June 13, 2023

Microsoft® Power BI™ Best Practices: Lessons Learned- Reports and Deployment

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By Garrett Becker

Do you struggle with data modeling and data sources? Our team of certified Microsoft Power BI analysts have been working with our customers to leverage the end-to-end platform to create powerful insights into their business. Through our work, we have identified several best practices and lessons learned we want to share to help you on your journey in building a data-driven culture through business intelligence.

The third article in our series is focused on reporting and deployment. The challenges of creating custom reports and sharing them internally or externally are real. But we have 9 best practices to help you!

1. Use white or light backgrounds

  • When designing reports, be mindful of how the report will be utilized- if offline and printed, use white or another light color background
  • Remember to aim for high contrast for readability
  • Always cater to business' and users' needs and experience level for general reporting design

2. Add in tooltips for your visuals and metrics

  • Easily add in more detailed information for existing visuals and metrics with tooltips
  • Conserves reporting space – pull up additional info by hovering over a visual Reduce information overload - additional details in tooltips should support organization or individual business goals

3. Speed up standardized reporting with Power BI Templates (.pbit) files

  • Using .pbit template files allow you to quickly build from a standardized report that can already have many features you need such as basic datasets, themes and colors, and business branding
  • Save yourself time by building a base report template to use for future reporting

4. Use the certified custom visuals from Microsoft

  • Microsoft has many additional, custom visuals you can use to show your data in new or more insightful ways - go to the built-in store within Power BI to quickly download visuals approved by Microsoft
  • Helps with long-term report performance and security

5. Make a Deployment Pipeline in Power BI Service

  • You can control the flow of developing a Power BI solution in Power BI Service from testing to final deployment to the user(s)
  • Assign a workspace to a deployment stage (development, test, or production)
  • Do all development and testing work within this workspace, and when ready, assign the workspace to production to hand off to the user(s)
  • The deployment pipeline tool gives you administration control over the process as you make a new Power BI solution

6. Create workspaces in the online Power BI Service

  • Fantastic for sharing published dashboards and reports internally and externally
  • You can schedule automated data refreshes with email notifications
  • Easily set security settings for specific users and make certain the data and information stays safe

7. Publish reports to Power BI Service

  • From the desktop application, select a created workspace and quickly share completed reports by publishing directly
  • Users can seamlessly explore the report without downloading the Power BI desktop application and service aids prevent users from accessing underlying data sources

8. Use filters and slicers sparingly

  • Select the top 2-3 slicers (table fields) by which to filter report data
  • Too many options can clutter pages and overwhelm users
  • Avoid applying filters on the expandable filters pane; instead allow users to select how they wish to slice and dice the information

9. Leverage Power BI Apps for larger end-user deployments

  • Another way to reach a specific or broad audience in your organization is to publish a Power BI report as an “App” instead of sharing the link to a Power BI workspace
  • First, publish a Power BI report to the Service; Second, select the option to use the report as an App for a specific Azure Directory (AD) Group or the entire enterprise organization
  • Gives your report a professional design and focuses on the content, not the underlying data source
  • Share the app link to audience members, and after opened, the member will have easy access under the “Apps” section of Power BI Service

We can help

Contact a team member to learn more about our Data Analytics services. Check out our first and second Power BI resource articles about Best Practices in Data Modeling and Source.

The information provided in this communication is of a general nature and should not be considered professional advice. You should not act upon the information provided without obtaining specific professional advice. The information above is subject to change.

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