Transform a local into a global Power BI solution – Content endorsement

The last blog in the series of transforming a local into a global enterprise grade solution. After everything about sharing content and requesting access to content, and many other topics, it is time to look at content endorsement. A feature in the Power BI service that helps you to easily mark your content as being trustworthy, reliable, well maintained and all other criteria that matter to your organization for an enterprise grade solution.

Before we deep-dive in potential setups and the benefits of content endorsement, let’s first do a quick stop to describe what content endorsement exactly is and where you can find and apply it. This blog will combine content from previous blogs in the series of transforming a local into a global solution and how you can set a stamp on the solutions that are transformed into enterprise grade solutions.

What is Endorsement in Power BI?

Endorsement is a way of telling users that a dataset is a trusted, quality source of data that they can safely use. Endorsement applies to dataflows, datasets, reports and apps and is possible on two levels;

  • Promoted, Promotion is a way to highlight content you think is valuable and worthwhile for others to use. It encourages the collaborative use and spread of content within an organization.

    Any content owner, as well as any member with write permissions on the workspace where the content is located, can promote the content when they think it’s good enough for sharing.
  • Certified, Certification is the level-up endorsement of promoted and can be positioned for content that meets the organization’s quality standards and can be regarded as reliable, authoritative, and ready for use across the organization.

    Only authorized reviewers (defined by the Power BI administrator) can certify content. With that, you can setup a process around content certification, where criteria must be matched before the certified stamp is granted.
Endorsement settings of a dataset in the Power BI Service
(screenshot from docs.microsoft.com)

Endorsement, being Promoted or Certified, will help users to gain trust in the content that they consume. Though, at the clients where I have worked, none of them is actively adopting this feature yet. It helps to drive a single source of truth, value efforts of individuals and drive quality standards throughout the organization.

Criteria for certified content

As every content owner can promote their own content, there are no limitations that can be set by the Power BI Service Administrator. But there are limitations that can be set to users or a group of users that are allowed to certify content. With that, the certified state is valued above promoted and you can think of a process and criteria around content certification.

Having a process around certification, users can request the to get their content reviewed by one of the authorized reviewers. After which, the reviewer can grant the certified endorsement stamp to the content. But what should be the criteria to look at? Below I listed some criteria that you may consider, covering the general setup as well as the content itself.

  • The dataset is based on a trust-worthy data source, being a data platform or other relational data source. This avoid ending up with solutions that are based on exported flat files from systems that include a lot of manual labor and are error sensitive.
  • Functional descriptions are added to all objects in the data model, being measures, calculated columns, security roles and all other objects that are added in Power BI. This basic documentation helps users to understand the goal of specific measures and elements in the data model which will help them in reuse of the dataset. In the past, I published a blog about adding descriptions to everything in Power BI which explains the how and why of descriptions.
  • Descriptions are added in the Power BI Service, being the dataset description as shown in above screenshot of dataset endorsement settings, but also for reports, dashboards and apps that are being certified, the functional description must be filled to inform users about the context around the artifacts.
  • The solution is documented in general, having technical and functional documentation which is shared with all users having access to the content as support documentation. Links can be added while publishing an app for example.
  • Content is shared by leveraging Active Directory Groups, avoid having named users while sharing content. Preferably the active directory groups are managed by the organizational identity management system.
  • Content is shared by publishing an App, following the best practices as described in the previous episode of this blog series, the content is shared through a Power BI app, not based on named users. This helps users to be in full control of their own Power BI Service as well as contributes to a decent staged approach where content is first published in the Power BI Workspace for confirmation before it is pushed to end users.
  • The dataset is discoverable in the datasets hub, which contributes to driving a single source of truth and sharing the dataset for further reuse in the organization.
  • Sensitivity labels are applied for this solution, which helps the users to understand the sensitiveness of the data and how they should act with the information provided to them.
  • Support has been arranged, so that questions or issues can be addressed at the right person and users will get the help they need.
  • Ownership is vested, the owner of the content is clear and does not rely on individual persons but always has a backup in case the owners is absent.
  • More general items to check, the workspace is upgrade to the new workspace experience, which helps the Power BI Service administrator to manage and monitor the workspace in case needed.

All by all, a lot of elements to check before the certified endorsement state can be granted. Besides these checks on a certainly high level, you can of course also deep dive in the solution itself to check more best practices related to data modeling, visualizations and more. Above list is mainly based on my own experience and personal checks that I’m doing.

Within your organization, you can setup a process to do checks like mentioned above. Typically, this is something that could be executed by a center of excellence, or Power BI competence center. This team maintains the best practices, governance and is in the lead for all practices related to Power BI. The reviewers to get content certified, are members within the COE/CC.

If users want to get content certified, they can start with filling a short form on a central SharePoint page from this COE/CC for example. Based on that, the intake call can be planned with the stakeholder and one of the reviewers to get the process started.

Closing note

With this blog, I’m finishing the series on transforming a local into a global enterprise grade solution. In the past weeks I have published blogs on several topics that relate to this topic, but I truly believe that many more topics can be covered in this aspect. I hope you enjoyed the blog series. If you have any ideas or missing topics, please do not hesitate to contact me. I’m always happily looking for more and new topics to write about.

One thought on “Transform a local into a global Power BI solution – Content endorsement

  1. Pingback: Transform a local into a global Power BI solution – Introduction – Data – Marc

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