By Leon Gordon
"Power BI is a collection of software services, apps, and connectors that work together to turn your unrelated sources of data into coherent, visually immersive, and interactive insights." - Power BI as described by Microsoft For me personally however, Power BI is the cumulation of years of development of the Microsoft Data ecosystem. Excel, SSRS, SSIS and SSAS can all be found in some form under the hood of Power BI. It is an amazing feat to have watched Power BI grow into an enterprise level data solution. Encompassing, for ETL (or ELT) Dataflows and Power Query, Tabular modeling within a dataset and visualization within Power BI desktop. The growth of the product has been nothing short of monumental and I have the pleasure of being able to work with it daily over the past 5 years. This growth can be attributed to phenomenal team at MSFT and also the ideas being generated within the Power BI community. The https://ideas.powerbi.com/ideas/ site is a forum in which users can suggest ideas for the Power BI product and receive votes from peers. In some cases Microsoft will review these ideas and develop this functionality within Power BI. I know this is cool right?! Imagine a tool you use everyday and being able to suggest ideas that would make the tool even better! Browsing through this list of ideas, I thought about previous and current engagements with clients developing Power BI solutions. What is Power BI missing? My clients all had one area within Power BI that caused them a problem.
The clients would have seen a visualization elsewhere, or had a current visual in Excel that they wanted to create in Power BI. In many cases this just wasn't possible with standard visuals.. Drum roll please.... Step in Appsource and 3rd party visuals! Yes... but no! For those unfamiliar with Appsource. Appsource is a marketplace that allows Power BI report developers to select from a host of 3rd party visual add-ons. In some cases, the visuals have been verified by Microsoft. Some may require a subscription fee. The beauty of Appsource is that it allows the Power BI report developer access to a huge amount of external visuals. This enables a host of visual delights that don't come as stock within Power BI. The bad news is that this can come at a cost. Whether this is as an ongoing license fee or a one off cost. From an ongoing maintenance perspective this also opens up the client to support with a new vendor or heaven forbid the visual developer ceases to support the visual anymore. It is also worth noting that with the Appsource marketplace having some un-verified visuals there can also be a concern for your data security. At the time of writing I am not aware of any data breaches caused by un-verified 3rd party visuals but it is always prudent to check which external organizations that you choose to integrate into your solutions.
In summary, I definitely feel that the last 12 months have catapulted Power BI into an enterprise grade Power House in data modeling, performance, dataset size, CI/CD and security. My concern is that Microsoft haven't yet transformed the Power BI data visualization capabilities into that of a true flagship. What do you think Power BI is missing? Sources - https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-bi/fundamentals/power-bi-overview
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