PowerBI Report for User-Provided Data File

Is it possible to create a report in PowerBI that will analyze a data file that is provided by the report user? Our LMS system generates reports in CSV format, and I would like to create a PowerBI report that would allow a LMS admin to run a report for their department, open the PowerBI report, specify the location of their CSV file, and then see the resulting analysis in the PowerBI report.

Is this possible?

Yes, this is possible. That being said it’s predicated on ensuring that your end-users understand the report, and know how to change the source of their data in Power Query. You also have to ensure that the formatting of the .csv is consistent across departments, otherwise there will be errors.

Based on your response, it sounds like you are saying they would need to open the PBIX file in PowerBI Desktop, change the source data in PowerQuery, and then update/re-publish the report.

What I was hoping to find out was if there was a way to publish the report so the users could open it in the PowerBI online service, browse to the location of the data file, and then the report would update based on the data file the user specified. But that’s probably wishful thinking!

Could you create a connection to the LMS system from within PBI, and then setup a slicer by department?

You could use a Parameter that contains the file location. But parameters are hard to interact with in the Service, see this thread for more details

Changing the file location by itself won’t be enough, a refresh will also need to be performed. Making it less viable if multiple users have the need and/or ability to do so. Because what if one was consuming the report and another is simultaneously making changes to the underlying data?

Keep in mind that a Power BI report is based on a Data Model, so it is not designed to handle ever changing / user specific data sources.

I believe your options are either to create separate reports for all potential users OR try to bring in all the data from the source and make use of filters or RLS to bring that data down to fit users specific needs.

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