Microsoft Power BI Mobile Can Now ‘Drill Through’ to More Insights

The new Drill Through feature, a curated data-exploration component, is now available in Power BI mobile apps.

Power BI

Power BI's Drill Through data exploration feature is now available for Microsoft's business intelligence (BI) software's mobile apps.

First appearing in the Power BI Desktop client software, Drill Through allows users to create a guided, insight-gathering experience and add another layer of interactivity to their reports. Using filters, report authors can use existing data points as a launchpad for customs pages filled with charts and other data visualizations that lend additional perspectives.

For example, when a user taps on a data point within an IT spending report, authors can give users the option to explore how the funds were spent according to business unit, among countless other possibilities.

Now, iOS and Android users no longer have to crack open a laptop to use the Drill Through feature, Maya Shenhav a Power BI Mobile and Devices Program Manager at Microsoft, stated in a blog post. Her team also changed how the app's back button works, taking users back to the original report page they started from. Users wishing to retrace their steps can use the app's breadcrumb navigation instead.

Administrators, meanwhile, get new options that allow them to configure the Power BI mobile app's connection to Report Server, the on-premises report-hosting component for organizations that rather keep sensitive business data in-house rather than on Microsoft's cloud. IT departments can now use Intune or other enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions to set policies requiring the use of passwords to successfully connect to Report Server.

Finally, after collecting feedback from users, Microsoft has doubled the length of the app's canvas for phone-optimized reports.

Power BI Desktop allows authors to publish reports in a format that is optimized for iPhones, Samsung Galaxy smartphones and other devices that natively display content in an elongated portrait format. Now, the Power BI mobile apps make better use of all that on-screen real estate by allowing users to pack more charts, graphs and other data visualizations into mobile phone displays.

Power BI Desktop Improves Accessibility With High Contrast Mode

Reflecting Microsoft's ongoing efforts to promote workplace accessibility, the software giant has added support for high-contrast viewing modes in Power BI reports. High-contrast settings are often used by the visually impaired to consume on-screen content that may otherwise get lost among subtle color gradations and other design choices that pose a challenge to users with less-than-perfect eyesight.

"If you're using the high contrast mode Windows settings, your Power BI reports will now respect the color palette you're using," Microsoft Power BI Program Manager Amanda Cofsky, stated in a blog post. "When using Power BI Desktop, we'll automatically detect which high contrast theme you're using and apply those colors across your report, similar to the experience you're used to with other Microsoft products, such as Excel."

Likewise, the Power BI cloud service will attempt to detect the theme a user has configured on their device and automatically apply it to the report that’s currently displayed, explained Cofsky.

Other new updates to Power BI Desktop include a new Organization Chart custom visualization that helps businesses organize their workforces and new options that help users tweak their donut and pie charts. For example, users working with data pertaining to the Chinese market can obtain a new heat map visualization that lends more context to metrics originating from the region.

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...