Session resources: Patterns for adopting dataflows in Power BI

Important: This post was written and published in 2020, and the content below may no longer represent the current capabilities of Power BI. Please consider this post to be more of an historical record and less of a technical resource. All content on this site is the personal output of the author and not an official resource from Microsoft.

This morning I presented a new webinar for the Istanbul Power BI user group, covering one of my favorite subjects: common patterns for successfully using and adopting dataflows in Power BI.

This session represents an intersection of my data culture series in that it presents lessons learned from successful enterprise customers, and my dataflows series in that… in that it’s about dataflows. I probably didn’t need to point out that part.

The session slides can be downloaded here: 2020-09-23 – Power BI Istanbul – Patterns for adopting dataflows in Power BI

The session recording is available for on-demand viewing. The presentation is around 50 minutes, with about 30 minutes of dataflows-centric Q&A at the end. Please check it out, and share it with your friends!


6 thoughts on “Session resources: Patterns for adopting dataflows in Power BI

  1. Pola

    Thank you for this session! It was very useful for me! I’m starting to use dataflows to build a BI solution for a middle size company and I keep wondering what will be better to use: pbi dataflows or power platform dataflows? both allow to put data into an ADL or CDS entities. Power Apps dataflows seem to be more flexibles to admin and to access data from another app (not only PBI) but I’m not sure…


    1. Hi Pola – thanks for the feedback and for the question!

      If you’re comparing dataflows in Power BI with analytical dataflows in Power Apps (dataflows in Power BI do not allow you to load data into CDS, so that would be one reason to choose Power Apps) there are more similarities than differences. Both allow you to use Power Query Online to load data into your own ADLSg2 resource, which you can configure at the dataflow level in Power Apps or at the workspace level in Power BI. In both of these scenarios you need to bring your own storage account and your own Azure subscription.

      Dataflows in Power BI also include built-in storage so Power BI authors can create and for use in Power BI without needing an Azure subscription. Power Apps doesn’t have a similar concept- you need to bring your own storage to use analytical dataflows.

      Given that you’re building a BI solution I would lean towards using dataflows in Power BI, but the “right” answer will always depend on the details of your project and its priorities. Best of luck!


  2. Scott Powell

    Hi Matthew, this was a really great presentation. Happy to see that the main use cases you see and the ones we’re considering dataflows for coincide 🙂

    One question – you mentioned briefly at the very end of the video one of the issues that’s really impacting us – the inability for Power Query online to hit the enhanced compute engines in the GUI, particularly when doing merges between tables. We have a relatively small COVID-19 dataflow where it can easily take 20+ minutes to make a single “5 second” change because it’s waiting for the preview data to return. This – along with the very, very long time for dataflows to “validate entities” (30+ minutes in our case) literally means a 5 second change can chew up a whole hour of time.

    Are you aware of any fixes coming for this in the near future? We’ve actively decided against promoting dataflows due to these UI performance issues. We love the idea, but the end user interface issues need to get resolved before we’d ever put these in front of our data scientists.



    1. Hi Scott – thanks for the feedback, and for the question.

      The dataflows team is working on updating the validation logic to address the most common challenges, and to make the validation processing a non-blocking background operation. Until this shows up on the public release plan ( ) I won’t speculate on dates, but the team knows it’s a priority.

      For the PQO preview data, there are a few efforts underway as well. The one that’s likely to land sooner rather than later is a “schema view” coming to Power Query Online… now?

      I have it in my environment, but since Microsoft folks get to dogfood new capabilities all the time, I can’t say if you might have it today or if it will be coming soon.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s