Deploying Power BI to the Enterprise

When you’re deploying Power BI to the enterprise, the maze of options – each with its own set of benefits and limitations – can be truly mind-boggling. Making the best choices for an optimal deployment is complex.

In this on-demand webinar, get information to help you confidently navigate the sea of Power BI options. We discuss some typical use scenarios, tradeoffs and major considerations to keep in mind when planning an enterprise rollout of Power BI.

You will learn:

  • Is Power BI Pro enough? When should we move to Premium?
  • When and why to use
    • Power BI Pro (with Power BI service)
    • Power BI Premium
    • Power BI Report Server
    • Non-Power BI applications (SSRS, SSAS, Azure AS)
  • Tradeoffs: cost, capacity and features
  • Right-sizing Power BI for your organization to meet today’s needs and prepare for tomorrow’s growth
  • Considerations when planning a deployment
    • Processing power
      • Shared capacity vs. dedicated capacity
    • Reporting formats
      • Interactive reports (optimized for screens)
      • Paginated reports (optimized for printing or PDF)
    • Data sources, processing and storage
      • On-premises vs. cloud data sources
      • Dataflows and datasets
      • Direct queries vs. imported data

The Power BI ecosystem is complex. Understanding the considerations and tradeoffs of the available options will help ensure you optimize the rollout of Power BI for your organization.

If you determine Premium is the right fit for your organization, read our whitepaper, Preparing to Deploy Power BI Premium.


Steve Reed-Pittman
Director of Enterprise Architecture and Engineering
Senturus, Inc.

Steve brings 25+ years of experience in business and technology to his role at Senturus. From hands-on problem solving to high-level strategic planning, he has delivered a broad range of software and systems architecture, engineering and integration projects, both on-premises and in the cloud. With constant attention to the intersection between business needs and technical options, he partners with our clients to help them leverage the right modern BI solutions for their current and future needs.

Adam Harper
Senior Microsoft Architect
Senturus, Inc.

Adam is an active member of Microsoft advisor groups including Power BI Advisors and the Power BI Customer Advisory Board.

Machine transcript

Greetings and welcome to the latest installment of the Senturus Knowledge series. Today, we’re excited to be presenting to you on the topic of deploying Power BI to the enterprise, helping you navigate the maze of options in Power BI as you scale in your organization.

Before we jump into the core of the presentation, we’ve got a few housekeeping items. The GoToWebinar control panel on your desktop.

You can help us make the session interactive. You can expand or collapse it by using the orange arrows.

And while we do have all the microphones muted for this presentation, we do encourage you to submit questions via the question section.

And while we do try to answer those questions live, and we’ll do so today, if we’re unable to, we will complete the question log and post them on, along with the presentation. Which brings us to the slide, how do we obtain this presentation? Everyone always asks the question, can I get a copy of the deck?

And the answer is an unqualified absolutely.

It is already available on under the Resources tab.

And then go to the Resources Library, or you can click on the link that was just posted in the GoToWebinar control panel.

While you’re there, make sure you bookmark the library as it contains lots of valuable content addressing a wide variety of business analytics topics.

Our agenda today, after some introductions, we will get into the core of the presentation featuring Enterprise Power BI components. A discussion around pro versus premium what do we need?

Let’s talk about dataflows and their use for data preparation and dataset query modes for performance and security.

Then stick around after that for a brief Senturus overview, for those of you who may not be familiar with who we are, and what we do, some great additional, almost generally entirely free resources. And then we’ll do the aforementioned Q and A at that point.

So introductions, I’m pleased to be joined today by my esteemed colleagues, Mr. Steve Reed Pitman and Mr. Adam Harper.

Steve, when he’s not playing a stunt double for John Krasinski, brings more than 25 years of experience in business and technology to his roles as hands-on problem solving to high level strategic planning. He’s delivered a broad range of software and systems architecture engineering and integration projects, both on premise and in the cloud.

With constant attention to the intersection between business needs and technical options, partners with our clients, to help they use the right modern BI solutions to their current and future needs.

Adam Harper is a Senior Microsoft Architect and a very active member of Microsoft Advisory Groups, including the Power BI Advisory Group and Power BI Customer Advisory Board.

Beyond the Microsoft BI platform at General Motors he worked as a solution architect for the clinical research institute and started power pivot development when it was first released for a pharmaceutical company. On top of all that, Adam has also worked with MicroStrategy and has vertical experience in both the telecom and oil and gas industry.

