Power BI December 2019 Updates – KPI Updates (Goal)

Finally, something we have been waiting for for a long time.

Its amazing how such a little thing can case so much extra complexity.

Previously you could only show this on the KPI

The Goal States 1749 but this isnt a Goal. This is Last Months measure. Not a goal

This basically means that for the KPI you can only use them in this way if your data makes sense for there to be a Goal. Maybe you might have to add more information about the Goal in the Visual Header Tool tip icon.

However, for my report I need it to be stated that this is last month figure as compared to this months. I have lots of KPIs based on Current and this time last month so I had to create them like this

Instead of 1 visual I have 2. A KPI and a card, Hiding Goal in the KPI. this creates a lot more complexity in the reports but I had to do it to avoid Confusion.

Now, we can reset the Goal to whatever we want

Finally I can reset all my reports so I can reduce the amount of visuals shown.

Such a small change but it makes a big difference.

I give this update 10/10

Power BI November 2019 updates

To look at the new power BI Updates I went for my go to Data Set Adventureworks data warehouse

I have added the following tables

  • DimEmployee
  • Dimdate
  • DimSalesTerritory
  • DimProduct
  • DimProductSubcategory
  • DimProductcategory
  • Dimcustomer
  • FactInternetSales

Use the Updated Ribbon

Once I have added the data I want to start using the new power BI Ribbon in preview. go into Options Preview Features and select the Updated Ribbon feature

You have to restart to get the new ribbon

It looks quite different. Lets see how it goes…..

Decomposition Tree

A brand new AI visual available in November is the Decision tree. I have used the Key influencers with social media data which is great so i am very excited about this new visual.

With the new visual, we can do route cause analysis, Look how individual categories contribute to a whole and we can also rank categories against the selected measure.

Again, this is a preview feature so it needs enabling in options

Just like the Key influencers visual, we need something to Analyse and data to explain the analysis by.

Unlike Key influencers where we analyse by category (e.g positive, negative and neutral) Here we are analysing a metric

Lets pick something to look at

class breaks down the sales amount

Next, i clicked on the + next to H and chose product category. We can now see that Bikes takes up the majority of the H category

Next try using the AI feature, Options are: High and Low value. I’m going to choose high value. It will look though all the categories that are left and pick the category with the highest contributor to that metric

The lightbulb against the title lets you know its picked by AI

lets do the same but look at lowest value

Its is picking out Central region as the very lowest of the explain by values

This is fantastic, You can also lock a level so a user cant remove it, change the colours etc. I cant wait to use this on my actual working data sets

Advanced Gauge

Straight away, the new ribbon changes how you go to the marketplace

Now you go to More Visuals and From Appsource to get to the marketplace

go for the Advanced Gauge from xViz

I have Year to date Internet Sales and Quantity of products bought

I also have measures for Last year Year to Date Sales and quantity so I can add these into the gauge.

There are other options like setting minimum and maximum values and tooltips

Hierarchical Filter

I have used the Hierarchical slicer before, lets see how the new Filter looks (get from Appsource – Hierarchical Filter by Eviz)

You need a hierarchy in your data to use this visual. I have the Group Hierarchy (Group Country and region) One of the best things about this visual is that, not only do you use it to slice your data but you can add a measure which gives you even more information right on the slicer its self.

However, I don’t think it comes across as a slicer, something that the user can interact with.

Financial reporting Matrix by Profitbase

A Matrix with financial formatting options

The video talks about Sticky rows and sticky columns in that you can set them to always be on screen even while scrolling which is good.

However the Information on the Overview video uses

There is a note on this one. Its really hard to delete, it took me a fair while the other day to click it in the right place to delete what is possibly a measure called DateCalculations in the columns section so this may be one to look at in more detail later.

Distribution Visual

More Visuals – From App Source

This is supposed to be great for setting up a global legend, however no matter what I tried, I couldn’t get the visual to display any information so this one is a fail for me

Conclusion

Some Pretty good updates this month, Im specifically excited about the Decomposition tree.

Another major one for me is the LinkedIn Sales Navigator connector. However I’m not sure I have the right set up to use it at the moment.

the video explains that you need Enterprise Plan in either admin or reporting user roles you can use the connector but what is not mentioned is what this is? Is this Linked In?

