Microsoft has announced the addition of a Power BI add-in to PowerPoint and Outlook that will allow businesses to share live and easily manipulated data in desktop presentations.
The company believes this will add an extra dimension to storytelling with data and replace the need for businesses to generate new screenshots from Power BI and paste them into PowerPoint.
The new add-in will allow users to insert a live Power BI report that can be interacted with directly from the presentation. This will allow businesses to show customers how the data changes with different variables introduced and answer any questions on the fly without having to leave the presentation.
Microsoft has also added a “freeze view” component that allows users to take a single Power BI configuration and treat it as a static image, if desired.
To insert a Power BI report, users select a tool and drag a window onto the slide, similar to how drawing a text box works. A box will then appear where the Power BI report URL can be entered and loaded.
The resulting window can then be resized like a text box and the displayed data can be manipulated as if it could directly from the Power BI platform.
“This new capability brings fully interactive and up-to-date data into your discussions during meetings,” said Lukasz Pawlowski, senior program manager at Microsoft in an explainer video. “Presenters can quickly drill down into the data to answer questions without slowing down ‘I’ll get back to you’ [responses].”
Power BI integration is also coming to Outlook so the same reports can be viewed and shared across departments without having to leave the email client.
Adopting a user interface reminiscent of Microsoft Teams, Power BI’s Outlook integration will help those tasked with composing status update emails at the start of the day.
These people can add a preview card to emails that link directly to the Power BI report from which the status update email conclusions are drawn, in case the recipient wants to verify the data.
A Microsoft Teams chat can also be created directly from the Power BI view in Outlook in case a team member wants to quickly follow up on something, for example.
Microsoft 365 users will soon see a Power BI button added to the “Insert” tab in the PowerPoint ribbon. If it is not there, it can be added from the Office store, provided that the administrator rules allow it.
Power BI will be available to Outlook client and Outlook web app users, and can be located in the apps list.
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The latest update shows Microsoft’s commitment to bringing technical skills to non-technical sales employees. Power BI sits under the Power Platform product umbrella, which gained a fifth tool when it launched yesterday.
Building on the Power Apps portals, Power Pages was one of the first big announcements made during Microsoft Build. The new low-code web development platform has been launched to help companies develop their own web pages and web applications without the need to hire developers.
Although a bit of coding knowledge is required, the platform will be familiar to anyone using Office 365 products, like PowerPoint and Excel, and can be used by developers and non-developers alike.
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