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Unlock Power BI Insights from your Pocket

Chances are you’re not thinking creatively enough about what you can do with the device in your pocket.

In this age of self-service and modern BI, it’s not just about generating insights from your Project data but also the ease of accessing those insights. There’s never been a better time to ditch the old way of carrying hefty, chunky laptops and bring your business insights to your pocket with mobile BI.

Imagine you’re running a booth at a conference in another country or you are a project manager or company executive who travels frequently between multiple locations. Mobile BI lets you keep track of your key project metrics, key performance indicators (KPIs) and view your vital reports and dashboards in the palm of your hand — so you can make better business decisions while you’re on the go.

Microsoft is the leader in mobile BI so we thought we would highlight some of the latest developments in that space and how you can leverage Power BI so your business information travels as well as you do. In this blog post we’ll show you how can view and interact with your company dashboards from anywhere, anytime and from any device.

Mobile apps and devices

Power BI has native apps for all major mobile platforms and devices i.e. whether you’re an iOS, Android or Windows user — there is a Power BI app that you can download specific to your device. Great news is that the apps are free to download! As long as you have a Power BI account and content within that account, you will be able to access it via mobile apps. There’s also an app for the Apple Watch which gives you access to key insights and information through the KPIs and Card visuals within your Power BI dashboard. As of today Power BI apps exists for iPhone, iPad, iWatch, Android Phone, Android tablet and Windows 10 devices. The Power BI team is constantly evolving their apps and we’ll keep you updated as these changes happen.

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Phone-optimised reports and dashboards

Recently Microsoft announced the general availability of Power BI reports optimised for phones! This is very exciting news as it means you can tailor existing reports or develop new reports in Power BI desktop optimised for mobile use. How you ask? This feature lets you design visuals for your reports in a specially crafted portrait view for mobile devices. The phone optimised dashboard feature was made available late 2016 via the Power BI online service. If someone is viewing the dashboard in the mobile app and you happen to resize or configure a tile within that dashboard in the ‘Phone View’, the person viewing it will see your changes on their mobile phone as it happens in real-time.

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Annotate and share

This is another cool feature that we think project managers, executives and business people are going to love. The Power BI mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, Android Phone and Android Tablet allow you to take a snapshot of your dashboards and report views, add notes or comment and share it instantly with your colleagues via range of sharing options. Along with the snapshot, they also get sent a link to the actual dashboard or report to navigate to (provided they have access to it). On top of adding notes and comments, you can also add smiley faces and highlight certain areas using lines or stickers. Check this out below.

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QR Code

Say you’re a program manager always on the go and you don’t have time to browse multiple dashboards – how awesome would it be if you had a single tile that showed you total costs for all your projects by their status? You can leverage this feature to generate a QR Code for that tile and then download, save and use the Power BI mobile app to scan that code to view the tile instantly on your phone. You can even distribute, print or email that QR Code to anyone who has access to the dashboard. Scanning the QR code will show tile information in augmented reality i.e. the real-world tile will appear as a layer on the image captured by the phone’s camera. QR Code is also available for both iOS and Android mobile apps. Let’s take a look at how this can be achieved.

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In the Power BI mobile app (through left-hand navigation) click on ‘Scanner’ option and scan the QR code to download.

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Those were some of our favourite features – there’s lots more available within Power BI apps and we’ve highlighted a few of them for you below.

  • Data Alerts – Set alerts to be notified when data in dashboard changes beyond your specified limit.
  • Picture Tile – Take a picture with you phone camera and pin it as a tile on the dashboard. This feature is only available with Power BI mobile app for iOS.
  • Share and collaborate – Within mobile apps for both iOS and Android you can share your dashboards with other people in your organisation as well as get notified on your phone each time a team member adds a dashboard to one of your groups.
  • Real-time data support – Dashboards refresh in real time, so you don’t need to refresh them manually.
  • Request access to dashboards – If you scan a QR code for a dashboard that you don’t have access to, you can submit a request for access right from the mobile app.
  • Offline data access – Access the latest data for your dashboard through mobile app even when you’re offline.
  • SSRS reports – You can also view SSRS mobile reports through Power BI mobile apps.

Take the plunge into your pocket with mobile BI so you can keep track of your productivity insights while you’re on the go. And if you need a little help from a Sensei — we’d love to hear from you.
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Ankit Patira, BI Specialist & Reporting Revolutionary at Sensei 

Ankit is Sensei’s Power BI guru and specialises in Microsoft BI technologies, cloud based BI and self-serve and data analytics.  Hailing form a development background, the data and technology enthusiast has extensive experience across a variety of industries and markets and takes pleasure in revolutionising your reporting with dynamic, easy to understand and most importantly – meaningful insights.


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