Microsoft Adds Collaboration Shortcuts to Power BI Mobile App

Mobile users can now share their business insights as they discover them, including those gathered from Mandrill, MailChimp's email campaign tracking platform.

Power BI

Microsoft wants to make it easier for users of the Power BI mobile app to share their business intelligence findings, keep an eye on group dashboards and monitor their Mandrill data.

An update to Power BI for Android now allows users to annotate and share snapshots directly from the dashboard, said Romi Koifman, program manager for Microsoft Power BI Mobile, in an Oct. 21 announcement. Users can also create favorites without leaving the dashboard view.

Group notifications have been enabled, alerting work colleagues when a new Power BI dashboard has been published to their group. Overall, they should also notice a snappier, more responsive PowerBI group experience. Koifman revealed that her team "made some major performance improvements to allow you a much faster experience when loading your groups on Power BI mobile apps and ordered all the groups alphabetically for [easier] browsing."

For email marketers, the company added support for Mandrill dashboards. "Mandrill is an email service [from MailChimp] which allows you to organize and send mass email campaigns and newsletters through an API," explained Koifman.

"Power BI leverages Mandrill by allowing you to instantly analyze trends and important information about your campaigns. With just a few clicks, you can import your data and transform it into a dashboard and a set of curated reports," she continued. "Explore your Mandrill dashboards on the go using your Power BI Mobile apps."

Microsoft streamlined the Office 365 user enrollment process, making it less time-consuming to log into the app. Also new is the addition of percentage-based line charts. "Power BI line charts with [percent] based Y-Axis now calculates the visual range according to your actual data. The graph will now start from the lowest data point you have instead of a default value to maximize the mobile real estate," Koifman said.

As is often the case with mobile apps, support for older devices starts to dry up. The iOS version of the app now only supports iPhone 5 and above "to accommodate the best possible experience of Power BI," stated Koifman.

Power BI's underlying Web service was also updated this week. It now supports read-only members within a Power BI group and new options that allow users to add featured questions to Power BI Q&A, the platform's automatically generated suggested questions tool. A new full-screen pop-out mode allows users to splash report charts across the entirety of their displays.

Finally, this month's update to the Power BI Desktop authoring tool will feature 23 new or improved features, including custom visualizations, announced Miguel Llopis, program manager for Microsoft Power BI.

"Users can now add their custom visuals to Power BI Desktop reports, which can then be shared with other users in the Power BI service," wrote Llopis in an Oct. 20 blog post. "Once included in the reports these new visuals behave exactly like the rest of the 'native' visuals of Power BI. You can filter them, cross highlight and control their formatting."

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...