Creating Dashboards in Power BI (Preview)

Currently in Preview in Power BI on Office 365, is the ability to create entire Dashboard pages based on your connected Power BI data. While this functionality is still in preview, it represents a powerful way to show different insights across your Data, and provide your business decision makers the information they need in one single pane of glass. Let’s take it for a spin and see how we can get these insights.

To start with the Preview, we need to sign up for it. You can sign up by accessing the “Introducing Power BI Dashboards” area on your Power BI Home Page:

This will provision your new Dashboard preview, and will take up to 30 minutes to complete. Once it is finished, you will now have a Dashboard site you can access:

So, let’s dive right in and create our first dashboard. On the Quick Launch, click on “Get Data”. Out of the box, we have multiple ays to add different data sources to our Dashboard. Also, since this is currently in Preview, there will be other Data sources added in the future, to help ensure you can access as many different Data source areas as your organization needs. The current data sources include: Excel, Salesforce, Zendesk, Dynamics, SendGrid, and Marketo. You can also add any Data Sources you currently have connected through Power BI, and there are also Developer tools to allow you to custom build any Data connections you may need.

For this example, I am going to upload a previously created Excel File which contains example data on Sales information., by clicking on the Excel Workbooks in the Get Data wizard, I can select any Excel Workbook that has a data model or data connection, and upload it into the Dashboard:

When the upload is complete, I will have 2 new Items in my Dashboard Quick Launch. A new Dataset based on the Excel Sheet will be created, and a new Dashboard based on the Excel File will also be created:

The new Dataset will allow me to explore the data that has been retrieved, as well as schedule or manually refresh the Data. With the new Dashboard, I can now create Charts based on the Data to fill out my Dashboard. We can drill into creating these charts by clicking on the new Dashboard Area. This will pull up and area that will allow us to create our Dashboards charts based on our Dataset. While not nearly as powerful as using PowerPivot, there are some similarities in the usage. We can create charts by simply clicking on the Columns we want to reference to build our charts:

Once you have your chart created, you can add it to the Dashboard by clicking on the Pin icon:

Now, we can look at our Dashboard, and see our visualizations all in one area.

So far, there are a few limitations with the overall experience on the product I can see. The most glaring seems to be that each Dashboard has to be tied to a specific Dataset. But since this functionality is in preview still, I’m hopeful this will be an area that Microsoft will address. But, based on what they have in preview, I can certainly see value in this product for the future.

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