All Content
explore our new search
Effective Collaboration with External Users in Power BI
Image Source:
Power BI
Sep 29, 2023 8:11 AM

Effective Collaboration with External Users in Power BI

by HubSite 365 about Marc Lelijveld (Data – Marc) [MVP]

Data Platform MVP | FastTrack Recognized Solution Architect | Microsoft Certified Trainer | Public Speaker | Data enthusiast | Solution Architect Data & Analytics

Data AnalyticsPower BIM365 Hot News

Unlock the secrets to successful collaboration with external experts in Power BI, optimize processes and secure your data effectively.

Learn about Successfully collaborate with Externals in Power BI

As we step into the world of data and analytics, integrating outside expertise to our projects becomes vital. Imagine a scenario where you run an organization which is lack of professionals in these areas. Your aim is the acceleration of creating Power BI reports. The traditional way of creating accounts for these external consultants at your IT organization, however, can be timely.

A viable alternative can be letting these professionals use their own accounts. Specifically, in Power BI, collaborating with externals presents a number of factors to be contemplated before proceeding. The level of involvement these professionals would have in your project forms the basis. For instance, you might want their solely observational role, or perhaps, you expect them to generate new content, such as reports and dashboards, or you might want them to design entire datasets or datamarts. Your decision would determine the course of setup.

Power BI operation requires an account in the first place. So, how about we take a look at the specifics of Power BI like tenant settings and permissions after a glance at the authentication to Power BI? An understanding of the Azure Active Directory, which handles the authentication processes to Power BI along with other Microsoft services, is important for this process.

Clarifying this, the Azure Active Directory is basically the central security and authorization mechanism. To authenticate, your profile must be known in the directory. This directory can consist either of an organizational internal user or an external guest account. With Azure Active Directory, signing in is handled using a user principal name, a specific identity designated to individuals, and all organizational standard security measures are accordingly applied.

As next in the line, the user needs a license. Understanding the types of licenses in Power BI contributes to the determination of which license suits your condition. Simply put, you could consider a free license adequate if your workspace is backed by premium capacity, and users only consume the content. If users also need to build any content outside their workspace, a Pro or Premium per User license is required. While deliberating these, costs could also add up and considerably inflate when you assign licenses for all of your external users. Hence, it would be wise to evaluate if these users already possess a license in their own companies. They can bring their own license and use it in your project.

The actual collaboration with external might require you to adjust your Power BI tenant settings. These settings concern about whether to allow external users for your organization, whether to enable guest users' access to your Power BI tenant, and whether to show Azure Active Directory Guests in access menus of the Power BI Service. Furthermore, remember to think about how much of an impact you expect from these external users as this might necessitate changes in specific tenant settings.

Once they are all in place, collaboration with externals can be initiated. Sharing content with the viewer permission or directly sharing the report with the 'specific people' option can be chosen according to your specific use case. For the case of collaboration on the workspace, the external users can be added with appropriate permissions. The principle of the least privilege should be maintained in mind. Basically, grant them only the minimum rights they need to get the job done.

The external consultants might also be wanted to work with your datasets in Power BI desktop. In order for them to connect to your Power BI datasets from Power BI desktop, there are certain preview features to be enabled. At the time of writing, these configurations are imperatives.

Lastly, you may have different options now but it is essential to consider each one of them to make the right decisions and considerations. For instance, though all these settings seem to be quicker than requesting the accounts for your external consultants, it actually depends on your specific circumstances.

As an overview, these are the few points you need to remember when you start working with externals in Power BI:

  • Challenges and time consumption of requesting accounts for your external consultants from the IT organization.
  • Enrollment of your external consultants to Azure Active Directory, the central security, and the authorization mechanism.
  • License requirements for the external users depending on their tasks.
  • Tenant settings and its adjustments considering the external collaborations and based on the requirements.

Remember, as a tenant administrator, the right considerations about your profile and setting up a process around the onboarding of external users are imperative. Moreover, think about monitoring and regular reviews of external permissions.

This was a run-through of successfully collaborating with externals in Power BI but always remember, collaboration starts with active communication and the right set of tools.

More links on about Successfully collaborate with Externals in Power BI

Successfully collaborate with Externals in Power BI
Mar 23, 2023 — In case of collaboration on content in the workspaces, you can add the external users with appropriate permissions to the workspace. Admin ...
Distribute Power BI content to external guest users using ...
Jun 20, 2023 — Once the user has accepted the invitation, a user in Power BI can share a report or dashboard with the external user, or a security group they ...


Power BI collaboration, Externals in Power BI, Power BI teamwork, Power BI data sharing, Power BI external collaboration, Successful Power BI projects, Collaborative BI tools, Effective Power BI usage, Mastering Power BI collaboration, Optimize Power BI for teamwork