Azure DevOps Power BI Reporting

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Azure DevOps (ADO) is fast becoming the application lifecycle management tool of choice for modern organisations. With boards, CI/CD pipelines and Git repo capabilities, Agile practices have never been so easy to implement in project management. However, as a DevOps tool, it is understandably not designed and equipped to be a fully-fledged reporting and analytics solution as well. Luckily, Power BI can be used to integrate with ADO to deliver the kind of enterprise reporting that project managers need to properly monitor their projects. This blog post covers Azure DevOps Power BI reporting and also some examples of what kind of reporting is available.

Connecting to ADO

A connection to ADO is made possible via the OData feed option available in Power BI. Once connected, you will need to select the relevant tables to begin building a data model. For most project managers, the main objective in ADO reporting is getting clear visibility of the progress of work items. For that reason, the tables imported into the model should contain information relating to Work Items and Iterations.

Once imported, some simple transformations are required to clean the data. It is crucial that the correct relationships are created between work item tables. This is because work items in ADO are hierarchical, starting with Epics, Features, User Stories and Tasks. This hierarchical logic must be captured in the model in order for the reporting to make sense.

Once the model has been created, the report visualisations can be built. Based on experience, a clearly constructed table outlining key work item information including Sprint, Epic, Feature, User Story, Task, Assigned To, Completed Date, Task Number and Sprint Percentage is precisely what project managers want to see. Although not the most visually compelling report, these tables  clearly articulate work progress in a single view, something not easily achieved natively within ADO.

What Reporting Is Available

As mentioned previously, ADO reporting is primarily concerned with reporting on the progress of work items. However, the OData feed is able to capture most of the ADO backend, meaning that additional reporting on things such as pipelines and test results is also possible. Some typical reporting examples include:

  • Sprint progress reporting
  • Resource burndown and capacity
  • Work item cycle time
  • Work item predictability and productivity
  • Task completion forecasting
  • Work item distribution
  • CI/CD pipeline failures
  • Application testing and release results

Virtually any reporting can be custom built using Power BI and the OData feed.

Developing Power BI reporting for ADO is also useful because of its scalability. The OData feed can be re-pointed to any ADO instance, meaning that your reporting can be easily reproduced in other ADO instances. At FTS, we offer a pre-packaged report that can be easily implemented in any instance. It contains the most relevant reporting out of ADO based on our experience and has been very useful for us in managing our projects.

Finally, Power BI reports can be easily embedded back into ADO via the native web-embed functionality. A dashboard in DevOps must be first created, and include an iframe dashboard widget. Then the Power BI report can be embedded into the widget in the dashboard, thereby allowing you to view your custom reporting within the DevOps browser. This ability to embed reporting elevates ADO into being an all-in-one development management tool, greatly assisting project managers keep track of resources and progress.

If you want to begin Azure DevOps Power BI reporting, please contact us for more information.

Power BI Dataflows: New and Improved

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If you attended one of our Dashboard In A Day events earlier this year, you would have seen a brief demonstration of Power BI Dataflows, and what they can mean for an organisation. With the recent Microsoft update of Dataflows, now is a good time to familiarise yourself with this feature and learn how you can leverage it to improve the data culture in your organisation.

What Are Dataflows

If you have worked with Power BI before, then you are familiar with Power Query, which is the tool used for extracting, transforming, and loading data into a data model. Power Query allows you to connect to a variety of data sources and perform detailed transformations to manipulate data into the desired format needed to perform analysis.

Dataflows is an extension of this, in that it allows you to create these Power Query transformations and make them available across your organisations for repeatable use. This is important for two reasons:

  1. It scales data preparation, and eliminates the need for users to perform transformations again and again.
  2. It introduces a layer of governance in centralising and standardising data preparation assets.

Dataflows gives users access to clean, transformed data that they can rely on and re-use. This is vital in supporting self-service analytics in an organisation, as it provides users with the platform needed to access reliable and pre-configured data assets.