I will be looking at this in more detail hopefully at a later stage

Power BI July 2019 Updates

Each Month Power BI Releases an update and we like to go through the updates and come up with our favorites of the month (And those updates that aren’t as successful)

Reporting

Filter Pane

The Filter pane has been updated and filters have been removed from the Fields pane. This is great because it was slightly confusing to drag and amend filters in ‘Fields’ but then see them in the Filter pane. Now you drag the field straight to the filter pane

You can also rename Filter headers which makes them much more useable.

If you go to Options and Settings > Options > Report Settings, you can also tick Allow Users to Change Filter Types.

This means the user can choose between advanced and basic Filter Pane. This is great if you want more filter usability for the user

There are still issues for me when it comes down to the new Filter Pane and Slicers. This could be confusing to a user. If Edit interactions was added to Filters, then many slicers could be removed from reports ensuring more screen time for visuals.

Conditional Formatting for Visual Titles

I click on Doncaster and the visual Changes but the Title Remains the same. I want it to dynamically include the selected region.

There is a button by Title Text with three dots showing that there is a hidden menu.

Here you can select a measure that you have created containing the title you want, rather than use the standard title

Sentiment Score Title = “Percentage Sentiment Group for” & SELECTEDVALUE(Tweet[Location])

Previously, you can create your own headers for visuals, but they were simply hard coded. Here is my visual for Sentiment Group. I also have a Region Filter on the page.

All my Reports are filtered on Months so now each visual can contain this information.

Conditional formatting for web URL actions for buttons shapes and images

Finally, we can now change and image depending on a dynamic measure. This is one of my favorite new features. For example, this is fantastic for showing conditional image for feedback, Positive, Negative, Up Down etc.

This work the same as visual titles above

Even better, we should be getting an update soon where you can add the DAX straight into the Title Text rather than needing a separate measure.

My conditional visual for this new feature would be….

Analytics

Drill through across reports

For me, Drill through is one of the most important concepts behind Power BI and its not yet fully functioning. For example, all the market place visuals don’t have this ability. It’s really frustrating to find the perfect visual and then realise you can’t drill through to further information.

This new functionality gives me some hope that we might see future fixes to this.  We can now set up a navigation experience across reports.

Start with the target page (the page you want to land on from other reports) and set Cross Report Toggle to on.  

You also need to then turn cross report on for the reports that you drill through from. You can do this as above or in Service / Reports

If for example I’m drilling through by Region. I right click on the Region Data Point in a visual and I can see the drill through Report [Page Name and Report]

This is going to be incredibly helpful when I want to divide larger reports into smaller ones (With less data in each)

Key Influences visual supports continuous analysis

The Key Influences visual was one of my favorite updates a couple of months ago and I have used it to support Twitter sentiment grouping. (Negative, Positive, Neutral)

Previously I could only analyse by category but now we can analyse a continuous numerical field. To do this set Analysis Type to Continuous.

We can now analyse data items like sales amount.

This new visual has already proved really popular with users and its good to know its improving all the time.

Partial Synonym matching for Q&A

Another really great feature. When a user is asking questions in Q&A, even if they can’t remember the exact phrasing, Q&A will give them suggestions.

Data Connectivity

Lots of new data connectors. Power BU Dataflows, Oracle Essbase, PDF Connector, Intersystems IRIS, Indexima (Big data), Luminis InformationGrid, Solver BI360 and Paxata.

Its doubtful that I will be needing these connectors currently but it’s great to see new connectors being added every month. Its worth noting that the on premises data sources will need the new release of the April On Premises Data Gateway which should be coming soon.

Web by Example Connector – Allows you to scrape data from HTML Pages and is now even smarter. This is currently in preview and I can’t wait to see how it works.

Data Preparation

Data Profiling enhancements

In Power Query Editor New Profiling enhancements are available to check your data

In View > we have Column Distribution, Column Profiles column quality.  Try ticking these options for discover lots of information about the quality of your data.

This is such a good feature when you are starting to add and understand your data. A quick look at my Sentiment group shows I have nothing outside of Positive Negative and Neutral. I can quickly see any issues that may need resolving.

Fuzzy Merge Feature

Another smart preparation feature which helps with merging records. I haven’t needed to use this yet but its good to know that this also speeds up merging of records.

M Intellisense supported in Formula bar

If for example you go to Add Column, Custom Column. You can type in your custom code and Intellisense will provide lists of functions etc. to help you. We didn’t have this before in Power Query mode, so this will really enrich the experience.

This has been such a good month for Power BI. I am excited about being able to create custom headers and visuals and I can’t wait to try the updated Key Influences Visual.

