Power BI

Power BI Roadmap Announcements In the Dynamics 365 Spring ‘18 Release Notes

There have been a lot of important Power Apps and Flow announcements today, as well as the announcement about the Common Data Service for Analytics which is undoubtedly massive news for Power BI users, but buried in the very large “Dynamics 365 Spring ‘18 Release Notes” pdf file (downloadable from https://aka.ms/businessappsreleasenotes) are a number of equally significant revelations about the Power BI roadmap for the next few months. I’ve summarised them here, along with the relevant page numbers; I’ve also highlighted what I think are the most important ones.

  • (P177) Control over linguistic schema – it looks like the phrasing and synonyms functionality for Q&A that was in the old Power BI service has been added back
  • (P178) User experiences for Q&A in reports – report authors will be able to allow report consumers (I assume people who have had reports shared with them via Apps) to use Q&A, as well as to provide suggested questions
  • (P178) Incremental refresh policies – the first sighting of incremental refresh in Power BI! But as the screenshot shows, this is for Premium only (which is not a surprise). It looks like it will be a lot easier to use than managing incremental refresh using partitions in SSAS.
  • (P185) Performance reporting for Power BI Premium – seems to be more detailed metrics for Power BI usage and performance
  • (P186) Data source setup improvements – better UI for configuring datasets and links to gateways
  • (P186) Query acceleration for large datasets – this will allow you to create DirectQuery datasets but then create some in-memory aggregate tables to improve query performance
  • (P186) Power BI metadata translations – translations like we have in SSAS Tabular today, I guess, allowing table and column names to be translated and users to see these translations when they connect
  • (P187) Smart alerts – seemingly an improvement on the existing alert functionality, with some extra AI thrown in?
  • (P187) Slideshow mode – cycle through pages in a report when the report is in full-screen mode
  • (P187) Workspaces with Azure AD Groups – workspaces are being separated from O365 Groups (at last!) and instead permissions can be controlled using Azure AD security groups or Office 365 modern groups
  • (P188) Report Snapshots for Power BI Premium – more subscription options for Premium users
  • (P188) SSRS Reports in Power BI Premium – run SSRS reports inside Premium, with no separate installation of SSRS required. Azure Reporting Services has been resurrected!?
  • (P188) Subscribe other users for email subscriptions – at last!
  • (P189) XMLA connectivity for Power BI Premium – connect to Premium workspaces as if they were Analysis Services instances (which they pretty much are, I guess)
  • (P189 and P209) Common Data Services for Analytics capability in Power BI – Iots more detail on this new service in this section than is available in the post on the Power BI blog linked to above
  • (P192) Power BI Insight apps – pre-built Power BI solutions for services like Dynamics 365 and Salesforce
  • (P194) Details on the roadmap for Power BI Embedded
  • (P204) Details on the roadmap for the Power BI Mobile apps

Not in this document, but mentioned in this blog post today is the fact that the web-based version of Power Query that can be used to load data into the Common Data Service is out of Preview.

All I can say is wow – there’s so much to take in here, and it seems like the pace of innovation is only getting faster. It’s also nice to see Microsoft publishing a comprehensive roadmap document like this: it’s something many of my customers have wanted for a long time, and really helps them with their planning.

10 thoughts on “Power BI Roadmap Announcements In the Dynamics 365 Spring ‘18 Release Notes

  1. All very exciting news! Thanks for sharing the road-map document. I think it’s ironic that we just got a conversion tool for importing a Power BI model into Azure AS when we’ll likely want to do the opposite in a few short months. Hopefully MSFT provides us with a tool to do this…

  2. Not sure I would call it “innovation”. Looks like MSFT are putting PBI Premium forward as a full-fledge, type1+2 BI tool. Things like combined in-memory/db engines for large data sets and incremental updates for data extracts exist in other tools for years now (IBM’s Dynamic Cubes come to mind as a piece of software that does both and has been since at least 2013).
    I wonder how well PBI Premium will do. PBI always had th price advantage. It delivers so much and costs so little it is very difficult to compete with. You would be hard-presses to explain what the $60 per user per month difference between Tableau pro and PBI pro actually buys. Even where Tableau has better features (I will never tire of saying “small multiples” because it is the truth…) – are they really 720 USD pa better? it’s a tough sell. But PBI Premium STARTS at $5k per month before you add any users. Over 5 years in a 200 user organisation that makes them more expensive than most of the solutions I know, including monster such as Cognos Analytics. Without the price advantage, I wonder if PBI will sell as well. It will highly depend on the quality of the roadmap execution, I think.

  3. Good to see all the new functionality coming but I despair that the news is released as part of a completely different product’s release notes, instead of the Power BI Blog. Makes no sense to me. Thanks for the article though Chris.

  4. Great post, Chris. Yes, somewhat strange seeing this announcement as part of the Dynamics roadmap, but the common thread, and important to Dynamics 365 folks is Common Data Service – Analytics. Big news for both Dynamics and Power BI customers, users, and consultants.

    I’m glad to see the roadmap publshed, as these changes affect work in-progress at some of our most important clients, and we haven’t been able to provide sufficient guidance due to NDA constraints.

    Thanks also to Microsoft and the teams working so hard articulating and executing on their roadmap.

    Chris – you were sorely missed at the MVP Summit.

  5. On P12 it says “These capabilities are available starting in April 2018.” So everything that’s on the list and not availlable yet is simply late (my understanding). In fact, most of the listed features became availlable over the last months. The mentioned document is titled a “release document” rather than “roadmap”. So your list seems more like a list of features where MS dropped the ball or still had to make availlable in the April release!

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