My name is Mike Weinhauer, and I play a lot of different roles here at Senturus. It is my great pleasures being the host of these webinars and I’m pleased to be here with you today.

So before we get into the core of the presentation, we always like to get a finger on the pulse of our audience here and so we have some polls that we’d like you to interact with you and let us know where Power BI is currently used in your organization and it’s a select only one. Do you use it in one or more to … one or more divisions, or business units, enterprise wide, or do not currently use it?

And we’ll give you just a few seconds to answer that, get your answers in here, or the 5% people have voted.

Just a couple more seconds to get those votes in here.

Have two thirds you, given your votes, kind a quieter audience today. And it looks like kind of split evenly between one or more departments. One or more divisions, a small percentage of you enterprise wide, and then a full test not currently using it.

Interesting. All right, thank you for sharing your insights there. And then we have a second poll before we get into the core of the presentation.

Which versions of Power BI do you use today, and this is a multiple choice. You can select all that apply to use the free desktop to use Pro Premium, or None of the above.

If you don’t know, you can put in your best guess.

Getting a little quicker on the trigger, this time.

A few more seconds.

OK, two thirds, you, and here are the results.

So you have a two thirds, using free and are pro. Only about 20% isn’t premium that’s interesting.

And then another 13% using none.

Alright well, thank you for sharing as always you’re situation some information about your enterprise, your organization. And with that I will hand the microphone over to Mister Reid Pitman for the core of the presentation, Steve it’s all yours.

All right thank you, Mike. And can you just confirm, for me, Mike that my screen is showing properly? Yep, you’re good audio, video.

All right.

All right, well, welcome, everybody.

Thank you, Mike, for the introductions. As Mike said, today, we’re going to cover deploying Power BI to the enterprise and given some of the poll results, I can see that many of you are already pretty familiar with some of the features of Power BI. So I’m going to move quickly through some of the initial content. Because part of that content is covering feature considerations, although that will be helpful. For those of you who aren’t using Power BI extensively and your organizations yet, it’ll probably be familiar to a lot of you. But the first thing I want to do is provide a little disclaimer. Just to remind everybody that Power BI is a fast evolving platform.

New features and enhancements are released monthly, and so it’s always best to visit the Microsoft Documentation site to get the latest and greatest feature information. Everything in today’s presentation is current as of this moment, but Microsoft does have a way of adding features, and also periodically expanding coverage of features. So there sometimes will be features that were a Premium only that will become available to Pro licenses. So, again, that’s best, always to check Microsoft for the latest information.

So, the first thing I want to talk about today is Enterprise Power BI Components. And now, as most of you know, there is a free Power BI license. I’m not going to talk too much about the free license today, because, for the most part, it’s not applicable in Enterprise environments.

The exception being, if you’re a premium, an organization using Power BI Premium, free licenses do come into play for consumers.

So, I’m going to cover some of the most commonly used components that you’ll encounter when you’re rolling Power BI out, in the enterprise that includes the Power BI Pro license, the standard Power BI Service, Power BI Premium options, the Power BI Gateway. The Report Server, and some other applications and services that you’ll commonly find either in use are integrated with the Power BI rollout.

Now, which one of these you need for your organization? Really depends, and we’ll talk a little bit about what the, what the different reasons are for different pieces.

So, first up, as Power BI Pro, Power BI Pro is as per user license, and the key thing that Power BI Pro provides is, it enables users to do sharing and collaboration, obviously in an enterprise situation, you want to be able to share your reports.

So essentially, every user in the organization needs a Power BI Pro license in order to access shared content.

The exception to that is that content that is published in Power BI Premium.

Shared content and Power BI Premium actually can be accessed without a pro license, and I’ll talk a little bit about the nuances of that, an event. But regardless of whether your organization is using power by Power BI Premium, or not every user in the organization who creates, or publishes content, does have to have a Power BI Pro license. So even in the situation where you use Premium, you will need some Pro licenses.

Pricing on Power BI Pro is per user, currently that’s $10 US per month for Power BI Pro licenses.

Next up is the Power BI Service. This is the standard cloud based service for Power BI. There’s no additional cost to this, to the service that, by default, you will publish to if you’re using a pro license.

You can also publish to the Power BI service with a free license, however, that content can’t be shared with other people. So again, you really need Pro licenses in order to do the distribution and in order for users to consume shared content.

