Power BI is a collection of various tools and techniques used to analyze raw business data and visualize it to improve the performance of an organization. Business Analysts use Power BI to discover hidden patterns and relationships between the data variables to reveal competent information which can be shared with the other users of an organization. To learn more about Power BI, check out the blog on Power BI.
Below are the topics that will be covering in this blog:
What is a Power BI App?
Apps in Power BI are software programs designed for the mobile users to interact with their business data. It connects with both On-premises and On-cloud data, which helps the user to view shared dashboards and reports through Power BI Report Server.
Power BI Report Server is an on-premise report server that manages reports and Key Performing with a web portal. It allows you to create different types of reports including mobile reports, paginated reports, and KPIs.
With Microsoft Intune, a cloud-based service that focuses on mobile application and device management, organizations can control items like data encryption and access pins. In this way, data handling by these applications becomes easier and more efficient. The model author with other collaborators or users can create a workspace to create reports and dashboards, which can then be shared on apps for a larger base of consumers.
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When should you use Power BI App?
Power BI provides premium licensing, also known as the “capacity license”, mainly used by organizations with a broad group of consumers. Some activities in Power BI like data transformation, modeling, or publishing may not be used by all individuals seeking benefits from Power BI. It’s important for an organization to distinguish between the ‘Super users’ and the ‘consumers’ to carve out the best license plan.
At the same time, super users or authors have to distinguish between the production and development environments, which can be solved with the help of the Power BI application.
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Power BI Apps vs Workspace
Below are the key differences between Power BI Apps and Workspace:
|It allows the business users to view and interact with the reports shared by Power BI Service. ||Workspace is a shared environment where the authors and administrator can collaborate and create visualizations|
|Non-premium users cannot access the content listed in the Apps||Non-premium users can access the content listed in the Workspace as a viewer |
|Reports and dashboards can be distributed to a larger audience. ||Mainly used for small team interactions. |
|Custom navigation and embedded content to make the reports more interactive.||The workspace doesn’t have many customizations. |
|Users cannot personalize or create filters for existing reports/dashboards.||Users can personalize the reports and create filters. |
Now that you’ve learned about applications and the difference between them and the Power BI workspace, let’s have a look at some of the advantages and limitations of the apps in Power BI.
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Advantages of Apps in Power BI
It provides an easy way for the designers to create interactive reports and dashboards and bundle them together in an app. As the visualizations are bundled together, it’s easier to install the app on both mobile devices and Power BI Service and access the visuals.
Below are some of the major advantages that apps have over the workspace:
- Accumulates all the content in one place, so that the user doesn’t have to remember the names of all reports and can easily access them on browsers and mobile devices.
- The author can schedule how often the data gets refreshed. The user gets a notification of the changes done by the author or can directly see them on the interface.
- Allows the author to set restrictions and permissions for certain parts of a report. Now, the users can only access a portion of the report, which the author wants them to see.
- Cleaner UI as compared to the workspace. Also, the author can customize the interface based on the requirements and the users it’s going to be shared with.
- Best for deploying reports for a larger audience and separating them from the development team.
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Limitations of Apps in Power BI
Although it provides a lot of benefits to both users and designers, there are some areas where it’s not much efficient as compared to the workspace:
- The user cannot personalize or apply filters to the reports being shared on the apps.
- If a report shared on the app needs to be connected with a different dataset, you have to exclude it from the app, rebind with the dataset, and again include it in the app.
- A non-premium user cannot see a report being shared on the app. However, the workspace provides viewer access to non-premium users.
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Getting started with Power BI Apps
Power apps in Power BI provide a way to view and interact with the company dashboards from anywhere in the world. This allows the user to visualize both On-premise and On-cloud data in real-time. We’ll consider the mobile to be an Android device for this guide, but the process is pretty much the same for other ones.
To get started with the apps in Power BI, you first have to create and publish a report on Power BI Service, for which you can check out our blog on Power BI Desktop. After that, follow the steps given below to create a workspace and make dashboards in Power BI Service.
- Click on the public button on the ribbon of the Home tab and your report will open in the web browser.
- At the bottom left corner, there will be a dropdown menu for the workspaces. Select My workspace to see the reports and dashboards you’ve created.
- Open the report, go to the 2nd page, and select Edit>> pin to a dashboard on the top side. A dialog box will appear where you can select or create a new dashboard and add the visualization.
Now that you’ve created the dashboard, let’s install the app and share the reports/dashboards with other users.
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Install the Power BI App
There are different ways to get Power apps in Power BI:
- Get the app from the marketplace in Power BI Service
The user can install both organizational and template apps from the applications marketplace. Organizational apps are available in Power BI for a particular organization.
It provides pre-built reports and dashboards that a user can customize and use for measuring team performance, tracking sales, While the pre-built visualizations in the template can only be connected to other services like Google Analytics, Microsoft Dynamics, SalesForce, etc.
To install the app, follow the steps given below:
- Open the Power BI service and Sign in with your Power BI account.
- On the left side, select Apps>> Get apps in Power BI app navigation.
- A Power BI workspace will open with three available tabs to use:
There will be three tabs for you to choose from:
All apps: browse both organizational and template apps available on your account.
Organizational Apps: browse organizational apps shared with your account.
Template Apps: browse template apps hosted by the AppSource.
- Now, select Get it from the AppSource to install it.
- If you’re trying to install the template app, the interface will take you to the AppSource, where you can go through a short tutorial and install a sample app from the app’s marketplace. For organizational apps, you can directly add them to the list.
- Install the app from the direct link
An organizational app can be downloaded using a direct link sent to your email. On your computer, select the link mentioned in the email, and Power BI Service will open on your browser.
Now, select the link based on the OS of your mobile device and install the application.
- The designer or an administrator can directly install the Power BI app in your Power BI account. However, in this case, you’re restricted to download the app from the direct link if you only have Power BI mobile. You can download it from the list of apps created by the designer in your account.
Interact with the Dashboards and Reports
Power BI Service allows you to connect with many services running on your business like Google Analytics, Salesforce, and Microsoft Dynamics. Here, you can create workspaces, make dashboards and share them on Power BI apps with other users.
To connect the services with an app, follow the steps given below:
- Sign in to your Power BI website and see all the services you can connect with.
- After successful sign-in, you can view all the dashboards, reports, and other visualizations in your workspace. Also, you can share them with your colleagues in the form of apps.
- Go to AppSource by selecting the Apps option from the left side and search for the service you want. Go to the app, open it, and you’ll see a prompt like this.
- Select an option and click on the app card to see the details.
- The layout for every app would be slightly different, but some features like the report page canvas, action bar, return to the home button, and more. These features are used to view and interact with the shared visualizations on it. You can also update app Power BI by accepting update notifications you’ll get.
In this blog, we learned about the applications of Power BI and how you can start using them to share reports and dashboards with other users. Apps have many features as compared to the Power BI workspaces. Also, it provides an easy way for the designers to separate published reports from the ones in progress. However, the apps don’t allow non-technical users to view or interact with any reports and dashboards shared by other users.
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