The Power BI Report Contest

I just saw a tweet about the Power BI Report Contest; the finalists have been selected. I hadn’t submitted for this contest, but it’s still something exciting. With all the recent goodness that had gone into Power BI, and the little experiments that I have been doing on it, I was eager for inspiration and was sure this was going to give me some. But it just blew my mind; makes you ask “Is this even possible with Power BI?” — Take a look at the creations of the finalists, these are sure fire inspiration for my Power BI reporting in future: http://community.powerbi.com/t5/Best-Report-Contest/bd-p/BestReportContestJan2016

P.S. You can vote for your favorite entries which in turn will decide who wins…

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Integrating SSRS report items into Power BI

Last month I posted about configuring SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) to integrate with Power BI, which is a new feature included with SQL Server 2016, and adds more to the ever-growing capabilities of Power BI.

In this post I will explain the easy steps to publish report items from a report to a Power BI dashboard.

The first step is of course to build a report for SSRS, and then publish it to the report server. Make sure that the report server compatibility is set to the new “SQL Server 2016 or later” value. In my case, I quickly put together this ugly report that connects to the AdventureWorks database:

Reseller Sales report

Once published, and once you navigate to Report Manager and run the report, apart from the new toolbar, you will notice a “Pin to Power BI Dashboard” button on it. Clicking on this will confirm if you want to go through with signing in to Power BI and granting it permission to access your reports as well as other components.

Sign into Power BI

Permissions for Power BI

Once that’s all settled, you will be directed to choosing the report items that you want pinned to the dashboard. Notice that tablixes are disabled and only charts are allowed to be published. This makes sense since data on a tablix can grow to great lengths:

Click Report Item to pin

Clicking on an enabled report item prompts you to choose the dashboard and the frequency the report item should be refreshed with data:

Pin to Power BI Dashboard

Pin Successful

Lo and behold! The two report items are now pinned to an existing dashboard, and clicking on these report items will navigate to the report:

Dashboard with pinned report items

Behind the scenes Reporting Services creates a timed subscription per report item that is pinned. The timed subscription uses a SQL Agent job to refresh the report based on the selected latency. Hence, if you get this error when you are trying to pin a report item to a dashboard, then your SQL Agent is probably not running:

Can't Pin to Power Bi

All in all, I think this is an important feature in Microsoft’s suite of BI tools where components of enterprise reports can be pinned to a self-service dashboard, whereby giving more value and a greater chance for adopting the suite as a complete BI solution.