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Scheduling Power BI Reports with Inforiver: A step-by-step tutorial

by Inforiver | Sep 02, 2022 |

It is a common requirement across organizations to schedule Power BI reports on a periodic basis, where the report data (exported to Excel/PDF files) need to be sent by email to multiple recipients, or to shared folders such as OneDrive, Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and Google Drive.

We’ll quickly explore how you can set this capability using Inforiver for Power BI.

We’ll take up a sales forecast report for example, which tracks sales performance as of current month (August). This report gets updated on a regular basis, but we would like to schedule this to all our sales reps by email twice a week.

Power BI sales report

To create a report schedule using Inforiver, go to the Export tab, and click on ‘New Subscription’

Create Power BI report schedule email

If you are not authenticated by Inforiver already, you will be provided with a prompt to sign in with your Office 365 credentials. This is how Inforiver recognizes the user who is creating the schedule.

Power BI schedule authentication

If you have signed into Office 365 already in your browser, you need not enter your credentials this time. Inforiver will automatically take you to the next step as outlined below.

You will now be taken to a portal which opens in a separate tab and will be asked to choose a Inforiver workspace. Note that these workspaces are created by users with admin rights, who will need to provide you with the rights to access this workspace. This ensures that different workspaces can be created for different teams, business units & functions in your organization. In our case, we have access to one workspace which we shall select.

Power BI schedule report workspace

You will now be taken to a ‘New Subscription’ screen directly. As you can observe, creating a subscription is a three-step process: (a) select report (b) set subscription frequency and (c) select destinations

Power BI create new email schedule

STEP 1: Select Report

In this first step, we need to specify WHAT needs to be scheduled. As shown below, there are several options you can configure while choosing the report you want to schedule.

Power BI create email schedule details

The numbers listed below correspond to the numbers listed in the image above.

1. Enter a name for the subscription schedule

2. Choose which report needs to be scheduled

3. Specify whether the report has Row Level Security (RLS) that needs to be adhered to

4. Choose whether we need the ability to send specific records in the report to specific users (e.g., US records to US Regional Head, EMEA records to EMEA Regional Manager, etc.). You may use this option in case you do not have any RLS defined for your data. This is very helpful for organizations with small and manageable number of recipients.

5. A Power BI report can have several tabs/pages. In this step, you choose whether you want all pages to be sent. In our case, we are scheduling only one tab named ‘Email Schedule’, and all the other tabs in the report will be ignored by the scheduler.

Power BI report schedule specific report tab

6. Specify whether you need dataset to be refreshed prior to each run

7. Dataset owner from whom you need to receive a permission

8. Specify whom to notify in case the schedule run fails

9. You have the option to include report metadata at the end of the PDF report. A sample of the last page is shown when you hover on the help icon.

Power BI append metadata schedule

Once you have set up WHAT to schedule using the above steps, click on Next button at the bottom of the page.

STEP 2: Set Schedule Frequency

In this step, we need to provide details of WHEN the schedule needs to run.

In our case, we are scheduling report runs at 4AM Eastern Time every Tuesday and Thursday, till Jan 15th of the next year.

Power BI report schedule frequency

By default, the start and end dates are the same. Using the default setup will help you do an ad-hoc, on-demand, one-time email schedule.

Click on the Next button at the bottom of the screen.

STEP 3: Select Destinations

The final step is to mention WHERE the report extracts need to be sent/delivered.

Inforiver allows you to schedule Power BI reports to email, OneDrive, Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and Google Drive. We will look at email and OneDrive options. The remaining options are very similar to the OneDrive setup.

Step 3a) Schedule Power BI Report to Email

Here you can configure the following:

  1. Set up email recipients,
  2. Define the subject and the body of the email
  3. Choose whether to send the report extract as a formatted PDF file, formatted Excel file or a high-quality preview image embedded in the body of the email.
Power BI schedule reports email

While choosing email recipients, you can ensure that specific categories are sent to specific reps. In our case, this user receives only the pages corresponding to US Central and US East regions.

Power BI schedule report row level security RLS alternative

Not that the above option is available only when (a) Your report uses category-based page breaks  as part of the Reports Plus feature and (b) when we enable ‘Report plus layout’ in Step #1 – ‘Choose Report’.

Power BI schedule Report plus option

After you click on ‘Review’ at the top of the screen, you will be shown a review page.

Power BI report schedule summary

Click on ‘Save Subscription’ to save the email schedule.

Power BI report schedule subscription summary

Clicking on the saved schedule now gives you more options – such as

  • run the schedule right away (ad-hoc)
  • pause the subscription
  • send a test email
  • duplicate the schedule to create a new one
  • delete the schedule
Power BI manage subscription after creation

Whenever the schedule runs, emails are triggered to recipients. Here is a sample email received from the scheduler (for a different report). Note that it has the excel and pdf files as attachments, and an image embedded within the body of the email. This ensures that users do not have to open file attachments in order to view report summary.

Power BI schedule email sample

Step 3b) Schedule Power BI report to OneDrive, Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and Google Drive.

The steps for these options are very similar. We will explore how to set it up for OneDrive.

After you set up the email destination, you can select OneDrive from the menu on the left. Note that Inforiver supports scheduling to multiple destinations as part of a single job schedule.

Power BI schedule reports OneDrive authentication

Once you sign-in to OneDrive, you can choose the destination folder. Review & save the subscription once you have provided all the inputs.

Power BI schedule reports OneDrive folders

Scheduling Power BI reports to Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and Google Drive are very similar.

***

SUMMARY

Overall, we explored the following:

  1. How to set up periodic Power BI report scheduling which delivers report extracts to email and shared drives.
  2. Scheduling reports to email and shared folder destinations is a three-step process, where we configure WHAT to schedule, WHEN to schedule, and WHERE the destination is.
  3. You can schedule reports to multiple destinations at once using a single subscription

The scheduler is available as part of Inforiver Enterprise.

Have a question on scheduling? Drop us a note at Inforiver Community, and we will be happy to answer your questions.


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