Thursday, November 19, 2015

Power BI Mobile - a hidden gem

One of the hidden gems of the new Power BI 2.0 is the mobile app. It's free, available for the iPhone, Android and Windows mobile devices and it is very good.  Starting with the December, 2015 Power BI mobile app, you can view Reporting Services 2016 (SSRS) reports and KPI's as well.

Getting Started

There are only two steps to getting started with the Power BI mobile app.  Downloading it from the app store, and signing in with your Power BI login. Once you have signed in, you instantly have access to all your dashboards.

                       Main Menu                                                                 My Workspace

After selecting a dashboard, you are presented with all of the visualizations from the selected dashboard. Holding the phone in the normal portrait mode, each visualization is shown in a stacked, vertical  manner:

But if you hold the phone in landscape mode, the visualizations are shown similar to how they are organized in the dashboard.

Moving about the app

It's easy to move about the dashboards, reports and visualizations in the app. The visualizations are scaled well, and overall are easy to read. Tap on any individual visualization, and the app zooms into just that visualization. For the iPhone, they have included the ability to send it via Airdrop, email, add it to notes, print, etc.

Favorites and Sharing

While you are reviewing a dashboard, you can share it with another Power BI user. Or you can add individual visualizations to your favorites list. Handy once you have more than a few dashboards in your workspace


You can setup an alert, but only on what are called card tiles. These are the single number visualizations, such as the ones you find in the Retail Analysis Sample - for example: This Year's Sales.


One of the big selling features for Power BI is the interactive nature of the dashboards. Select an item, and all of the visualizations in the dashboard are adjusted. In the mobile tool, interactivity is limited to the single visualization.

Alerts are another area where the usage is limited.  For now, you can only setup an alert on a card tile. Great if your dashboard has one, but for many users, it will be awkward to have an endless number of card tiles just to support alerts on the mobile app.


If you are already using Power BI, this is a great addition, and for those that have a need to access their reports using a mobile device, the Power BI mobile app is a great start. Microsoft continues to improve Power BI, and has really ramped up the BI presentation toolkit. There are also indications that the upcoming release of Reporting Services for SQL Server 2016 will include support for mobile. That will benefit everyone.

1 comment:

Data Bear said...

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