BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (Data Connector SDK, Analytics Challenge, April Service Content Packs, ArcGIS May Update) – Azure (SSAS Model into Azure

After all the announcements last week here are this week’s updates.

Power BI – Data Connector SDK

I know that this has been something that I have seen asked on the Power BI Community, as well as thought about in terms of having the capability to create your own Custom Data Connector in Power BI.

Don’t get me wrong they have supplied a vast array of connectors already. But by creating the SDK this means that now virtually ANY data, or even potentially anything could be integrated into Power BI. I saw a tweet from Kasper mentioning a data connector for Strava (Which I use a lot for my exercising, as well as having a wealth of data).

You can find all the details here: Data Connector SDK Developer Preview

Power BI – Analytics Challenge

With the Microsoft Data Insights summit coming up they have created an Analytics challenge in three area’s.

Complex Data Preparation, Advanced Analytics and Just for Fun.

It will be really interesting to see what people can do, I am hopeful that I will submit something.

Here are the details: Announcing the Microsoft Data Insights Summit Analytics Challenge

Power BI – April Service Content Packs

There is a new feature from the Power BI Team which as you can see above is to give more details around what are the new Service Content Packs for each month. So as you can see there are quite a few new service content packs for April 2017.

You can read the blog post here if any of the above interest you: Power BI April Service Content Packs

Power BI – ArcGIS May Update

As you can see from above the people from ArcGIS are now updating it on a nearly monthly cadence.

In this month’s updates you now can use Drive Time Area’s, as well as Tooltip fields and a host of bug fixes.

You can find the blog post details here: What’s New in ArcGIS Maps for Power BI (May 2017)

Azure – Getting your SSAS Model into Azure

This is a great blog post by Kasper De Jonge where he shows you how to get your SSAS Tabular model into Azure.

You can find more details here: Getting your on premises SSAS Tabular model to Azure

BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (Premium, May Desktop Update, New Pricing 01 Jun 2017, Pride 2017, Azure Consumption Insights Content Pack)

I always anticipate that the start of each month will be busy with the updates to Power BI, but this month is an exception with not only the release of the May Power BI Desktop Update, but also a new pricing and capacity model with regards to Power BI Premium. So let’s get into it shall we.

Power BI – Power BI Premium

With the update to now having Power BI Premium coming on 01 June 2017, this means that there is a whole host of changes, updates and additions that have happened with regards to the Power BI Service.

I am going to highlight below what I think is most relevant, and provide links further below if you want to go into more details.

Power BI Premium Overview

What Power BI Premium is in one sentence is the capability to license for capacity instead of per user.

What this means that in the past if you had 5000 users you would have to pay and license each user. With the Premium model you now can pay for a dedicated capacity and have 5000 users for a much lower price, or even lower depending on your specific requirements. What this means is that you now can get a more cost effective, as well as dedicated offering from Microsoft Power BI.

Below is a simple Infographic in terms of what will be available at Launch and what is planned in the future.

Here is the Cost Calculator that you can use to determine which pricing model will be the most cost effective.

Power BI Premium calculator

Power BI Report Server

There is also the option to install Power BI Report Server on premise so that you can leverage Power BI on your own premises when there is the requirement. You can view the link here for more details.

Power BI Report Server

Power BI Apps

There is also an announcement that they have evolved the content packs to now be called Power BI Apps.

With the advent of Apps you now can also create and develop them and add users and admins at a later time.

Along with this there will no longer be the requirement to leverage Office 365 Groups. Which makes it less reliant on Exchange for Office 365.

When you create an app you will also have the capability to be able to push it not only in the web but also to iOS, Android or Windows devices.

They have also outlined in their blog post the roadmap going forward.

And here is the link to their blog post: Distribute to large audiences with Power BI apps

One final thing to note is that the licensing for the Free model has added additional capabilities but the one BIG takeaway is that you will NO longer be able to Share your data with other users. As an initial workaround you can sign up for the Pro trial which will give you the required sharing functionality.

You can find the blog post details here: Microsoft accelerates modern BI adoption with Power BI Premium

Power BI – May Desktop Update

Along with all the other announcements there also has been the May Power BI Desktop Update. And below I will highlight some of the changes.

Report View

The relative date slicers is a very welcome addition as I have had instances in the past where I have wanted to keep data relative and it did take some creative thinking to achieve this. Which now can very easily be done with the relative date slicer.

It also good to see that they have ported over the functionality from the Matrix Preview into the Table Preview. Having very similar capabilities and a very welcome update.

