BI-NSIGHT – SQL Server 2016 (CTP 2.4) – Power BI (Azure Audit Logs Content Pack, Visual Contest, Weekly Service Update) – Dashboard Design

So I am happy to report that this week there are still quite a few updates but not as many as what there has recently been.

It is great to see that there are still so many updates and new things to look into in the Microsoft BI space.

Personally a lot has been going on within my working environment which has been challenging me, as well as finding solutions to issues that will enable the entire company to showcase BI and enable the business to succeed. I do plan to blog about my experiences, once I get a better understanding and can establish what I am currently looking at. But it will be based around the following:

  • SSAS Multi-Dimensional & Tabular Performance.
    • Looking at it from all angles (ASTrace, Perfmon, SSAS DMV’s)
  • How to easily control and administer Role Security in both SSAS Multi-Dimensional & Tabular cubes

So I look forward to blogging about the details above, in which I have had to learn a lot not only about performance, but also how roles affect performance and how best to leverage our data.

But let’s get into this week’s BI-NSIGHT details.

SQL Server 2016 – CTP 2.4 (SSRS Updates)

With the latest CTP update for SQL Server 2016, it is nice to see that SSRS is finally getting some traction.

Whilst at times it does appear that it is not getting anywhere, I also have to acknowledge that it must take a lot of time and effort to get the required changes into SQL Server 2016. And along this journey these small incremental changes will add up and at the end we will hopefully have a great new SSRS experience which will enable us to deliver even better and more meaningful reports to our end users or consumers.

So it is great to see that with the new parameters we now have the ability to be able to put our parameters where we would want them to go. This does seem like a small change, but in terms of creating the reports it does help make it a more meaningful report.

Also having them starting to change the code base so that it will render in any browser is really great. And this will mean going forward we can have a consistent reporting experience.

Along with this is also the ability to export to Power Point, which is great when you want to have it as part of a presentation. What I think would be great is to have the ability to be able to interact with the SSRS report directly from within Power Point. They did do this with Power View and I thought this was a great way to enable people to ask questions whilst you are presenting, and giving you the ability to answer their questions there and then.

There are a few other updates both in the SSRS space, as well as in CTP 2.4 which you can read all about it here: More Reporting Services enhancements in SQL Server 2016 CTP 2.4 and SQL Server 2016 Community Technology Preview 2.4 is available

Power BI – Azure Audit Logs Content Pack

Once again another week, another Content Pack. This week it is with regards to the Azure Audit Logs. Which can quickly and easily enable people to see what is going on with regards to your Azure logs. This can give you some great insights into what is going on with your Azure tenant.

You can read all about it here: Visualize your Azure Audit Logs with Power BI

Power BI Visual Contest Updates

I know that the above picture is not all that great, but it sure does remind me of a decomposition tree from Performance Point. And I have to say that it did often provide a great way for users to understand how the number was derived.

There are still a whole host of additional entries into the Power BI Visual contest which I still wait in anticipation to see what the people are creating.

You can follow it here: Power BI Visual Contest

Power BI – Weekly Service Update

This week was another week with some great updates. As I have read from a few other people on Twitter, it really takes some doing to just keep up with all the updates and releases from the Microsoft Power BI team. And I have to think that other competitors must be thinking how can they even compete with such a fast paced offering.

As shown with the picture above, we can now create a custom page size for our reports, which just enables any possible page size that might be required.

As well as having the ability for additional formatting options for images and bubble charts.

Along with this is the ability to be able to email out to alternate email addresses. The caveat is that it still is only to emails related to your company. So you cannot send it out to any email address. But it seems like they are putting in the underlying steps to work in this information going forward.

And finally the support for Office Dedicated customers. Which is great to see that everyone is covered.

Dashboard Design

I read about this blog post from the Power BI team for having a good dashboard design. And this is really important in Power BI because a lot of the work that you are doing is about creating meaningful and good dashboards. Even the underlying reports are a different version of a dashboard in my personal view.

So ensuring that you create a good dashboard, it means that the users can easily understand what they are looking at. As well as also being able to interact and derive some meaningful and insightful results from the data being presented to them.

I would suggest that everyone have a read through, as I often find re-reading it again after a certain amount of time you can always learn something new.

You can read about it here: The Art and Science of Effective Dashboard Design

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