Power BI Embedded: Roadmap & What’s New?
Microsoft Power BI Embedded (PBIE) allows application developers to embed impressive, fully interactive reports into their applications, without wasting time and money on creating their own data visualizations and controls from scratch. The target audience for a Power BI Embedded service is developers and companies that create their applications, called independent software vendors.
How is Power BI Embedded Different From Power BI?
Power BI Embedded is designed for independent software vendors and developers who create applications and want to embed visual elements in them to help customers solve their problems without creating analytics tools from scratch. Built-in analytics allows business users to access business data and perform requests for the generation of analytical information based on this data in the application. Power BI is an analytics software solution that provides organizations with a unified view of their business-critical data.
What is the Difference Between Power BI Premium and Power BI Embedded?
Power BI Premium is a comprehensive business intelligence solution for enterprises that provides a unified view of organization data, information about partners, customers, and suppliers. Power BI Premium helps organizations make decisions. Power BI Premium is a SaaS product with which users can work with content through the Power BI portal, a mobile application, and applications developed in the company.
The Power BI Embedded service is designed for independent software vendors and developers who create applications and want to embed visual elements in them. Power BI Embedded helps customers make decisions. Since this service is designed for application developers, users of these applications, both within and outside the organization, can work with content stored in the Power BI Embedded capacity. The Power BI Embedded capacity cannot be shared by publishing on the Internet or SharePoint with one click, and SSRS reports are not supported for it.
When Does Microsoft Recommend Buying Power BI Premium, and in Which Cases Power BI Embedded?
Microsoft recommends that organizations buy Power BI Premium, a corporate cloud solution for independent business intelligence, and independent software providers, Power BI Embedded cloud solution with embedded analytics components. However, customers are not limited to the choice of product. Perhaps in some cases, independent software vendors (usually large) will need an SKU P number to get additional capabilities of the pre-packaged Power BI service for their organization and implement them into applications. Some businesses may choose to use the SKU numbers in Azure if they are only going to create business applications and embed analytics in them, but they are not interested in using the pre-packaged Power BI service.
Power BI Embedded Latest News
In March the Power Platform Summit Europe has presented the Power BI Embedded teams session with news on new features and capabilities in Power BI Embedded. The additional “firepower” to your business analytics include such features as:
Full control of each and all visual menu actions. In the report on built-in commands, and custom commands. Options and Context Menus APIs has been extended to provide control for built-in commands. They also can be hidden and controlled, as well as the position of custom commands in the menus.
Also, now the users can apply a custom theme to their embedded report with Themes API. The custom theme can be defined using a JSON file like in the Power BI Service.
Power BI Embedded analytics is redefining the “Best practices for multi-tenancy.” It allows choosing from multiple “tenancy models” to best fits their needs. The choice of tenancy model determines the application design and management. Finally, you can choose one that determines how each tenant’s data is mapped and managed within Power BI and within the storage account. So you can weigh all the different options and choose the best model for your customers.
A special Microsoft Power BI Embedded Playground was set up for all the users can try the new “Insight to action,” “Personalize report design” features. Using this playground anyone can experience how easy it is to embed Power BI visuals in web portals and applications. Which is useful for both the internal organization and external customers.
Among the latest improvements to Power BI Embedded the user will find:
- Service principal authentication
- Dataset sharing and dynamic binding
- Report loading time improvements
- Export data programmatically
- Scheduled refresh API
- Developer tools
- Embed Q&A with row-level security (RLS)
- Themes API
- Refresh Now API
Service Principal Authentication
With service principal, you can embed Power BI content into an application and use automation with Power BI using an app-only token. The service principal is beneficial when using Power BI Embedded or when automating Power BI tasks and processes. When working with Power BI Embedded, there are advantages when using service principal. A primary advantage is you don’t need a master account to authenticate into your application. Service principal uses an application ID and an application secret to authenticate the application.
To enhance deployment, security, and application lifecycle management of applications using Power BI Embedded, support for service principal is planned. This recommended authentication approach allows applications to authenticate without a user context and use Power BI APIs. To use service principal in Power BI API, an Azure Active Directory web application needs authorization by a Power BI admin.