The combo chart label enhancements are another small but important update, having worked with combo charts in the past, it makes it a lot easier to see the data label information.

Also having additional URL support is great as you can see above, as often it is not only web links that need to be linked.

Analytics

The biggest update in the May release is the capability to be able to create Report Level measures for Live connections to SSAS (Analysis Services Tabular) and Power BI Service datasets.

This is something that the community has been asking for a long time, and enables the report developers to further enrich the report model.

They have also added to new Quick Measures to make the total count of Quick Measures now 21

Data Connectivity

A new connector for Dynamics 365 for Customer Insights.

As well as the option when importing data from a folder to select the First File (So that you do not have to select it every time). But you still have the option to select the file from the drop down if required.

Query Editor

They have added 3 new transformations for Text Before, After or Between delimiter. So this can make it easier to get data that is in a specific delimiter format.

The final update is the ability to Unpivot Only Select Columns, what this does is it will ONLY unpivot the columns that you have selected. Even if more columns come into your table, it will only unpivot the columns you had selected initially.

You can find the entire blog post details here: Power BI Desktop May Feature Summary

Power BI – New Pricing June 2017

Below is the new pricing model for the different levels in Power BI from 01 June 2017

Power BI – Pride 2017

With this years Microsoft Data Insights Summit happening really soon, there is a call for people from the Power BI Community to show their pride with Power BI.

As you can see from the image above, those are the top 10 features, as voted by the community that they want you to use in your pride video.

You can find the blog post details here: Power BI Pride 2017: share your pride with the world!

Power BI – Azure Consumption Insights Content Pack

There is a new content pack available in which you can now use to view your Azure Consumption.

You can find more details here: New Power BI content pack for Azure Enterprise users

BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (Meet 1:1 with Microsoft Expert – May & June Webinars, Sample files as PBIX, Quick Measures Gallery, Mobile App Update – April)

Here are this week’s updates, with May starting next week I am looking forward to some interesting updates with regards to Power BI.

Power BI – Meet 1:1 with Microsoft Expert

If you are attending the Microsoft Data Insights Summit you now have the opportunity to have a 1:1 session with a Microsoft Engineer for 15 minutes. If I was attending this is something that I would have already signed up to before blogging.

You can find the details here: Meet 1:1 with a Microsoft expert at Microsoft Data Insights Summit – book your appointment today!

Power BI – May & June Webinars

As you can see below here are the May & June Power BI Webinars

You can find all the details for the Webinars here: May and June Webinars: Power BI Security, Best Practices from the Microsoft Operations Team, Power BI Embedded, Marco Russo on Design and more!

Power BI – Download Samples as PBIX Files

I have to say that in the past when I was using the Power BI Sample data, I did wonder why there were not any sample PBIX files.

Now they have created and enabled the downloading of the PBIX files in the link below.

The Power BI samples as .pbix files

Power BI – Quick Measures Gallery

After the success and implementation of the Quick Measures in Power BI Desktop there now is the Quick Measures Gallery.

In this gallery you can now submit what you would like to see added to the future Quick Measures in Power BI. I think that this is a great initiative, because it not only allows people to have their own measures featured in the Power BI Desktop, but it also allows people to view the Gallery, view the measures and use them for their own requirements.

You can find the blog post here: Introducing the Quick Measures Gallery

Power BI – Mobile App Update April

In this month’s Mobile App update they have released to all the platforms the capability to be able to have the background colour. As well as a lot of bug improvements and performance fixes.

Also in the blog post they did mention the option to develop custom visuals for Mobile phones. Which I thought was quite interesting.

You can view the blog post here: Power BI Mobile apps feature summary – April 2017

BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (Service March Update – New Navigation Experience, Desktop Terms & Definitions – Whitepapers) – BI Survey (BARC BI Survey 2017) – Excel – (Get & Transform Updates for April 2017)

There has been a variety of updates and blog posts in the past week, so here are my BI updates.

Power BI – Service March Update

There were quite a few service updates for March within the Power BI Service.

The first was the granular controls which was a very welcome feature. And I know that something that a lot of companies have been asking for. (As well as where I am currently consulting)

Another great new feature was the capability to view related content. This gives the user the ability to see how their content is related, as well as to quickly go into additional items from the view related content.

There was also an improvement for the troubleshooting for DAX queries, which helps with the diagnosis of errors or issues.

Then there was the custom scheduled cache refresh which is really handy in terms of how to handle this for DirectQuery sources.

