My favorite Power BI announcements from the Business Application Summit

Missed the announcements from the Microsoft Business Application Summit? With this post I want to share the, what I believe, are the most exciting and impactful updates for Power BI that are announced during Microsoft Business Application Summit. Below a brief summary of what’s coming and why this is so super exciting!

FastTrack Recognized Solution Architect

Let’s start with that I’m honored to be officially announced during the Business Application Summit Keynote as FastTrack Recognized Solution Architect by James Philips, President of the Digital Transformation Platform Group at Microsoft. Recently, I posted a blog about this recognition and what that means to me, which you can read here.

But let’s move on to the Power BI announcements!

Power BI Goals

Let’s start with a new artifact in Power BI! We’re all familiar with Power BI dataflows, datasets, reports and dashboards. Now there’s a new artifact coming to Power BI! Introducing Power BI Goals this new functionality is helps to have a KPI / scorecard overview of  many different datapoints in one place. You might think, what’s new? Cause we could have done the same with Power BI dashboards right? Well, Power BI Goals brings new functionality to the table such as binding to specific datapoints in an underlying reports and datasets!

Other than that, there is a seamless integration with Microsoft Teams, which makes it easier to track your goals throughout the day and assign specific goals to yourself or colleagues. Goals also tracks the evaluation of a specific metric over time, so you can monitor how it evolves and if it is going the right way! Read more about Power BI Goals in the official release.

Screenshot of announcement Power BI Goals, presented by Justyna Lucznik.

Streaming dataflows

We all might have heard about Power BI Streaming datasets, which already exists for a while but is not that much used and has a few limitations. Such as, you can only have one table in a streaming dataset etc. With dataflows as Power BI artifact, how cool could it be if you can have a streaming dataflow, combined with multiple other data sources where you can link the streaming data to imported dimensions for example! Power BI Streaming dataflows makes this possible! When you put the Streaming Dataflow on Direct Query mode in your dataset (requires Premium) you can still have other tables imported. This is what we call a streaming dataset.

Screenshot of announcement Power BI Streaming Dataflows, presented by Amir Netz.

Hololens v2 and Data in Space

Back in the days, Microsoft already release Hololens support for Power BI. With that, you were able to view Power BI reports through the Hololens with augmented reality. Now Hololens version 2 is out, Power BI is also supported for this new upgraded version of the Hololens! This is already super cool!

Screenshot of announcement Hololens v2 support for Power BI, presented by Will Thompson / Amir Netz.

But a Microsoft Hololens cost some serious money. So how cool could it be if certain functionality can be democratized! Well, during MS Bus Apps Summit Microsoft announced “Data in Space”! This new functionality brings augmented reality applications for Power BI to a mobile device we all know and love, your smartphone! Super cool new functionality that is coming up and will open for new innovative implementations of Power BI to bring data to action!

Screenshot of announcement Data in Space, presented by Will Thompson.

Automatic Aggregations

You might already be familiar with Aggregations in Power BI? If you’re not, I encourage you to read this documenation first to better understand what this is about.

Later this year, the automatic aggregations functionality will be released in Power BI, which will automate the generation of aggregations in your Power BI dataset. So, what will this do? It will help you to aggregate and import data in your Power BI dataset on a higher granularity, where all detailed level data will remain in Direct Query mode. This helps you work with extremely large data volumes without the need to import all the rows in Power BI. As you might know, putting everything on Direct Query will not result in the best performing solutions, but with Automatic Aggregations and Composite models, you will be able to combine Direct Query and Import to reach the most optimal situations and well performing solutions!

Screenshot of announcement Configure Automated Aggregations, presented by Christian Wade.
Screenshot of announcement Monitor Automated Aggregations, presented by Christian Wade.

But there is more…. There is one more thing (Thanks to Steve Jobs for borrowing his quote)

Hybrid Tables

In tabular models, we are familiar with defining partitions, mainly time based. This is also what is happening when you define incremental refresh in Power BI, to only pull in new data and optimize your data refresh. With the announced Hybrid Tables, you can take the next step in combining Direct Query and Imported data, but now even on a table level! This means you can refresh data in less than seconds. Below image shows you an overview of partitions of a single table in a Power BI dataset.

Screenshot of announcement Hybrid Tables, presented by Christian Wade.

Especially watch the bottom section where a single partition of the same table is set to Direct query, where the rest of the table remains on Import mode! To my opinion, this is huge and will allow you to direct query small portions of data, where the historical data will still be imported.

Wrap up

So far what I believe are the most impactful and cool announcements from the Business Application Summit with regards to Power BI. I think there is an amazing roadmap for Power BI for the upcoming semester where Microsoft continues to invest in the Power BI ecosystem. Want to learn more?

Apologies for some blurry screenshots which are taken during the sessions. Keep an eye out for more official announcements from Microsoft and official documentation.


I’m curious to hear what your favorite announcements are? Let me know in the comments below!

One thought on “My favorite Power BI announcements from the Business Application Summit

  1. Pingback: What’s new with Power BI? | James Serra's Blog

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