Integrating PowerBI into Teams and other methods of sharing your reports

Microsoft have recently been improving the integration of PowerBI into Teams, in addition to other methods of sharing reports with users. One comment I’ve often received is that we have too many systems and people can often get confused about where to go. For the implementation of PowerBI to be successful, it’s essential that accessing the PowerBI app is easy and integrated into the many other tools that people regularly use. It is thus very welcome and will ease the transition that we are currently going through.

Adding the PowerBI app within Teams

You can now add PowerBI as an app by searching for it in the ‘app bar’ on the left hand side of the Teams window. Once the app is added, a right-click enables it to be pinned to the ‘app bar’ so it continues to be easily accessible.

The PowerBI app can be found by clicking on the ‘three dots’ then searching for PowerBI (you IT admin might need to enable this). From here it can be pinned to the ‘app bar’ on the left of the screen.

I’ve shown our teachers how to download the Wellington Data Portal app and then favourite it so it always appears on the PowerBI homepage.

The PowerBI app integrated into Microsoft Teams. By favouriting the app (1), it will always be accessible from the PowerBI homepage making access easy.

The app then opens using the full real estate of the Teams window and is embedded within Teams; a platform that we are embracing more and more with both our classes and as staff. No longer do users need to click a link and open it in the web browser.

This illustrates a page that uses assessment and attainment data (report grades) from our app that is accessed directly within the Teams window. Tracking pupil progress, making comparisons with other subjects, and identifying potential under/over is now easily available.

Once on a report page, there are several options to share your views on the data with others.

Sharing via the Chat in Teams button

Firstly, the ‘Chat in Teams’ options enables the page to be shared with a team / channel. The link to the report captures the filters that you have applied and therefore the user gets the same view on the data.

The ‘Chat in Teams’ button (1) enables a report to quickly be shared in a particular channel (2) along with a message (3). The filters active at the time of sharing remain active when other users follow the link.

Sharing by leaving a comment

Comments can be left on a report page, or on a particular visual. You can tag a colleague in the comment using @mentions so that they get an email notification with a link to your comment and associated report or filter. Once again, when they follow the link, the filters active at the time of adding the comment will remain active.

Comments can be added for a whole report page by using the ‘comment’ button (1) and then adding the comment (2). Using the @mention function notifies the person via email with the comment and a link to the report page.

When hovering over a visual, you can also add a comment via the visual header. This also puts a spotlight on that visual so that attention is not lost to other parts of the page.

Comments can also be added to a single visual by hovering over it, then selecting ‘more options’ (1) and ‘add a comment’ (2).
Once the comment has been added on a visual (1), the visual is then spotlighted and other visuals faded (2).

Sharing by setting up a subscription

It is possible to set up email notifications at a pre-determined frequency for particular users so that they automatically receive a direct link to the report in their inbox. These are called subscriptions and can quickly be setup.

To do so go to the report page that you want to create a subscription for, then click the subscribe button (1). Add the email addresses of those who you want to access the report (2). Unless you have a premium PowerBI account, you cannot add an email group but instead have to enter address individually. Add a subject and message like you would in a normal email (3), confirm the report page you intend to share (4) and finally configure the settings for when you want the email to be sent (5). Once saved, those who you subscribed to the report will automatically receive an email at the frequency you have determined.

Setting up a subscription for the Tracks and Rewards page.

The example above is for our tracks and rewards page. For this subscription, the is a relative date slicer that means only the data for the last 7 days is shown. Tutors and housemasters automatically get an email when a pupil in their house or tutor group receives a track or reward. Despite this, it is still useful to see all the information collated in one place and to make sure everything has been followed up.

For heads of department, this view is particularly useful since they don’t get automatic email notifications when a pupil has received a track or reward in their department. When filtered to a particular subject, this page shows who has received the tracks or rewards, how many of them, in which categories and what the comments were. They can see this by year group and by teacher and thus start to identify any patterns, celebrate success or deal with issues, and make sure the ratio of tracks to rewards is skewed towards rewards.

Sharing a report via email or Teams

This is as simple as copying the web address for the report page that you are on and pasting it into an email or Teams. As far as I can tell though, you need to be accessing your report from a web browser rather than within Teams to get the web address.

To conclude

Making the sharing of data via PowerBI easier is just one step in improving the adoption of the new system, but it certainly helps and prevents it becoming just another link hidden in an email somewhere in a growing inbox.

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