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Collaboration in Power BI

Nick Hilton | 27 October 22 | 4 min read

Power BI is a collaborative experience at its core. Reports are created, reports are consumed. The end user feeds back to the report creator, adjustments are made, and an improved report is republished repeating the cycle all over again. But when it comes to enhancing the way in which people consume and work with those reports then we have to look further and see how we can combine these reports with the tools we already used as part of our workflows.

Today we’re going to take a quick look at the different ways to collaborate in Power BI. Which of these are helpful to you will depend on your organisation, its culture, data governance structures, the types of work being done, and the people using it. You don’t want to put hours of effort into creating and promoting avenues for collaboration only to find the security settings for your organisation don’t allow your solution or the sales team you’ve planned it for have neither the time, skills, or care to even give it a try. 


1 – Improving Power BI Knowledge in your Organisation

Not everyone is as comfortable behind a computer as you or I may be. Over the years I’ve seen plenty of fantastic technologies be introduced to businesses only for it to be used just enough to be of value but never enough to make a big difference. More often than not this was because the users never felt comfortable enough to use the tools in any way beyond the minimum required. Open report, export, sigh of relief. The best way to get people working together within Power BI is to encourage or provide training. This doesn’t have to be an intense 4 hour training session it could be as simple as sending an email out with tips and a quick overview when you publish a new report.


2 – Add the Power BI App in Teams - Documentation

One of the main selling points of the Microsoft Office suite is that (more than ever) they work together to make your workflows a little bit more seamless and efficient. Power BI in teams essentially brings the browser experience and drops it straight into teams as a tab. If you work in a closed environment with no access to a browser this would work really well. Alternatively, you can use it to show one report as the whole window, a client services team, for example, could have quick access to CRM records within teams via Power BI.

My personal opinion is that this is a great app to have installed and should be installed by admins for users with a Power BI licence. It’s going to reduce the barrier to using it and that will lead to more data driven decisions, better data literacy, and will ultimately return more value to everyone involved. 


One final benefit to this is that by integrating that app users will be able to search for reports or dashboards at any time just by typing in the search bar at the top.


3 - Power BI Comments - Documentation

Now here is a feature that is convenient and accessible but never used. Comments sit within your reports in the Power BI Service and allow users to quickly leave bookmarks with some notes. For example, you click a few visuals and end up a segment where a product isn’t performing as it should be. By adding a comment other users will get a notification and when they click that the report will show the comment and the report as it was when the original user made it.

To leave a comment just click on the speech box in the top right corner and type your message in. If you’d like to make sure that message goes to another user then you can use the @ sign to tag them.

In addition to this there’s a more recent feature where you can comment on individual visuals. Just hover over the three dots when viewing the report in the service and enter a comment. 


Final Bits

I hope todays post has been helpful, there are two more options you may want to consider when investigating collaborating in Power BI and those are:

1.      Power Point

2.      Using Excel to feed in commentary

Fortunately, I already have a blog post on the great new PowerPoint functionality with Power BI you can find that here, and I’ll be covering exactly how to feed commentary into your reports in an upcoming post.

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