Teams Real Simple with Pictures – Using Power BI Dashboards for insights and data driven decisions within the Team

This blog is part of a series on Teams. For more articles, check back often. 

Written: 03/08/2019 | Updated: N/A

An increasing amount of our working lives are spent in Team meetings. The biggest issue of mine – at least with the meetings I attend on a regular basis – is that they still often lack insights from data, lack open team discussions based upon and challenging these insights and data driven decision making. All too frequently meetings tend to descend into wild conjecture or arguments based on emotion without anything to back that up. Even worse, not all members of the team always have access to such data to be able to counter arguments based upon data hoarded by other individuals.

Now, I’m not necessarily saying that data should or ought to drive all decisions; yet I’m certainly against decision making being driven by force or cult of personality, nepotism, gut feeling, short circuited fuzzy logic and mob mentality.

With Teams and Power BI we have the opportunity to level the playing field. We can increase transparency within the Team and visualize the data for them to glean insights which should lead to multiple benefits including better decision making, better planning, better strategy. It ought to provide an all up better collaboration experience.

And of course better meetings – more productive with less arguments!

WHY WOULD WE DO IT?

  • To make data driven decisions
  • To increase transparency in the Team

PREREQUISITES

The following is required

  • Teams Licence
  • Power BI Pro Licence

Both are within Office/Microsoft 365 E5; otherwise Power BI Pro will need to be an add-on to the Office/Microsoft 365 licence. A user does not need to be an owner of a Team, but needs to be able to create tabs so needs the appropriate Team permissions. The user may also need to have the ability to create a Power BI Workspace if one is not already created.

HOW

This example will use the simplest data source – excel. A list on data sources for Power BI can be found here

1.) The data recorded and saved in the excel (teamscourse.xlsx) in OneDrive is for a Microsoft Teams course conducted monthly over 12 months. The data shows Seats, Attendees, Passes and an Instructor rating. Before the data is uploaded to Teams and used in Power BI it needs to be converted from flat data into an Excel table format. To do this highlight the table and select Ctrl + T or Format as Table in the ribbon. Save the excel.

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2.) In Teams upload the Excel File to the Files Tab in the Teams Channel

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3.) Login to https://login.microsoftonline.com and select Power BI through All Apps or through the App Launcher

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4.) Select Workspace and then Create a Workspace. Name the Workspace (Shown here as Modern Workplace Course) set a Description and select Save

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5.) Select Get under Files

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6.) Select SharePoint – Team Sites

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7.) To easily connect the data, get the Site URL of the SharePoint site which the Team is based on. This can be accessed through Teams, Channel, Files Tab and then Open in SharePoint and selecting Home on the left hand menu. It should look something like

https://m365x753731.sharepoint.com/sites/Mark8ProjectTeam

Enter the SharePoint Site URL of the Channel where the data is stored. Select Connect

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8.) Find the data moving through the Shared Documents and Channel Folder. Select the excel and Connect

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9.)  Select Import

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10.) Once the data is imported click on the dataset to open it. With a blank canvas, the visualizations for the dash can be created using the data. As shown below there are 4 visualizations added which have been made up from the excel data on the right including a line chart, a stacked column chart and two gauges. Once done Save the report (here called TeamsCourse)

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11.) Click on the Workspace in the left navigation and then select the Share icon on the Dashboard. Add all the members of the Team with whom the dashboard will be shared in Teams and then Save

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12.) Finally, Publish App in the top right, setting the app name and description

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13.) Our work here is done. In Teams add a Power BI Tab and select the Workspace

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14.) The Power BI Dashboard is now a Tab in Teams

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Notes

  • Updates to the excel will be pulled through automatically by Power BI and into Teams. It is advised against to manually update through Power BI after the data has been connected
  • The excel can be synced to the desktop via Sync in SharePoint