Group Workspaces and File Sharing in Power BI

When working on Power BI Reports, much of the time the task is spread among multiple people. If this is the case, you probably will also want to provide limited access to the PBIX files used in your Power BI reports. It would also be nice to have the ability to check out a file to insure that one person doesn’t over-write the changes of someone else. It would be nice to track changes that have been made to the files too. Based on this description, it may sound like the next topic will be implementing source control software, like TFS or Subversion. Instead, all you need to do is use the Group Workspaces functionality with Power BI.

Report Development Teams needs Power BI Group Workspaces

Power BI is licensed by the individual. This means Power BI reports created within a My Workspace belong to that person. This can be a problem if say that person goes on vacation or quits. If the reports are all contained within one person’s account and that individual’s account is deleted when they separate from the company, what do you think happen to all of the reports? Answer they are gone too. Maybe a call to Microsoft Power BI Support will be able to help if that occurs, or maybe not. It’s would be better to create the ability within the Power BI environment where the company owns the company reports. Even if the Power BI reports are all created by one person, I would create a workgroup. After all that one person might want to go on vacation sometime, and for disaster recovery reasons someone else needs to be able to access the reports Of course by that I mean, create a Workspace within Power BI, and add other people to it. When you create a workspace within Power BI, not only do you get a location where multiple people can visualize the same reports, a Group One Drive is also created where PBIX files can be shared within the group.

Source Control with Power BI Reports

PowerBIGroupWorkSpaceMany of the functionality people associate with source control programs live inside the group one drive which is created for Power BI. Looking at the picture of the group screen, which was created when a Power BI Workspace was created, you will see that this group contains 7 members and four files. The members of this groups are the only ones who have access to the files. The file AcmeThree.pbix is selected, and clicking on the ellipse(…) brings up a menu for the file. Notice one of them is Check Out. If I check out a file, the icon next to the name changes, providing a visual queue to all who wish to edit the file that it is being working on. The menu option for me would change to Check In, providing the ability to check the file in to the directory, allowing others to check out the file and work on it. Notice Version History also exists. This feature allows previous versions of the file to be loaded, which means that changes made to a file can be rolled back.

Using One Drive with Workgroups provides a convenient way for groups of users to work on reports, ensuring that the reports are stored in a secure location and can be access by multiple people within the organization. If you are looking for way for a team of people to collaboratively work on reports, create a Group Workspace in Power BI then use the One Group functionality to provide a secure method for report development.


Yours Always

Ginger Grant

Data aficionado et SQL Raconteur