There are many ways to share Power BI content with others. I have previously written about some of these methods, including Workspaces (or groups) in Power BI, Publish to Web, and Power BI Embedded. In this post, you will learn about organizational content pack which is another method of sharing. This method is a recommended approach for sharing your Power BI content with users. You will have full governance around your Power BI content, and users will be able to use self-service features of Power BI. This is the best method to share your content with others. Let’s take a closer look at this method and see how does it work. If you are interested to learn more about Power BI, read the Power BI book from Rookie to Rock Star.
Content Packs is a self explanatory name, and it means a package of Power BI content (which can be Dashboard, Report, and Data set). There are two types of content packs; Organizational, and Service Content Packs. Service Content Packs are a set of Power BI content built by normally someone from a company who provided that service (such as Google Analytics, MailChimp, and etc) and you get access to it with your account information. We won’t talk about service content pack in this post. Organizational Content Pack is a way to share your Power BI content with others easily. an organizational content pack can be shared with your entire organization, or specific group of people.
How to Create Organizational Content Pack?
Creating content packs are easy, all you need to do is to go to Setting Icon in your Power BI account, and click on Create Content Pack.
** Content Packs are Power BI Pro features. Your account needs to be Power BI Pro account to use this feature. and everyone using this content also should have Power BI Pro account.
The create content pack dialog box is easy to use. Firstly, set the people whom this content pack will be shared with (Specific Groups, based on their O365 groups or Power BI accounts, or entire organization. Set a title, and description, and a logo. Then select contents that you want to be part of this package. you can always change this selection later on. If you select a higher level item, sub items will be automatically selected. For example, if you select a Dashboard, Report and Data set under that will be automatically selected. in picture below I have selected few items to share.
After Publish, your content pack will be ready to use.
Consuming Content Packs
Now if someone from your organization (or the group of people that this content pack is published for them) logs into Power BI, and go through Get Data section;
Users will see content packs shared with them, and they can select the one that they want to install. and then click on Get It Now.
After getting the content pack, all of its content (dashboards, reports, data sets) will be loaded in the Power BI account of the user.
User will be able to view dashboards, reports, and data sets with full interactive reporting features of Power BI;
Advantages of Content Packs
Content Packs are easy way of sharing content, but their benefits isn’t just this easiness. It is more because of other great features. In brief explanation, features are;
Original Content Will be Intact
None of users will be able to change the original contents in the content pack. In fact, users will have “Read-Only” access to the Power BI content shared with them. They cannot modify dashboard, Report, or data set. You can see in the screenshot below that Edit Report item is disabled for them;
Self-Service Is Possible
Although that users cannot edit the content and they have read only access. However they can create COPY of the content, and make their own changes in their copy (which is for themselves only). This is a very important feature, because greatness of Power BI is the ability to build things self-service. And you never want to take that power from your users of course. To create copies, users just click on the content and create copies of that;
This action will generate copy version of all dashboards, reports, and data sets for the user.
Everything will be post-fixed with – Copy.
And in the “* – Copy” version, user will have Edit rights;
Managing Content Pack
As the owner of content pack, you can always to to manage content pack, and configure the content you want to be shared. You can change the content, or even delete the content pack. Changes will effect immediately on user’s side.
List of all content packs will be available for your in View Content Pack.
Any changes will be possible, and will affect immediately on those who are using this content.
You Control the Refresh
One of the main questions I get when I reach to this part of my course, is that; Would users get refreshed data in their copy of content pack? the answer is: Yes. With using content packs, you manage the refresh on the main data set(s), and everyone using this content pack will get the refreshed data based on whatever schedule you have defined. There is no need to schedule data to be refreshed again for users.
Sharing Multiple Content All At Once
The last but not least advantage of this method, is that you can simply share 100s of reports, dashboards, and data sets with others with a single content pack.
In Summary; Organizational Content packs are best way to share Power BI content with users. You will have full governance for your content; you will set up refresh once, and no one would be able to change your original content. Users on the other hand will have access to all content as read-only, and they can make their own copy of the content, if they want to play with self-service features of Power BI. You can always control and change contents of the content pack from View Content Packs section in your Power BI account. This method is highly recommended for sharing content with end users.