Flexible Power BI reports with measures in field parameters

The problem

Your organisation has started using Power BI. You are loving the ease of extracting data, transforming your data to fit your requirements, and building reports to display new insights and key operational information. Then you start counting your measures….

Over 20 measures? Over 40? Surely not over 60….

Now you need visuals to display all those measures. Your number of report pages is growing. End users are having difficulty finding the information they need.

As I was working with a client recently, I found they faced this very problem – 32 core measures to interpret their sales data. Initially, it seemed like the report would require many similar visuals and complex navigation requirements between these visuals. But with field parameters, a much cleaner and flexible solution could be built.

Field parameters as solution

Field parameters are an exciting tool in Power BI that allow a more customisable user experience. Users can toggle between key measures such as revenue, profit and cost all on the same graph, table or KPI card.

The end user has control over what are the key figures they are interested in, no hunting through different report pages, no report editing required.

In the below images, you can see what we are aiming to create – a visual changed by slicing your measures. In the first image, the user is interested in this year’s total sales and gross margin figures to report to stakeholders.

Then the user wonders how sales this year compares with last year. Usually, they would have to start combing through many report pages to find the comparison visual. With field parameters as a solution, the user can simply change the slicer. In the second image, you can see the result of the user’s new selections.

In this example there are over 10 different graphs a user can create from a click of the mouse. A flexible and elegant report solution.An example Power BI graph with measures managed by slicers

An example Power BI graph with measures managed by slicers

Thinking about your measures

To implement this solution, you need to understand your measures.

What do your measures have in common? What are the variations on a theme you are trying to display? When measures follow a pattern, the full potential of field parameters can be unleased.

In my example sales dataset, I have some key measures that follow a similar pattern:

  • Sales This Year
  • Sales Last Year
  • Total Sales Var %
  • Gross Margin This Year
  • Gross Margin Last Year
  • Gross Margin Var %

I can see there are two main metrics – total sales and gross margin. For each metric there are three main measures – sales this year, sales last year and sales variance percentage.

In this example, there are only 6 key measures. Your dataset might have many key measures following a pattern – for a client I worked recently they had 4 key metrics, 2 key units (volume and value), and 4 key measures (total, actuals, variance against scenario, variance against last month) = 32 measures in total.

Breadcrumb Digital can help you organise your measures to create flexible and elegant Power BI report solutions.