The xViz Suite of Visuals for Microsoft Power BI has been adopted by nearly 1000 customers worldwide. Together, our Pro Visualizations Suite of 19 highly recommended visualizations and our Project Management Suite consisting of our Gantt Chart Enterprise have consistently delivered market-leading features and great value to our customers.

One of the most common queries we’ve had from our existing and our potential customers regarding our visuals is the options that we offer to deploy xViz Visuals and administer them on their Power BI environments. While custom visualizations can offer a lot of features that make the creation of reports easier and more effective, proper administration and tracking of visuals can be a challenge. To this end, we offer different options to deploy xViz visuals in your environment to offer greater flexibility.

What are the different deployment options available to customers?

Considering the diversity in team size, the number of reports, and the number of creators & viewers across different organizations, we have offered 3 different methods to deploy our visuals:

  • Organizational Visuals (or) Org Visuals
  • Non-Organizational Visuals (or) Non-Org Visuals
  • License Keys (or) License Hash

Each of the options listed above come with their set of pros and cons, and have been explained in detail below.

Organizational Visuals (or) Org Visuals

This is the default (or) recommended method of deploying custom visuals in your organization. In this method:

  • The license purchased by the organization is embedded within a build of the visual(s) and a link to download this build is sent to you.
  • Once downloaded, your organization’s Power BI Administrator must be requested to upload/add the visual(s)’s build to the OCV (or) Organizational Custom Visual repository.
  • Once uploaded/added, the custom visual becomes available to all users within your organization who log on to the Power BI service and have access to use custom visuals.
How to deploy xViz Visuals in Power BI?

Advantages of Org Visual(s)

  • No need to apply licenses to the visual separately; The visuals are already licensed when downloaded and all users in the organization can make use of the visual when it is available in the OCV.
  • Updating the version of the visual(s) is easier; when the component is updated in the OCV, all reports using the visual(s) are also automatically updated with the newer version of the visual.

Drawbacks of Org Visual(s)

  • Requires Administrator Rights to upload the visual to the OCV.
  • Limiting Usage is difficult; every user who has access to use custom visuals and can log on to the Power BI service can make use of the visual(s) you upload to the OCV.
  • Export to PDF/PPT has limitations – when exported, all placeholders for these custom visuals will be blank on the exported report due to limitations in Power BI concerning uncertified 3rd party custom visuals.

When are Org Visual(s) recommended?

  • When you have a lot of reports that cannot be manually updated with a new version of the visual.
  • When you have purchased enough licenses to cover the potential usage by all your team members or employees who have access to Power BI.
  • When you want to reduce the overhead of having to manually distribute the license key or the licensed build to your team members or employees.

Non-Organizational Visuals (or) Non-Org Visuals

This is an alternate method of deploying xViz custom visuals in your organization. In this method:

  • The license purchased by the organization is embedded within a build of the visual(s) and a link to download this build is sent to you.
  • Once downloaded, your report creators can directly import the visual into reports when creating them.
  • Once the report has been created, the creators can publish the reports to a workspace (or alternate platforms) for the viewers to see.
How to deploy xViz Visuals in Power BI?

Advantages of Non-Org Visual(s)

  • Does not require Administrator Rights (or) Role to use the visual – these visuals do not need to be uploaded into the OCV
  • No need to apply licenses to the visual separately; The visuals are already licensed when downloaded.
  • Relatively easier to limit the usage; since creators need the .pbiviz file to use the visual(s), usage can be controlled by controlling the distribution of the file.

Drawbacks of Non-Org Visual(s)

  • Updating reports with a newly licensed or upgraded version of the visual can be tedious; the only way to update the visual(s) on existing reports is to manually replace each instance of the visual(s) with a newly imported version.
  • Export to PDF/PPT has limitations – when exported, all placeholders for these custom visuals will be blank on the exported report due to limitations in Power BI concerning uncertified 3rd party custom visuals.

When are Non-Org Visual(s) recommended?

  • When you have fewer reports that can be manually updated with a new version of the visual.
  • When you want to maintain control of usage of the visual and can centrally distribute the licensed build to creators.
  • When you would like to publish your reports to a Report Server or an air-gap system.

License Keys (or) License Hash

This is the recommended method of deploying these visuals when you want to use the certified version available on the Microsoft AppSource. In this method:

  • The license key for the purchased visual(s) is sent directly to you in text format.
  • You are required to add the visual to your reports from within the Microsoft AppSource.
  • Before publishing the report to a workspace or a platform, you must copy and paste the license key sent to you to each instance of the visual on the report (in its properties).
  • Viewers viewing the report will not need to enter license keys.
How to deploy xViz Visuals in Power BI?

Advantages of License Keys

  • Does not require Administrator Rights (or) Role to use the visual – these visuals do not need to be uploaded into the OCV; licenses can be copied and pasted to the properties of the visual before publishing the report.
  • Relatively easier to limit the usage; since creators need the license key when publishing the visual, usage can be controlled by controlling the distribution of the key.
  • Easy to update reports with the upgraded version of the visual(s) – existing reports can be automatically updated with the latest version of the visual(s) available on the Microsoft AppSource.
  • Export to PDF/PPT available – Certified versions of custom visuals are supported for PDF/PPT export in Power BI.

Drawbacks of License Keys

  • Updating reports with a newly licensed version of the visual can be tedious; the only way to update the licenses on the visual(s) on existing reports is to manually replace the license key in the properties of each instance of the visual(s).

When is the License Key option recommended?

  • When you want to export your reports containing the visual(s) to PDF and PPT format.
  • When you want to use the certified version of the visual available on the Microsoft AppSource.
  • When you want to maintain control of usage of the visual and can centrally distribute the licensed keys to creators.

How do I keep the prevent overages on the viewers viewing the visual?

Depending on the visual(s) that you are using and the type of licensing that you have purchased, it may be necessary to keep the number of viewers accessing the report under check as well. In such cases, we recommend the use of user roles and workspaces in Power BI to provide access only to users who are required to see the reports.

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In terms of deployment, xViz visuals come with all of the options above to provide flexibility to customers. With improvements in the licensing APIs expected, we are looking to add more enhancements to give our customers more control over license deployment and usage tracking. Stay tuned to this space for updates!