A Power BI Year in Review from Blend360

December 14, 2022

Shivang Dalal

I have been using Power BI for a few years now, and it never ceases to amaze me you can do with this tool! I have used Power BI to make fun personal projects, assignments for school, and dashboards for work. The ease with which Power BI allows you to whip up reports and dashboards quickly has always made me inclined towards this platform. What's more wonderful is that the tool has been constantly evolving ever since its inception and Power BI analytic communities have played a huge role in helping to do that. It’s always fascinating to me to look back upon how much the tool has evolved in just one year. So, this year, I thought why not share what I find with everybody!?

The Microsoft Power BI community publishes a monthly blog summarizing all the interesting updates to the tool that month. As we round up the year and start gearing up for the festivities, it only made sense to me to present ourselves with a nicely packed gift of all the amazing developments that have happened to Power BI this year. So, here’s an early holiday present, the Power BI Year in Review, from me to you!

Click to view in the Power BI Platform

Reporting Updates

Throughout the year, Power BI has seen some significant updates in its reporting and report making capabilities. Starting with the efforts to make reports on mobile phones more user friendly, 2022 saw the introduction of dark modes for the published Power BI mobile phone apps, metric tracking, and inclusion of new enhanced and standardized fonts. The Windows app has changed significantly as well. There have been several enhancements to the formatting panes (that are now visible by default), improved display names for fields, and several formatting options are now available for all aspects ranging from headers to tooltips. Charts and Graphs have seen some subtle but extremely useful enhancements: Donut and Pie chart angles are now more customizable, rotation has more freedom, small multiple charts now have unshared and unsynchronized axes, field parameters have now enabled dynamic slicing, maps have been enhanced to improve performance and accuracy, and error bars have seen multiple iterations of improvement. These improvements now allow more customizations along with Power BI’s ability to quickly create dashboards. The latest November updates also improved labels for maps and other graphs making it easier to customize and control data labels. With this, this year also saw additional support for composite models over Power BI datasets and Analysis Services.  

Other than some of these significant changes, here’s a list of all the reporting changes and enhancements to Power BI for 2022:

- Page and Bookmark Navigators

- Legend Sort

- Pie and Donut Chart Rotation

- New Mobile formatting Options

- Sensitivity Labels downstream inheritance

- Default Label policies in Power BI

- Mandatory Label policies

- Format Pane now on by default

- Multi row card selection

- Error bars  

- Dynamic format strings now supported for all chart elements

- Updates to the Azure Maps visual  

- Multi-row card selection

- New Format Pane

- Tooltips now support drill actions for matrix, line, and area charts  

- Updates to required permissions when using composite models on Power BI datasets

- Bookmark navigator now shows last selected bookmark per group

- Canvas Zoom  

- Field parameters  

- Managing composite models on Power BI datasets

- Data point rectangle select    

- ArcGIS for Power BI visual updates

- Information protection updates

- Table navigation improvements

- Filled Map for Azure Maps visual

- Composite models on Power BI Datasets and Analysis Services  

- Bold/Italics/Underline for text inside the header tooltip

- Conditional formatting for data labels

- New “Select sensitivity label” dialog

- Data loss prevention policy update

- Mobile formatting now supports text box visuals

- Hierarchical axis by default

- Improved display name for summarized fields

- Translations support for Composite models on Power BI Datasets and Analysis Services  

- Reverse stack order for stacked column charts

- Query performance improvements

·       Indexing imported string columns on-the-fly

·       Pushing Top N filter to Direct Query sources

- Power BI Metrics

·       Roll ups

·       New API to retrieve scorecards for admins

- Unshared and unsynchronized axes for small multiples charts

- Controlling and customizing labels on Azure Maps

- Create dynamic slicers using field parameters  

Visualizations Updates

Power BI has always been made more user friendly by users contributing to the tool by introducing new visualizations. In line with the enhancements to the reporting features, several new visualization features have been introduced and other have been improved to make them more efficient and user friendly. App Source now allows downloading samples of the charts making it easier for the creator to get a preview of the charts before embedding the full versions. The year started with introduction of new visuals in App Source including some very useful merged bar charts and graphs by Nova Silva. Zebra BI contributed throughout the year by introducing visuals including the Zebra BI Cards 1.3 and the Zebra BI Tables. AppSourcenow has more ArcGIs supporting visualizations, and some project managing additions like the ADWISE roadmpars or Gantt charts. To add to this list of contributions, here's a detailed list of all the new visuals in AppSource this year:

- Download visual’s sample file from thein-product AppSource

- Plotly.js visual by Akvelon

- HTML Text Styler 2.0 (Microsoft certified)

