Common Power BI Use Cases

Common Power BI Use Cases and Licensing Options

Please be aware that in the early stages of Power BI service, all data security measures will not be fully developed for automatically securing sensitive data. Pro licensees are responsible for managing user permissions on their content and adhering to all relevant state and federal data security guidelines.
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I need to develop an interactive dashboard and share it with a small but known set of users (e.g., divisional leadership, department chairs) OR a larger, unknown set of users (e.g., all campus faculty and staff)

Development Flow: Create the report in the Power BI Desktop and then publish to the Power BI Service.

Licensing Options:

  1. Power BI Pro licenses for the report creator(s) and each of the viewers.
  2. Power BI Pro licenses for the report creator(s), Free licenses for each of the viewers, and Premium capacity added to the workspace in which the report is published.

Discussion: This example assumes that you are developing content which includes interactivity and user customizations, and not just a static report (see the next example for more basic report content).

  • Option A is more feasible for the small known group, though from a support standpoint, it isn’t ideal as it requires many Pro license requests for people who are only consuming content and probably don’t need the additional Pro license capabilities.
  • Option A would be a support nightmare for the large unknown group, as you’d have the above problem with many unnecessary Pro license requests, along with the need for a solid intake or onboarding process as new unknown users attempted to access your content.
  • Option B is clearly the best option for both use cases, provided you have access to a Premium workspace where you can share your content.

I need to create a static report that’s refreshed regularly and shared out through SharePoint/Teams.

Development Flow: Create an Excel file within a SharePoint document library.  This file needs to use Power Query to load data into a data model in order to be refreshable from the Power BI service.

Licenses Needed: Power BI Pro licenses for the report creator(s) so that it can be published to a Power BI workspace.

Discussion: This is a simplified workflow that doesn’t require Pro licenses for viewers or a Premium Workspace but can still take advantage of automatic Power BI data refreshes. Depending on the simplicity of the content and the technical proficiency of your users, this may be an attractive option for many existing UWM reports. For example, if you just need to share a simple table or don’t want to potentially confuse users with other Power BI options or provide training, this might be a solution.

Be aware that any users with access to this SharePoint document library will have access to the data in this report unless additional security precautions are taken. If you implement this solution, it is a good practice to manage document library permissions or create a new subfolder for this content with only the specific user(s) who require access to that data.

I want to create a report that’s refreshed occasionally, and I plan to refresh it myself manually.

Development Flow: Create an Excel file and make sure your computer has the necessary components to connect to the appropriate data sources (e.g., the Oracle client is needed to connect to the data warehouse, HRS EPM, WISDM). Share this file using an appropriate secure storage location.

Licenses Needed: None

Discussion: This example is intended to show that not all authoring use cases will require the capabilities of the Power BI service or additional licenses. Excel and Power Query can provide similar data source connection and report creation functionality without some of the built-in sharing and updating capabilities of Power BI.

Again, be aware that any users with access to your secure storage location will be able to access this content, even if they are not authorized to view the data. As a content author, you are responsible for adhering to all relevant data security policies and ensuring that this content is appropriately secured.