Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

Power BI is a collection of software services, apps, and connectors that work together to turn your unrelated sources of data into coherent, visually immersive, and interactive insights. Your data might be an Excel spreadsheet, a collection of cloud-based and on-premises hybrid data warehouses or use one of the ever growing list of data connectors. Power BI lets you easily connect to your data sources, visualize and discover what’s important, and share that with anyone or everyone you want.

Benefits and Features

Power BI consists of a Power BI web interface and Power BI desktop application. Power BI Desktop is free for anyone with a work or .edu email address.  Users can utilize the desktop version to develop reports and analyze data on their WFU provided laptops.  

Power BI Service provides Faculty and staff access to view previously published reports or dashboards in the Power BI Service.  Wake Forest University provides ‘Premium capacity’ for their Team and Project based Workspaces.  This allows employees access to reports and dashboards without a Power BI Pro License.  Users can view published reports and dashboards that have been shared with them. The service offers collaboration for teams in security-based workspaces, scheduling services for datasets, subscriptions to updated data, bookmarking preferred views of reports, “Favoriting” options for quick access and more.

Power BI Pro License Request

Power BI Pro License allows a user the ability to develop and share reports in the Power BI Web Service, do light editing to reports in the service, create ‘Data Flows’, and manage security for their Models, Report and Workspaces.  Pro licenses are provided by Wake Forest IS Analytics and Data Governance team on a need driven basis.  Pro licenses are available to faculty and staff; students may use the desktop version for their personal use.  If you are a student employee and need a Power BI Pro license as part of your job responsibilities please speak with your manager and have them contact the IS BI and Analytics Team.

To be eligible for a Power BI Pro License the employee will be required to demonstrate skills in Power BI through required training and/or previous experience.   You will need to request a Power BI Pro license.  License Requesters will be required to read and sign a Power BI Pro License Security and Confidentiality Agreement.  

Power BI Training

An abundance of training is available for Power BI that is free and easy to use.  A list of training, including required training for Power BI Pro license, resources to get you started and a list of websites, blogs, youtube channels etc. see  Power BI Self-Guided Training and Resources.   

Data Security Guidance

Please be aware of the type of data you are analyzing and who will be receiving your Power BI outputs.  It is your responsibility to communicate to consumers of confidential data so they are aware of their role in maintaining data security. The WFU Information Systems Data Classification will help Power BI users define the classification of their data. This data classification scheme is also defined in the WFU Information Security Policy.  A good practice is to include the data classification level on your Power BI report/ dashboard.

Power BI users may contact the BI/Analytics or Information Security teams with any questions related to data sharing controls.

Security Review Request

Power BI has the capability to share in many ways and across many teams. Understanding Power BI security is an ever-changing task and there are many ways to secure your data, including ‘Direct Connect’ to data model, Data Flows, building Apps, Role Level Security, Aggregate Models, Data Source security, and Workspace Security.

Please collaborate with your team and review the WFU Information Systems Data Classification to ensure you understand what type of data you are securing.   The BI/Analytics team is happy to review your data model/report with your specific sharing needs in mind to offer suggestions on the best way to secure your data. 

Template and Themes

Power BI gives dashboard and report authors the ability to customize the appearance of their Desktop reports. With Report Themes, you can apply a color theme to your entire report.  You can choose one of the many provided themes, ‘Browse for themes’ on the ‘View’ menu or upload your own custom theme.  For your convenience, the Power BI Team has developed a Wake Forest Template JSON File that can be applied to your report as a starting point. You can always reference Wake’s Identity Standard when creating your own themes to add to your reports.


Microsoft has provided a wealth of information on the internet to help guide users with questions and instructions.  There are many resources included in the Power BI Self-Guided Training and Resources list, Power BI community supported forums and a Wake Forest BI/Analytics group.  To join the BI/Analytics group please send an email to the  BI/Analytics team.

If you need additional assistance, please submit an AskDeac ticket and assign it to the IS-AD_BI team.