Overview: Power BI

Microsoft Power BI enables you to integrate, analyse and present your data more effectively through use of an extensive library of visualisation tools that can help bring your information to life.

There are two sets of access available:

Report consumer (business user)

As a Nexus365 user you will have a free Power BI licence allowing you to view reports and dashboards that have been shared with you by a report writer, and you will be able to create and publish reports yourself but not share them with others.

Report writer

If you purchase a Power BI Pro licence you will be able to share reports, dashboards and apps with other users (both report consumers and other writers) and decide the level of access they have. As a report writer you will be able to create datasets within Power BI, pulling data from multiple sources.  Most dataset creators will be report writers, but some report writers might only be creating reports based on datasets shared with them by others.

Request Power BI Pro licence

How to access Power BI

To access Power BI via the web or desktop see How to access Power BI, or see our How to access Power BI desktop via CONNECT remote desktop service page.

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What data can I use to create reports in Power BI?

Can I use Power BI to pull together data from multiple sources?

What is a data warehouse?

A data warehouse is a central store of data that can be used to:

  • Track history
  • Create snapshots
  • Use agreed logic to filter and join data and present it in structures suitable for analytical reporting
  • Join data from different applications or domains
  • Regularly update data from source, generally overnight, and so remove the burden of analytical reporting from production systems

How do I create a report using data stored in the data warehouse?

  • You should contact the DRAM (Date Reporting, Architecture and Modelling) team via bi-reporting@it.ox.ac.uk to discuss your requirements 

When might it be useful to store data in the data warehouse?

  • When you want to be able to link data across applications or domains
  • When you want to track history or create snapshots
  • When you want to store the logic for joining and filtering data in one agreed place.
  • When an old system is being archived but the data is still needed for analytical reporting
  • When you want to remove the burden of analytical reporting from a production system

When is the warehouse not suitable?

  • Warehouse data is normally refreshed overnight
  • Although this frequency can be increased, the warehouse is generally not suitable for up-to-the-minute operational reporting

How do I add data to the data warehouse?

  • You should contact the DRAM (Date Reporting, Architecture and Modelling) team via bi-reporting@it.ox.ac.uk to discuss your requirements 

Should I report any issues I suspect with centrally-sourced data in the data warehouse?

  • To support effective data governance, it is important that you report any data quality issues you suspect in the centrally-sourced data you are working with in the data warehouse
  • At present these should be reported to the DRAM team via datagovernance@admin.ox.ac.uk
  • Emails will be checked regularly and the issue will be picked up and responded to or escalated as appropriate
  • Please quote ‘PowerBI data issue’ in the email subject line and provide as much detail as you can about the dataset you are referring to and where the issue can be found within it

What are the central sources of the University's administrative data?

There is a central data warehouse which currently holds:

  • Undergraduate student data 
  • Graduate student data 
  • On-course student data 
  • Administrative research data 
  • Purchasing data 
  • GLAM sales data 
  • GLAM visitor data
  • Training data
  • HR data

As the University’s use of Power BI matures, some of this data may be made available to you via certified Power BI datasets.

How do I access data that has been shared with me in Power BI?

Training materials

Microsoft training materials are available for report consumers, also referred to as business users:

Training materials created by IT Services are also available:

What is a workspace?

  • A workspace is a container for dashboards, reports, workbooks, and datasets in Power BI
  • Read more about the workspaces at Create the new workspaces - Power BI | Microsoft Docs
  • You should only use one shared workspace per dataset, but can create multiple reports and dashboards from that workspace
  • There are two types of workspace available to you as a Pro licence holder: My Workspace and shared workspaces 

Do I automatically get a workspace with my licence?

  • All Power BI users will have access to My Workspace
  • As a Power BI Pro licence holder you also have the ability to create shared workspaces
  • To move your existing shared workspace to the premium capacity, you need to complete a Power BI Workspace service request

What is the difference between My Workspace and a shared workspace?

My Workspace

  • This is the personal workspace for you to work with your own content in Power BI and you are the only person with access to it
  • You can create dashboards and reports from My Workspace for your own personal use

Shared workspace 

  • As a Power BI Pro licence holder you can create a shared workspace to enable you to share or collaborate on your datasets, dashboards and reports
  • The shared workspace administrator manages access to the workspace
  • In order to share and collaborate with colleagues who do not have a Power BI Pro licence, your shared workspace needs to be in premium capacity
  • To move your existing shared workspace to the premium capacity, you need to complete a Power BI Workspace service request
  • We recommend that you share content from your premium capacity shared workspace via an app
  • You can set up one app per workspace
  • To share content via an app,  you will also need to set up a group using a Create Nexus365 Team or Group service request, selecting the “Group only” option
  • Once your group has been authorised, the group administrator can manage access to the app

How many workspaces can I have in Power BI?

  • You have a single My Workspace
  • As a Pro licence holder you can have multiple shared workspaces (up to 1000) but it is recommended that you limit this to a manageable number 
  • You can assign a single app to each shared workspace

What is an app?

  • An app is used to package up a set of reports, dashboards or datasets etcetera from your workspace for easy sharing with colleagues
  • Apps are interactive, but report consumers cannot edit them or manipulate the underlying data
  • See further information at Publish an app in Power BI - Power BI | Microsoft Docs

Power BI is a tool with the capability to enable easy production and dissemination of information from a wide variety of source systems, through the use of ready-made connectors. In the implementation model adopted, there is a significant role for information owners, custodians and users to ensure data and information are suitably protected. The University’s Information Security Policy states that:

  • Information Asset Owners should be identified for all University information assets
  • Information assets should be handled according to how critical and sensitive they are
  • Rules for the acceptable use of information assets should be documented and implemented

In practice that means that:

  • Custodians (also known as data processors) are those organisations responsible for the operating the systems used for storing and processing information. They must ensure the Information Asset Owners (see below) have approved the release of information, before enabling Power BI connections to the source systems they are responsible for
  • Information Asset Owners (typically heads of department) are those people with overall responsibility for information in their organisational area. They must ensure information is classified according to sensitivity and is suitably protected in accordance with Information Security Policy. In the case of Power BI, they must decide whether to approve requests for information and ensure appropriate privacy and security requirements, such as access permissions and data retention requirements are in place
  • Admins have elevated privileges and should restrict access to information, according to the University’s Information Security Policy, its classification and appropriate privacy and security requirements set by Information Asset Owners
  • Users also have a key role to play. They must handle information according to information security policy, classification and specific requirements set by Information Asset Owners. They must think carefully about how reports should be disseminated and stored

All Oxford University members that have access to Nexus365 have access to Power BI as a consumer of data reports.

If you need to be a Report Writer (to analyse data and create reports) you require a Power BI Pro license. The charges for this are on the Power BI Pro license charges page.