Email Alerts on Power BI Dashboards with Microsoft Flow – Better Together

By Josh Lee | January 17, 2017

Email alerts on power bi dashboards with microsoft flow – better together

One of the new cool integrations between Power BI and Microsoft Flow is the ability to trigger actions based on Power BI alerts. For example, I’m going to imagine I’m the CEO of a company and I want an email alert whenever Profit falls below a certain threshold. I have an existing Power BI desktop dashboard that looks like the picture below and I’ve decided that I want to receive an email notification whenever my profit drops below $14 million.

email-alerting_josh

To create data-driven alerts there are a few requirements:

  1. Have a Power BI Pro license (requirement for some of the features being demonstrated). Read more about Power BI Free vs Pro
  2. On-premise data gateway configured – https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/gateway/
  3. Signed up/Enabled Flow for 0365

With these in place I’ll be doing the following:

  1. Publishing the report to the Power BI service
  2. Creating a dashboard
  3. Creating an alert on a pin on the dashboard
  4. Configuring Flow to email on the alert

To get started I published the report above to my Power BI default Workspace:

Power BI email alerts

Next, I pinned the cards to a dashboard:

email-alerting_josh-3

A quick view of the dashboard shows a couple of the cards I pinned:

email-alerting_josh-4

Here is the dashboard:

email-alerting_josh-5

Now I need to create a Power BI Alert by clicking on the ellipses … in the upper right-hand corner of the card

Email alerts Power BI

Email alerts Power BI

Email alerts

I’ll add the alert to the Profit card and set the following values:

Condition: Below

Threshold: 14000000

Maximum notification frequency: At most every 24 hours

Then save and close

Email alerts in Power BI

Now that I have the alert configured I will log into Flow – https://flow.microsoft.com/en-us/ and select Create from blank

Email alerts in Power BI - flows

I searched for Power BI and select the “When a data driven alert is triggered

Email alert Power BI triggered

Since this is tenant based it automatically finds my Power BI alerts that I’ve created so it’s a simple matter of selecting the Alert for Profit alert I created in Power BI.

Alert for Profit in Power BI

Click New step

Power BI data driven alert preview

Select Add an action

Email alerts Power BI, add an action

As I want to send an email alert to myself, I searched for email actions and found plenty. You, of course, could search for other actions.

Email alerts

And then configured the alert with my email address and the values I was interested in. Then I clicked Create flow to complete.

email-alerting_josh-16

Once the flow completes creating select Done.

email-alerting_josh-17

If you select Manage you’ll see the created flow –

When data alert is triggered, send an email

Now to get the alert to trigger I went back to my on-premise SQL database and ran the following statement to modify the profit amount:

DELETE FROM InvoiceDetails
WHERE SalesAmount > 999

Then I refreshed the Power BI online data source:

refresh Power BI online datasource

Here we can see the refresh triggered the Alert in Power BI:

email-alerting_josh-20

And here is the email I received:

email alert send from Power BI

In a short amount of time with Power BI and Microsoft flow email alerts, I can quickly get insights into my data! One thing to keep in mind is that the alerts are only triggered through the data refreshes. During the refresh, the threshold criteria are analyzed and the alert triggered if the condition is met. If you’d like to track your data with even more detail and specificity, you could set up a Power BI Hierarchy to help with drill down to individual components that make up your bigger-picture data.

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