The data visualization tools in Microsoft Power BI can transform raw data into actionable information, but you still have to find a way to disseminate that information to the decision makers who need it. One of the best ways to accomplish this task is by sharing your Power BI dashboards and reports.
The advantage to sharing a Power BI dashboard versus mass distribution is that you can target and tailor each report for a specific individual, group, team, department, or entire enterprise as necessary. Once you have created your Power BI dashboard, sharing is not difficult, but there are some steps involved and a few caveats to consider.
This TechRepublic how-to tutorial offers a step-by-step look at how to share your Power BI dashboards and reports.
Learning to share
The key thing to remember about Power BI sharing is that it is domain based. In other words, if my Power BI dashboard is created under the markwkaelin.com domain, it can be shared only with other email addresses in that domain. It is important that the enterprise IT department and Office 365 administrators understand this limitation and plan accordingly.
To share a dashboard, first open Power BI. In this example, I am using the Office 365 version. Next, navigate to the dashboard you want to share. Right-click the dashboard name in the navigation panel or click the Share button on the tab bar in the upper-right corner. Either method will take you to a screen where you can list the email addresses of the people you want to share this dashboard with in your enterprise. It should look something like Figure A.
As you can see, you can send a message with each invitation, which will be a good place to explain what you are sharing and why. Also note the two check boxes located near the bottom of the screen. The first lets you grant permission to recipients to re-share your dashboard with others. The second will send an email to each invitee with a link to your shared dashboard.
Any invitation recipient not already registered with a Power BI account will have to register before they can accept and view the dashboard. Under most circumstances, the process is not a problem, but it is an added step you may wish to warn people about in a message.
The key benefit to sharing Power BI dashboards is that when the dashboard is updated, either manually or automatically from a file located on OneDrive, for example, the users viewing the shared version will also be updated. This way every user viewing the dashboard will always be up to date and seeing the same information.
Once your Power BI dashboard is shared, you will have access to a Shared Dashboard Admin screen, where you can see which users have accepted your invitation and which have not. This admin screen will also allow you to revoke a user's shared status when needed.
Because you can create separate dashboards using the same dataset, you can tailor each report to specific users and share only the information each user needs to see. This can greatly decrease the amount of data clutter users must wade through on a regular basis, which simplifies everyone's life just a little bit—rarely a bad thing.
The Power BI how-to series
This tutorial is the fourth in a series of tips and tricks that will help you reap the benefits of Power BI and data visualization. The series also includes these topics:
- How to configure an Excel file for use in Power BI
- How to create your first Power BI dashboard
- How to harness OneDrive to keep your Power BI dashboard fresh
The entire series is available as a PDF ebook.
- Microsoft wants to bring better data visualization to your enterprise
- Microsoft Ignite: Nadella outlines 4 pillars for democratizing AI
- Mobile analytics: 10 great apps to visualize big data on the go
- Tech leaders: it's time to stop shadow reporting and provide intelligent data
How many reports do you receive in a week? How much of what is shared with you could you do without? Send your thoughts and opinions to your peers at TechRepublic in the discussion thread below.
Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.