Use the Power BI Decomposition Tree to Explore and Analyze Your Data


The Decomposition tree is the cool new AI Powered visual in Power BI that can really help you explore and analyze your data. We will show you step by step on how you can use the decomposition tree visual and also share some useful tips along the way. Hey, I’m Avi Singh, Microsoft MVP and best-selling Power BI author and if you want to become a Power BI Pro, make sure to subscribe and click that bell so you are notified whenever I go live to answer your Power BI questions. And if you’re just getting started or keep getting stuck with Power BI then make sure to check out our number one ranked Power BI tutorial. You can find a link in the corner or down in the description below. So let’s keep going with the decomposition tree. Now as of right now this is a preview feature that means before you can use it you’re gonna have to go to options preview features and just check that box once that’s there it’s going to be available on Power BI. So let’s just start from scratch. What I’m gonna do is go to visualization here and you would see these three icons here Three visualizations with the light bulb which signifies the AI capability Underneath under the hood, which is powering these visuals and the middle one here is the decomposition tree I’m gonna just add it and and for now I’m just gonna use the whole screen real estate By the way, of course You saw well As you can see in some of these other examples this official obviously can coexist with all the other visuals and so forth but for now We’re just going to take the whole screen screen space a screen real estate here folks you can grab this file and along with all of my other download files at the URL shown right here on the screen and we’re also gonna link it in the Corner and again down in the description so you can click there as well the decomposition tree visual I really like it because for one it’s really simple to use and understand There’s just just these two options here analyze and explain Buy analyze is something that you want to explore and in this case, we’re gonna bake our sales measures I’m just gonna drag sales there and right now it’s not interesting Jim You can’t do anything of the usual here because you need the other set of fields now for this one You know, you should add a few here So basically you can add anything by which either you think that you or an end user of the report may want to analyze it explore this data by so I’m just gonna you know, Of course, this is a sample data sets I’m just gonna make a best guess but this you can work with your customer or your client or Or just try different things out but you know, it doesn’t hurt to add quite a few fields in there So I’m gonna grab some from product so country category subcategory, maybe add color in there. Maybe grab some customer attributes. How about their education and Occupation let’s let’s kind of stick with that Right, so and and the order of this is slightly important, but not that important and I’ll tell you in just a second So what we’re gonna do right now is actually not gonna do anything in here and we’re just going to publish this report So I’m gonna click publish and I’ll see you once. It’s on for Viacom All right my report is published and I can pop over to power bi comm where I’m logged in and that is my report and I want to show to you here because I want to Emphasize that this capability to explore data and analyze it is now available to you to all the users of this report So if you publish it online and shared it with hundreds or thousands of users They all can kind of come in come in here and kind of slice and dice this data as they see fit All right, so they can come in here and I can say oh, okay. Cool I want to see the breakdown by country and then well maybe go to United Kingdom and look at it by category and within that maybe Look at subcategory and then and and this is where the AI features come in and say well I don’t want to choose just show me the one that has the highest Value and it does that and it indicates that by this lightbulb icon that AI Selected it and it determined that you wanted the highest value and that it found Based on the color and the color is red and I can keep going from there I said well What’s the lowest value and then again? It does it Does it determines it by itself and you can see the life of Mike and it says well the lowest value was in Occupation management, that’s the breakdown, right? And and again the is pretty cool. You can kind of zoom in zoom out And it scales really well. Alright, so you’ve seen the power of the decomposition tree visual I’m just gonna share us some tips and tricks here. So one thing that I mentioned is that The field weld is explained by is the order important or not Well, it’s not important in the sense that the order does not Determine the you know, the way they explore the data they can they’re free to choose any one of these selections, right? So So they can go in here and select color to begin, right? So again, they don’t have to Go in that order. Alright, but the field in which it is you you You order them is the way in which they’re displayed in the drop-down menu So you you know, you see some control to guide the user So obviously, you know, you’re gonna put what do you think are the more important ones at the top, right? So again, they can choose any one they want but this gives them some guidance now another tip that I would share here is that sometimes you might be dragging a lot of different fields in here and When you’re dragging for you, it’s very clear that this is product category product color But when the user clicks on this again the end user it may not be clear Like is this customer country or what is this sales country? And there what you can do is you can just rename some of these field I’m just gonna rename one of them just to show you what you may do and you can say rename and And you can be more descriptive and again, this doesn’t rename the field itself I mean you can see in the in the field value product It’s still called color, but it just renames it for this visual and of course What I would recommend is you rename some of these others as well So you can say broader category customer education and so forth and that way when the customer is the end user is exploring it It’s gonna make more sense. So it’s gonna say customer occupation customer education Parodic color, right? So that’s just one tip on using the decomposition tree visual Let me show you a few other things around the decomposition tree. So now we talked about the EEI capability, right? So where will you say? Well, I don’t really care just show me kind of whichever Field of this has the high value, right? So whichever is the biggest contributor and again? It determines that expands and you can keep going and you can say well high value look great move subcategory What’s the next highest value but the the EEI part here is that this selection is actually dynamic So let me show you it’s just show you what that means So here I have done this basically high value and again, you can have a combination of high and low doesn’t matter But again, it’s dynamic. So and it’s gonna change based on either the selection or imagine if you refresh the data and now you have the current month’s data of current year’s data, and and now Subcategory or color? You know this something is more important what let me just show you. Alright. So in this case instead of refresh I’m just gonna select something here. So watch this order here color country education and Well color country occupation notice how change that so overall its color country and then education is the highest factor But in 2014 it was just at occupation and then notice changed back to education color country and And so forth and if I choose a specific month notice Wow, it totally swapped So now it’s category color is the biggest factor here biggest breakdown here so again It just wanted to point out the the EEI capability that this thing is gonna be dynamic now talking about that You can also if you want to control a specific you know kind of a Layout of that and you can also lock it down so a example I can I can come in here country and and I can lock it down and That way what’s gonna happen is when I publish this visual and obviously as an author I can come in and unlock it but Anybody on power bi calm they would not be able to hit the X and delete it because it’s been locked for them now We’ve been using this for a pretty simple measure sales, which is just semi sales amount But again, you can use this for any simple or complex measure Imagine if you have new customers or lost customers or anything. That is really dear Nearly an important metric or KPI for your business and you can use the decomposition tree Absolutely kind of the user be able to click and explore it and in this case Exactly figure out their oh well We’re on my new customers kind of coming from and just like any other power bi visuals You expect this does it’s fully interactive. I mean, not only can you expand and explore but you can highlight across highlight as well So in this case, you know I can I can select a specific one I can say yep And and you can see that the rest of the report Filters down to that right so I can I can be here and say hey show me by some the accessories So on that whole path get selected so this one right now basically has selected United Kingdom and clothing and of course if I had other Paths in there then it selects United Kingdom clothing manual and it’s showing me data for that Decomposition tree also respects bookmarks that makes it pretty cool So let me turn on bookmarks and you can see here I can start from one bookmark to other so you can use this definitely if your storytelling you’re presenting and you know kind of based on that and the last thing that I want to talk about is that one reason why I like the decomposition tree is that In the beginning we did use the whole screen real estate because just because I wanted to make it easier to show to you But I feel like this visual can work really well in a compact space as well so if you’re if I have a busy dashboard, you don’t have that much space you can leave it on the side and just you know instruct and train your users to expand to focus mode to analyze sales and and of course they you know, They once they toggle the focus mode, then they can have it full screen. So again by default It doesn’t need to take up a lot of space You can have it off in a corner and then have the user explore it in focus mode So that was the decomposition tree If you absolutely loved this visual then drop a comment below and let me know or maybe there’s something in this region Which you don’t quite like doesn’t quite work right then also Add a comment and let us know and make sure to keep watching our next videos do take the next step to become We have Pro. Hey, don’t forget to subscribe and I’ll see you next time until then

