You have created reports and built dashboards in Power BI desktop to surface your data from multiple data sources, it is a time for you to share dashboards to a wider audience in your organisation and looking for how to do it. Power BI service came up with a powerful feature of Power BI apps to cater such scenarios.
If you have not yet created reports or did not setup a gateway for leveraging our on-premises data, please follow my earlier posts Setup a Power BI Gateway and Create reports using a Power BI Gateway to do so.
Sharing and Collaborating in a Power BI service is a three-step process, each step is explained in this blog post. At a surface level, tasks are as follows:
- Creation of an App Workspace
- Publishing reports to an App Workspace
- Publishing a Power BI App
A typical usage scenario for a Power BI apps in Office 365 services is depicted below:
1) Create an App Workspace
App Workspace is a new concept introduced in Power BI using which you can collaborate on datasets, reports and dashboards (authored by members) and builds/package Power BI apps to be distributed to your wider audience.
- Log in to your Power BI service https://app.powerbi.com and click on your Workspace list menu on the left
If this is your first-time login, you need to create a new app workspace. (it’s just a new name for group workspaces)
- A form needs to be filled inside your Office 365 Power BI service for creating and a unique name is required for each app workspace
- Whilst creating the workspace, you need to set the privacy which can’t be changed later – so please decide carefully.
- And you need to set Permission levels for your workspace accordingly, please only add members who can edit content as viewers can be added later during publishing your Power BI app.
- Next step is to add users to it and set admins for the workspace. (default role is Member, change it for Owner against users you are intending to give administrator permissions)Note: you can only add individual users to this list, security group and modern groups support is not yet available at the time of writing this post.
- Upon reaching this step, your app workspace has been created successfully and is ready for use.
2) Publishing Reports to an App Workspace
Power BI app workspace is a collaboration tool, any member can create a model using their Power BI desktop and then publish it to a workspace so members can get advantage existing datasets, reports and dashboards. Follow the steps listed below to share your model in an app workspace.
- Open your Power BI desktop file (*.pbix) you have created earlier and hit the Publish button
- Select app workspace you want to publish your reports to:and Power BI desktop will start publishing reports to your Office 365 Power BI service
- Subsequent publishing to same app workspace will remind you if your data set already exists.
- Depending on the size of your data and internet speed may take some time to publish reports to Power BI service. Sooner or later you will receive a success message
- Upon reaching this step your reports, datasets and dashboards are published and available in your Power BI service.
3) Publishing Power BI App
- Login into your Power BI service and go to your app workspaces list and select your newly created workspace from the list
- On the right top, you will see a button to publish an app
- Provide description for the app in ‘Details’ tab, as your Power BI app will get the same name as of your app workspace
- In the next ‘Content’ tab, you will see a list of all contents within app workspace that will be published within this app. In this step, you can set a landing page of a Power BI app which users will see when they click on your Power BI app. I have selected a specific dashboard to be shown
- You will then need to set audience for your app in ‘Access’ tab, it can be either whole organisation or a combination of users or groups. On the top right corner, it will show you how many artefacts will be published within this Power BI app.
- Once you publish it, Power BI service will advise you the URL of your app as shown below:
AppSource and Power BI
Power BI users intending to use apps shared by other users or organisation must get apps first to use dashboards and reports from it.
- You need to go to ‘Apps’ menu in Power BI service (in the left menu)
- On selecting Apps from the menu will list apps you are subscribed to, if you are using it for the 1st time it’s usually empty and you need to click on ‘Get apps’ to get Power BI apps from AppSource store
- You can then select which apps you want to subscribe to from the list, they are listed by category
Behind the Scenes
The moment users create an app workspace, Office 365 group will be created in the background having the same name as of app workspace and users maintained as Office 365 groups users.
- Admins of the workspace will become Owners of the group
- Members of the workspace will become Members of the group
And a SharePoint site will be created as well with same members as of Power BI app workspace and Office 365 group.
You can see the details of users (admins/members) by checking ‘Site permissions’ menu under site settings