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Introducing the Power BI Activity Log API

Are you still using Office 365 Audit Log to track activity in Power BI? Let me tell you about a better way. The new Power BI Activity Log API was released in December 2019 and is in preview. An important part of your Power BI tenant is knowing what’s going on. Activity logging allows you to know things such as:

  • What activities are there?
  • What reports, pages and dashboards are being used?
  • How frequently are some reports being used?
  • Are there any errors, like reports taking a long time to refresh or trouble with accessing reports?

Power BI Activity Log is a simple REST API that easy to use. Prior to this we had to rely on the Office 365 Audit Log. The first downside of this was you had to be an Office 365 admin to have permission to use that. Secondly, it was more of a general log that brought back a lot of detailed information about everything going on inside of your entire Office infrastructure, much of which was not related to Power BI.

In contrast, the new Power BI Activity Log only bring back activities within your Power BI tenant. You must be a Power BI admin to access the logs, but now Power BI Service admins have a straightforward way to access and download the data they need to monitor the actions of their users and administrators in their Power BI tenant.

This is simple using PowerShell; we call the REST API and it brings back all the activities. As some activity logs can contain a large amount of activities, we can only import events one full day at a time. The API will bring back a certain window of activities with a continuation token. This token is used to get more available event records and it can be used iteratively until it brings back all the activity information you need for that day.

We can then decide if we need to expand our capacity or scale down to save money. We can use the Power BI Activity log to get a log of detailed information and the activity information goes back 30 days, so you should retrieve it often.

I posted some simple examples using PowerShell on my blog, you can see them here. You can also follow the Microsoft Power BI blog to keep up with all the new features and updates to Power BI.

If your business uses Power BI and you’re maxing out your bandwidth dealing with Power BI security, management, compliance and end user support, we can help. Our Power BI Managed Services centralize the management and architectural support, removing the burden, so you can focus on what matters – growing your business. Click the link below to learn more.

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