We know that Power BI is a robust business intelligence tool. But did you know that with very little effort, you can create a Power BI App for your end users to use? And I’m not talking about the Power BI mobile application or mobile layout.
A Power BI App is an effective wrapper for the reports in a workspace that allows you to distribute them to your end users in a single UI.
In this blog, we’ll cover what a Power BI App is, what it can do for your team, and how to quickly create one.
What is a Power BI App?
Simply put, a Power BI App is an interface where those who have access can interact with the included reports in a single UI. For many Power BI developers, this definition may seem similar to a workspace, so let’s make the distinction between the two here:
- A Workspace is a collaborative repository for all of your Power BI content including reports, dashboards, datasets, and data flows. Workspaces are also used to provision user access privileges. You can distribute reports directly from the workspace, but doing so with the app is a best practice.
- A Power BI App is used solely to distribute reports from a single workspace in a single bundled UI. This allows users to navigate back and forth between reports in the workspace without needing to open multiple browser windows.
View of a Power BI Workspace
View of a Power BI App
Who Gets Access to the App?
In general, there are two groups who have access to your app:
- Those with access to the workspace automatically inherit access to the app – this is true for any of the workspace roles (Admins, Members, Contributors, and Viewers).
- End users of the app whom the reports were created for – end users can be segmented into different app audiences who have access to different reports in the workspace via the same app (at the time of writing this blog, a maximum of 10 audiences per app).
More on App Audiences
The app audiences functionality gives developers the ability to create different versions of the app within the same workspace. Content within the workspace is divided into separate audiences and shared with specific users. This feature assists with the organization and distribution of Power BI content as well as reduces the number of workspaces that are needed.
Here is an example of when you may use app audiences.
Let’s say your team has a workspace for sales data. In the workspace are reports for the different regional sales teams (Midwest, Northeast, South, and West), as well as reports with aggregated data for executives. Developers can create a different audience for each sales region and the executives, totaling five app versions. This way, only the reports relevant to a user from a specific audience will be available when that user accesses the app.
How to Create & Publish a Power BI App
Creating a Power BI app is likely easier than you think. Follow the steps below from the workspace:
- Click the yellow Create App button in the top right corner of the workspace.
- Fill out the Setup screen:
- The App name will be displayed to the end-users and is how they will search for it.
- The description is a required field and may provide context for users unfamiliar with the reports you are publishing.
- Customize the app with a team logo and select a color if you want.
- Select the appropriate contact information – Show app publisher is the default and will be the email address of the one associated with the Power BI account being used to create the app.
- The support site, for example, a team SharePoint, is not a required field, although if you have one you can paste a URL to it here.
Click the yellow Next: Add content button on the bottom right.
3. Complete the Content screen – this is where you will select which content in the workspace should be included in the app
- Click the + Add content button on the left or in the center of the screen.
- In the next window, select which content should be included in the app and then click the yellow Add button.
- Drag the reports in the required order using the panel on the left.
- You can also rename reports here if necessary.
- Click the yellow Next: Add audience button on the bottom right.
4. Complete the Audience setup – this is where you can create the different app versions for multiple user audiences.
- By default, an audience with the same name as the app will be created. You can rename this audience by double-clicking the name and editing it.
- Hover over the reports on the left and click the eye icon to hide reports from this audience view.
- Add the necessary users to this audience individually or via groups on the right.
- Add a new audience by clicking the + New Audience button and following the previous steps for adding members and hiding content
- Advanced Settings – these settings are dependent on your use case:
- Select to give people the ability to share the datasets used by the app audience.
- Select to give the audience build permissions on the Power BI dataset
Click the yellow Publish app button to complete the publishing step.
How to Distribute & Access Your Power BI App
Anyone with access to the shared workspace where the app content is stored, as well as any additional users that were given access in the app setup process will be able to use the app. To access the app, complete the following steps:
- Navigate to the Apps page from the side panel in Power BI Service.
- Click the yellow Get Apps button in the top right corner.
- Search for your app by name in the popup window. Click Get it now (in blue) underneath your app. This will automatically navigate you to the app and add it to your apps list – Confirm this is done by going back to the apps screen.
- Optional – add the app to your Favorites list (accessible via the side panel) by clicking the star in the Apps list window or directly in the app itself.
Power BI Apps offer a one-stop-shop for users to access published content without needing to flip back and forth between multiple tabs or backtracking in a workspace to open a different report that they were initially using.
This means that it’s easier for the end-user to find, access, and use all of the relevant reports in a single location, instead of needing to remember the individual names and locations of all of the reports they use.
If you need additional help or are curious about how to better leverage Power BI, reach out to the experts at phData today for help, guidance, and best practices!
Yes. Your Power BI app will automatically inherit the access privileges from the workspace. However, if there is an additional Azure Active Directory group you would like to give access to, simply add that group’s name to the Specific Individuals or Groups section of the Permissions screen.
Yes, from the workspace view, toggle the Include in App button associated with the dashboard to include it in your app.