New Capabilities

Power BI has now introduced Endorsement capabilities into the Dataflows feature. Dataset endorsement capabilities have already been in use for some time and have proven very useful in establishing quality data culture in an organisation. With this capability now extended into Dataflows, quality data assets can now be more easily identified and shared across an organisation. Per the Endorsement principles, Dataflows can be marked for Promotion or Certification.

Promotion – tells users that the dataflow owner believes that this dataflow is good enough to be shared and reused. Users will need to have confidence in the dataflow owner to trust the quality of the dataflow.

Certification – tells users the dataflow has passed internal tests for quality per organisational policy. Only specified users are authorised to mark Dataflows as Certified.

Certified and Promoted Dataflows are marked with badges when users attempt to connect to them in Power BI Desktop:

This identification means that users can easily see which dataflows they should use to connect to when preparing reporting or analysis.

Why It’s Important

Endorsement is an important step in making Dataflows an enterprise-ready feature. With endorsement, an organisation must adopt a policy for reviewing and certifying data preparation assets. The introduction of this policy greatly improves the quality of data in an organisation, as only certified dataflows are being used for reporting and analytics outcomes.

Organisations that wish to promote a self-service environment will also benefit greatly from endorsed dataflows, as it reduces the need for dedicated resources to create and control data access. Instead, quality data assets can be centrally managed via Power BI and made available to the organisation to connect to and use. Users can rely on the quality of data, and do not need to perform any additional tasks to cleanse the data to get it ready for their analysis.

If you want to know how Dataflows can be used in your organisation, please contact us for more information.


Profisee partner with FTS Data & AI

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Profisee + FTS Data & AI – Partnership Announcement

Profisee have formally partnered with FTS Data & AI to help deliver MDM (Master Data Management) solutions to Australian business and enhance your Modern Data Platform.

Profisee’s Master Data Management software makes it easy and affordable for companies of all sizes to build a trusted foundation of data across the enterprise. FTS Data & AI’s expertise ensures a successful implementation that delivers value to the business.

Why is an MDM solution important?

The key benefit of an MDM solution is to improve the quality of your data when it is held in multiple systems. This can quickly yield benefits by simple reduction of duplication of effort – for example reducing the number of mail recipients on a corporate Christmas card list!
An MDM solution is agnostic to the source systems but can integrate back to them to keep data clean. In plain English this means that you can independently manage the data that resides in multiple systems, but allow the MDM solution send cleaned data back to them.

A good tool supports ongoing stewardship and governance through workflows, monitoring and corrective-action techniques that can all be managed by an end user.

Why Profisee?

Profisee is ideal for companies looking to get started with MDM and seeking an easy-to-use, cost-effective and rapidly deployed MDM solution at an affordable price point. The price issue is significant and many enterprise MDM tools come attached with significant price tags and services overhead which may not suit many businesses.
According to Gartner, customers report Profisee offers an economically priced offering and favorable TCO. Combined with shorter implementation time frames, where Profisee has more implementations taking under three months than any other vendor in the 2020 Magic Quadrant, this makes it an ideal tool for initial MDM implementations.
Contact us to speak with one of FTS Data & AI’s experts.
Contact us today

Power BI: Dashboard In A Day – Jan 2020

By | Data Visualisation | One Comment

FTS Data and AI kicked off 2020 the right way by hosting another Power BI: Dashboard In A Day (DIAD) event in January. With more events scheduled in the coming months, this post recaps the January event, the feedback we got and what you can expect from the next DIAD event.

What Is It?

As previously mentioned, DIAD is a free one-day course designed by Microsoft to help analysts explore the full capabilities of Power BI. Attendees learn about Power BI in detail, follow a step-by-step lab manual, attempt 2 real-world practical examples and receive expert guidance from a team of experienced instructors. Through self-paced learning, attendees can properly develop their skills in Power BI and create a business-ready dashboard in a matter of hours. No matter what their capabilities are, the workshop is designed to be accessible to everyone in attendance.

“Great presentation, great content and very useful hands-on labs. I would definitely recommend this.”

