One of the main things customers want when looking at data analysis and reporting tools is to have data that is up to date without needing someone to run the report. An awesome feature of Power BI is the ability to schedule automatic refreshes multiple times a day.
Power BI Pro or Power BI Premium Licensing Required
The ability to schedule automatic refreshes requires you to have a Power BI Pro license as this is managed within the online Power BI system. With the Pro version you are allotted up to 8 refreshes per day. If a dataset will require more refreshes per day Power BI Premium allows you to have up to 48 per day, there is significant price increase to Premium.
Install and Configure Gateway
In order to schedule a data refresh a gateway must be installed and configured. Either a personal or on-premise gateway can be utilized, but it is important to note that the computer using the gateway must be on and within the company network at the time of the scheduled refresh for it to work.
To schedule a refresh access the dataset and select the schedule refresh icon as shown in the screenshot below.
On the next screen expand the “Scheduled refresh” tab and fill out refresh settings. Once everything is filled out select “Apply” to schedule your refresh.
Viewing Refresh Status
Within the dataset list you can view when the dataset was last refreshed and when the next refresh is scheduled for. To view this let’s return to the dataset list. Select the workspace where the dataset is located and then select the “Dataset + dataflows” tab.
In our example above we can see the last date each dataset was refreshed and that three of them have upcoming scheduled refreshes. We also see one error identified by a triangle and exclamation point next to the refreshed date for the Sales Report Example. To view the error select the error icon.
Here we can see that the data gateway was offline when the refresh was attempted. If an error occurs with your refresh you can manually refresh the data at that point or clear up the error and wait for the next scheduled refresh.
It is important to note that refreshes do use system resources and can take quite a bit of time depending on the overall size of your dataset. If you are pulling hundreds of thousands of rows data refreshes can take upwards of 15-20 minutes.
Make sure you are setting your data refreshes to occur after all data has been entered for the day to ensure all changes are pulled in, if the report is refreshing at the same time data is being entered it will not be the most up to date.
With larger sets of data from a database, such as SQL or Azure, make sure and add in a longer command timeout. This is done when connecting to the data source during initial creation of the report. It can also be adjusted after a report is created by changing data source settings within the Power BI Desktop. I recommend setting the timeout minutes to 30 or 60 minutes.
Data refreshes take away the need for someone to manually go in and run the report. Reports and dashboards can be accessed for weekly meetings or reviewed in the morning with up to date data. When reporting and analytics are efficient important business decisions can be made quickly to improve and grow your business.
Have questions on Power BI or want more information? Contact us to learn more.
-Jerica Coleman, CRM and Power BI Consultant