Power BI Quarterly Blog Q1 2024

Most interesting Power BI changes in Q1 2024

Introduction

With Lytix we try to stay updated on the latest developments in Power BI and help our audience to do the same. That’s why we make a habit of posting the most interesting changes in the Power BI landscape every quarter. Below you can find the most interesting topics for the latest quarter.

Premium Licensing will change!

Using Power BI Premium capacity? A change in licensing is coming!

Microsoft has announced significant changes to the licensing options for Power BI Premium, transitioning from Power BI Premium per capacity (P) SKUs to Microsoft Fabric capacity (F) SKUs. Following the General Availability of Microsoft Fabric in November 2023, the Power BI licenses and Microsoft Fabric licenses will be merged together. Existing customers can use their current licenses until their renewal dates, after which they will need to switch to Microsoft Fabric (F) capacities.

What can you expect?

New customers will no longer be able to purchase the retiring Power BI Premium capacity SKUs after July 1, 2024. Existing customers without an Enterprise Agreement may continue their subscriptions until January 1, 2025. As of 2025, all P licenses will be converted to F licenses. Those with an Enterprise Agreement can renew their subscriptions until the end of their current agreements. This update does not affect Power BI Pro and Power BI Premium per user licenses!

What with my costs?

Depending on additional usage of the new Fabric objects in your tenant, the price can increase if it doesn’t fit your F capacity. There is an option to reserve a Fabric capacity for a year, this will cost you around the same as your current P license, you can see the difference in the Power BI Pricing overview (although in some languages it says that the price “Varies”). You can also have a look at the Fabric pricing options for full per hour pricing details, and they seem to add up to be a little bit more expensive than your current P license. You can contact us to have a look at your license price together.

What do you need to do?

You can simply reassign your workspaces to the new Fabric capacity. Administrators can even bulk assign workspaces to accelerate the process. A how-to is provided by Microsoft in the Microsoft Learn documentation.

For more details, you can read the full announcement on Microsoft’s Power BI blog.

What is Power BI Reflex?

Reflex items are now available for preview in Power BI premium workspaces.
Power BI now offers the ability to monitor datasets, queries and event streams for patterns to trigger actions and alerts.
Reflex items are part of the Data Activator which is a solution to monitor data to trigger alerts and automated actions, so your organization adapts to changing conditions in real time.

You can use the “Set alert” button when viewing a report to set up a Reflex item. Here you will be presented with a couple of settings to set up the alert like: notification type (email of Teams), where you can save the item, …
You can find more information about setting up Reflex here.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you would like to discuss this feature.

Visual calculations in Power BI

A while ago, Microsoft Introduced a feature aimed to relieve some of the pain caused by the difficulties the default DAX language poses on lots of data modelers & report developers nowadays.

Visual Calculations are DAX measures, specifically executed and limited to the scope of a Power BI visual, which removes the complexity of the data model when writing them.

Below, you can find an easy example where we calculate the running total for Scores displayed per month. As you can see, the DAX code Is very straightforward and correctly gives us the running total.

Visual calculation

Normal DAX Measure

Now, assume we need to obtain that same result using a normal DAX measure, hence a measure that Is not limited to the scope of a Power BI visual but one that exists within the Power BI data model.

As you can see below, the code becomes a bit more complicated and requires an understanding of the DAX engine. On the graph, you can see the result Is exactly the same as with the visual calculation.

Now, assume we need to obtain that same result using a normal DAX measure, hence a measure that Is not limited to the scope of a Power BI visual but one that exists within the Power BI data model.

As you can see below, the code becomes a bit more complicated and requires an understanding of the DAX engine. On the graph, you can see the result Is exactly the same as with the visual calculation.

Visual Calculations vs. Normal DAX Measures

The main differences between visual calculations and normal DAX Measures consist of the following:

  • Scope
    As previously mentioned, visual calculations are limited to the scope of a Power BI visual, while normal DAX measures take Into account the complexity of the data model.
  • Complexity
    Because normal DAX measures require an understanding of the data model and how the DAX engine Interacts with this, these tend to be more complex and require a steeper learning curve than visual calculations.
  • Performance
    Visual calculations are operating on aggregated data, virtually stored within the visual, which makes them faster compared to normal DAX measures, as they are executed on the raw data structure.
  • Reusability
    A direct consequence of the scope Is that visual calculations cannot be reused across different visuals. This makes them a good fit for self-service business Intelligence, but less convenient when constructing an enterprise-wide set of reports.

Conclusion

Visual calculations are a nice addition to the skillset of self-service users In Power BI. It removes the complexity of the data model and makes the user experience more Intuitive and comparable to an Excel report experience. However, caution Is recommended as it may become difficult to keep track of the amount of visual calculations over time.
More information on the topic is available here.

Written by

Tibo Vandermeersch

Consultant @ Lytix

Ken Meeus

Manager @ Lytix

Yoren Lievens

Consultant @ Lytix