Power BI B2B - Sharing your content outside of your organisation

In the last few weeks, I've had a lot of questions from customers around sharing content outside of their organisation (sharing to their customers - B2C, business partners - B2B, and so on).


I am seeing more and more customers trying to use Premium capabilities to create data products that they can incorporate as part of their main product offering. This kind of reporting as a product solution will add a lot more value to their main product, so I can see why this is becoming quite trendy.


However, it became obvious that the current documentation can be a bit overwhelming and confusing at first.


So I decided to compile the process of sharing content outside of your organisation in a blog post. Happy days!


Note: This post is about sharing content through Power BI Service, not through Power BI Embedded!


So if you're also in the process of creating your first data products in Power BI and are thinking about how to share it with your customers, suppliers, business partners, you're in the right place!


I use this method every time I need to make a report available for my customer so that they can do their user testing. I could send the PBIX file, but it's not the same as having the experience in Power BI service and also... it doesn't work on Mac...


Se here is the list of tasks you need to perform to successfully share your report with an external customer:


1) Understand licensing needs/requirements

2) Create Azure Active Directory Security Group for external users

3) Set up external users/customers in Azure Active Directory

4) Share report/dashboard/app with external users


Only 4 steps, seems pretty simple doesn't it?



1) Understand licensing needs/requirements

The reason I've added this one as the first step is because understanding the licensing requirements is really, REALLY important.


Why?

Because if your organisation only has Power BI Pro or Power BI Premium Per User licensing this will require you or your customer to buy licenses if you want them to be able to see your reports.


Confused already? I will try to keep it simple and summarized.


Q: Do you have a Power BI Premium or Embedded license in your organisation?

Yes: then your customers/users don't need a license. With a Premium or Embedded license, you can share content with customers/users even if they only have a Free Power BI License, as long as that content is published in a workspace in your Premium/Embedded capacity.

No: either your customer/user buys a Power BI Pro/Premium Per User license or you will have to buy the license for them and associate that license to the customer.


So, licensing is the first thing you have to worry about.


Have you figured out your licensing requirements already? Let's go to the next task then!



2) Create Azure Active Directory Security Group for external users

Once you've figured out your licensing needs to share your reporting solution with external users, then you can start setting things up in Azure Active Directory.


Why are we creating a Security Group?

First, a security group can be used to automatically apply licenses to users based on their group membership. This means that you can apply Power BI Free or Power BI Pro licenses to your end users automatically.

Secondly, it's just easier to have all your external users in a Security Group, so if you ever need to change any security rules it will be applied to all the users in that group at once.


How do I create a Security Group?

First, you need to go to the Azure Portal.


Once in the Azure Portal, search for "Active Directory" and click on "Azure Active Directory":


Next, you will click on "Groups":





















And then on "New Group":



In the next window, select "Security" as the Group Type, add a "Group Name" and then click on "Create":



Your new Security Group might take a couple of minutes to show in your groups list, be patient, it will show up there eventually.


If you want to automatically associate e.g. a Power BI Free License to every user that is in this security group, then you click on your newly created group:


On your Security Group page, click on "Licenses" and then "Assignments":


Select the licenses you want to associate with your new Security Group:

Remarks of security group based licensing:

You must have one of the following licenses for every user who benefits from group-based licensing:

  • Paid or trial subscription for Azure AD Premium P1 and above

  • Paid or trial edition of Microsoft 365 Business Premium or Office 365 Enterprise E3 or Office 365 A3 or Office 365 GCC G3 or Office 365 E3 for GCCH or Office 365 E3 for DOD and above



3) Set up external users/customers in Azure Active Directory

Now, we just need to add our external users to the newly created Security Group!


To do that, click on the security group:



Then click on the "Members" tab, "+ Add members", add the emails of the external users you want to add and click on "Invite":


Once the user has accepted your invitation, you can then finally add them to your security group:


4) Share report/dashboard/app with external users

Now that we've done almost all the hard work, it's time to just share the report with your external users in Power BI Service.


















Either you choose to share the report by typing the security group, email of your external user, or by sharing a link to the report, because this external user is now added to your organisation's tenant, he will be able to see the report the same as an internal user.


Are you ready to take Power BI to the next level and start offering data reporting products to your customers? I think so!



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