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Microsoft Power BI 2021 Release Wave 2: What it means for users and enterprises

by Eamon McCarthy Earls
Assistant Editor,

Microsoft has announced its latest wave of Power BI updates as part of the Power Platform's 2021 Release Wave 2. MSDW reached out to Microsoft MVP and Power BI expert Matt Allington for his perspective on the updates landing over the next few months.

MSDW: What direction is Power BI heading?

Matt Allington: With 2021 release wave 2, Microsoft Power BI is really evolving to be two products, or one product that serves two purposes (enterprise BI and self service BI). Advanced AI and ML capabilities will improve the outlook for both end users and enterprises, while specific integrations will cater to individual users and enterprises in different areas. Microsoft has stated three goals with this release: to empower every individual with AI infused insights, improve organizational scalability, and empower organizations for scalability and governance.

What data capabilities has Power BI added in this release wave?

In this release wave, Microsoft has really emphasized AI and ML on the backend to support citizen data scientists, or those who do not have extensive background in data science. That’s probably a little bit aspirational, but Microsoft is adding more and more advanced capabilities. For example, a feature called Quick Insights, which has previously been difficult to find, is now front and center. It allows users to pull up a pane of machine generated insights into data to make the insights more visible and comprehensible.

Microsoft will also be doing natural language DAX generation. I teach DAX for my business. Most people from an Excel background can learn it, but it’s a journey to learn how to do it properly. This new capability will allow you to type a natural expression of what you want and ask AI to generate the DAX. This natural language DAX generation tool will create an entry point for a lot of people in DAX, having a go at writing these formulas, and analyzing what comes back to learn the language. That’s a brave thing for Microsoft to focus on.

How are capabilities changing for end-users vs. enterprises?

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About Eamon McCarthy Earls

As the assistant editor at, Eamon helps to oversee editorial content on the site and supports site management and strategy. He can be reached at

Before joining, Eamon was editor for at TechTarget, where he covered networking technology, IoT, and cybersecurity. He is also the author of multiple books and previously contributed to publications such as the Boston Globe, Milford Daily News, and DefenceWeb.