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Author: Mark Robinson
Mark is the guy you talk to about Business Intelligence (BI) at Cloud2

Power BI Desktop update – feature of the month (Apr 18)

This month Microsoft released 14 updates for Power BI: 5 reporting | 2 analytics | 3 data connectivity | 4 other

Full details on this months updates can be found on the Power BI blog.

The feature we’ve picked out as the highlight for this month is Buttons to trigger actions. Watch the below video to see this feature in action, the video will automatically start and end in the relevant places.

We think this feature will help report developers more seamlessly integrate enhanced reporting features, such as Bookmarking, into the reports they develop. We also think this feature will make the tool its self even more usable for end users.

An example of making the tool even more usable is the clearing of any visual filters that the user has either intentionally or unintentionally applied. This can be achieved by creating a bookmark that returns a report page to its default state. This is demonstrated in the video itself (although how to create this is’t covered, but we can help with that).

To help you understand the situation I refer to – I’ve witnessed users getting a little confused by their mouse clicks. They open a report and start clicking on visuals and seeing other visual change, but initially at least they are sometimes phased by this and aren’t quite sure what’s happened or what to do next. But having a button they can click that returns the report back to its default state offers a level to reassurance to users who find themselves in this situation.

You may think that the Q&A Explorer feature may have been a more obvious and exciting choice, and I guess in many ways it was.

The Q&A feature has been available for Power BI dashboards for some time now, and its no surprise that its now available for reports also. And giving the report developer the option of adding predetermined Q&A questions to their reports is another string to the report developers bow.

However, we do have one concern with Q&A as a whole. In some previous blogs we’ve talked about how cubes/data-sets/data-models etc. (we’ll collectively refer to them as cubes for now) aren’t often recognised as an end user deliverable’s. Instead the reports and dashboards take this honour. This often results in cubes been developed very quickly and not with much thought to naming, structure and format.

We certainly don’t approach BI development like this. We recognise that broadly 70% of the total development effort should be spent on cube development, and that developing a good quality cube that users understand is essential to the overall success of the development. And the Q&A feature depends on a good quality cube, it simply doesn’t add value when used over an unintuitive, confusing, overly complex etc. cube.

We hope that over time more and more developers will approach cube development in the same way we do. And if/when they do, reporting features like Q&A will be extremely powerful and popular.

Do you agree? Perhaps you’d pick a different feature, or the same feature for different reasons. Either way we’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

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