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Power BI (Pilot 2017)


The University currently supports a number of different reporting and
business intelligence tools. During summer 2017 we will be piloting
Microsoft’s Office 365 BI offering, Power BI.


Why are we running this pilot?

The aim of this pilot is to assess the functionality of Power BI as an alternative to existing reporting tools (e.g. Cognos). It is intended that Power BI will supplement operational reporting functionality that is delivered through corporate systems, e.g. VLE, OneUniversity etc.

The Aims/Benefits of a BI Tool:

• Improved access to up-to-date information - for the right people at the right time
• Improved awareness of business data and everyone’s role in maintaining data quality standards
• Shared business ownership of reports
• Secure read-only access to managed and quality assured data sources
• Flexible reporting platform which can combine datasets for enriched analysis and reporting
• Secure publication of interactive reports/dashboards to interrogate data and answer questions

Current Pilot Members:

• UoDIT Business Services
• Corporate Planning
• Admissions
• Registry
• Disability Services


What is Power BI?

Power BI is a suite of business analytics tools which can be used by staff to explore/analyse business data and securely share their insights with colleagues.

Power BI desktop provides an intuitive and feature-rich interface to create attractive, meaningful reports and dashboards in a matter of minutes.



Power BI service enables secure publication and refresh of dashboards across the UoD user community.

Power BI Gateway enables UoDIT to make data available (read only) from multiple corporate systems for reporting purposes. Data security is assured by utilising existing security and permission groups for corporate systems.



How do I get access to Power BI?

You need to be a registered member of the Power BI pilot to gain access to the service. If you would like to be considered for inclusion, please contact the IT Service Desk to request the Power BI tile be enabled in your Office 365 account. New users will automatically receive a 1 year free trial of Power BI Pro.

We recommend that you watch the following video to help you get started and explore the Guided Learning materials published by Microsoft.


Guided Learning
  • Getting Started
  • Getting Data
  • Modeling
  • Visualisations
  • Exploring Data
  • Power BI and Excel
  • Publishing and Sharing
  • Introduction to DAX

Sample Datasets

Power BI Documentation


How do I connect to University data?

Once you have learned the ropes, and you want dynamically refreshed or ‘real-time’ data from one of the University systems, you will need to contact the IT Service Desk; they will then route your call to the UoDIT Business Services teams based on the application data business area required. Also note that you can use external data sources and static data files (e.g. Excel spreadsheets) to augment University data to develop your reports. 

If you already have permission to see the data, Business Services can set up a data ‘view’ or more complex data model for you to connect to in Power BI. If you want to access data that is not normally available to you, you must seek approval from the data owner/controller prior to contacting the IT Service Desk.

Please note that if you intend to share a report with others in the University they must also have data access. To achieve your desired result be sure to specify what your requirements are when you speak to the Business Services team member that is assigned your data request.


Help & support

Once you have Power BI enabled as noted above, you should see a new tile in your Office365 applications. 



Once you go into the web client you can download the desktop client using the menu. The application will download an installer which you must run to gain the fuller featured version of Power BI.



Please contact the IT Service Desk if you have any queries about installing Power BI Desktop Client.
If you have any questions about the pilot project or how to use Power BI, please contact Louise Cardno, Business Analyst at