Frequently Asked Questions

What is Binokula?

Binokula is a report-sharing website which provides an organization with the power to securely share reports with their business affiliates. Affiliates could be customers, suppliers, subsidiaries, dealers, franchisees, brokers, agents, frontline workers, distributors or partners. Binokula addresses most of the common problems associated with secure report sharing. With Binokula you will be able to:
  • Easily expose secure, interactive reports created with Microsoft Power BI.
  • Seamlessly integrate Binokula with your existing portal.
  • Restrict users’ access to only their reports and data.
  • Scale up to thousands of users, if required.
  • Track when users access their reports.
  • Quickly publish new reports or change existing reports, all without needing a software developer.
  • Automate the entire process, while knowing that Binokula constantly monitors the platform for you.
 

How does Binokula work?

Binokula provides a set of services based around Microsoft Power BI. It allows you to publish and share reports built in Power BI through a centralized website. Each user will manage their own login on Binokula or you can give them access through the Single-Sign-On API. Binokula ensures users can only see reports assigned to them and automatically enforces row-level security (RLS) to each report.
 

Why should I use Binokula for report sharing?

Securely providing access to interactive reports to people outside your organization is a surprisingly difficult problem to solve. You can either try to develop your own reporting portal and worry about how long it will take to develop and how much it will cost. Or you can purchase a solution and encounter some of the following issues:
  1. User licenses need to be paid, even if they don’t access the reports.
  2. It is not possible to implement the solution without turning it into a large IT project.
  3. It is not possible to stop users from “finding” each other within the application.
  4. Software developers are required every time you need any changes to reports or add new reports.
  5. It is not possible to secure access to reports or data within reports.
  6. It is not possible provide interactive reporting.
Binokula sets out to address these issues head on by wrapping an easy-to-use service around Microsoft’s Power BI. We try to make secure report sharing as easy as possible.
 

What is a Binokula provider?

A Binokula provider is an organization that uses the platform to host reports for users.
 

Can’t I just use Power BI to share reports?

It depends, Power BI is a terrific product but may not be an ideal fit if you want to share reports externally. Most of our customers were using Power BI for their internal business analytics. They typically encountered the following issues when they considered Power BI for external report sharing:

Licensing

If you decide to share reports from powerbi.com, each external user must be licensed with a Power BI Pro license and their account needs to be either an Azure Active Directory (AD) account or a Microsoft Account. Power BI Premium avoids the need to purchase Pro licenses, but users are still required to have an Azure Active Directory account or Microsoft account.

Portal Integration

If you already provide a portal for your users and you wish to integrate powerbi.com reports, you are left with 2 choices: a. Provide a link to a report URL and expect users to authenticate with their Azure AD or Microsoft account. b. Commission your portal developers to use Power BI embedded and present reports from your portal.

Risk

If you are getting multiple external users onto powerbi.com, you have to manage access to reports, workspaces, apps and tenant settings to ensure users can’t accidentally break something, can’t see each other’s email address or can’t access data accidentally see data they should not be able to.
 

How does Binokula make Power BI Report Sharing better?

Binokula focuses on the common issues people encounter with Power BI report sharing while still retaining all the goodness that made them choose Power BI in the first place. Binokula will likely be a good fit for you if you don’t want:
  • your users to have an Azure Active Directory or Microsoft account
  • to purchase Power BI Pro licenses or Power BI Premium
  • to start a software development project to integrate Power BI into your existing portal
OR you do want:
  • to leverage existing Power BI skills within your organization
  • to simplify portal integration to a single API call
  • to minimize the risk of users seeing each other’s email address or access data they couldn’t.
 

How do I get my reports into Binokula?

Binokula reports are built in Microsoft Power BI Desktop and published to a dedicated tenant for your organization. Publishing is explained in Building and Publishing Reports section in the Admin Guide.
 

How do I login to Binokula?

Your Binokula account is managed by your Binokula provider and you should have received an email from them about accessing your reports. If you know you should already be able to view reports in Binokula, then see the Getting Started section in the User Guide.
 

What happens if I don’t know how to use Power BI?

  • Report Viewers – Report viewers in Binokula don’t need to know Power BI at all. All you need to do is login to your account and view the reports assigned to you.
  • Report Builders – If you are a Binokula provider then you will need to learn the basics of Power BI. There are numerous free resources on the internet to get started. Binokula requires Power BI reports to be built in a specific manner. This is explained in Building and Publishing Reports section in the Admin Guide.

Experience the power.