New feature! Introducing Goals in Power BI

The big announcement of the 2021 Microsoft Business Applications Summit was the introduction of Power BI Goals.  Not only was this brought up in a customer demo in the keynote, but it was also brought up in the Power BI roadmap session and had its own dedicated “announcement” session.  It is obvious that Microsoft is excited about this new feature. 

Power BI has a few new features that were introduced (Automated Insights, enhanced Power BI and Teams, having Power BI Data Sets in Excel), but Power BI Goals was the big announcement.  Power BI Goals is currently in public preview and is built for Microsoft Teams. 

With the introduction of Goals, Microsoft also introduced a new artifact type in Power BI called Scorecard.  Goal accountability is driven through Goal ownership, but you can also see the status of the Goal and any progress or changes that have occurred in the Goal.  You can also click on the Goal to get more details. 

Creating new scorecards for someone is an easy process.  

Microsoft mentioned it is easier to set up a scorecard than a Power BI report.  You do not need to download Power BI Desktop or understand Data Sets.  You simply click on New Goal and input your data.

In this example below, a revenue Goal for Northwind was assigned to Dan Doan for $6M and we indicated the Goal is at risk, as there is $1.5M of the Goal already met.

Users can go even further and create Sub Goals. 

In this example, you could create a Sub Goal for a specific company of Northwind such as Northwind Enterprise.  You can click “Connect to Data” to select an existing Power BI report that has the data point you want to bring into this Goal (e.g., Northwind Sales Revenue).  Scorecards will automatically update once you connect to a data set, and you can update that tracking cycle to be daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly.

You can also add Status Rules that will automatically update the Goal Status should certain criteria be met (e.g., if the value is less than or equal to $550,000 by 05/15/2021, change the Goal Status to At-Risk).

Goals that are created automatically come with a Data Set that includes the table / values in the Goal.  You can leverage that Data Set to build a new Power BI report off the data and can bring the Power BI Data Set into Excel and build pivot tables with the data. There is also a Goals API to be able to build solutions with the Goals data.

Some other functionality of Power BI Goals includes:

  • Consuming Goals in Teams:  Users can define Goals and drive Goal success together in Teams.  Employees can get a glance at the health of the business.  They can drill through the goal in Teams and have all aspects of the Goal report update based on your drill throughs to find out details such as revenue is declining due to the Retail Customers in Western Europe.  Users can also add annotations to the goals for others to view should they want to provide your analysis of this decline in revenue.
  • Mobile Phone:  Users will be able to see the same data on a phone in a mobile-friendly format.  You can also add check-ins and notes on the phone on any insights you may have into why a Goal is progressing the way it is.

Future functionality of Goals in Power BI:

  • Automated Status Rules: Currently goal statuses must be updated manually, but soon the status will be data-driven and automatically updated.
  • Defined Rollups: Even though we showed above the ability to create Sub Goals from Parent Goals, they are currently disconnected.  In the future, the Sub Goals can drive the Parent Goal in different ways (sum, average, or percentage).
  • Customized Scorecards: This includes the ability to change font, text sizes, colors, and backgrounds of a scorecard.
  • Scorecard Visual: There will be the ability to add a Scorecard Visual to a Power BI report that will display the data of that Goal’s Scorecard directly in the report.
  • Cascading Goals: Users will be able to define a hierarchy and define Goals for all levels (e.g., via an organization hierarchy, or business units, or however your business is defined).
  • Power Automate Integration:  Adding the ability to have an integration with Power Automate and Power BI Goals so non-developers can build automation.  E.g., if a Goal is behind, you can create a Planner Task and post a message in Teams.
Want to read more takeaways from the summit? Check out these blogs….