One other note about the Power BI service is that it operates on a shared capacity basis. So like, premium. You do not have reserved compute resources for your content that’s running and the Power BI service. So what that means is, your workloads are distributed across the cloud, along with everybody else’s service. So you have this guarantee of consistency in terms of execution times and responsiveness.

Next up is Power BI Premium. Power BI Premium is sort of like the Power BI service on steroids.

And what Premium offers is it gives you dedicated cloud capacity, like the regular standard service that allows you to publish and share Power BI content. However, it does give you, reserved a dedicated capacity that you can control and administer internally. So it does give you the ability to have more control over the performance of your environment.

Another big benefit of premium is it allows users with Power BI free licenses to access shared content.

So once you bump up to the premium level, if your content is published in a premium capacity, that those reports can actually be accessed by Power BI for users, rather than having to have Pro licenses for all of those users.

However, as I said before, pro licenses are still required for anybody who needs to publish content out to Power BI. Regardless of which, over the service you’re using, you do have to have licenses for distribution of content, or for publishing its content.

Power BI Premium also adds some significant, additional enterprise level features. Some of those include paginated reporting. So if you need pixel perfect reports. Power BI Premium as paginated reporting.

It adds an on premises report server, so if you want to keep your Power BI content on site for security reasons or internal performance reasons, you can run Power BI, essentially in an on premises environment. Premium also allows you to bring your own data lake and a whole bunch more.

The Power BI Gateway is up. Next Gateway provides a secure data transfer path, so you can get to your on premises data from the Power BI Service. So, of course, Power BI Services are all running out in the cloud. But for various reasons, you may want to keep your data on premises, either because you have data sovereignty, reasons or regulatory reasons to keep it on Prem, or simply because you’re not ready yet to migrate your data out to a cloud database.

In those instances, you can install a Power BI gateway.

You can actually install multiple nodes for clustering to increase the redundancy and resiliency of that set up and basically, the Gateway allows Power BI Service to access your data for queries that does all of that in a secure encrypted fashion. There’s no charge for the Power BI Gateway.

You can download and install it on any server. It does have to be installed on premises on a local machine.

The Power BI Reports server. So the Power BI Report Server is actually included as part of Power BI Premium.

It’s an on premise server for Power BI reporting. So again, if you don’t want to store your content out in the cloud. You can install the Power BI Report Server, and it provides you the ability to do interactive reporting kind of paginated reporting in an on premises mode.

It’s also very easy to move your content from the on premises Report Server up to the cloud when you’re ready.

So it can also be a stepping stone if you want to start using Power BI internally, you know, entirely on premises, and then move out to the Cloud later.

Another reason to use the report server is that it can be used to supplement your premium Cloud capacity. So you’ll see in a bit, each level of premium carries a certain amount of compute resources and the Power BI Report server is licensed to be able to use that same amount of compute capacity in your on premises and stone. So you can run your own internal server in addition to using their premium capacity in such a way to, kind of supplement and leverage your license to create value.

Some other applications and services that you might run into, or find yourself connecting to as you roll Power BI out, one is SSRI’s, which is SQL Server Reporting Services. Reasons you might want to use … if you don’t want to consume any of your premium capacity to do paginated reporting, you can keep you, well, you can either implement paginated reports, an SSRI, or if you already have an existing SSRI symptoms.

You can just keep that in place and run your paginated reports there. One thing about using paginated reporting in Power BI premium is that it does have some static overhead when you enable it. So one reason you might consider not putting terror or not putting paginated reporting into your premium capacity is just for conservation of resources for interactive reporting.

Another common connection you may need is SSIS, many of you probably have existing SAS environments, and if you do, you don’t have to pull that data. You don’t have to pull those models into Power BI if you don’t want to. You can connect directly to existing SAS data sources instead of migrating them into Power BI.

One thing to know, though, under the hood, is the Power BI actually does use the SSA, a tabular model for its storage of models. So the underlying technology for modeling and accessing data is actually the same with SSIS and with Power BI.

We want to talk a little bit about Azure Services. So even though these are not Power BI specific services, they are commonly used with Power BI.

And, as you probably know, there are many, many Azure service options, and you can kind of keep an eye out in the future for us to do. A webinar actually focused on the variety of Azure Services and how they can be used with Power BI. But for the moment, I just want to touch on a few of these, the number one being, the Azure SQL database, this is essentially SQL Server in the cloud.