Power BI May 2019 Updates

Each Month Power BI Releases an update and we like to go through the updates and come up with our favorites of the month (And those updates that aren’t as successful)

Modelling

Disable auto date tables for new reports

If you have dates within your tables, all dates have a hidden auto date table for each date. This can increase the file size.

This can now be turned off if you have everything within a date time dimension.

Your dates will not have the automatic drill down hierarchy.

The hierarchy will be set in the date dimension manually.

It would be useful to know if this has any impact with DAX functions like TOTALYTD and  SAMEPERIODLASTYEAR

Performance analyzer pane

Its so useful to be able to analyse how our Visuals and data impacts report performance and the analyser pane now allows us to see behind the scenes so we can optimize performance.

If I open my Adventureworks pbix file in Desktop and go to view

The Performance analyzer is now available to select

There are two ways to check performance. One is to start recording and then use it as a user would interact with your reports.

Once you click Start Recording you can then decide to Refresh visuals which creates an example where the user is opening the report.

In this example, refresh Visuals is chosen

This gives you the duration (ms)

Straight away you can see that Sales Amount, Order Quantity and Discount amount are taking the longest time but nothing here is overly worrying.

There is another way of using the report. If you are interested in a specific visual. Highlight the visual and click refresh visuals which is a new icon available when the Performance analyzer is selected.

Remember to clear first

Checking the Scatter chart, Other is taking the longest time.

Other is not as obvious as DAX Query or visual display.  There are a lot of contributing factors within other. For example, if your visual is in a queue because you have a lot of visuals, this time will be within other.

The more visuals the longer other will be.

This is a great new feature, especially if your pages are struggling and you want to know why. Being able to export your results is also a really useful feature.

Personally, I think a drill down on Other would be really beneficial but otherwise this is a great update

Filter pane improvements

Filters can now be reordered. A small but useful improvement

Line Data Label Position control

For Line charts. When lines are near each other it has been difficult to tell what label belongs to what line. This has now been resolved. Within Format > Data Labels there is a Customise Series toggle.

Once set to On, there are lots of options for each Line

In this case, Only Position is altered. Under for Sales amount. Its actually quite confusing that there is only one section even through we have two lines.

The trick is that you set Sales amount, then go back up and select the other line and resolve the formatting (Flicking back to Sales amount and the options chosen are still selected)

I have already had lots off issues with Line charts looking cluttered when using labels so this is a real hit for me.

KPI Visual Indicator Text size control

At long last. Instead of having to go with the KPI Text size which has always make the KPI’s seem overly large for a report, we can finally change the text size.

I use a lot of KPIs so this is a very welcome change.

An original KPI. The Figure is way too large which means you can only have a few KPI’s and you can only use them as large tiles.  Note that the visual is too small for the metric.

Great, the new Text size option allows us to have much more control over the design of the KPIs and out overall reports

There is still so much that needs to be done with the KPI. For example, the word Goal: Sometimes this isn’t specifically a goal. I use KPIs for example to show the difference between this year and last year. You cant change this at the moment but this really needs to be updated to make the KPI more useable for different scenarios.

Analytics

Key influencers visual Improvements (preview)

Here is an example visual looking at what influences the Product Pricing category

Binning Support and Formatting

In this example, NSAT has been added to the Explain by. NSAT is a numeric fields. 1,2,3,4 etc. The visual has put the NSAT into bins for you in a way to categorise this field to produce better results.

There is also more formatting capabilities, you can adjust colours within ‘Analyis Visual Colours’

Primary color – The colour for the Bubble or bar

Secondary color – The colour for the other bubbles or bars

Mobile Support

Its been updated to work on mobile devices

I love this visual. I use it for sentiment scoring on Tweets for Positive, negative and neutral tweets. It can do so much but the colours were different to my other reports. I can not rectify this and make it blend more with the overall look.  This is a real winner.

Custom Visuals

Power Slicer

The new Power Slicer, Available from the Market Place should have better formatting and chiclet availability in here. There is also a default value selector.

(new Date()).getMonth()+1

The above is the JavaScript for select current Month

There are lost of different layout options. You can format the slicer. It looks better than the original filter

I tried the new Power Slicer and Like many other people found it un-useable because of the watermark. It is a real pity because Its mentioned on the Power BI Update video but its not a successful update.

I was really looking forward to using this visual, so this was disappointing

Data Connectivity

Another Major disappointment is the Azure Cost Management Connector. I was really looking forward to getting started with this but haven’t yet been given the correct details to use it. The How to guides appear to be out of date.

