Power BI was launched almost 3 years ago.  It includes a free desktop application for authoring reports and a cloud service for publishing and sharing reports.  Since day one Microsoft promised to deliver an updated version of the PBI Desktop application each month – and they have honored this commitment, which is rare in the space.  Each release includes exciting new features that have been voted on by the PBI community.  Last week the Sept version (26th release!) arrived with a number of key improvements which helps associations understand and access data quickly.  Click here to view the Sept feature summary.

For me, two features, in particular, stand out:  Drillthrough to another report page and Explain the increase/decrease insights (preview).

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the Drillthrough report feature.  It allows you to drill-through from one page to a more detailed page using a filter on the originating page.  For example, let’s say we want to create a dashboard that shows the top 10 customers by customer engagement score.  On one page, we can create a summary visual such as a column chart showing the top 10 customers ranked by score.  We can now right click on one of the customers in the chart and “drill through” to another report page which contains more details about that customer such as contact information, recent orders, recent interactions with our website or whatever makes the most sense.

The Explain the increase/decrease insights feature is very cool. It lets us right click on a bar or a data point in a line chart and explain why the data point increased or decreased compared to the data point before it.  Behind the scenes, Microsoft runs their insights machine learning algorithms over the data to come up with a number of visuals describing which categories most influenced the increase or decrease.

We can then select the visual that best delivers the data story and add it to our report.  Click here if you want to see a video of this feature in action.   It’s currently in preview mode so there will be improvements made over the next couple of months as user feedback is gathered.

Give the Sept PBI Desktop release a try and start drilling and getting insights from your data today!