We had two important learnings from this project:
- In a highly regulated business environment, version control, logging and approval processes are essential, especially when it comes to verifications during audits. As manual processes are time consuming and error prone, automation of such processes is important. This does not only include classical CI/CD pipelines for software development but also include data-intensive applications such as reporting.
- Power BI built-in services do not prove sufficient functionality for our use case. Azure DevOps and PowerShell provide a rich toolset to implement automated deployment processes. Version control for codes and files were implemented with Azure Repos (former GitHub), while the automated pipelines including approval process were implemented with PowerShell and Azure Pipelines.
When looking at single requirements, other options may arise as solutions, which might also come in with slimmer processes. Version control can be provided with SharePoint / OneDrive synchronization or a standalone repository. The Power BI Premium feature “Power BI Pipelines” provide the possibility of automating deployment process across multiple workspaces, which also comes with additional costs for the Premium node, we did not have at our deposal for the customer. These provide a suitable starting point to get used to development processes in your reporting from which you can build up further. We recommend having a close look on your requirements directly from the beginning and think long-term when Power BI reporting is becoming widely adopted within your organization. Furthermore, we recommend to align early with the IT stakeholder and make sure, that required expertise for support and maintenance of the dataset and the automated process is accessible for such a comprehensive architecture design.
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