- Multiple Sparklines by Excelnaccess.com

- Merged Bar Chart by Nova Silva

- Financial Reporting Matrix by Profitbase

- graphomate matrix 2021.4

- Strip Plot by Nova Silva

- Dumbbell Bar Chart by Nova Silva

- Charticulator visual now certified

- Milestone Trend Analysis Chart by Nova Silva

- SMART KPI List by Nova Silva

- Shielded HTML Viewer by Nova Silva

- Intelligent Narratives by Arria NLG

- Inforiver Enterprise SaaS Edition

- Inforiver Premium Edition by Lumel now certified

- PowerGantt Chart by Nova Silva

- Drill Down TimeSeries PRO by ZoomCharts

- Drill Down Map PRO by ZoomCharts

- Drill Down Combo PRO by ZoomCharts

- Drill Down Donut PRO by ZoomCharts

- Drill Down Network PRO by ZoomCharts

- Drill Down Waterfall PRO by ZoomCharts

- Drill Down Timeline PRO by ZoomCharts

- Drill Down Graph PRO by ZoomCharts

- accoPLANNING by Accobat

- ADWISE RoadMap / Gantt v2.5

- Control Chart XmR by Nova Silva

- Zebra BI Cards 1.3

- Zebra BI Tables 6.0

 

Modeling Updates

Modeling has been made fun and easy in 2022! With the optimize ribbon, it has become super easy to keep editing and leave editing your DAX functions in between without worrying about the changes being reflected through out the report. With the enhancements to the optimization ribbon, the user now has full control over the timing of refreshing the report with the changes while editing. Editing relationships has also become easier using the properties pane further reducing the time required to work with multiple tables. A bunch of new DAX functions have been added including BIT wise functions and the ability to see intermediate results of the DAX functions (using the EVALUATEANDLOG function). Here’s a list of all the Power BI modeling updates for 2022:

- DAX Editor improvements

- DAX formula bar support for Desktop model view

- Bitwise function in DAX

o  BITLSHIFT, BITRSHIFT, BITOR, BITAND, BITXOR

- New DAX function: NETWORKDAYS

- New DAX function: EVALUATEANDLOG

- New DAX functions: TOCSV and TOJSON

- SWITCH performance optimization

- Composite models on SQL Server Analysis Services

- Support multi-role RLS in composite model

- Query performance improvement

- Relationship editing in the properties pane  

- Streamline your report authoring experience with the Optimize ribbon  

Data Connectivity and Preparation Updates

Power BI is just not a reporting tool, and the 2022 updates to Data Connectivity and Preparation are a testament to that. There is much more that can be done with data using Power BI now. DynamicM queries have now become available generally all across the board. A lot more connectors have been introduced. Tenant settings have been introduced for data marts. Dynamic M query parameters which were earlier limited only to M-Based data sources have now been made compatible with many more DirectQuery sources like SQL Server, Teradata, Oracel, SAP Hana Relational, etc. In 2022, Power BI has become even more empowered in its ability to connect with data from several new sources and make existing connections more efficient. Here’s a list of all the new features that have been introduced in this domain:

New Connectors

- Amazon OpenSearch Service

- Autodesk Construction Cloud

- BitSight Security Ratings

- Cosmos DB V2

- Databricks

- Digital Construction Works Insights

- Eduframe Reporting

- FactSet RMS

- Funnel

- Google Big Query (Azure AD)

- OpenSearch Project

- Profisee

- SingleStore

- Socialbakers Metrics

 

Connector Updates

- Anaplan

- AssembleViews

- Azure Databricks

- Bloomberg Enterprise Data and Analytics

- BQE Core

- Denodo

- Dremio, Dremio Cloud

- Eduframe Reporting

- FactSet Analytics

- Google Sheets

- Hexagon PPM Smart API

- Kognitwin

- MariaDB

- MicroStrategy

- Snowflake

- Starburst Enterprise

- SumTotal

- Spigit, Projectplace, Planview Enterprise One –PRM, Planview Enterprise One-CTM

- Vessel Insight

- Workplace Analytics / Viva Insights

 

