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AI in Power BI: Know Your Audience

Microsoft's data analysis and visualization tool, Power BI, is notable for the how frequently it is improved. Every month, it gets better. And it's not just one or two small things, it's usually several significant changes, making it easier to create insights from data.


When designing reports, it's important to know both what is available based on your license, and also how you will be sharing the information.


Publish to web


Information derived from open data, such as community members might use to share insights about local government, are generally shared via Power BI's Publish to web. This allows the public to see the interactive charts, KPIs, maps, etc. without needing a login. (This is in sharp contrast to most other organizations, where sharing via Publish to Web could result in public display of confidential or proprietary information).





Similarly, local governments may make reports created from Power BI available to the public, to quickly understand information and insights from complex data. Local governments are also a key use case for Publish to web.


AI in Power BI: Not available for Publish to web


Power BI and the Power Platform have been getting a lot of AI updates. These tools help discover insights from the data.


The AI visuals are not available for Publish to web. Therefore, it's important for report designers to plan accordingly.




The icons for the visuals do not indicate whether they will work when the report is Published to web. When choosing an AI visual and designing with it, there is no indication that it will not work with Publish to web.


The report designer must be aware of the limitations, or will need to re-do the report with other visuals once finding out that they do not work once Published to web.


The charts, guages, matrixes, maps, etc. that are available with Power BI Publish to web are powerful, and report designers can create amazing insights with them.


If the audience is the public, report designers cannot use Power BI AI visuals. It's easy to come up with examples that would improve report design, that are not available with Publish to web:


Decomposition tree


The decomposition tree allows drilling down into the leading factors that influence an outcome. For example, which council districts tend to submit service requests, and for a particular council district, what method is most commonly used to make requests (e.g., phone, app/web [API], and which neighborhoods make the most requests with that method.





Q&A (natural language questions)


The Q&A visual lets users ask questions about the data, and see charts and other outputs that may not have been created by the report designer. For example, they could determine if there is a particular day of the week that typically gets the most constituent requests for service - even if this information is not shown anywhere on the report.




Know Your Audience


For Power BI insights to be shared with the public, such as may sourced from open data or created for public insights by local government, make sure to choose visuals that work with Publish to web!


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