Power BI is a big success story in the world of self-service BI. Microsoft has built a great toolset for easy visualization and storytelling of business data, especially for non-technical users. The great work is also reflected in the 2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant where Microsoft is a leader for Analytics and BI Platforms for 12 consecutive years.
In a nutshell Power BI is a set of tools and services which are used for creating compelling and interactive reports and dashboards which can be shared with colleagues, business partners, customers, friends and family 🤹♂️
Here is an example of a report which is created during a ‘Dashboard-In-a-Day’-workshop, a roadshow organized by Microsoft together with selected partners likeObungi(free registration).
The main components of Power BI are:
Power BI Desktop: A desktop tool like Excel, Word, Power Point etc. which is installed on the local computer and is used to create cool reports.
Power BI Service: A web portal from Microsoft which is used to share reports with other licensed users.
Power BI Mobile App: A mobile app (running on iOS, Android etc.) which allows access to reports from everywhere.
So far so good – sooner or later every user gets in contact with these tools / services after starting with Power BI (BTW: At the end of the article are some good links how to do so…).
But there is one more thing (which another tech-company would probably say) and that’s
🥁Power BI Embedded🥁.
Surprisingly a lot of customers have never heard about it although they are using Power BI intensively in their daily work.
So, what is Power BI Embedded and what is the normal reaction of our customers?
With Power BI Embedded you can ‘embed’ reports and visuals into your own internal/external website, web portal or app.
Hmm, and…? 🤨
Ok, reports are not only statically embedded, but the reports stay interactive, i.e. users can click on sliders, visualizations etc. and have the same interactive user-experience as in other Power BI components.
At that moment we normally hear:
Ok, but for sharing my reports I have already the Power BI Service’. 🤔
Yes and no, because by means of Power BI Embedded you can integrate your reports or just a single visualization into your website or app. Even better you use your own CI/CD as you have a standard website which has been built with your favorite technology. Imagine you are sitting at your desk, create an ad-hoc report with some stunning insights and visualizations, upload it and your customers or external business partners can see it immediately on your website. No IT involved, no project needed, just a few mouse-clicks – a great example of real time-to-market. Of course, configuration of data restriction (i.e. users sees only the data which they should see) is also possible.
And then you see the sparkle in their eyes… 🤩
… and after another short wink a lot of ideas come to their mind… 🥳
We had this kind of dialogue with some of our customers and developed with them solutions which allows them flexible scenarios on top of the possibilities of the Power BI service, e.g.
usage of Power BI reports in a multi-tenant web application for reporting of financial figures for registered users,
embedding of reports in a web portal for external users which have no own Power BI license,
embedding of dashboards in an web-based intranet application with focus on corporate identity / corporate design.
These examples show the flexibility of Power BI Embedded as it supports multiple embedded scenarios, or one, for multiple user groups.
The app Power BI Desktop contains lots of data connectors. You can connect to many database systems, read a file or you can even parse a table from a web site. But sometimes you need to create a table by yourself. We even have a button in Power BI for that: Enter Data. Do you know what happens when you create a table this way?