So, if you are looking to migrate you’re on Prem SQL Server instances, off premises and up into the cloud, Azure SQL database is likely the path that you’ll want to take.

Azure also offers analysis services so this is SSIS and the Cloud.

And although they are not exactly feature equivalent, SSIS Azure AS.

And Power BI is underlying use of the Tabular Model are all close to feature equivalents so for the most part, you’ll find that anything you can do in a recent versions.

SSIS, you’ll be able to do in Azure AS and or directly and Power BI.

I also want to talk a little bit about Azure Data Lake Storage so, this is the high performance storage that Azure provides for big data. It’s also the underlying storage that Power BI users for basically everything, so, by default all of your Power BI reports, all of your datasets. All of your data flows.

By default, all of those live in Azure Data Lake storage out in the cloud.

And the last thing I’m going to mention here is Azure Data Factory, which provides some data movement and orchestration features. It’s not a full-fledged ETL capabilities.

So, if you’re using something like SSIS are accustomed to something like SSIS for your ETL Azure Data Factory is not quite that But it does offer some ETL capabilities and it’s really quite useful for moving data in and out of cloud sources.

Alright, so I want to talk a little bit about pro versus premium and what the best choices and the, the decision really comes down to a number of factors, that.

Key things to be aware of are that when you’re deploying to the enterprise, you’re going to need some user licenses, licenses is required for each user.

Of course, that can be free users or pro, but everybody has a license, the rules for free users, they can’t publish shared content, and the only shared content that they can access as content that’s in a Power BI premium capacity. I talked a little bit about that before but just want to re-emphasize that free users are very limited unless you’re using Power BI Premium.

The other license is Power BI Pro.

These users can publish shared content, they can publish content out to the standard Power BI Service, and also out to the Power BI Premium Service, so they can publish to anywhere, basically, within Power BI and they can also access shared content, regardless of which service.

So the real distinction here in terms of using shared content, is that Power BI Pro users can get content from anywhere, and free users can get content only from Premium.

The other licensing you will need to consider is capacity licensing, which is what powered by Power BI Premium.

Premium provides dedicated capacity, which guarantees memory and processing power that’s always available and specifically dedicated to your workloads. So again, that gives you better control over performance, and just to the general operation of your Power BI Enterprise environment.

And again, you do still need Pro licenses for anybody who’s publishing content, even in premium.

Just a quick overview of the different skews Power BI Premium has three columns skew classes and they carry different prices and different features. I’m not going to go into too much detail on that, but we will have a slide here in a moment with some of those details.

The main thing I want to point out here is that, if you do want to embed Power BI content, either into SharePoint, or into Microsoft Teams, you must have an M U or higher. So, if you look at the diagram here, you can see down at the bottom there, the MS Office, SharePoint and teams are only supported and those higher level skills and one other point about the distinctions between the skew the ASQ are actually billed on an hourly basis. Whereas EM and peace cues are billed monthly. So the advantages that, as an excuse, can be used. If you don’t need your environment running 24, 7, they allow you to have hourly billing. Whereas an EM or P skew is the 24th of an operation and your build a fixed price on a monthly basis.

This is the detail of premium SKUs that I promised. Again, I’m not goanna go into much detail on this, other than to point out that it’s here, and it does outline the different levels, the kinds of resources that are allocated at those levels and roughly, what costs are an hourly or monthly basis, depending on whether it’s an SKU, or the higher level, or P SKUs, and although it’s not exact, the pricing is roughly equivalent in terms of hourly versus monthly.

So, like, if you have an SKU and you left it running for the entire month, at the end of the month, your total hourly cost will come roughly to the same amount as a monthly cost for the equivalent level of skew at one of the higher levels.

I’m also, through this prayer, good moment to just step back and point out that there’s a lot of nuance to all of this, and it is constantly changing. So, if you ever find yourself having questions about some of these nuances, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

We’re always happy to help take a look and see if I can clarify some of the details. So, you know, I’m trying to cover a fair amount of detail here today, but certainly we’re just scratching the surface, and if you spent much time with Power BI, You know, there is a whole lot of detail, and it can be very confusing.

All right, so when should you step up to Premium?

