About Power BI at IU

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Microsoft Power BI is a suite of business analytics tools for analyzing data and sharing insights with reports and dashboards. At Indiana University, authorized users can access interactive reports and dashboards using a standard web browser.

Power BI consists of several elements that work together, starting with these two basics:

  • Power BI Desktop: A free Windows application for connecting, transforming, and visualizing data, and for building interactive reports
  • Power BI Service: A cloud-based SaaS (Software as a Service) offering (https://app.powerbi.com/) for publishing and sharing reports and dashboards. While less common, you can also create Power BI reports in the Power BI service.
  • Power BI mobile apps: The native apps for both iOS and Android provide live, interactive, mobile access to your published reports and apps.

At IU, Power BI is approved for Critical data including protected health information (PHI).


This UITS system or service meets certain requirements established in the HIPAA Security Rule thereby enabling its use for work involving data that contain protected health information (PHI). However, using this system or service does not fulfill your legal responsibilities for protecting the privacy and security of data that contain PHI. You may use this system or service for work involving data that contain PHI only if you institute additional administrative, physical, and technical safeguards that complement those UITS already has in place.


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As part of IU's agreement with Microsoft, Power BI Pro may be assigned to certain individuals at IU. This license allows sharing of data, reports, and dashboards in an App workspace with other Pro users.

  • Individual licensing: Power BI Pro licenses are automatically assigned to all IU faculty and staff.
  • Coursework licensing: Power BI Pro licenses may be pre-assigned to IU students for coursework. To sponsor access, faculty must email Tier 2 Support with student lists along with the start and end dates of classes.
  • Premium: Various premium offerings are available, but each situation may be unique. For a discussion on your goals to help determine the best Premium licensing option, contact ewahelp@iu.edu.

Get started

Download the Power BI Desktop application for Windows from the Microsoft store. Users on non-Windows platforms can use the Power BI Desktop tool in IUanyWare.

Power BI Pro users publishing content to share with other Pro users on campus should request the creation of an App workspace; see Request a Power BI workspace.

Version control

Version control, also known as source control or revision control, is the practice of tracking and managing changes to software code, documents, or other collections of information.

UITS strongly recommends that your source files (PBIX reports as well as templates and themes) be stored somewhere that implements version control. The most important reason for this is to be able to roll back to a previous version if some change produces unwanted results.

There is currently no standardized process at IU for how you should store these files, but here are some options that range from simple to complex:

  • Microsoft OneDrive at IU, SharePoint Online, Microsoft Teams at IU: These three options are related, and if your department is already using one of them, it may be the easiest to choose to save your PBIX files in a folder inside of one of these systems. This is a very good, simple option, as the data are not hosted on premises, and you get version history by default every time a file is saved.
  • File servers: If your department uses an on-premises file server, that may also be a good place to store your files if that server has Shadow Copies (also known as Previous Versions) enabled. Check with your IT Pro to determine if and how Shadow Copies are implemented on the file server. You may want to use one of the MS options above, since Shadow Copies usually makes one or two copies per day (for example, at noon and midnight). If you made multiple versions within a single day (for example, at 8am, 9am, 10am, and 11am), you would miss some of the versions that were created between the scheduled times.
  • GitHub, Azure DevOps, etc.: While these are full-featured source control platforms, you're still a bit limited, since PBIX files are binary, not text. This means that while you do have version control, you still lack the ability to compare what changed between versions. Additionally, they will be much more complicated to configure. Configuration of these platforms is beyond the scope of this document; however, if your team already uses one of these tools, it may be worth investigating further. Additionally, when on Power BI Premium capacity, you can use Azure DevOps or GitHub to integrate with Power BI Deployment pipelines for additional automation.

Known issue

If you plan to connect to an Oracle Data Source and are using the Microsoft Store version of Power BI Desktop, you may get an "Object reference not set to an instance of an object" error. As a workaround, copy oraons.dll from the client_X folder into the client_X\bin folder.

The most recent version of the Oracle client tested by UITS is 64-bit Oracle 19.3.1.

For more, see:

Data connection tips


You do not need to create Denodo ODBC connections inside the ODBC Control Panel.

Denodo requires an ODBC driver for its built-in connector. To download an ODBC driver, see the list of drivers on the Denodo Community website.

The Denodo connection string should look like the following when you use it in Power BI Desktop, or when you create connections on the On-Premises Data Gateway:

  • PRD:
  • STG:
  • DEV:
The order and capitalizations in the Denodo connection string must be used consistently.

For more information on IU Denodo servers, including up-to-date URIs for DEV, STG, and PRD servers, see Get started with Denodo at IU.

Get help

The Power BI Service is administered by Enterprise Windows & Azure Administration (EWA). For help with licenses, workspace creation, use of the On-Premises Data Gateway, permission issues, Premium Capacity, and other Power BI workspace configuration tasks, contact ewahelp@iu.edu.

Currently, no formal support or training is available for help creating or using Power BI content, but you can connect with others in the IU Power BI users community via the O365-PowerPlatform team in Microsoft Teams. Also, you can consult the following online training resources:

This is document bggg in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2023-09-26 10:56:52.