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Why PowerBI KPIs Are the Worst

  • 1.  Why PowerBI KPIs Are the Worst

    Posted Aug 24, 2018 12:09 PM

    Power BI KPIs do exactly what you tell them to do. Nothing more and nothing less.  For someone like me who is learning Power BI every day, I expected one result but the dashboard produced another. I wrote this up so that the next person who goes to use the KPIs will use my ignorance for their betterment.


    Let me show you what I mean by this result.


    (No they are not the worst, just not what I expected. )


    I added the indicator, target goals and trend axis and then set the page filter for this current month.

    The fields are as follows:

    Indicator: This Year Sales (Measure)

    Target Goals: Last Year Sales (Measure)

    Trend Axis: Month (From Date Table)

     Here is my KPI:



    I grabbed a table visualization to verify the KPI.

    Everything looks good. The indicator is displaying $3.18 million which is lower than $3.42 million so it all looks good.


    Now I changed the page filter to cover two months. Look at the KPI and the table visualization.

     The corresponding table:

    Huh. Shouldn't the KPI display $5.5 million and not the $3.18 million. And the goal should be $6.7 million not $3.42. Dang it. Did I screw up a measure or something?


    After spending an afternoon reviewing my measures, creating duplicate measures to validate my results, I decided to look at the KPI visualization more. After all, when is my math wrong? (Ha ha)


    I changed the Trend Axis from month to fiscal year which incorporated both months in my filter and low and behold…it matches. 


    So when you are using KPIs be aware that it will display the last cycle of your trend axis as the indicator and goal. That can be very handy in some cases but in my case, I wanted to see the whole enchilada.

    Thoughts? Comments? Helpful remarks?

    David Getz
    Systems Integrator
    Scottsdale Fire Dept
    Scottsdale, AZ