This is a common question often, you know, you’ll start out rolling out to a department or division, where if you don’t have too many users, it makes sense to buy a bunch of Pro licenses to accommodate your user base. But there’s a question of when do you want to step up the premium first? Clear case for Premium is if you have more than 500 users, the monthly cost for a P one premium skew is, basically, the same as the monthly cost for 500 pro users.

So if you have at least 500 users, you know, cut from a cost standpoint that makes sense to move to Premium.

It also makes the licensing much simpler, because you don’t have to track a whole bunch of pro users you only have to track. However many Pro users are doing publishing, and everybody else can use free licenses, that point.

Another reason to step up to Premium. So even if you don’t have over 500 user, you may want to use Premium, because you want dedicated resources and you might want that for security reasons, because you don’t want to be sharing your resources out in the cloud. Even though Microsoft does keep these instances logically isolated from each other, you are running on essentially shared hardware, ultimately Microsoft data centers.

So if you one dedicated compute resources, Power BI Premium is the way to go to ensure that your environment, your workloads, always have a known amount as actual capacity for execution.

Another reason to go to Premium if you need features that are premium only, well, obviously you don’t have a lot of choice in that case. You’ll have to go to Premium.

Just a couple things on that count paginated reporting, as I mentioned earlier, is only supported at the premium level. So if you do need pixel perfect reports for corporate reporting purposes or otherwise, you’ll have to go to Premium or, as I mentioned, I was discussing some of the other applications and services. You could run SRS, internally, as an alternative. So if you aren’t ready to go to premium that you do need paginated reporting, 1, 1 alternative would be to use SRS.

Another reason to go premium if you want to do Power BI reporting on premises. So the Power BI Report Server, as I mentioned earlier, is licensed only if you have Power BI Premium. So if you want to do interactive or paginated reporting or an on premises mode, you’ll need a premium license.

Premium also supports incremental data refreshes, which can make a big difference if you have a large amount of frequently refreshed data.

I’m going to skip over this slide because we’ve already covered most of the details and other slide. This is just a partial list of some of the premium only features.

And as I said at the start of the presentation, always, always go and check the Microsoft website for the latest list of current features, particularly with Premium. You always want to go in there and know what, what’s available and what is available, formally to premium users.

All right, so I’m going to start moving down the sort of technical stack a little bit here, and to a little more detail.

Talk about data flows for data preparation and data flows in Power BI.

They’re sort of like, oh, you could think of them as like a lightweight ETL at Macleod, although I’m calling them lightweight, is probably not fair, because they are very powerful and what Dataflow to do is they extract data from your underlying sources. They can transform that data, obviously, use Power Query. So if you’re familiar with Power Query, data flows are basically Power Query and the cloud, and you can transform your incoming data that gets stored in the Azure Data Lake storage, which I described earlier.

And so data flows essentially allow you to pull data from your underlying source systems, and then work with that data in a fixed state and Azure Data Lake. So it gives you much higher performance once Power BI goes to access the data, than it would if you were actually having to go out and query the source systems directly at time of execution. Another great ideal solution or an ideal use case for data flows is if you need to do rapid integration of disparate data from new sources. One scenario for that could be during a merger or acquisition. If you are bringing in data from a newly acquired company and there was acquired division.

Dataflow can help you integrate data from those news sources much more quickly than if you had to integrate directly on the backend.

And the real beauty of data flows as they bridge the gap between enterprise and self-service data preparation. So, I talked about SSIS just briefly a bit ago and actually one thing I forgot to mention about SSI assets that you can bring SSIS workloads into the cloud now and that’s outside the scope of today’s presentation. But just be aware that it is possible today to bring SSIS actually into the Azure Cloud. There are some limitations involved in that but it is possible.

But dataflows are sort of the new friendly cloud version of something like SSIS.

Again, data flows, do pull your data and store it in Azure Data Lake storage, which is kind of a central repository for everything that then feeds into Power BI.

That’s just a little bit more detail about dataflows.

I just want to talk quickly about a couple of benefits, particularly for dataflows. One is that they provide re-use ability across most multiple datasets and Power BI.

So, you can pull in the data for your dataflow one, and essentially, you can use it almost as a pseudo data warehouse or data mark, where you can have all of that data living in the Azure Data Lake, which you’ll sometimes see referred to as 80. Incidentally, Azure Data Lake Storage.

And once your dataflow is in the lake, you can create multiple datasets that reference it and pull data out of it, so it gives you a way to pull everything from your source systems on a fixed or recurring schedule, and then pull data into your datasets as needed.