It asks for the Billing Profile ID, but no one knows what this is.

Here’s hoping they sort this out soon because at present this data connector is not working.

https://community.powerbi.com/t5/Desktop/Using-new-Azure-Cost-Management-Connector-issues-with-Account-ID/m-p/657545#M315621

The issue still stands on the 5th April so let’s hope it’s resolved in the next release

Power BI March 2019 Updates

Each Month Power BI Releases an update and we like to go through the updates and come up with our favorites of the month (And those updates that aren’t as successful)

Modelling

Top of the updates for me this month is the update to the Modelling view

The Modelling / Relationship icon has changed.  You can show your model in different views so have the full model. Then separate views making things much easier to deal with when checking models.

You can select a field and edit the properties of that field in the properties model

Folders can also be added to select fields that should be displayed together

Reporting

Default tooltip formatting

This may be my favorite update this month. Tooltips are so important when working with interactive Reports so having the ability for format them, to give them the look of the overall report is very important to the look and feel.

In order to work with this, you need to go into Formatting and scroll down to Tooltip. Then Choose Default and Formatting options will become available.

Cross highlight by Axis label

Another small but great new feature. You can now select the title of the column / bar etc. instead of highlighting the column which makes things much easier when working with low value columns like above

This is fantastic, and I can now select the title to drill through instead of trying to click onto the bar when the data is a small number. This is a great new feature.

Static web URL support for buttons shapes and images

We can finally now go to URLs via buttons shapes and images. Go to ‘Action’ and select Web URL as Type.

Very useful feature when you want to connect to other tools to deliver full Business Intelligence to the company.

Selection pane improvements

Using Shift Click or Control Click we can now choose multiple objects in the selection pane.

I’m incredibly happy with this one because I voted on it on the idea’s forum.

The best thing for me is that you can rename objects to make them easier to find instead of just Button1 Button2 etc.

Previously it was possible to have lots of objects with the same name. Button, Text Box etc. Now you can finally name them ensuring that working with Bookmarks or layer orders are a lot easier

Heat Maps

My least favorite update within Reporting is the Heat Map option on Bing Maps.

There are lots of things you can do to configure the heat map, but I still find it quite an ugly look. I always prefer the round data points or even better, the Filled map. In my mind it just looks neater than the heat map.  Still, any extra formatting functionality are a good thing

Custom Visuals

Power Slicer

The new Power Slicer, Available from the Market Place should have better formatting and chiclet availability in here. There is also a default value selector.

(new Date().getMonth()+1

The above is the javaScript for select current Month

There are lots of different layout options. You can format the slicer. It looks better than the original filter

I tried the new Power Slicer and Like many other people found it un-useable because of the watermark. It is a real pity because Its mentioned on the Power BI Update video but its not a successful update.

I was really looking forward to using this visual, so this was disappointing

Data Connectivity

Another Major disappointment is the Azure Cost Management Connector. I was really looking forward to getting started with this but haven’t yet been given the correct details to use it. The How to guides appear to be out of date.

It asks for the Billing Profile ID, but no one knows what this is.

Here’s hoping they sort this out soon because at present this data connector is not working.

https://community.powerbi.com/t5/Desktop/Using-new-Azure-Cost-Management-Connector-issues-with-Account-ID/m-p/657545#M315621

The issue still stands on the 5th April so let’s hope it’s resolved in the next release

Power BI February 2019 Updates

Each Month Power BI Releases an update and we like to go through the updates and come up with our favorites of the month (And those updates that aren’t as successful)

Reporting

Analytics

Key influencers visual Preview

I’m sure this is mine and many other Power BI Users favourite update this Month. As soon as I saw it I got excited and Ive already used it for a project relating to social media data.  This is the first AI visual for Power BI. Pick a KPI and the visual will find what matters most. It’s another Preview feature so you need to go back into Options > Preview and select Key influencers visual

At present, the metric you are analyzing must be categorical so you cant analyse on Sales amount. Churn is good to analyse with this visual. Or satisfaction score

I used the sentiment group of a comment (Positive, Negative, Neutral)

You don’t want to analyse on catagorical data with lots of categories so this is a really good one to use.

This is a really interactive visual. You can feed your data items into the report to see what are the key influences to your metric

Top segments gives you even more functionality. Go and have a look at this visual. It will really make your reports shine for the user.

