Microsoft Power BI Visualizes Project Data, Supports Intune MDM

Users can now glean insights from Microsoft's cloud-based project management solution while administrators keep a lid on Power BI data on mobile devices.

Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft has added a Project Online content pack to the growing pile of content packs available for Power BI, the software giant's cloud-based business intelligence and analytics product.

"The Project Online content pack for Power BI allows you to explore your project data with out-of-box metrics such overdue projects or a burndown of current project work," Theresa Palmer, a Microsoft Power Query program manager, said in a Nov. 18 announcement. Project Online is Microsoft's Web-based project portfolio management software delivered via Office 365.

Once linked to a Project Online account, Power BI can start visually exploring metrics related to the status of their projects. "You can also try asking a question of your data, such as 'show total active project out of compliance' or 'active issues by priority in a donut'. If you're not sure of what to ask, select the question box for suggested questions," Palmer added. Users can further tune their results using Power BI's Fields and Visualizations panes.

Acknowledging that Power BI users may be exploring sensitive data on their smartphones and tablets, Microsoft also announced support for the company's mobile device management (MDM) platform, Intune.

"This new version of Power BI for iOS and Android enables organizations to better protect against access to sensitive information in the application and prevent data leakage," Microsoft's Power BI Team wrote in a Nov. 17 blog post. "In addition, organizations can do mass provisioning of the Power BI apps to a large number of employees at one time."

Among the new mobile-device management (MDM) capabilities, organizations can now require users to enter a PIN code to access the Power BI app and impose restrictions that prevent jailbroken phones or other out-of-compliance devices from accessing the app. Administrators can also disable screenshots, restrict copy/paste and impose data encryption protections, among other safeguards.

On the Web, Microsoft has added new customization options along with a new capability that allows more users to collaborate on Power BI.

Users can freely position dashboard tiles, organizing their data as they see fit. "Previously, tiles always gravitated toward the top-left corner of the dashboard unless there was another tile in the way. Now, you no longer are restricted to that layout when designing the layout of your dashboards," stated the Power BI group.

Full-screen mode features navigation improvements, including arrow key support, that make it easier to virtually flip through a Power BI report's pages. A new Duplicate Dashboard control allows users to create different reports using an existing dashboard as a starting point instead of starting from scratch, eliminating duplicate work.

Finally, Microsoft has made Power BI a little more welcoming to non-Azure Active Directory members.

"Until now, if you wanted to invite peers from your organization to your Power BI group, they needed to be in Azure Active Directory (they are already a user of Office 365 or Power BI user)," blogged the Power BI Team. "Now, you can invite peers from your organization to your group, even if they are not in Azure Active directory."

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...