I’m going to talk a little bit about dataset query modes and I’m going to specifically talk about them as they relate to performance and security.

So, one note at the bottom of the slide here, our own, Mike … recently did a complete webinar on modeling use cases and Power BI. Where he goes into a great deal of detail on these query modes and more. So I would encourage you to take a look at that webinar in our resources library to get more detail on these.

But I’m going to talk just a little bit about how query modes, what considerations you might have about which query modes to use in an enterprise environment and we’re going to talk about import, direct query, life connections, and composite mode.

The first step is important mode and this is the default mode for Power BI datasets that import data from the source system, which, incidentally, that source system can be a dataflow.

So, even though this diagram shows you importing data basically from backend sources, you can also import data from Dataflow.

It stores that data within the Power BI data model. So it’s basically immediately accessible it’s in memory when your Power BI report is running.

So the important approach gives you very fast performance and really the best responsiveness in terms of queries. So it’s great for interactive reports.

The queries you run from your reports are executed against the imported data.

Power BI doesn’t go out to the backend underlying sources when you’re querying a dataset and important, good reason to use it. If you’re working with a small to medium amount of data, you pull it in there, it’s fast. It’s efficient.

Doesn’t take up too much space. It’s a good candidate for import also, if you don’t have real-time requirements, it’s a great choice for that, because, again, it’s not pulling from the source systems at the time of execution.

So if you point in time snapshot, or what you need, like a daily snapshot, or no hourly or whatever.

Import mode can then do the job for you without requiring a query out to the backend.

Next mode is a direct query. Now, direct query actually does perform live query against your underlying data sources. The data is still modeled in Power BI, but when your report executes to do when your report executes, it does actually go out to the underlying data source. Good reasons for using direct query. That you have a really large amount of data, and you don’t want to pull all of that into a dataset and store it in the day-to-day.

You can go out and just query directly as needed. But it also can be useful for reports that are used less frequently, or queries, that are used less frequently.

Another reason for direct query is, if you do have real-time data requirements, obviously, you need to live query against the underlying data. If you need to get up to the moment information. So if you needed to do something, like, pull data from a transactional system, like a POS system, hopefully, you’re not doing that for reporting purposes. But if you are, you can use direct query to pull that directly from the transactional system.

Other reasons to use a direct query: source security and if you have a real level, security enabled, implemented in your underlying data, direct query ensures that your renewable security is enforced when users are running reports. So, that’s also a good reason to use a direct query.

Data sovereignty is another reason.

If you want to, if you need to keep your data on premises or in your own private cloud, and you don’t want that data being pulled into the Azure Data Lake for whatever reason, you can keep your data completely on the backend, and Power BI will query it and pull it in only as needed, directly for your reports.

Another option is the live connection. Now, there is just a small distinction between live connection and direct query.

What does live connection does, is, like direct query, it does a live query against underlying data. The distinction is that class connections work with the data that’s already pre modeled and the source.

So, you don’t do any modeling within the Power BI Report creation tool, when you’re using live connection datasets. You connect straight out to the underlying source and the places you use, the live connection are in Shared Datasets, which is out in the cloud and the data lake.

You also use the web connections for external analysis services.

So, basically, if you have on premises SSIS, you connect to that with a live connection. If you have Azure Analysis Services, but again as SSIS and MacLeod, you’ll also utilize connections to get to that data.

And last but not least, there is a composite mode. Composite models in Power BI, give you a hybrid approach, which allows you to really, kind of optimize the performance of your queries and your workloads. The query engine determines whether to use import or direct query when, when it’s executing reports.

Reasons you might consider using a composite approach composite model, if you have very large amounts of data. Because the composite model allows you to keep some data on the back end. So it’s not being pulled into the data lake, but it also allows you to selectively keep certain portions of the data within the lake for higher performance.

One example of where this might come in handy as if you have a report that that begins at a pretty high level of aggregation, but then has the ability to drill through and drill down to detail. So, maybe you have a sales summary report, which then has the capability to drill down, to find our levels of detail, by geography, or by owner, or by sales managers, et cetera.

You could use a composite model to pull the aggregate data that’s used.