As well as the ability for Amazon Redshift, and finally the move of the Custom Visuals into the Office Store.

You can find the blog post here: Power BI Service March Feature Summary

Power BI – New Navigation Experience

I have enabled the preview features on Power BI for quite some time, and I have to say with each iteration it has gotten easier and better. The new navigation experience is awesome. And makes interacting with Power BI in the service a lot easier. This is especially true when you start to have multiple workspaces, compounded with multiple dashboards, reports, workbooks and datasets.

This new navigation experience makes it a lot simpler to use and navigate.

You can find the blog post details here: Get ready for the new Power BI navigation experience

Power BI – Desktop Terms & Definitions

There is a really insightful blog post by Sam Lester from Microsoft where he goes into the terms and definitions when using Power BI Desktop.

If someone new is starting out in Power BI and using the Power BI Desktop this is a great place to start.

You can find Sam’s blog post here: Power BI Desktop – Terms and Definitions

Power BI – Whitepapers

There is now a central location for all the related whitepapers for Power BI.

This will be really handy because it will be easy to reference this for customers and clients going forward.

As well as I enjoy reading and learning from released whitepapers, so this means that I now have a central location for some great reading material.

Here is the link to where you can find the whitepapers: Whitepapers for Power BI

BI Survey

Every year I have been working in the Business Intelligence space I have been participating in the BARC BI Survey, and due to being a participant I get a copy of the results once completed. I find this invaluable to see what is happening in the BI space.

If you are interested please follow the link to complete the survey: BARC BI SURVEY 2017

Excel – Get & Transform Updates for April 2017

It is great to see the changes and updates that are made to Power BI filter down into the Excel Get & Transform.

In the April update they have included the following updates:

  • Support for the same file extensions in Text and CSV connectors.
  • ODBC and OLE DB connectors—support for Select Related Tables
  • Enhanced Folder connector—support for Combine Binaries from the Data Preview dialog
  • New Change Type Using Locale option in Column Type drop-down menu inside Query Editor
  • New Insert Step After option in the Steps pane inside Query Editor

You can read up about it here: April 2017 updates for Get & Transform in Excel 2016 and the Power Query add-in

BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (Desktop Update April – Quick Measures Preview – Mobile Apps Summary – Video Gallery & Ask a Partner Anything – View Related Content Pane – Sneak Peak add new Columns from Example – Tracking Adoption via Power BI Audit Logs)

There has been a whole host of updates and interesting things in Business Intelligence in the past weeks, so please find below the updates.

Power BI – Desktop Update April

This month’s Power BI Desktop update for April has a whole host of great updates and new features this month, which I will highlight what I think is most relevant below.

Report View

The first update in the Report View section is the ability to rename the axis titles. I know that personally this is something that I have been looking for and now the capability is there.

Next is additional updates to the Matrix Preview, in which you can now sort the matrix by the grand total and row headers in ascending or descending order.

As well as now you can also resize the columns as you could do previously in the original matrix.

And finally, you can now word wrap column headers, row headers and values in the matrix preview. This can be configured separately in the formatting pane.

Analytics

Not only has the Power BI team made it better and easier to create the default measures. But with the Quick measures they have made it as simple as a drag and drop and then Power BI Desktop writes the DAX for you. I personally think that is a giant leap forward as it enables users who are not very strong in DAX to still be able to create powerful measures, which in turn will create greater insights into their data. This will also then let people learn how DAX works because they can see and modify the code, as well as give more advanced DAX users the capability to edit the DAX measure if so desired.

This entire preview feature I think is another game changer and it will enable people to quickly create the measures that they require, as well as to get people to build their DAX skills if so required. And I have no doubt that more quick measures will be added.

As you can see above, you can now try Q&A in Spanish. This must be the result of the Power BI Surveys that have been conducted in the past.

Data Connectivity

Once again this is another idea that a lot of people have been asking for and it has already been delivered. This is the ability to connect to a dataset that exists in the Power BI Service.

This is wonderful as what it means is that as long as you have got the required access, you are now able to access a dataset already uploaded into the Power BI Service. So what this also means is that you will not have to worry about creating measures, how the data is updated etc, because you are a consumer of the Power BI dataset.

This also means that now you can have multiple people working on a single dataset. Which is the start of having multiple developers developing reports and insights into your data.

The one caveat is that when you use the Power BI Service dataset you cannot edit or modify anything within this dataset, you will have to get the dataset owner to make the required changes and then for them to upload it the changes or updates into the Power BI Service. But still a giant leap forward.