Updates to the new filter pane in preview

I have some concerns on this new feature. It has caused some user issues for me which I will explain below.

Go to Options > Preview and turn the new filter experience on and  then restart. It will be available for any new reports

If you click off of any visual and go into Format there is a new filter pane format section where you can format your filters header size, border, font etc.

So when you apply filters to the Report, Page or visual, they will appear here for users rather than having to go in to visualisations.

There is also a filter cards pane so you can make the filter panes look nice

Much easier for users to understand what filters are being used with reports and interact with them

About that Filter Issue

To the right of the Screen is the new Filters Pane

On the left in the report I have a hidden date Hierarchy Slicer so the user can click on the button [To open up the bookmark with the hidden slicer panel] Choose a month and Click the button [To open the bookmark without the slicer panel]

The Report now looks a little confusing to the casual viewer. Do they go to filters or click on the button to get to slicers?

Why would you need a slicer if you can just add to filters?

I have a Report set at month level. So, you have cards to show current month metrics

On this report there are also visuals to display the months in the year. Obviously if you select a month on the slicer, this would interact with the above report and you would only see that Month.

Here is where Edit Interactions come in. Go to Format, Click on the slicer and then Edit Interaction and I can simply switch interaction to off for the above visual. Once set, the slicer wont interact and you get your full year visual.

If you were to get rid of the slicer and add Date into the page Level Filter, It looks great, but you cant edit interactions so although it looks great and makes sense to the user, you cant use it because of this key issue.

The question is, if you could edit interactions on a page filter would you need slicers at all?

This is just a mini gripe but one worth mentioning

Word wrap on Titles

Another small touch that makes a big difference. Previously you couldn’t wrap a long title which could look quite ugly on the reports but now you can.

I did have a few teething problems with Word Wrap. If used sometimes the visual would be cut off at the bottom. Meaning that the above visual would be missing the Categories on the horizontal axis. This seems to be resolved now.

Rounded corners for visual borders

haven’t personally used this formatting options for any Reports year but I have tried them out on test data and it’s a nice update.

It really changes the look of your dashboards. As soon as I work on a project where this may work I will definitely be using this.

Custom Visuals

Additional Purchases for Custom Visuals

This is where I hit the thumbs down button for Power BI and I think it’s a real misstep. Some visuals now have to be paid for. Microsoft is excited about this but its not gone down that well. The visuals with in app purchasing are now marked with a price tag.

I have many concerns with this. The first is that we are already paying for the use of Power BI but there aren’t enough visuals in the main Power BI pane so you have to use custom visuals.

One of the key issues I have with custom visuals are you can’t drill through on them. As a BI Developer, I use visuals to drill through to more detailed analysis. Users ask, Why can I drill down from this column chart but not through the waffle chart?  A waffle chart looks good and replaces the pie chart but you cant drill through on that segment.

Personally I don’t think Market Place visuals are worth extra payments currently because of these kind of issues.  

Power BI December 2018 Updates

Each Month Power BI Releases an update and we like to go through the updates and come up with our favorites of the month (And those updates that aren’t as successful)

Reporting

Finally we have smart guides to help align visuals. I remember this from Reporting Services and alignment is now so much easier.

Tooltip for is now available for button visuals, and Visual Interaction has now has updated on visuals to make them easier to see when you are setting your interactions.

Great work and will really help going forward.

Selection View

Open the selection pane and there is now a tab order toggle. It shows every object on the report and what the current Order is. This can be rearranged if necessary

This would be even better if, like reporting services you could name your report items. Text1, Text2 etc. isn’t helpful when you are trying to work with your objects

Modelling

DAX is now easier in the formula bar. It’s a bigger bar. Previously you could only see up to 11 lines of DAX code. You can also Zoom to see the DAX code better

I still find adding measures and columns difficult to work with and could be made more user friendly. For example, I do a lot of copying and pasting of measures in order to reuse them. I copy. Click new measure and paste. Nothing pastes. Whoops, The selection wasn’t fully on of the measure I copied. Slowly becoming a pet hate. Go back to the old measure, Copy again making sure the highlight is blue.

Click to create the measure and copy the DAX code. I start to delete the column name and the DAX query disappears. So I have to find it again. This happens most times so creating measures is incredibly time consuming and quite annoying. There is a lot of work needed on this area of power BI.

It’s a short post this month of small updates.  There are a few custom visuals and new connectors that are new but nothing I would so far need to use.

The snap to grid is definitely my top update this month.