It’s happening – the latest Power BI Release wave for 2021 of planned future features for Power BI is now available!
Microsoft are very forthcoming with releasing details around feature updates for the Power Platform in particular Power BI, which has a monthly release cycle. In this release cycle features are generally made available for preview or general availability.
Preview features are features that aren’t complete but are made available on a “preview” basis so customers can get early access and provide feedback.
General availability is the phase of the software release life cycle where the software is made available for sale. The availability though, can largely vary on the basis of the form in which it is released, language and the region as well. General availability usually happens on a specific date, which has been announced in advance to customers.
There have been some great features that have been announced that I am very excited about and you should be too!
I will highlight some of these features in a bit more detail.
Power BI Embedded has been available on a per capacity licensing model since launch. With this new generation of Power BI Embedded, we’ve made improvements to the underlying architecture, which will help customers increase their ROI, scale rapidly, and get up to 16X faster performance. Customers will also get visibility into utilization at the workspace level, enabling consistent utilization analysis and cost management.
When scheduling refresh in a workspace, you will be able to include all datasets and dataflows. Power BI will handle all the functional dependencies and ensure that refresh is orchestrated in the correct sequence. This will reduce the amount of time needed for scheduling individual artifacts, ensure orchestration is frictionless, and minimize errors.
The paginated report visual will be available in Power BI Desktop and the Power BI service. Similar to a subreport in paginated reports, the paginated report visual will be connected to the other visuals in your report, and you will be able to interact with the visual in the same ways you interact with other visuals. Additionally, you will be able to export and print the paginated report directly from the Power BI report canvas.
Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics will automatically create and manage materialized views for larger Power BI Premium datasets in DirectQuery mode. The materialized views will be based on usage and query patterns. They will be automatically maintained as a self-learning, self-optimizing system. Power BI queries to Azure Synapse in DirectQuery mode will automatically use these materialized views. This feature will provide enhanced performance and user concurrency.
When users are done authoring or making changes to a dataflow, they select Save. The save action is currently coupled with validation, and validating the dataflow can take a very long time. Previously, users aren’t able to leave the screen, and they have to wait until after validation completes to see their changes.
With this update, users can save a dataflow, leave the screen, and continue working. Validation now takes place in the background so users can save the dataflow without friction.
General Availability Features
It’s also great to see that the following features currently in preview will be released for general availability:
The Smart narrative visualization helps you quickly summarize visuals and reports by providing relevant out-of-the-box insights that are customizable. Using this feature, creators can add narratives to their report to address key takeaways, point out trends, edit the language, and format it to address specific audiences.
Creators will be able to enrich their charts with automatic anomaly detection for time series charts. When a user selects an anomaly, that selection will trigger a further analysis that explains the anomaly. These explanations can be customized by the report creator.
This feature will help new users get started using the Power BI service by providing a guided experience. Many new users don’t have access to an analyst or to an experienced Power BI user. They don’t know how to connect to data or create reports, dashboards, or apps, and perhaps their job won’t ever require them to create content. This new guided experience will allow them to type or paste some data into Power BI and instantly get an autogenerated report that they can start slicing and dicing. This experience will be enabled in the Power BI service and Microsoft Teams.
The full Microsoft Power BI Release Plan 2021 Wave 1 is available here – https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-platform-release-plan/2021wave1/power-bi/planned-features?_lrsc=b19b9ff7-6405-4e12-bfce-6ea218196f68