At the highest level, you could pull that aggregate data into a dataset and import mode. So it’s ready to go highly available, very fast. So your reports come up very quickly, but you can leave all the detailed data back in the backend and have the model use direct query against that data. So then, if and only if a user drills through and the higher detail level of data, then it will go pull that data from the underlying source. But you’re not spending resources pulling a bunch of detailed data into the cloud, if that’s not likely to be used or if you don’t know which portions of that are likely to be used.

So that covers the, some of the dataset considerations and, in fact, this wraps up the cover overview for today. So I’m going to pass it back to Mike. That was a great presentation. Everybody, please stick around because we have some great information here for you and the aforementioned Q&A.

Please do get your questions and put them in the question pane. Please put them in the question pane and not in the chat window. As we can’t, it’s hard for us to monitor all these different places and make sure we capture them accurately.

But before we get into that, there’s a few resources here that might be interested in, the first of them being the Power BI Premium calculator slides following the link on this slide here.

What it allows you to do is it provides you some sliders that bucket your users between three different categories, and gives you a rough outline of what your costs might look like, and then, of course, a link to Sales if you want to talk to somebody about it.

Senturus created a Microsoft reference guide. We’re comparing all the various tools in the Microsoft Suite.

I shouldn’t say all the tools, but 44 tools, where we’ve compared 29 different capabilities across those tools and you can see it’s sort of a screenshot there. If you’re interested in that, or our new offering around Power BI tenant, an admin training, which includes Power BI Premium, you can e-mail us at the email address you see there.

Go to, for those great free resources for more information. A little bit about interests, before we get into the Q and A we are the authority and business intelligence.

We concentrate our expertise solely on business intelligence with a depth of knowledge across the entire BI stack.

We are known for providing clarity from the chaos of complex business requirements, disparate data sources, constantly moving, regulatory, and business targets, having made a name for ourselves because of our strengths at bridging the gap between IT and business users. We deliver solutions that give you access to reliable analysis, ready data across your organization, enabling you to quickly and easily get answers at the point of impact, in the form of the decisions you make, and the actions you take.

Our consultants are leading experts in the field of analytics with years of pragmatic, real-world expertise, and experience advancing the state of the art.

We’re so confident in our team and our methodology that we back our projects with a 100% money back guarantee that is unique in the industry.

We are a full Spectrum BI services company offering the entire list of services that you see here, everything from front end dashboards and visualizations to backend data preparation and data.

Helping you land on the proper hybrid BI environment, whether you’re migrating, you need security or something else and we develop software to enable bimodal BI and basically connectivity between things like Tableau and Power BI to Cognos as well as expert platform migrations and of course, expertise across all of those on demand, as well as full spectrum training and mentoring.

And we’ve been doing this for a long time. Nearly two decades, at this point, exclusively focused on business intelligence.

We’re working across the spectrum from everything from Fortune 500 to mid-market companies, solving business problems across virtually every different industry and functional area. Including Finance, Sales and Marketing, Manufacturing, operations, HR, and IT. You probably recognize several of the logos there, if not all of them.

Our team is both large enough to meet all of your business analytics needs, and yet small enough to provide personalized attention.

If you’re interested in expanding your knowledge, which you all should be. Visit to access all these great free resources on our website. Again, bookmark that. Everything from webinars, on all things, BI to our fabulous, up to the minute, easily consumable blogs.

Upcoming events, head over to …, and you can see always what’s kind a going on, what’s coming up. Next one that’s up on our docket is Cognos Framework Manager versus data modules are doing a comparison between those and feature gaps. That’ll be happening on Thursday, June 25th, at the same time as this webinar. So go on over there to register for that.

And as I mentioned before, we do offer a complete BI training across cognitive analytics, Power BI, and Tableau. If you’re in need of corporate training, we offer training at all of these different modalities and can tailor it to meet your organization’s needs. Everything from tailored group sessions led by an instructor to small group mentoring, to instructor led online courses, and of course, self-paced e-learning to round out the stack. So, we can meet all of your different training needs.

Then finally, before we get to the Q and A our last additional resources, we provide hundreds of different free resources on our website.

You can head over to, and you can find everything from product reviews to technical tips to our great blog and product demos and upcoming events, so head on over there and bookmark that visit frequently.

Alright, with that, we have come to the Q and A section. So, gentlemen, what do we have first on the Q and A list?

So I’m just gonna jump in here for a moment, Mike, and I’m gonna go ahead and hand it over to you for the Q and A, because I know you’ve been tracking of the questions and answers and the window. So everybody, I’m gonna turn it over to Adam.

