Microsoft Updates Power BI Ahead of July 24 Launch
The business intelligence tool gains an Office 365 application launcher and storage management options days before it emerges from beta.Power BI, Microsoft's cloud-enabled business intelligence (BI) platform, officially launches as a stand-alone product backed by commercial support on July 24. In the meantime, the company is bulking up the software's capabilities. A new Office 365 app launcher now provides quick access to the productivity suite's component software. "Now, you can easily move from Power BI to any of your other Office 365 applications. In next week's deployment you'll see even more integration with Power BI's usage of groups for Office 365," blogged the company's Power BI group. Support for the Office 365 groups' shared workspace technology is one of Power BI's major new collaboration features, allowing users to share and discuss their insights. Also new is custom URL support for Power BI's tiles, which display the product's visualizations, metrics and desired data points. "You can configure this on the Tile Details, found by hovering over a tile and clicking the pencil icon," instructed Microsoft. "In the left panel, click 'Set custom link' and enter the URL you want users to navigate to when they click on the tile." Another change to the user interface is new visual formatting for Q&A, a natural-language insight gathering module that allows users to explore data with plain-English searches.
"Once they get an answer, sometimes there are small tweaks or additions that users want to make to the visual returned as the answer," said the company. "To enable this we've added the Visualizations, Filter, and Field panes to Q&A. If I want to change the visual from line to bar chart, I just click on the bar chart icon."