The Amazon Redshift data connector has now moved out of Preview and is in the Beta phase, so it is easier to find and use.

There has also been updates to the SAP Hana and BW connectors, now giving you the ability to have more control with regards to the parameters selection. I am sure that people that use SAP will find this very welcome.

Query Editing

The ability to add a column by example has been out for almost 2 weeks now, but this is once again (yes I am repeating myself a bit!) a game changer because it now allows people who do not understand Power Query or the M language to quickly and easily build new columns within their dataset. And this also does it in the Query Editor, where I personally think it is the right place for this to be done, so that before it is brought into the Power BI Desktop Model, the data is already there and can achieve better results.

As you can now see above you now can split your column by delimiter or number of rows and if you wanted to split it into Rows.

The basic Group By in the Query Editor now allows you to group by a single column and output by a single column.

The Go to Column is a very handy feature because it allows you to quickly find your column, which is especially helpful when your table is very wide with a lot of columns.

You can find the blog post for the Power BI Desktop Update here: Power BI Desktop April Feature Summary

Power BI – Quick Measures Preview

There is already a blog post out by the Power BI team with regards on how to leverage and use the Quick Measures Preview.

It has some great content and is well worth the read.

You can find the blog details here: Quick Measures Preview

Power BI – Mobile Apps Summary

There have been some additional updates to the Mobile Apps for Power BI which are the Q&A Improvements and 3D touch for iOS.

Multiple SSRS Server support for up to 5 SSRS Servers. As well as improvements to the slicers.

You can find all the blog details here: Power BI Mobile apps feature summary – March 2017

Power BI – Video Gallery & Ask a Partner Anything


As you can see from above the Power BI team has now launched the Video Gallery where you can view tips and tricks on how to do things with Power BI. I think that this is great because it is often easier to see how to do things.

As well as another Ask a Partner anything on 06 April.

You can find all the details here: Announcing the new Power BI Video Gallery and Ask a Partner Anything live event

Power BI – View Related Content Pane

Once again the people in the Power BI team, specifically on the Power BI Service side are making it a lot easier to navigate and understand how your reports piece together.

This is very powerful as well as easy to use, because you get to see all the related content, but you also get the capability to be able to go into the settings or item specific areas, where before you would have had to go through a few clicks to get there.

You can find the blog details here: Announcing the View Related Content Pane: Faster Results with Fewer Clicks

Power BI – Sneak Peak add new Columns from Example

As you can see from above, this is a sneak peak of a new feature that is going to be released in the next version of Power BI Desktop.

I have to say that this is amazing, as it is starting to do the hard yards for you. Yes it might take a bit of practice to get it right, but once you have mastered it, it can save you a lot of time and effort

And the thing that I really like is that it will enable the users who are not so proficient at Power Query to be able to expand on their data, which in turn will lead to amazing insights.

You can read the blog post here: A sneak preview of the new Add Column From Examples data transformation

Power BI – Tracking Adoption via Power BI Audit Logs

This is a great blog post from JAVIER GUILLEN, where he shows you how to use the Power BI Audit logs to show how adoption of not only Power BI, but also the dashboards and reports are being used.

You can find the blog details here: TRACKING ADOPTION VIA POWER BI AUDIT LOGS

SSAS / Power BI – DirectQuery WhitePaper

As you can see above there is a whitepaper for DirectQuery in SQL Server 2016 Analysis Services, it is noted that some of the concepts are shared with Power BI.

And I have already downloaded the whitepaper and will be getting stuck into it very shortly.

You can find the blog post details as well as the link here: DirectQuery in SQL Server 2016 Analysis Services whitepaper

BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (Design your own Swag, Custom Refresh Schedules for Live/DirectQuery, Report Theme Gallery, Custom Visuals Community Site, Filter a report with a URL query string, Summit EMEA, Custom Visuals in Office Store, Data Insights Summit Session Details

Once again the world of BI is very busy with great new features and other details which I have put into this blog post below.

Power BI – Design your own Swag

There is a competition to design your own Swag Shirt for Power BI. As you can see above is my entry, so if you like it, please go and vote for it here: Power BI – Create – Collate – Visualize & Explore

As well as look at the other entries here:

Power BI – Custom Refresh Schedules for Live/DirectQuery

I have to say I have noticed that the Power BI team are currently releasing a lot of features which give a lot more granular control to different things in the Power BI Service. From my point of view this is fantastic as it allows more flexibility in the product, which means it can potentially be released to a wider audience in some instances.

