BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (Pin Excel Range to Dashboard, Weekly Service Update, New Custom Visualizations, Power BI Community, R, VMOB Content Pack) – Azure (Data Science Virtual Machine)

So I have been offline for a little while, quite a few things going on, but I am back on track and here are the latest BI-NSIGHT updates that I have been looking into!

Power BI – Pin Excel Range to Dashboard

It is really great to see that the Power BI team is realizing that having the ability to put Excel sheets and charts into Power BI is something the existing Excel users will absolutely love, as well as use. And this in turn will get the people to see how best they can leverage all the other Power BI Features.

I personally think that it is a great way to showcase a lot of work that people have already completed in Excel. And as I am sure we all can agree is that sometimes it is easiest as well as best way to show some actual figures in a simple and efficient manner.

As well as the dashboards themselves updating if the Excel files are stored in OneDrive for Business.

You can read about it here: Pin a range from Excel to your dashboard!

Power BI – Weekly Service Update

It was another big release of updates in the Power BI Service.

I have already touched on the ability to Pin an Excel Range to a dashboard.

Some of the other updates which I would like to highlight is having the Full screen mode for dashboards and reports. I am certain that already in a lot of organizations, as well as my own workplace we will be leveraging Power BI to have dashboards on big screens. And this makes it really easy to get this up and going!

I also think it is something very small, but it is always good to know where your data is stored. So that if you need to know this for compliance reasons you can rest assured if it can or cannot be stored in Power BI.

Along this line it is always great to see that they are improving the performance of the Power BI service. I know in the past that I have seen some products where the performance is good, and it pretty much stays the same. I am sure that Microsoft are learning a lot from the Power BI implementation. And it is great to see that they are putting what they have learnt into practice!

The other updates which you can read about in the link below are Sharing Dashboards directly to Another users Workspace, Improved Google Analytics Connection and the ability to close your Power BI account ( I have no idea why anyone would want to do that.)

Here are the Weekly Service Updates: Power BI Weekly Service Update

Power BI – Custom Visualizations

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Since my last blog post, Microsoft as well as other providers have been releasing new custom visuals very quickly.

I have to say once again, to me this is a big game changer. I know that in my current work environment we have been looking at Power BI, and with the ability to incorporate Excel sheets, and all the custom visuals we are not at the point where we can leverage Power BI as our starting point for our users to start looking at their data.

And I believe that this is a quick win for us, because by having it in Power BI we will be able to having it available to the people who are mobile, as well as to the end users. All that they will need is an internet connection and browser and they are good to go. No need to download, or install software.

You can see all the custom visualizations here: Power BI Visuals Gallery

Power BI Community Blog

This is another smart move from Microsoft with the Power BI Community blog.

What I see is that Microsoft is already a great community driven company. And this just once again shows how we can leverage off each other’s experience. Which in turns means we all can get things done quicker and smarter and learn something in the process.

I have no doubt that in time to come this will be one of the areas to find out how to do some really cool and amazing things in Power BI.

To find our more details and what has been blogged you can find the details here: Microsoft Power BI Community

Power BI – R

The guys at Power BI are moving at such a rapid pace that at times it is difficult to keep up. But I prefer to have new information and to be challenged, than to have to wait 6 months or a year or even longer for a product to be released.

And as I have said before they are enabling more features and integration, which in my mind will make Power BI the go to destination for organizations.

And whilst I currently do not use R, I have no doubt that it will be something in the near future that I will be looking into. And to know that Power BI has the capability means that we already have our front end, graphics completed. It will just be a matter of getting the data we require along with the R script!

You can read about it here: Visualizing and operationalizing R data in Power BI

Power BI – Content Pack VMOB

Once again this week there is another great content pack for people who use the Vmob for their personalize marketing campaigns.

If you are interested in VMob or are an existing customer, then you can find more details here: Visualize your VMob data in Power BI

Azure – Data Science Virtual Machine

From what I can see and the way that BI is moving in the future, a big part of that going forward is going to have the ability to be able to try and predict what is going to happen in the future.

Along with this, one of the ways that you can be successful at this, is in my view is to start taking your data and starting to play around with Machine Learning and even R. And often in the past I can remember having to first find hardware, install the Operating System, then install the tools which you had to find and download as well as often configure. Which is very time consuming and often quite complex.

With the advent of the cloud as is shown here, you can simply click a button and in a few minutes you have what you need and can begin working or starting to see what can be done.

I have no doubt going forward there will be more BI specific Virtual Machines available to use.

