What makes a BI Developer’s or Business Analyst’s life the most challenging?
I would say that it is the constantly changing expectations from our reports and the fact that users would like to find more and more insights. Moreover, not just any insights, ones that are relevant to them.
If you prefer to watch and listen, click on the video below, otherwise, scroll further down, to read my opinion about this great new feature.
What makes sense to Marketing may not be that useful for Logistics. Or a report that was developed to help Operations highly unlikely to solve issues for Finance.
How do we respond to these different needs? More often than not, we create a dedicated report for all the different departments within our organization, even if it means data redundancy.
This will sooner or later lead to issues. One of the most frequent problems I would say is data inconsistency. Meaning, that “same” reports are showing different results, making the reporting structure unreliable.
What is the solution? 💡
Of course, in Power BI we already had the option to use centralized datasets (eg.: Get Data from PowerBI dataset) and build unique reports based around them. This feature helps with data redundancy and inconsistency a lot. However, if that dataset doesn’t contain a field or another significant piece of information (for the user) then it’s nothing different from a standard report.
How many times have you been asked to add an extra field to the report? Or to change the number of layers in a hierarchy?
If the answer to these questions is “way too many times”, I have some good news for you.
A recently announced feature in Power BI allows users to connect to a centralized dataset (a company-wide approved report structure) AND enhance that dataset with their own personal data.
What’s next? 🔥
This is going to be a gamechanger for us, Analysts.
Users who are not that tech-savvy can rely on the standard reporting package, while heavy users or users with a bit more interest to dig deeper can use the underlying data from the standard dataset and bring their own data.
More importantly, think about users of your reports ❗❕❗❕
What if from one day to another (almost) you can give them access to re-use the core report and create something that’s more relevant for them.
And I’m not talking about Personalize Visuals, I mean building a new report based on an approved and certified dataset. So every single time when they compare their own report to the main one, the results are going to be the same!
I know that it sounds nerdy, but I’m super excited to see this feature evolve and reach general availability status. There were already so many reasons why I was convinced that Power BI is the leading BI tool, but with this feature, Microsoft made it even more obvious that no other tool can compete with it.
At the time of the recording of the video and writing this blog post, the composite model was still a preview feature and I only started playing with it for a couple of days. There are obviously topics we need to cover in more detail, especially data security questions.
Exciting times to be an Analyst!