If you have been working in Power BI and use Power BI Desktop to create a data model and perhaps some of your reports, chances are from time to time you will want to change the Power BI Desktop file. Over time the data model created in the file, commonly known as a pbix file after the file suffix, may need to change. Updating the pbix file may not work how you expect. If you want to be able to update pbix files, you need to save them on your One Drive. If you want multiple people to be able to maintain the Power BI Files, the best way to accomplish this is to use the Power BI Workgroup One Drive. While you can share a One Drive file with other people without creating a workspace, that file will not be visible to others from within Power BI as the location isn’t exposed to other people in the web interface.
What features do you get with Workspace and an Exchange License?
I heard recently from someone who listened to my PASS BA Webinar and didn’t understand why I said that one need to have to have an Office 365 Exchange client to use workspaces in Power BI. It is possible to create workspaces without an Exchange License, as the only thing required to create workspaces is a Power BI Pro License. While one can create workspaces without having an Office 365 Exchange client, chances are that isn’t all that you want for a team to be able to work together. When a workspace is created, often times it is created because you want a team of people to collaborate on the model and the reports. Collaboration can include modification to existing reports, data models or using shared content packs. To modify the data model, everyone needs to be able to edit the pbix file containing the data model and view the files from within Power BI. If a group of people want to edit each other’s the pbix files, a One Drive location where Power BI’s web client and all of the members of the workspace can access the file is necessary to make this collaboration happen. If you already have an Exchange server, you can still continue to use that as you don’t need to use the mail features of the Exchange license. However, since the ability to create groups which share One Drives is an Exchange feature, not a Power BI feature, you will need to purchase a license for each user in the group in order to have a One Drive area to share files. If you do not have an Exchange license, members of the group will be able to share Content Packs and Power BI Reports, but not the Power BI data model created in Power BI Desktop.
Let me know if you find this information helpful or if you have any other questions regarding team collaboration with Power BI. Feel free to contact me on twitter or by posting a comment on the blog.
Data aficionado et SQL Raconteur