19 thoughts on “Use the Power BI Decomposition Tree to Explore and Analyze Your Data

  1. Hi Avi. Great video, but 2 questions: I have noticed that you cannot scroll the list when it comes up. I have a very large list of "Explain bys". Usually when any list (in any program) on a windows computer is larger than screen size, there will be an up and down arrow to indicate you can scroll. It seems that you cannot scroll, which means you cannot have too many fields. Is there a work around? ALso, after a user selects several feilds to analyze, they may want to go back, which means they need to remove it. Once it is removed, it is no longer in the drop down list of fields. You need to refresh whole page and begin over again. Any work around for this? Many thanks!

  2. Loved the way it handles any column given to it, irrespective of weather or not it has a parent/children relationship.

  3. Avi thank you for the great video. Do you have any recommendations to better understand working with the relative versus absolute calculation methods of the AI feature? I'm also struggling with using the visual when the explain by contains fields with high and low cardinality. The AI seems to favor low cardinality fields as there are fewer values to choose between. Lastly, shameless plug to Microsoft (I hope you're reading this) – Authors need a platform that allows report consumers to drag and drop different fields into visuals and change some of the setting like relative and absolute. Looking forward to the GA for this visual. Thanks Avi!

  4. This is an amazing visual.  I totally see the applications for the health field where I am working–for example, what are the predictors of client improvement or length of stay, or for cost of treatment.  Mind boggling!!

  5. Hi Avi, it was a great example on how to use decomposition tree.
    I have a question, how can we do a bit changes on the color for the chart? for example now the chart coloring is green but let say i want to change to other color how?
    another thing is font type and size. is it possible to do it?

  6. Hello Avi ..this is truly one of the best visuals out of the amazing PowerBI team !! I was able to use it in my organisation within 24 hours of it being released ! I wrote a post on LinkedIn explaining how i used it : https://www.linkedin.com/posts/activity-6602202903442702337-wjNA

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