The January event this year was loaded with attendees from a diverse range of industries and roles. From business analysts to IT managers (with a few engineers and accountants in the mix), DIAD was a hit for all those in attendance looking to sharpen their Power BI skills. From the FTS perspective, this was the ideal audience – a healthy cross section of the modern BI reporting landscape eager to see what Power BI is capable of. The benefit of DIAD is that it can help anyone at any stage of their BI reporting journey, and this was no more evident here with the variety of attendees.

“The content was really easy to follow and I learned a lot. The presenters were excellent and know their stuff.”

From the feedback we collected, the most valuable part of DIAD is the bring-your-own-data session. This is a unique session dedicated to helping attendees solve their individual reporting problems. The FTS team were on hand to deliver one-on-one advice with every participant, with questions ranging from a technical perspective to more opinion-seeking advice. This is the best part of DIAD, and what makes this event like no other. The consulting team love a challenge, and helping the audience get the results they want is an extremely rewarding experience.

“[I liked] that we have the ability to bring our own data to build our own dashboard… Thanks FTS.”

Another unique benefit of DIAD is the showcase session. During the lunch break, attendees are invited to eat while the FTS team showcase some real-world Power BI examples. The audience gets an inside look at how we understand reporting problems and how we use Power BI to solve them. Learning about the functionality of Power BI is one thing, but seeing how it is applied is where you truly realise the benefits.

“All the coordinators were enthusiastic to resolve and address questions.”

Why Should I Go?

DIAD is an event like no other. Designed by Microsoft and delivered by professionals, DIAD empowers attendees with the skills and best practices needed to develop successful Power BI reporting solutions. Based on the overwhelming positive feedback from attendees, these events have been instrumental in getting Power BI quickly adopted in several organisations.

If you want to know more about Power BI: Dashboard In A Day events, please contact us for more information or check out our events page below for upcoming sessions.

Power BI Dynamic Visual Titles

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Power BI Dynamic Measures & Dimensions  – Part 2 Dynamic Visual Titles

In Part 1 we saw how we can take our Power BI Reports to the next level by making them fully interactive, incorporating dynamic measures & dimensions. In part 2 we will tie it all together with Power BI Dynamic Visual Titles. In combination with Part 1’s Dynamic Measures & Dimensions, this concept greatly enhances the end user experience as they can monitor/analyse multiple measures and dimensions in a single report page at the click of a button.

Using the same financial dataset from Part 1, we will create 2 types of dynamic visual titles. One using a combination of the Selected Measure and Selected Time data attributes we created in Part 1 with some free text and the second will be a combination Selected Measure, Selected Time, free text and the selected filter from another visual.

In the Donut chart visual below, we have selected the ‘Revenue’ measure (using Selected Measure) and the ‘MTD’ period (using Selected Time) from our Chiclet Slicers and we can see these are reflected in our Donut charts title.

When we change our selection using the Chiclet Slicer, the Donut charts title updates to reflect our new selections as seen below.

How to

This is achieved by creating measures for each of your visual titles, and again utilising the SELECTEDVALUE DAX function we used in Part 1.

Let’s start by creating the measure, called ‘Title-Donut-Region’, that we’ll use for the Donut chart title by using the syntax below which joins (concatenates) the Selected Measure, Selected Time & the string “ by Region”.

With the measure created we then add it to the Donut Visual by going to the Format options within the Visualisations pane and click on fx as seen below.

The following window will pop-up and we select ‘Format by Field value’ and then select our ‘Title-Donut-Region’ measure, click OK.

We can also extend this concept further by adding fields used in other visuals to our visual title measures, in this example, the ‘Region’ field used in our Donut chart visual. Below we have a Clustered bar chart visual showing our Selected Measure, Selected Time data attributes by Country.

In the ‘Title-Bar-Country’ measure as seen below, we have added the Region field (called ‘Group’ in our Data Model)


Now when we select a Region from our Donut chart visual, the Clustered bar chart visual by Country updates to show the Countries in that Region and our Clustered bar chart title also updates as seen below.

Power BI Dynamic Visual

As you can see, Power BI Dynamic Visual Titles ties in together nicely with the Dynamic Measures & Dimensions and can greatly enhance the end users experience.


If you’d like to take your Power BI Reports and Dashboards to the next level and need help, please contact us to discuss how we can assist your organisation.