Business Analysts need source control for Power BI files. There’s a simple way to share Power BI files using a combination of Office 365 Files and the OneDrive Sync desktop client.
I’ll Store Files In C:\Temp Like I Always Have
The entire Power BI .pbix file is one “thing” from a source control perspective. It’s difficult and manual to merge changes from many files into one file; it’s easier to develop a best practice from the beginning where one version of the file is maintained. A designated cloud storage location should be the official version.
Centralized storage helps in several areas:
- Avoid overwriting changes made via unmaintained versions.
- Allow many Report Writers to collaborate.
- With modern technology, all business files should be in cloudy storage.
Trust The Process
You first have to decide a logical cloud location to store the Power BI files. Go with what you feel, but I suggest a Teams Workspace dedicated to writing Power BI reports.
Find one of these Sync buttons in Office 365:
A Sync button can be found and any location where Files are stored:
- In Power BI > Workspace > Files
- In Microsoft Teams > Workspace > Files
- In Office 365 > OneDrive > Group
- In SharePoint
After some prompts, OneDrive on your desktop will do its thing, the files will be stored locally, and any changes synchronized back via Internet voodoo.
Once the Sync is setup, the key is pointing at the local shared folder when opening an existing file or saving a new Power BI file.
There are also ways in Office365 Files to recover prior versions of a file in case you make a mess of something and save by accident.
Always Publish from Power BI Desktop; do not make Edits directly in PowerBI.com – otherwise the source files will be out of sync with the report, and eventually those Edits will get overwritten and lost!
I Don’t Know, Seems Fishy
It’s a fact that Joel gets irrationally angry when someone emails a PowerPoint and says “Please add your slides and Jenny will consolidate everyone’s back together.” WE LIVE IN A SOCIETY. WE HAVE NERD RULES. THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY.
Some areas are more challenging than others – consolidating slides is actually fairly simple. Other co-authoring scenarios like notes in OneNote, Word, and Power BI should leverage Office 365 features for maximum productivity.
I promise that my irrational cloud syncing anger comes from a deep-seated desire for everyone’s life to be just a little easier. For Power BI, OneDrive Sync will help.