Enabling External Users to Access Power BI Apps

Written by Sumesh Dayaram

 

Being able to collaborate on Power BI reports with external users is one of the many challenges businesses face with Power BI. Usually, businesses who provide services to the public, or even businesses who share information within departments, need the ability to share information with users who are external to their reporting environment. Fortunately, there are a few options to achieve external access to Power BI reports.

 

The first thing to remember is that the setting “Share content with external users” needs to be turned on by the Power BI tenant admin.

 

 

 

The content is allocated to a Power BI premium capacity

 

Power BI premium allows external users access to reports within a reporting environment. This is achieved through Azure B2B which is a collaboration feature of Azure Active Directory. It is a feature under external entities that allows you to invite guest users to your organization. This is also mainly used for planned users who are users you already know require access.

From a licence perspective, the external user does not require any form of licence.

 

Invite an external user and assign them a Power BI Pro license

You can assign a Power BI pro licence to a guest user in your Azure tenant, however please be aware there are significant licensing implications that will need to be assessed by the relevant people in the business before doing this.

 

Share with an external user that has a Power BI Pro license

If an existing user has a Power BI pro license within their organisation, no further licensing will be required. They will, however, need to make note of the link provided to them as it’s their only method to view reports since they will not be able to navigate/browse reports in your tenant.

The best way to manage access will be via Azure AD and assigning guests to AD groups to manage access, that way you have a centralised place to manage which guests have permissions to view the relevant reports.

 

Here are some links on the topic that describe the various options:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mm-902ry-qU – Curbal
  2. https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-bi/collaborate-share/service-share-dashboards – Microsoft

 

These methods and associated licencing models are not well known and can be confusing to interpret if you are unsure of how to share reports externally. This breakdown will hopefully clarify how to do this and if not, please get in touch with one of the team where we will be happy to provide further advice.