Every story with a superhero has a villain. Or in most cases a stock of villains that re-emerge in different guises over time. For the Joker, Penguin, and Riddler think of the ongoing challenges that come with digital transformation—for example, modernizing legacy apps and embracing remote working while tightening security.
But who is the hero in this story? With Microsoft’s Power Platform it’s you. It’s your colleagues. It’s HR, Finance, Sales. It’s everybody. Because, with the Power Platform and its low-code functionality, every employee (regardless of technical IT expertise) has the power to fly, punch, and kick their way through any obstacle blocking digital change.
Now Microsoft is unleashing a new power. Aggregation in Power BI is the latest feature of the Power Platform to become supercharged. Let’s explore what this means for the superheroes driving digital transformation at your organization.
First, a quick recap or origin story, as it were. What is the Microsoft Power Platform?
The Power Platform is a set of applications which provide easy-to-use, low-code tools that empower employees across the business to take part in digital change. Transformation projects are no longer the sole remit of IT professionals and data specialists. The burden can be shared collectively, with contributions directly from the line of business. Thanks to low code tools, business leaders are learning that there are heroes in every corner of the organization.
The Power Platform helps businesses transform what’s possible with data, whether that’s using data to build better applications, gain meaningful business intelligence, or streamline workflows. As the business intelligence arm of the platform, Power BI is at the center of everything, providing interactive dashboards and reports that make it easier to gain actionable insights from the information in your organization. In many ways, Power BI is the eyes of the business, allowing you to see what is going on in real-time, and then plan what action to take.
What is aggregation in Power BI?
When working with data, users often need to reach for their math skills to combine values in a dataset. It might be to perform a sum, an average, or a count, etc. It’s called “aggregation” when values are combined like this.
Aggregation in Power BI can be manually configured in the data model or automatically by enabling it in dataset settings. Power BI’s visualizations will aggregate data for you to provide a wide array of insights to work with. But sometimes users need something different to what is provided by default.
To overcome this, users can carry out their own aggregations, called user-defined aggregations, but, up until now, this has been quite a complicated task. These Power BI aggregate functions will likely be beyond the skillset of an average employee—and not the simple process that makes the Power Platform so easy to use for so many employees.
But this is about to change.
Why automatic aggregations kick ass
As Microsoft explains: “Automatic aggregations use state-of-the-art machine learning (ML) to continuously optimize DirectQuery datasets for maximum report query performance.”
This means users won’t need the data modelling and query-optimization skills that would otherwise be required. The machine learning aspect allows these aggregation models to be self-training and self-optimizing. Dataset owners of any skill level can configure, maintain, and improve query performance, providing faster report visualizations for even the largest and most complex datasets.
Aside from being accessible for a wider set of employees, the benefits of automatic aggregation in Power BI include:
- Faster report visualizations
- Balanced architecture
- Easy setup
There’s a lot more to explore than we have space for here. We recommend getting in touch with our experts, or you can read about automatic aggregations in more detail on the Microsoft website. We should add that these upgrades to aggregation in Power BI are still in the roadmap and preview stage, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get ready to unleash Microsoft’s latest superhero power.
Unleash your superhero power with Bauen
Microsoft continues to raise the bar with its Power Platform by rolling out new functionality like automatic aggregation in Power BI. It’s always good to keep an eye on the roadmap to see what’s next in the pipeline.
At The Bauen Group, we can help you keep on top of the latest upgrades and, more importantly, ensure you get the most value from your Microsoft investment. As Power BI aggregate functions are the latest area to get a significant upgrade—we can help your users get to grips with the new functionality and understand how it can help your organization get more value from its data.
To learn more about how Power BI can drive successful digital transformation at your organization, get in touch with the team at the Bauen Group today.