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At its virtual Business Applications Summit, Microsoft today announced the launch of Power BI Goals, a set of tools in preview that lets customers tap the AI capabilities in Power BI. Microsoft says Goals is designed to empower users to make data-driven decisions and stay on top of team or individual targets.​

The way goals and targets are tracked has changed due to modified work environments and teams scaling at a rapid pace. In the modern workplace, effective data use is essential to ensuring actions produce measurable outcomes. A Forrester survey found that between 60% and 73% of all data within corporations is never analyzed for insights or larger trends. The opportunity cost of this unused data is substantial, with a Veritas report pegging it at $3.3 trillion in 2020.

Power BI Goals enables users to build specialized scorecards to delegate tasks and measure progress toward specific goals.​ Managers can use these scorecards to identify areas of improvement and collaborate via platforms like Microsoft teams, as well as proactively taking action with check-in notes.

Microsoft Power BI Goals

Goals offers a hub from which users can stay on top of tasks and navigate. The top section shows goals curated automatically by Power BI, including assigned and edited goals. The final section contains sample scorecards for new users.

Scorecards in Power BI bring together all the different goals and subgoals teams are tracking.  Users can assign owners to a goal, and goals have a status to let stakeholders know if something’s on track or falling behind. Scorecards also support data and notes, which can be used to proactively keep teams up to date. And they feature a details pane that provides goal status, check-ins, and note histories.

Microsoft Power BI Goals

When users start from a blank scorecard, they can add a goal and start defining the data. Scorecard owners can choose whether their targets and values are primarily data-driven. If a user wants to define those directly in the scorecard, they can type them in, but they can also connect to a Power BI app or report. Scorecards can even have goals that span reports across multiple enterprise workspaces.

Microsoft Power BI Goals

After navigating to a report, users can select any visuals they want, including specific filters and drill-downs. Power BI can bring the full history of the data into the scorecard and perform lightweight formatting, as well as defining status and due date.

Alongside the scorecard artifact, Power BI creates a dataset with a predefined schema that’s regularly updated. It contains information about the scorecard, goals, their values, and notes.

Productivity management boom

During the pandemic, as shelter-in-place orders and office closures forced employees to work from home, companies increasingly experimented with or adopted productivity management tools. According to a June study by Gartner, 26% of HR leaders report having used some form of software or technology to track remote work since the start of the health crisis. It’s an uptick driven in part by concerns over performance dips that could arise from work-from-home setups. A survey by global recruitment firm Robert Walters found that 64% of businesses are concerned about remote employees’ productivity.

Reflecting the trend, Microsoft CVP Alysa Taylor says the Power Platform and Dynamics 365 communities now total more than 775 user groups and 2.85 million active community members. “Even as challenges [from the pandemic] continue to reverberate across industries — from supply chain disruptions to recurring restrictions — most businesses are taking steps toward recovery. They’re taking stock of vulnerabilities and opportunities across their organizations, markets, and industries — and the steps needed to move forward into the future.”

The market that Power BI Goals addresses is a profitable one. According to Research and Markets, task management software is expected to reach a collective $4.72 billion in value by 2026, from the present estimate of $2.35 billion at a compound annual growth rate of 12.32%.

In the future, Microsoft plans to bring Power BI Goals to mobile and introduce automated status rules, in addition to “rollups” that determine how subgoals roll up to their parent goals. Beyond this, Power BI Goals will gain formatting capabilities and scorecard visuals in Power BI Desktop, plus Power Automate integration to trigger business workflows when goals change and hierarchies based on Power BI data models.

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