November 10, 2020

Power BI Governance: Refining and Maintaining Your Power BI Strategy

Post by: Marcus Radue

Sharing content, report design, workspace and app setup are all vital to effective Power BI Governance (and have been covered in detail in this series). A delivery strategy for each of these areas is essential in your organization’s overall governance of Power BI. One final key element is a decision on how you’re going to monitor and performance-tune your existing content in your Power BI tenant.

To help you guide your Power BI strategy implementation, this blog covers some monitoring strategies as well as guidelines on establishing a Center of Excellence.

Monitoring Methods

Analyze Power BI Adoption
You can retrieve information about Power BI adoption within your organization through the Power BI activity log or the Office 365 audit log by reviewing the Power BI REST APIs or PowerShell cmdlets. With this data, you can see which users are most active within workspaces or apps. You can also see which reports and dashboards they’re accessing the most.

Capture Power BI Metadata & Metrics
Similarly, you can understand your Power BI metadata and activity metrics from the data you obtain from those PowerShell cmdlets or APIs. This can be referred to as your Power BI inventory. You can use it to get answers to questions like:

  • How many workspaces are set up?
  • How many apps do we have?
  • How many users do we share a workspace or app with?
  • How many reports or datasets are in those workspaces or apps?
  • Which Power BI objects are being used the most? The least?

I can’t stress enough how critical it is to have a solution in place around Power BI audit log extraction as a part of your overall Power BI governance plan.

Bonus: if you’re using Power BI Premium, there is a Capacity Metrics app that’s pre-created by Microsoft that you can download from the AppSource menu.

Performance Tuning

Once you have created your content, sometimes you’ll run into roadblocks with underperforming visualizations or queries, or datasets taking a long time to load and refresh. Below are some resources that can help you start tuning those datasets, DAX and visualization queries.

Center of Excellence

The culmination of every aspect of your Power BI governance strategy is in a Center of Excellence (COE). A Center of Excellence offers a cross-discipline space for people using and building Power BI content to learn, collaborate, share, and develop best practices for the organization. Unless you’re going to choose a pure corporate BI strategy, a COE is invaluable.

If you want to deploy Power BI in a self-service environment (whether that’s entirely business-led or a hybrid), a COE helps ensure you have a common area to share and collaborate with your resources and best practices. It’s also the ideal location to share standardized content that your business users can easily reuse.

To make the most of your COE, I recommend including community tools, training resources, and best practice guidelines for both content consumers and creators. It’s helpful to divide up your content by those who will be creating reports vs those who will be solely consuming those reports.

Community Resources

I strongly recommend including community resources like:

  • Microsoft documentation
  • Summaries of monthly desktop updates
  • Links to helpful blogs, tips, videos, webinars, etc.
  • Local user group information

Feel free to add any other resources to help your Power BI end users refine their skills, learn new skills, and improve your Power BI content.  

Data for Consumers and Creators

In your COE, you should include information in two distinct categories: content creators and content consumers. That’s because you’ll often have one group creating Power BI reports and datasets, and another group will be exclusively consuming that content.

Content Consumers
Content consumers don’t need the same resources as creators. They may be heavily using apps and other Power BI service-only features, but they don’t need to know the ins and outs of data modeling and report creation. Point these users to resources that will help them easily access the features they need.

Content Creators
On the other hand, content creators should be pointed toward resources that increase their skills – like a Power BI report creation or a dimensional modeling training course. An idea to incentivize end users to take a training would be an exchange for a Power Pro license. For content creators, it’s also valuable to share tips and tricks about key Power BI topics. These may include:

  • Data modeling techniques
  • How to create a star schema data model (which is vital when building Power BI datasets)
  • Dax and Power Query resources (because this technology is built off the Analysis Services engine for tabular modeling)
  • Report creation technique and best practices (see my previous blog about report design strategy for key insights)
  • Monthly office hours
  • Backgrounds and templated files
  • Theme files for Power BI
  • Tips and tricks about dashboard creation, apps, workspaces, and how to distribute content within your Power BI tenant

Conclusion

In this blog series, I’ve gone through everything related to Power BI governance starting from your overall delivery strategy to how to refine and maintain that strategy with a Center of Excellence. Be sure to check out our other blogs, training offerings, and resources to get the most out of your data and Power BI.

If you have any questions, or want help applying data strategy to your organization, you can reach out to us. We are happy to help.

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