What’s wrong with the Power BI KPI Visual?

Over the past couple of weeks I have been asked several times about the KPI Visual that is native to Power BI.  Each time the same, “it does not appear to work properly.”  Well, I wasn’t sure what all the confusion about.  So, I decided to spend some time working with the visual.

To start, if you would like to follow along as you read you can download the Configuring KPIs pbix file or you can simply use the embedded reports in this blog and click along Smile.

Now that you have chosen a path, take a look the snippet of the Fields section showing the configuration of the KPI visual.


What I am doing is comparing this year sales to last year sales.  This is specified by using Year as the Trend axis value.  Take a look at the KPI visual in the following report, which by the way is an interactive Power BI embedded report.  Note, each report shown in this blog is an interactive Power BI embedded report.

Power BI Embedded Report

Ensure that 2012 is selected, note that the Indicator value is $5.84M and the Goal is $7.08M.  These values match the values in the cards that are located directly below the KPI visual.  You may need to Enter Full  Screen Mode by click the double arrows located in the bottom right corner of the report to see the actual goal of the KPI.  To see values for other years select different years in the slicer and notice how the values change, but they will still match.  So, what’s the problem?

Take a look at this report, I made one small adjustment.

Power BI Embedded Report

Instead of using Year as the Trend axis value, Month was used.  Take a look at the following snippet of the Fields section:


Now, take a look at the KPI visual.  What happened?  First, you should notice a trend line on the KPI that depicts Sales Amount for each month.  This is cool and a great feature of the visual, but wait.  Why doesn’t the Indicator value and the goal match the values in the Card?  Now I see the confusion.

To clear this up, I added a table to the report.  Ensure that you have 2013 selected in the Year slicer.  Using the report below, look at the value for December in the table for both this year and last year.  Do you see it?

Power BI Embedded Report

If you don’t, let me break it down. Both values are obtained from the last in the sequence of values in the Trend axis.  In this example, December is last, therefore those are the values that are displayed as the Value and Goal of the KPI.  If you select other months in the Month slicer notice how the values change.  If you continue to select the months the values will correspond to your selections.  The Indicator and the goal will always be the value for the last item in the trend axis.

As always, if you have any questions about this post feel free to email me at patrick@sqllunch.com.

Talk to you soon,

Patrick LeBlanc

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