You can read all about what is part of the Data Science VM here: Announcing the Availability of the Microsoft Data Science Virtual Machine

BI-NSIGHT – Power BI Desktop (Date Hierarchy) – Power BI(Timeline Slicer Visual, Pin Excel Range to Dashboard, Power BI User Groups, Weekly Service Update, Visual Studio Application Insights Content Pack) – Microsoft BI Reporting Road Map – SQL Server 2016 SSIS Updates

With the Pass conference completed last week there has been a lot of information about SQL Server 2016 and the future does indeed look bright for BI within the Microsoft BI stack. And I personally think that in the future they will be leading in most of the BI areas.

I am not going to go into all the details as this has been covered in a whole host of other blogs that I follow. And I am sure that a lot of the people reading my blog have already found out all the new amazing news.

So here we go with all updates from the past week.

Power BI Desktop – Date Hierarchy

The above screenshot was taken from Jen Underwood, which is showing how in the future version of Power BI Desktop it will have the ability to be able to create the Date Hierarchy for you. I am sure it will be in a not too distance release.

Power BI – Timeline Slicer Visual

As promised as Pass last week here is another great Custom Visual available in Power BI.

I can see this being used a lot, as I have used it in Excel in the past and it does allow users the ability to slice their data by Month to Date, Year to Date, Quarter to Date etc…

You can find all the custom Visualizations here: Power BI Custom Visualizations

Power BI – Pin Excel Range to Dashboard

Another feature that will be coming to the Power BI Service is the ability to Pin an Excel Range into your Power BI dashboard.

I think that this will be really useful, because Excel does some things really well. And often it can show you a lot more information, which can easily be digested instead of trying to replicate it Power BI.

Power BI – User Groups

This is another great incentive, as I think as the momentum grows with Power BI this will be a great way to network with like-minded people.

As well as learn from other people who I have no doubt will have some amazing idea’s and experience to share.

Here are the details if you are interested to Sign up or see if there are people in your area: Power BI User Groups are here!

Power BI – Weekly Service Update

There were some interesting updates this week, which is that you now get a guide in what you want to do in Power BI.

As well as now individuals can also sign up for Power BI. I do think that this is a very clever move. As there are a lot of people who potentially might use it at work, and then want to use it for their personal projects. Along with this you can get the general public to start using this service. And often this can attract a larger crowd than the amount of people that will be exposed to the Power BI service. Which in turn could get Power BI into a company!

And finally is the duplication of an existing report. Which often can help when you want it to be very similar and do not want to have to re-create it all from scratch!

You can find out all the details here: Power BI Weekly Service Update

Power BI – Visual Studio Application Insights Content Pack

This week’s Content Pack is about Visual Studio applications and can give you insight into your applications that you have created and can show you potentially where you have issues.

You can find out how to use the content pack and more details here: Explore your Application Insights data with Power BI

Microsoft BI Reporting Road Map

As has been blogged quite extensively it is the first time since I have started my career in BI, that there has actually been a roadmap for BI from Microsoft.

I have to say it is great that we now have this visibility, because it means we can plan for what is coming. And incorporate some of the new changes into our existing and to be delivered projects. Which means we will be in a position to show the people in our business something that is new and fresh.

And the way that I see it, people like to see things change. Not everyone in the business, but at times even if the charts just change slightly or there is something additional it can mean that there is great adoption. It also shows that it is not something that been developed and never looked at again!

I do feel that they are focusing a lot on SQL Server Analysis Services Tabular. And for good reason, this product is playing catch up. It is also being used in Power BI, which we all really love and are using more often. And I can see that we are also starting to get the best of both worlds. And by that I mean we are getting a lot of the functionality from SQL Server Analysis Services Multidimensional, as well as from TSQL. Which means that we can leverage the best of both.

You can find out all the information about the BI Reporting Roadmap here: Microsoft Business Intelligence – our reporting roadmap

SQL Server 2016 – Integration Services Update

The link below are all the updates from Wolfgang Strasser (w|t) with regards to all the great updates that are coming to SSIS 2016.

I am looking forward to see how the Package Control Flow Templates, as the way I see, this will mean that you can leverage creating the template once, and then reuse it again and again. So for example if you create a Package Control Flow Template for a Slowly Changing Dimension Type 2. You can then use this in your framework for all your other developers.

You can read his blog post here: SQL Server 2016 Integration Services (SSIS) –Summary of SQL Pass Summit 2015 session