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jakeryan56
Helper II
Helper II

PowerBI Robots - Does Microsoft plan on doing something similar?

Recently Devscope release PBI Robots. I have played with the trial and am very impressed.
However, before I go and spend over $1000 on this software, does Microsoft have something similar planned? I.e. the ability to broadcast reports to a web link, schedule PDF emails of reports, etc?
1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION
Greg_Deckler
Super User IV
Super User IV

There are currently some similar features, Publish to Web, save as PowerPoint and you can subscribe to reports to get a screen shot sent when the data refreshese. Other than that, I am not currently aware of anything that would replicate that functionality. However, I would check the Ideas forum and see what is currently in progress or planned.


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34 REPLIES 34
jwademcg
Advocate I
Advocate I

We recently purchased Power BI Robots, but we have not found a way for the newly created/changed playlists by end users to begin executing without an admin logging in and manually clicking the synchronize button.

 

Is there a way for end users of the web application to schedule playlists to begin execution after creation without going to the desktop application and clicking the synchronize button?

Hi, @jwademcg

 

PowerBI Robots currently requires that you click the sync button on the desktop agent after the creation or modification of a playlist. That being said, auto-sync is already on our team's roadmap and you can expect it to be available soon.

If you have any more questions about PowerBI Robots, feel free to contact us here.

 

Best regards,

The DevScope team

ggwal_0-1611939789980.png

 

i am getting this error,even my power bi account is logged in.Can you please help me?

jakeryan56
Helper II
Helper II

Hi All. I am now coming up on my 12 month renewal of PBI Robots. 

I have been happy but just wondering if there are any other alternatives?

Clara
Advocate II
Advocate II

Hey everybody;

I plan on trying out PBI Robots since it seems to have worked alright for all of you, but has there been any talk about Microsoft implementing these features to Power BI? (Most of all, to me, the ability to subscribe outsiders/users who don't have licenses to my reports)

Mllevat
Frequent Visitor

Hi friends,

 

I try to play this tools  (PowerBI Robot), now it's work but I had a lot of problems Azure's permissions. In these days will try to check and if you like I will explain my testing.

Also I sent question to customer services but i didn't have answer, mmm....


Mik.

kk0036
Helper I
Helper I

Hi Jake,

 

I am in the same boat with our customers/my boss wanting pdf reports emailed. I recently discovered the power bi robots software. I was wondering if you would be willing to share some of your experience with that tool with me. I think that eventually, Microsoft will incorporate this kind of email capability, but as of right now it doesn't look like it is going to happen near term. 

 

Any comments or reactions to the PowerBi Robots software would be extremely helpful.

 

Thanks

I tested out PowerBIRobots for a couple of days then bought the year license yesterday. Clearly I like the product; it's quite powerful and very user-friendly. The built-in PBI report subscription functionality is so terrible. Note that you have to host PBIRobots on a server somewhere -- we're using an always-on laptop.

A further update on Power BI Robots, a month in: I really like it! It's really powerful stuff, and very simple to use. You can see it's a v1 product as there's still lots of room for enhancements and also the documentation is a bit lacking but still it's dead simple to run it, provided you have a computer you can use as an always-on server for the little agent the service requires. It's really changed how we use Power BI at our company - now I'm just pushing daily reports out to people, rather than people logging into PBI much. Even though the Robots reports are static, that's plenty good enough for most of our users. And you don't need PBI licenses (or the log-in or access hassles that can come along with those), you can email to anyone in your org. (I notice that Robots doesn't seem to allow me to email to aliases or emails outside our org.) For us Robots was the last piece of our PBI puzzle, now it's rapidly becoming ubiquitous in our org.

Further updates on my experience with Power BI Robots. I really like the product, it's extremely simple to use and quite powerful. It's allowed me to do some impressive report distribution work among managers at my company. To my mind this addresses a major missing link in the native Power BI feature set: now PBI reports are pushed to recipients whenever I like, rather than hoping the people log into PBI. The product is v1.0 (I think it just got upgraded to 1.1) so still very early, but it's certainly production-ready. Note that it won't work if you have any (as far as I can tell) mobile visuals on your report (that one took me a while to debug). 

Hi there. It is great software and I honestly can’t imagine Microsoft releasing anything similar in the near future. It is pretty expensive so I don’t want to make the investment if Microsoft ends up doing something similar. You can use the free trial, it is fully functional but just has watermarks on the images.

Thanks for the help. I am also concerned about the cost and also about the security. I really would rather just use features within the Power Bi web space rather than giving access to yet another company to do it third party. I plan on doing a test, but I highly doubt that my company can go that route. 

