Our Top Picks, Insights and Key Learnings from the Power BI Summit 2023 – Part One 

Author: Herika Medeiros

The Power BI Summit is the biggest annual Power BI conference and is run virtually across five days. It brings the best and brightest from around the globe, including Microsoft’s Power BI product group, community experts and MVPs. 

With more than 100 sessions, a vast range of Power BI topics was discussed, covering technical, analytical, and business perspectives. 

Below are some of our favourite sessions picked out by our consultant, Herika Medeiros: 

Keynote from Power BI Product Team

The Power BI Product Team started the Summit event presenting exciting news that is soon to hit the market (March 2023). The presentation highlighted the new features in data visualisation, web modelling, big data, and the integration of Azure Open AI with Power BI. 

In web modelling, the team demonstrated how modelling updates are reflected in the data without the need to save and publish the changes. This feature is incredibly useful for those who work with large datasets and need to make frequent updates. The team also highlighted the access by creating roles for the correct group.  

Cancelling updates in the Power BI service and applying the clear/apply functions to several slicers are other new features that were also presented. 

Finally, the integration of Azure Open AI with Power BI gained prominence. It demonstrated how users can create DAX in natural language as a quick measure. This feature is especially useful for those who may not have a technical background but still need to analyse data for business impact. 

For more information, visit this link: Quick measure suggestions (experimental preview) – Power BI | Microsoft Learn

The Power BI team continues to innovate and improve their platform, and we can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next. 

The Future of Power BI Data Visualisation 

The Power BI Summit 2023 showcased some exciting new improvements that are coming to the platform. From new container concepts to improved labelling and enhanced customer wish list features, these updates promise to make data visualisation even more accessible and effective. 

One of the most notable improvements is the new container concept being applied to all elements, including new features like subtitles and header splits, and helping to keep visualisations looking crisp and professional. Padding is another feature that eliminates the need to use shapes to give the illusion of the background.  

The introduction of multiple cards with more formatting options, including text alignment and conditional formatting, is also a welcome addition, as is the ability to apply states (default, on hover, selected) to slicers and cards, with available actions.

Label improvements promise to make them more interactive and give users more control over their appearance.

Customers have also expressed some wishes for the platform, including measure-oriented data support conditional formatting that will allow for the representation of continuous totals and the display of differences between two data points, further UI improvements for interaction editing, the ability to set default slicing values and greater control over tooltips. Thankfully, Microsoft’s product manager has confirmed these features are in the works and will be available soon. With these improvements and ongoing efforts to engage with customers, the future of Power BI data visualisation looks bright indeed!

Introducing On Object – The new way to build and format your visuals!

On Object is a new and exciting way to build and format your visualisations in Power BI. One of the key benefits of On Object is the ability to build and format directly on the visualisation itself. Users can insert a new visual by simply checking and dragging fields from the pane or ribbon or by using the “Add Visual” button from the right-click menu.

The “Build Button” allows users to change the visuals and do everything from the old pane.

The “Add Button” enables users to add or remove data and add chart elements such as series labels, trend lines, and more. Additionally, right-clicking on the visual allows you to change the aggregation function used.

Double-clicking on the visual or right-clicking and selecting format will show the new format mode. Once you are in “format mode”, the hover and click behavior changes to sub selection regions.  Direct double-click text editing is another new feature.

The pane switcher is an objects menu that allows users to choose how to organise their panes. This gives users more control over their workspace and makes it easier to find the visualisations they need.

The Drillthrough and Tooltip page setup has also been moved to Page Settings, making it easier to access these settings and improve the user experience. Additionally, the Analytics Pane has been merged with the Format Pane, making it more streamlined and efficient.

Dashboard Design – The Icing on the Cake

At the Summit, Valerie Junk presented five steps to improve Power BI dashboard design:

Step 1 – Design for your audience: Who are they? What are their needs and requirements? What is their level of experience with data analysis? Which device will they use to access the dashboard? How often will they use it? What are the essential pieces of information they need to see? Understanding these questions will help you design a dashboard that is tailored to the audience’s needs. Additionally, reducing cognitive load is crucial for a great user experience.

Step 2 – Clean up and Organise: Use templates to make building your report easier and faster. Organise your data logically and easily to help your audience quickly find the information they need.

Step 3 – Visualisation: Choosing the right visual and placing it in the right spot in the dashboard is crucial. When placing visualisations, it is essential to consider the reading direction (left-to-right, top-to-bottom, etc.). Using visual cues like colours, conditional formatting, or target lines can help make the information easier to interpret. A hierarchy can be used to arrange data, making it easier to understand.

Step 4 – Visually appealing and useful: Choosing a colour scheme that matches your brand or purpose, for instance, color.adobe.com provides a great variety of colour palettes. Another tip is to focus on essential information and reduce the clutter in the dashboard.

Step 5 – Start small, it is a process: keep learning, ask questions, and ask for feedback.

Supercharge Power BI with Writeback, Planning, Modelling, & Commentary

The Power On tool is designed to unify analysis, data modelling, collection, planning, and writeback. This means users can collect and enter data, add commentary, and write back in real-time. It makes Power BI a two-way street where users can seamlessly connect analysis, decisions, and actions. This makes the process more efficient and less prone to errors. It also helps to ensure that everyone is working from the same set of data, which is essential for effective collaboration.

For forecasting and planning, the matrix is the perfect fit. Connecting to the database or writeback is easy, working with the existing Power BI data models and databases. However, it is important to note that end users are not allowed to write back over historical data.

When writing back to a fact table, users can update the lowest level of granularity and refresh the Power BI report/model in real time. This means that they can see the impact of their changes immediately, which can be incredibly powerful for decision-making.

The users can change settings and manipulate graphs to see the data changing in real time. This can be incredibly helpful for exploring different scenarios and understanding the impact of different decisions. Additionally, the tool allows users to use Excel formulas, which can be a powerful way to manipulate data and create more complex calculations. For more information, visit the link: Write-back and Plan in Power BI with Power ON Visual Planner + (poweronbi.com).


Want to hear more about the Power BI Summit?

Read Part Two of this three-part series here

Read Part Three of this three-part series

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