One of the first questions was, you currently have Power BI for you, but how can we access Report Server. So I’m assuming you’re speaking specifically to the Power BI Report server.

They do have a 180 day free trial for the RPI Report server. So you can go and download it from Power

It’s into how to access the actual, license key. When you have a Power BI capacity, you’ll have a capacity admin portal in the portal. There’s a link to get your actual license, to be able to put it into the Power BI Report Server instance.

Another one that was at the top here was, Do dataflows always use Azure Data Lake? They do on the back end, it’s not actually visible by you, with, with this standard Power BI agreement.

It’s stored in Azure Data Lake on the back end, not accessible outside of RBI.

But you do have the capability, when you have Power BI, putting them to bring your own data lake storage.

And in that scenario, you’d be able to store it in the Azure Data Lake, but then also pick it up from other services outside of Power BI itself.

Vince had a question on, is the gateway required for direct query, is same way it is? For import, same data sources are required for four gateways required for those same data sources. So if it’s a cloud data source, as your SQL, etc, then you don’t need a gateway. But if it is an on prem data source, you do need the gateway.

And then, the other question was, they have.

See those multi-dimensional, and tabular models have support about Power BI, right now. That is true.

Assuming, again, that you’re talking about connecting to one of these data sources on the backend, they can connect those two multi-dimensional or type of models that is correct.

We had a couple more questions come in direct.

What is the use case on dataflows where you have a single entity versus a group of entities. For example, started making a group you can only schedule refresh for the whole group, said, and is correct.

So, you wanted to refresh entities at different times. You do need to create separate data flows, or separate scheduling.

That is the primary use case for multiple data flows. Utilizing the same data source is if you want to schedule those data flows, to refresh their data at different times. The use case for grouping them together, obviously.

If you have a data warehouse that completes at a specific time, and you want to refresh all of those individual entities. Again, maybe with the entity.

An entity is just think of a single data source or a single table within your data source. So you have a data warehouse, You might have 10 tables that you’re refreshing from those dependent on your architecture, could be 10 different entities within the dataflow. So, again, if you want to refresh those all at once, because Your ETL completes the same time for all of those different tables, then you would just create 1, 1 dataflow with all of those entities. But if you wanted to schedule them at different times, you separate those into separate entities.

Another one was, how the premium service impact customers around the world. For example, someone in China have slower performance with premium versus pro. No difference in performance again, depending on the size of your premium environment, and how optimized it is, etcetera, versus the shared environment.

If it is optimized, you’ll see better performance, regardless, even when, in China, your data is stored in a singular environments. So, there are going to be some performance issues, depending on where they’re accessing from.

What we have seen with some companies, what they’ve done, too, of escape, that is utilizing, as Steve mentioned, those SKUs, so, a SKU. You can spin up as necessary, and that can be in different geographical regions. So, you can spin that up as necessary, resize it as necessary.

All of that can be automated and scripted out, so you could, as an example, at the end of the day, start scaling down your domestic environment. Start scaling up your environment, and then there’s more people and scale your environment up to the necessary size.

Definitely, ways to get around some of those performance issues globally.

And we have another one, to view and report dashboard in the Power BI Service as a user, need a Power BI Pro license. If they are accessing their own reports, no, they can just be a regular, free user. If they are accessing a report that has been shared to them, they would need as per license. And the less that report or dashboard is published within a premium, and, again, that can be an embedded environment where an ISP or company has created their own Power BI reports within their application. And they’re allowing their end users to access those reports. That would be considered a premium environments. So, again, for user can access those.

And the last one I see here is registering an API, a Premium Service, or a 365 admin.

So, registering, actually, getting the, the API connectivity done is done through Office 365 is the Azure AD portal. You go in and register an application there that gives you your client secret key if necessary for configuring the RBI API.

I think that’s all we’ve got.

All right so you can advance to the last slide there, Steve. So, first and foremost, thank you very much to our presenter presenters today. Mister Steve Reid Pittman, and thanks to Adam Harper for handling the Q and A section here and of course, we’d like to thank you all for joining us today and we hope you found it informative and we look forward to seeing you again on our next installment of the Knowledge Series and we hope to hear from you for any of your business analytics needs. Thanks, and have a great rest of your day.

Connect with Senturus

Sign up to be notified about our upcoming events

Back to top