Check out my posts below about Power BI Robots - I'm a big fan (and I have zero connection to the company, I'm a regular paying customer). One thing I've realized is that I've been able to cut back on Power BI licenses with the Robots product, as the majority of my users don't want to log into PBI in any case, they really just want the reports delivered to them in email, which is what Robots allows and without PBI licenses. Hope this helps.

Anonymous
Not applicable

Hello,

Does PowerBI Robot work with row level security? Or in case there is no row level security, can it send out filtered reports to different users based on a table or something? For example, let's say I have a table somewhere (Excel or PowerBI or database) that lists users and their respective regions. I have a powerBI report that includes all regions and can be filtered by regions. Now, I want an automatic Powerbi Robot job that will send user1 a filtered copy of the powerBI report that will only display the regions user1 has access to (based on the user-region table). Now, if the next day, the table gets updated giving user1 access to a different region and removing access from the old region, will powerBI Robot be able to automatically update it's job based on the table so that it only sends user1 report filtered on the new region?

Thanks!

I wasn't sure so I just quickly tested it out. RLS itself definitely isn't supported, since Robots always starts with your (the admin's) view. You can set user-specific filters (from standard filter visuals) and since in my report I have my filters syncing across all pages, the personalized filters hold. However I don't believe there's a way to drive the filtering dynamically from a table. There's a fully-featured, time-unlimited trial version (it just places a big ugle watermark on the page) so give it a shot. Best of luck!

csssoft
Regular Visitor

You can do this using Data-Driven scheduling in PBRS (Power BI Reports Scheduler) from ChristianSteven Software:

 

 

8-30-2018 4-26-01 PM.png

9-5-2018 3-22-36 PM.png

Data_Driven_Destination-compressor.png

 

Anonymous
Not applicable

Thanks SA_NYC!! You were much faster to reply than PowerBI Robot's own customer service 🙂

Ha, thanks, yeah that's definitely something I've noticed about PBIR - the company that publishes it isn't great on the support or communications front. You're pretty much on your own. Which is entirely fine as the product is so simple to use - except for when there are major product technical issues. There was one recently where it wouldn't work for a couple of days, and there was no word from the company, nothing on their website or twitter, nothing. I sent an email to support and a few days later heard back that they'd fixed the problem, which I'd already noticed had happened after a couple of days. But I get it, being a small ISV isn't easy.

 

While I'm on the topic, for any other PBIR users out there, here's a pro tip I've figured out by trial and error. The service creates and emails out a separate set of visuals for everyone on the distribution list. My main daily reporting package has about 10 visuals, and I had about 20 recipients. So lots of work for the service to create a distribute the reports, which seemed to be introducing room for timeouts and other glitches. To get around this I created an email distribution group within our corporate email service, and now I run the Robots report for distribution just to that group, which then funnels out to all the group members. This seems to have resolved the problem. DevScope (the Robots publisher), you might want to consider redesigning the product workflow this way, if it's possible to do so -- create all the visuals just once, then email out, rather than creating the visuals separately for every recipient. Cheers.

Thanks, SA_NYC.

You mentioned that you cam across timeouts. I have 100 reps with 4 reports per rep plus myself and only 58 or the 410 are oka while the other 352 fail. I'm still running this in the test whihc only gives you 180 sec rendering while the actual playlist allows for 300. Have you found out what the max number of renderings PBIR will allow? Just wondering. I'm also creating one pdf per rep instead of 4 individual pdf reports. My next step is to test 50 at a time and see when it fails.

 

Best,

Bobi, I'm not certain from your note how you're approaching this. I'm guessing you're either (1) using the Filters page on the Playlists editors. Or else you have four reports, each of which goes out to 100 reps' email addresses plus yourself.

 

If it's Filters that you're using, I've never really used this so I can't say.

 

If it's the second approach -- that you're sending a playlist to a large number of individual emails -- then this approach also caused me rendering problems. I believe the issue is that the Robots tool recreates the report package separately, once for each email recipient. That's a lot of rendering work, and seems to allow for errors to creep in. The way I got around this problem was, we created an email distribution alias, that links to all the desired playlist recipients. I send my multi-visual playlists just to that alias and me. With just those two recipients for the Robots tool to send out the playlist to, we haven't had any further issues.

I will also say that the design of your visuals can matter. Complex, multi-part visuals that render slowly in the power bi service also seem to cause issues with Robots. So you might want to see if there are more efficient ways to design your visuals, if the alias approach doesn't solve the problem.

 

Hope this helps.

SA

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