Reimagining Power BI lineage. From useless to useful
If you have ever used Power BI’s lineage view to figure out where a report sources its data from, then you know that Power BI lineage is poor.
Take a look at this example
The lineage you get from Power BI tells you that the Analytics report template sources data from a dataset that sources data from a SQL Server database.
This lineage view is missing a significant amount of information to be useful. The dataset could have dozens of tables in it. But not all are used in the report. The SQL Server database could have hundreds of tables, but not all are used in the dataset. This lineage is close to useless.
At Kada.ai we decided to reimagine Power BI lineage. What would be the ideal lineage views would help data producers debug data issues? What lineage views would improve trust and visibility for data consumers?
Let’s dive into what this looks like:
Report to Dataset Table lineage: When you look at a report in K you can see what tables within a dataset it uses.
You can even trace lineage back to the database tables that the dataset tables source its data from.
Page to Dataset Field lineage: When you are viewing a Power BI page’s lineage in K, you can see every dataset field it uses. Like with table lineage, you can trace the lineage for every dataset field back to the database column that it uses. As one KADA customer put it — “thats next level crazy”.
Dataset Field to Dataset Field lineage: How about the lineage details of a calculation? Yep we have that covered too. We even capture the calculation as well!
So what does this detailed lineage enable you to do? Let’s start with a few use cases that you can immediately get value from:
- Detailed impact assessment: Understand down to the field / page level impacts for any upstream change
- Dataset optimisation: Find all the orphaned dataset fields that are not being used in any report, or connected to reports that can be decommissioned.
- Data tracing: Find where sensitive or critical data is flowing to in your reporting layer and who is using it.
We are excited to take this feature much further in the next few releases. One key focus will be introducing change management features for detecting changes across Power BI assets including down to the calculations themselves.