Power BI Service Updates

Power BI Service is arguably one of the most used part of the Power BI package when it comes to working within an organization. Service has historically been the one stop solution when it comes to collaborating and sharing dashboards, notifications, reports, and apps across the organization. In 2022, Power BI service has seen some very useful additions that will make content sharing, alerting, and usage more custom fit and easy to use. Guest users now have the ability to create their own email subscriptions and do not have to rely on admins significantly reducing logistical time. Users can now also auto-create reports from an existing dataset by just a click of the button. This can be specifically useful for situations where time is of essence and quick insights need to be derived. Another interesting feature that will give users more customization in terms of saving space is the introduction of new scenarios when downloading a .pbix file. Users can now choose to download a file with the underlying data set, or just download the report with a live connection to the dataset without the need to download the hefty datasets. Deployment history has also been introduced which will essentially help keep track of any changes that have been made in the deployment pipelines. In addition to enhancements, a few features have been deprecated as well. These include the dashboard performance indicator and featured dashboards on your landing page. With these changes, users will not be able to perform these previously available functions on Power BI Service. In addition to these, following are some more changes that have occurred to Power BI Service in 2022:

- Admin & governance

- Announcing the Data hub

- Auto-generate reports on existing datasets

- Azure DevOps extension  

- Bulk updating

- Changes to UpdateApp REST API

- Cross-Tenant Dataset Sharing

- Data hub improvements – data preview and export

- Dataset hub improvements

- Deployment History

- Deployment pipelines enhancements

- Deprecation of a Featured Dashboard as your default landing page

- Deprecation of the Dashboard Performance Inspector

- Discoverability Feature for B2B Content

- Downloading a PBIX is now available for more scenarios

- Guest users can now create their own email subscriptions

- Information protection update

- Introducing tenant setting for email subscriptions to external users

- Linked metrics

- Managing Power BI subscriptions got easier

- Multiple Owners

- My Workspace

- New way to upload Power BI and Excel files

- Notifications

- Power BI Data Storytelling

- Power BI Goals updates

- Power BI Metrics updates

- Subscribe to a report with filters applied

- Updating sharing and access banner`

 

Embedded Analytics Updates

Power BI Embedded Analytics historically allows users to create reports in a fully custom, integrated and interactive application. Paginated reports can be embedded as per user’s needs and requirements. With the new updates this year, Power BI datasets that were not supported as data sources until now can now be used. The updates also include several new API compatibility features like being able to programmatically delete dashboards from workspaces. More additions and enhancements to Embedded Analytics are as follows:

- A new improved method for deploying Power BI Embedded multi-tenancy solution in scale

- Access Token Expiry Callback

- Accessibility enhancements for embedded reports

- Azure Power BI Embedded A7 and A8 capacity nodes self-service

- Copy visual as an image in embed for your organization scenarios

- Delete Dashboard API

- Embedding paginated reports – support for SSO datasources (delayed till April 2022)

- Hierarchy slicers support in JS APIs

- New Dataset Permissions APIs

- Power BI Embedded enables data model enhancements for ISVs/App owners’ customers with DirectQuery for Power BI datasets

- Quick measure suggestions – experimental feature  

- Service principal profile

- Support embedding Paginated Report with datasources containing single sign on (SSO)

- Support passing report parameters for Paginated Reports in JS SDK

- Support Power BI dataset as a data source for embedding paginated reports

2022 has seen Power BI grow significantly with several features added, even more features upgraded, and a few removed to increase the efficiency and user experience when dealing with Power BI. A few significant changes and additions have been written about above, but that can be considered as just the tip of the iceberg. There have been a lot more small, subtle changes to the components of the Power BI package that can be read about in great detail on the Microsoft Power BI Blog. There’s a lot more to come next year: the Power BI org app Multiple Audiences will become generally available, more visuals will be added to the AppSource, Newer connectors are in line to be added and a few connectors will see feature updates, Metric tracking on mobile phones is bound to become even more efficient and user friendly, and a lot more!

2022 was significant in building a lot of features that the community wanted for an easier, faster, and more efficient report making but 2023, looks even more promising. I am super excited to see what next year has in store for Power BI and the greater community. I would love to discuss your thoughts and ideas and brainstorm brilliant ways to make exciting visualizations that help the greater analytics community.

Feel free to reach out to me on my Linkedin and I’ll be more than happy to chat!

 

RESOURCES

·       https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/power-bi-report-server-january-2021-feature-summary/

·       https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/power-bi-february-2022-feature-summary/

·       https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/power-bi-march-2022-feature-summary/

·       https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/power-bi-april-2022-feature-summary/

·       https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/power-bi-may-2022-feature-summary/

·       https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/power-bi-june-2022-feature-summary/

·       https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/power-bi-july-2022-feature-summary/

·       https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/power-bi-august-2022-feature-summary/

·       https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/power-bi-september-2022-feature-summary/

·       https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/power-bi-october-2022-feature-summary/

·       https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/power-bi-november-2022-feature-summary/

·       https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/power-bi-december-2022-feature-summary/

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