Dataset Sharing and Dynamic Binding
By connecting datasets in the Power BI service from Power BI Desktop, you can establish a live connection to a shared dataset in the Power BI service, and create many different reports from the same dataset. This means you can create your perfect data model in Power BI Desktop, publish it to the Power BI service, then you and others can create multiple different reports from that same data model. There are all sorts of benefits of this feature, including using a Power BI service live connection for report lifecycle management and creating a dataset everyone can use, then sharing it.
Dataset sharing will allow cross-workspace usage of datasets, reducing the number of duplicated datasets and enormous overhead of managing them. The dynamic binding will allow developers to define the connection between a report and a dataset programmatically, using the embed token. These capabilities will enable ISVs to use a single report for multiple customers, while binding it in real time to the relevant data for each user, ensuring the security of their customers’ data.
Report Loading Time Improvements
The loading time of analytic visuals plays a crucial role in application users’ experience and willingness to engage and explore data. As a rule of thumb, when deploying Power BI reports built on DirectQuery and live connection, try out what your end users will do. If the report is slow to load in Power BI Desktop, it will almost certainly be slow to load in the service for your end users. Power BI team has announced a plan for significant infrastructure changes on report loading time, to reduce the mean load time by up to 50%, giving end users a better experience and enable developers to add analytics to pages they were reluctant to before.
Export Data Programmatically
Scheduled Refresh API
The Power BI Embedded Scheduled Refresh REST API enables dynamic configuration of the data refresh schedule. This allows dataset owners to make fast, automated changes, or to update many datasets at once by defining the frequency of data refresh. Users can finally schedule API refreshes. Power BI has enabled dataset owners to configure the refresh schedule this April. The refresh schedule refreshes the data automatically by a specific timeline specified by the user. The new REST API enables you to set a new refresh schedule or override the configuration of an existing schedule. You can also retrieve the schedule of a dataset by using the API. This API is useful for setting or updating schedules on many datasets because you can use a script rather than configuring each dataset manually. The API can also be useful if you want to make automatic changes according to a specific trigger. For example, multiple refresh failures will disable the scheduled refresh. With the new API, you can enable the refresh schedule again without the need to do it manually.
Microsoft Power BI team has long been planning to add tools for developers integrating Power BI Embedded into their applications. Finally, this option is available, making it faster and easier. Some of the capabilities we plan to release include:
- An interactive tool to explore REST API capabilities without writing code.
- More conceptual articles for Power BI Embedded best practices.
- New samples, in different languages, for the main use-cases for integrating analytics in your application.
- New showcases in the Power BI Embedded Playground.
The latest changes also allow developers to easily add custom visuals into Power BI to use in dashboard, reports and content packs. (Custom visuals are created by developers, using the custom visuals SDK, to enable business users to see their data in a way that fits the business best. Report authors can then import the custom visuals files into their reports and use them as any other Power BI visuals. Custom visuals are first class citizens in Power BI and can be filtered, highlighted, edited, shared, etc.) There is open-source code for all visualizations to GitHub along with the visualization framework, test suite, and tooling.
In addition to the new additions above, starting April Power BI users can use and enjoy:
- Embed Q&A with RLS: Power BI Embedded supports row-level security for Q&A. This allows different users to ask questions about their data and get answers based on their specific data view. This means each user of a Power BI Embedded application gets answers to questions based on the data they have permission to view. (Check out this video tutorial on the matter)
- Multi-geo: Multi-geo capabilities provide you with a choice of geographical locations in which to store, manage, and secure your data by allowing a single Office 365 tenant to span multiple regions, storing data on a per-user or per-site basis. And as of now multi-geo for compliance in Azure capacities became generally available.
- Themes API: Apply a theme to your entire report using the Power BI Embedded Themes API. Themes include corporate, seasonal, or any other colors you might want to apply to your visuals. When you apply a theme, all visuals in a report, or tiles in a dashboard, will use the colors from your selected theme. Also, use APIs to apply and change the theme at a session level for an embedded object.
- “Refresh Now”: It provides unlimited data refresh for Power BI Embedded. Using the “Refresh now” API, the limitation on the number of refreshes you can schedule per day is removed and instead an unlimited number of refreshes can be triggered for each dataset. Combining the refresh now API with an incremental refresh, you can build a near real-time dataset that performs small updates of fresh data very often.