check off as complete.
Step 2. Identify any missing DAX Measures or calculated columns. Any identical measures with different names. Any data items that have been renamed between data sets. Any calculated Columns that can be moved into the dataflow. Ensure everything is added to the main dataset in Adventureworks and ensure the users of the other workspaces know what is happening
Step 3. Identify the differences between the reports. Hopefully each person has been working on different areas, but it may be that the reports need bringing together. This will take time. A report should never answer the same question twice.
Step 4. Amend appropriately. At the very least, all three reports should be using the Power BI Dataset that has been promoted as a usable source
Step 5. All these steps have led to a more IT managed deployment so we can add a silver badge to these reports.
Step 6. An extra review to check the dataflow and data sets within the central BI team. Also ensure that we aren’t duplicating work within the reports and dashboards, and this becomes Corporate Power BI, managed centrally. Our power users still have control and the ability to make changes. However everything is now more managed. We can now add a Gold badge to these reports and Certify the data sets
Step 7. Identify the users and the Power BI role levels they should have.
Create Groups within Azure AD for each Power BI Role and assign the users to these groups. This will mean that we are handling the contributors and readers centrally within Azure
Microsoft teams is your central hub for teamwork so we can all collaborate in one place. its an offering of Office 365.
You can either, Make a team and connect it to an existing office 365 Group
However Creating Teams rather that Office 365 Groups is probably the best solution
Teams can be private or public. They will have an owner and Members and guests.
When you create a new Team channel. For example
And then move to your Power BI Service you will find this …
An App workspace that corresponds to the team. In fact, you have lots of App Workspaces. Only some are actually relevant to power BI. Teams does not create the Power BI workspace. Teams actually creates an O365 group and Power BI uses the O365 groups created
a. Want to work with it as a proper app workspace and add reports and Dashboards
b. Really don’t need it in Power BI and want to get rid
Lets look at these options in more detail
Use the Teams Workspace as an App Workspace
I have data on the training courses offered so I have decided I want to use this app workspace
the Report is published to the App Workspace
Here are the menu items for the Report created over the Teams app Workspace
And here are the menu items for an App workspace that was specifically created in Power BI
Notice that Settings and Access aren’t there. This means you cant collaborate with your team in the Workspace or look at the workspace settings. Why is this?
When New Workspaces are created in Power BI Via Teams, the App Workspace is created as Classic. Not the new Workspace. New Workspaces aren’t tied to the Office 365 Group.
In order to collaborate in classic you need to click on … and go to Members. This takes you to Office 365 and you have to add individual members from here.
We don’t want the Workspace to be tied to Office 365. and we want to change the App workspace from Classic to New
Are you an Admin / Owner of the team?
No. I am a member of this group. Because of this there are no other options to look at in here.
To Upgrade to the New App Workspace you need to be a Group Admin. If the person who created the Teams channel isn’t a regular user you may want to see if you can get yourself admin permissions via the Teams owner
And change from Member to Owner
Now as an owner you can Edit this workspace
You can now See Advanced. click on this to get to the upgrade option
Once the workspace is upgraded it is no longer tied to the Team or Office 365 and can be used like the standard Power BI New App Workspace.
Delete the App Workspace as its not required
The Team has been created and its now in your Power BI App Workspaces list. Its not required and its just adding extra information into Power BI that is not needed
You are the Owner of the Team and can see this when you go to Workspace Settings
DO NOT DELETE THE WORKSPACE
If at this point you delete the Workspace, its still connected to Office 365 and you will delete everything.
Use the information above to Upgrade the the New App Workspace before deleting.
The App Workspace must be disconnected first by not being a classic Workspace.
And if you want to try this out. test with a small team first. We have done numerous tests and after upgrade the Delete hasn’t removed anything but better to be safe than sorry.