Power BI governance – why, what and how?

Why do we need governance?

Some may wonder why we need governance in a self-service BI tool? Isn’t it the idea that everyone can use it however they want?

Well yes and no. We want everyone to use Power BI the way they want to. But we also want users to feel they have the knowledge and support they need to do this productively and securely. From an IT perspective, we want to know that performance is where it should be, and we’re not paying more than we need to. This is where management comes in. Power BI governance provides a formal framework for how Power BI is used in our organization. It also aligns Power BI with the organization’s overall IT and business strategy.

The goals of governance are to ensure availability, usability, consistency, data integrity, and data security. As well as processes that support these high-level goals.

What does Power BI governance mean?

We’ve worked with dozens of organizations on topics related to Power BI governance. We have seen that although all organizations have their own set-up and situation, a number of tasks are required in every environment. The most important tasks can be grouped by the objectives of the board.


  • Planning and analysis of technical requirements for the Power BI setup. How much capacity is needed, how many users are there now and in the future, are additional functionalities required, etc.
  • Licenses
  • Monitoring performance and usage and setting the tools for this.
  • Following the Power BI roadmap and implementing new functionalities in the organization.

Usability & Consistency

  • Training for developers and end users so developers know how to create reports with good usability and end users know how to use Power BI.
  • Organizational development practices for, for example, report distribution, documentation, naming conventions, implementation process and version control.
  • Report template and theme file for shared look & feel and UI patterns.

Data Integrity

  • Plan the entire data pipeline and Power BI’s role in it.
  • Create transparency about which reports and data sources are available.
  • Set up and monitor gateway for on-prem data sources.

data security

  • Data source access control
  • Driving Level Security
  • Reporting security training for developers and end users


  • Planning and setting up processes and responsibilities. For example, how access to reports, data sources and licenses is handled or who can create workstations.
  • Setting up a communication channel between users and administrators (for example, a Reporting Community Teams team).
  • Onboarding new report developers

What are the common problems arising from poor governance?

  • Assuming governance is a project with an end date

    Your organization is constantly changing, as are technology and business requirements. The board must be aware of this change.
  • Forgetting one of the three elements: people, processes and technology

Creating streamlined processes has little effect if you don’t communicate them to people over and over again.

  • Not enough training or support for end users and report developers

This leads to underutilization of the tool’s potential or to reports that perform poorly. And in the worst case reports with incorrect results.

  • Not enough training or support for end users and report developers

This leads to underutilization of the tool’s potential or to reports that perform poorly. And in the worst case reports with incorrect results.

  • Users don’t know what reports already exist or what data sources are available or how to access them

Reinvent the wheel or repeat the inefficient way of working.

  • No clear processes what is production content and what is test

Users are not sure what the latest version is or whether the data is up to date. Power BI administrators cannot proactively support production content.

  • Poor performance – unhappy users

Power BI administrators don’t have enough insight into the actual capacity needs and/or what the capacity is consuming.

Source: forward forever

power in governance
Published on
Aug 7, 2021

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