Power BI metrics

Metrics is a functionality that allows you to monitor various indicators within the Power BI service: goals, tasks, ratio numbers, KPIs… Planned and realized metrics can be entered manually, retrieved from reports or linked to some other indicator. Also, data on planned and realized metrics can be pulled down to Power BI Desktop using the new slicer, which enables easier monitoring and coordination between management, executors and report designers.

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there”, Lewis Carroll once wrote and is often quoted by the authors of books on economics and management, when they want to emphasize the importance of planning. Now we have a tool within Power BI that can make this process easier. Until recently, Metrics was called Goals and could only be used by Power BI Premium subscribers. It is now available to everyone who owns Power BI Professional licenses, as a tool for strategic planning, monitoring the achievement of goals or managing smaller projects.

After logging in to the Power BI service (powerbi.com), on the left side, you will see the Metrics menu, represented by an icon that resembles a trophy. By entering the menu, you will first see the recommended metrics (Recommended), those you are following (Following) or those assigned to you by your superior (Assigned to me). There are plenty of templates offered here, so you can freely browse… Maybe you get an idea how to create and track your goals? Below you will see four more cards: Recent, Favorites, Shared With Me and All Scorecards.

Let us create a new scorecard by clicking the New Scorecard button, as well as a few metrics.

The new area is temporarily named Untitled Scorecard. I will immediately change this to “Sales”, since we will create and monitor sales metrics. Further, let’s create the first metric.

  • METRIC NAME: Sales revenue
  • OWNERS: Power BI automatically retrieves the name of the logged-in user
  • CURRENT VALUE: We enter the value manually or link to the report or sub-metrics
  • FINAL TARGET: We enter the value manually or connect to the report or sub-metrics
  • STATUS: Several statuses are offered for monitoring achievements (on track, behind, at risk…)
  • START DATE: start date, 19.1.2023
  • END DATE: scheduled end date, February 19, 2023

When we define the current value (Current Value) or the target (Final Target), the data can be entered manually, and it can also be taken from a previously published report. For example by using the sales report we can pull the total traffic from the Card visualization. We can also aggregate data from goals that we will define as subordinates or connect the final value to multiple goals. We will add two more metrics: Number of visits to the client and Number of referrals.

Immediately after the creation of the first metric, the statistics corresponding to the statuses will be displayed on the top page. By clicking on one of them, we can filter the list of metrics. It is also possible to filter by keyword or part of it. Over time, changes will be visible in the trend column, shown by the Sparkline graph. In this way, we can see the speed of achieving the goals (metrics).

Now let’s open Power BI Desktop and create a new, blank document. We can monitor the achievement of goals with the help of a new visualization called Scorecard. We add it by clicking on the icon that resembles a trophy, which is located in the visualization palette. After this action, the place where the report should be displayed will appear on the screen.

By clicking the Add metrics button, we can see two options: Add metrics as a visual and Add metrics as a list. The first option is used to add a chart with which we monitor the achievement of a goal, for example, the “Sales revenue” metric. By clicking on Browse Metrics, we can easily display the selected target. The second option provides insight into the list of metrics within the business area. For example if we select the recently created “Sales” scorecard we will see all its metrics in the list.

By creating the Metrics feature within the Power BI service, Microsoft left the sphere of business intelligence and reporting, for which this service was originally intended. Nevertheless, this is a very useful tool that can be used for both general planning and project monitoring. It seems to me that it complements Power BI nicely, it is simple and thorough. The openness to different data sources, from where the metrics can be retrieved automatically, makes it very efficient. Now it’s up to you to try it and draw your own conclusions to what extent it can improve your business.