Semantic Layer! Major features missing: dynamic parameters, enforced parameters upon field selection, dynamic SQL generation (using params)
All in the title. A semantic layer such as SAP Business Objects universes is the BASIS for self-service BI. Exists for over 30 years now, and MS does not even have dynamically populated prompts. Frustrating.
It seems like at this point many of the mentioned issues are addressed in one way or another. E.g. what-if parameters, calculation groups, shared datasets, upcoming composite models across datasets...
In terms of the semantic layer, what does seem to be missing still is a good way of decoupling the data model physical structure used in DAX vs the names shown to the user.
Especially to enable renaming the tables and measures for 'live connected' reports without breaking the visuals. Translations functionality (Premium only) is hardly enough for this.
Phil Bailey commented
Has everyone just given up on this now?.....MSFT don't know the BI industry very well if this is not a major consideration. Mediocre products for the masses...;-(
[Deleted User] commented
Also agree - this is the one thing preventing me from really recommending we move to PowerBI....I need to have better way to share EDW models with end users, using common business language with pre-set available items....not requiring data modeling and them to design commonly used aggregates. Not to mention all the things others have said.
Couldn't agree more! Think about maintenance: if a database column name changes, all the power bi reports using this column must be changed manually(!). A (real) semantic layer would prevent this, because changing column name in the semantic layer propagates this change automatically to all reports.
Phil Bailey commented
We're considering moving away from PBI for this one single reason! It's a travesty that it has become so popular without this essential feature...it means it's just not an enterprise BI tool in my view - very poor show Microsoft - and don't even try telling me that you can use the SSAS tabular model for this - it's crap!
Jody Tucker commented
This is THE major, glaring hole in this product. The ability to create a beautiful, bullet-proof semantic layer for each subject area that can be commonly used by all users with a need for reporting is essential and MUCH easier to maintain and insures that all reporting in the same area is consistent.
Having to update multiple datasets if a business rule is changed is one of my major complaints with the structure of Power BI.
Please implement the reusable semantic layer concept.
Totally agree. This was the key competitive advantage that BO had for many years before SAP got their hands on it and side-tracked on to integrating BO and SAP BW. If MS introduced a semantic layer like BO universes that could be used with Power BI, SSRS and Report Builder, it would blow BO out of the water in the SME field - my recent experience of SAP customer support suggests that you need a seven-figure budget to get anything prioritized. MS started SQL Server buy getting hold of a copy of the Sybase codebase - buying their old XI3.1 universe designer codebase wouldn't be a bad place to start.
Gerard Naish commented
I couldn't agree with this more! Self service BI is where we're driving towards at our organization. This works best when the technical layer (database structures, etc) are abstracted away from our business users leaving a layer that presents and groups the fields in a purely business oriented way. Business Objects was doing this 20 years ago allowing even the most computer illiterate to serve their own reporting needs.