Among lots of cool things about Power BI, one thing I really like is that as community we can provide ideas to Power BI team. Not like some other products, Power BI team puts some serious thoughts and processes behind those ideas, and they try hard to make those ideas become reality. For example, few months ago, incremental refresh was only available as a Premium feature and due to high demand from community, Power BI team decided to rollout it for Pro users as well.
In this post I’m going to list out top premium only features (as of now) worth fighting from as community. Obviously, my top list might not be your top list. Nevertheless, if you feel that particular feature is valuable for you, your client or to the community, please vote for it using the link given against each feature.
The motivation behind writing this blogpost is bit of a disappointment I had after announcing Power Deployment Pipelines feature only for Premium Capacity. Personally I believe that most of the business users cannot afford to pay for Power BI premium licensing, and this feature was something I was really looking forward as it makes my life easy as developers and it allow me to bring CI/CD practice to Power BI at last. Enough said, let’s go to premium only feature list.
1. Paginated Reports
Paginated reports, in other words old school SSRS reports, is something business users love and find very useful. It does not matter how fancy your dashboard or reports looks like. They still ask for that pixel perfect reports which they have been presenting as a printed copy to the board. Since this feature is not available in pro, I have seen some clients still maintain their existing SSRS server just to carter that requirement.
2. Deployment Pipelines
The very motivation behind this post. If you are a pro user, you need to manual copy PBIX file among different folders every time you need to deploy your changes to either QA or Production. Apart from that you need to change all connection information manually each time you do a deployment. However, with this feature, you can deploy reports/datasets with the matter of few clicks.
3. Machine Learning Modules
If you have a premium capacity you can use in-built AI functions within Power Query editor against your data. Apart from that, you can even use Azure Cognitive service to bring power of AI to your report. For example, if you have a text field with comments from users, you can perform sentimental analysis on that comments while loading data. Like the idea? You know what to do.
4. Read/Write XMLA Endpoints
With the introduction of XMLA endpoint, premium users now can use tools like Visual Studio, SSMS to create and modify Power BI datasets. With the introduction of this, cool features we used in analysis service such as translations, perspectives and calculation groups can now be enabled in Power BI datasets. Additionally, having access to the tabular database behind a Power BI dataset, XMLA endpoint enables lots of other possibilities which are restricted in Power BI.
5. Incremental Refresh for Data Flow
Although Power BI team has rolled out incremental refresh for datasets, still incremental refresh is not available to data flows for pro users.
6. Change Detection
In 2020-April version Power BI team announced that premium users now can refresh a Power BI report when there is a change to its data sources (Direct Query Only). This feature enables users to set automatic report refresh only when it’s required.
When I check for an idea for this, I could not find anyone has requested this for Pro users. May be because this feature is just 1 month old. Nevertheless, if you feel you need as a pro user, go and create a new idea for that.
7. Direct Query on Data Flow
Direct query for data flow is as of now premium only feature. By the time I write this post, I could not find an idea to make it available for Pro users. You can create an idea for that if you find it is important to you.
Well, as most of you, I’m also a pro user and I believe as community we can fight to get at-least some of these features enabled to make our life easier and give a better solution to our clients. Give your ideas, vote for ideas and contribute to the growth of the product we all love. Thanks for reading and stay safe!!