There are many built in artificial intelligence (AI) features of Power BI that you may not know exist.

Power BI has been a pioneer in applying AI. Through capabilities such as natural language, which enables users to get answers by asking questions in plain English, or Quick Insights, which automatically finds patterns in data, there is a lot of AI built into Power BI. In this article we discuss just a few of the AI features built into the Power BI Desktop and how they can enhance decision making across your business.

Power BI is equipped with a suite of features powered by cutting edge AI. These features give Power BI users the ability to use data to guide decisions and empower them to take informed actions. Many of these features are already included out of the box – are you making use of everything at your disposal?

Intelligent App Suggestions

The AI built into Power BI is constantly working away in the background to suggest interesting and relevant content to users. For example, when a user goes to add an app, the list is no longer in alphabetical order but instead is ranked in order of relevance. These suggestions are powered by a sophisticated model that considers a variety of factors, including the overall popularity of the app, and the actions of other users in your company and your relationship with those users. This feature enables users to get the information they need quicker and improves user adoption.

Ask A Question

When digesting a report, if you have a question, you would normally email the author of the report to try and get an answer. Depending on their workload, it could take them a while to get back to you – they may even be on annual leave so you may have to wait a week or two for an answer. Within the Power BI Desktop there is the ability to “Ask A Question”. This enables you to get an answer from the data instantly rather than you having to reach out to the report author.

“Ask A Question” gives users the ability to perform ad-hoc analysis when reading or creating a report, by asking a question in natural language. When creating a report, you can place a button within the report which brings up the “Ask A Question” experience. This experience offers the reader of the report the ability to interact and ask their own questions or pick from a list of suggested questions. For example, when reading a finance report, the consumer, for example, a Finance Director, could ask “what were total sales last year?” or “what is owed to us by this customer?”.

“Ask A Question” is much more sophisticated than a normal search engine as it only provides results about the data in Power BI so it is more relevant to your organisation and the report in question. This in-built AI feature removes the amount of manual time both the report author and consumer would normally spend emailing back and forward or digging out the answer from the data. With “Ask A Question” the answer can now be pulled from your data there and then.

Find out more about this feature here.


Another built-in AI feature of the Power BI Desktop is insights. When viewing dashboards and various graphs, users may see a sharp drop or increase in values and wonder the cause of this. Through the AI of insights, users can find out the reason for the change in just a few clicks.

By asking the Power BI Desktop to explore data, it can explain to you changes that have occurred and why. Users can tell the desktop to explain increases and decreases in charts, see distribution factors in charts and get fast, automated, insightful analysis about the data in front of them.

And it is easy to do! It is done in just a few clicks – it is as simple as, for example, clicking ‘analyse’ and then ‘explain the decrease’. The Power BI Desktop takes these instructions and runs its machine learning algorithms over your data and populates a window with an easy to digest visual and description that describes which categories most influenced the increase or decrease.

Find out more about this feature here.

The features above are just a few of examples of the AI that is built into the Power BI Desktop. Watch our webinar, Data Science 101 for Professional Services to discover how AI and Data is changing industries such as accountancy, law and insurance.