Last week at the Data Insight Summit Microsoft announced that it has crossed the threshold of 5 million Power BI subscribers. The Data Insights Summit is the inaugural Power BI and Excel user conference, pairing users and Microsoft’s Power BI and Excel product development teams in attendance.
Microsoft VP James Phillips reported from the Summit that the company has added several new features to power BI that “make it even easier to analyse data and share insights with Power BI.” These include capabilities that deliver enterprise readiness; deepen integration with Excel; and enhance intelligent data exploration.
Phillips describes an “explosion of data,” which is estimated to reach 50 zettabytes (about 1 trillion gigabytes!) or more by 2020.
Phillips describes a number of new features to Power BI that were announced at the Summit.
- Role level security for cloud models and direct query is being introduced to provide granular control around who can access specific rows of data. Users can author and mange a single dashboard with customized views of the data unique to individuals. A preview will be available at the end of March.
- To help organisations understand their overall Power BI usage, tenant-level usage reports are being enabled for assets like reports, dashboard, datasets and content packs. This reporting feature will be generally available by the end of March.
Deepened integration with Excel
- Analyse Power BI data in Excel, enabling access to data that was loaded and modeled in Power BI.
- Pin from Excel. Insights can be taken directly from the Excel desktop to Power BI dashboards, which will keep tiles on the dashboard up to date to help track your important data.
Intelligent data exploration
- Improvements to Power BI’s natural language Q&A interface will be generally available in April to make it even simpler to use, with helpful visual cues, improved performance and an overall cleaner look.
- Additionally, the unique query capabilities that help users find data and create visuals on the fly can now be used with direct query data sources. This combines the advantages of using Power BI’s direct query capabilities to access data stored on-premises and in the cloud by asking intuitive, natural questions via the Q&A interface – including Cortana, which will be able to answer questions from direct query sources used in Power BI. These features will be previewed in April.