This latest release with regards to the Custom Refresh Schedules for Live/DirectQuery is another great granular feature. This allows the user to now control how often to refresh the cash, which is used for the Dashboards tiles. And can help ensure that it can be optimized.

You can find the blog details here: Announcing Custom Cache Refresh Schedules in the Power BI Service

Power BI – Report Theme Gallery

Due to the release of the preview feature of Report themes into Power BI Desktop, the Power BI Team has now release a Report Theme Gallery.

This is where you can showcase your theme that you created, as well as share it with others who might want to use it.

I personally think this is great, and once again shows how Power BI is a community where we can share our knowledge.

Here are the details: Power BI Community Report Theme Gallery

Power BI – Custom Visuals Community Site

Here is yet another great initiative from the Power BI team, and this is all around the Custom Visuals where they have created a Custom Visuals Community site.

This will be a great resource for people who are looking to develop Custom Visuals as well as assist other people with issues.

You can find all the details here: New custom visuals community site: developers and users unite!

Power BI – Filter a report with a URL Query String

Apparently this has been in the documentation for some time, but was only publically shown now by Adam Saxton (Guy In a Cube).

In the blog post they show how you are able to filter reports in the URL using a Query String.

This functionality used to exist in Power View for SharePoint and I can remember using it in various scenario’s where you wanted the report to automatically filter. This is great to see that you can now do this in Power BI also.

You can see Adam’s video and blog post details here: Filter a report with a URL query string parameter

Power BI – Summit EMEA

If you are in the EMEA region I would suggest if possible attending the Summit EMEA, where you can learn about Power BI, as well as discover other details around Power BI and the various insights it provides.

You can find the details here: Dive into Power BI at Summit EMEA

Power BI – Custom Visuals available in the Office Store

It is interesting to see that the Custom Visuals are going to be moved to the Office store. In a way I can understand this, but it also makes me lead to think that in the future there is the possibility to potentially pay for Custom Visuals?

I am sure we will find out sooner or later.

Here is the blog post details: Custom visuals now available in the Office store

Power BI – Data Insights Summit sessions

You can now get access and see all the sessions that are going to be available at the Data Insights Summit session.

I see that there will also be a pre-con day on 11 June 2017. Loads of great content

Here are the details: The Microsoft Data Insights Summit is back – check out our full session catalog today!

BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (Custom Refresh Schedules for Live/DirectQuery, Report Theme Gallery, Custom Visuals Community Site, Filter a report with a URL query string, Summit EMEA)

Once again the world of BI is very busy with great new features and other details which I have put into this blog post below.

Power BI – Custom Refresh Schedules for Live/DirectQuery

I have to say I have noticed that the Power BI team are currently releasing a lot of features which give a lot more granular control to different things in the Power BI Service. From my point of view this is fantastic as it allows more flexibility in the product, which means it can potentially be released to a wider audience in some instances.

This latest release with regards to the Custom Refresh Schedules for Live/DirectQuery is another great granular feature. This allows the user to now control how often to refresh the cash, which is used for the Dashboards tiles. And can help ensure that it can be optimized.

You can find the blog details here: Announcing Custom Cache Refresh Schedules in the Power BI Service

Power BI – Report Theme Gallery

Due to the release of the preview feature of Report themes into Power BI Desktop, the Power BI Team has now release a Report Theme Gallery.

This is where you can showcase your theme that you created, as well as share it with others who might want to use it.

I personally think this is great, and once again shows how Power BI is a community where we can share our knowledge.

Here are the details: Power BI Community Report Theme Gallery

Power BI – Custom Visuals Community Site

Here is yet another great initiative from the Power BI team, and this is all around the Custom Visuals where they have created a Custom Visuals Community site.

This will be a great resource for people who are looking to develop Custom Visuals as well as assist other people with issues.

You can find all the details here: New custom visuals community site: developers and users unite!

Power BI – Filter a report with a URL Query String

Apparently this has been in the documentation for some time, but was only publically shown now by Adam Saxton (Guy In a Cube).

In the blog post they show how you are able to filter reports in the URL using a Query String.

This functionality used to exist in Power View for SharePoint and I can remember using it in various scenario’s where you wanted the report to automatically filter. This is great to see that you can now do this in Power BI also.

You can see Adam’s video and blog post details here: Filter a report with a URL query string parameter

Power BI – Summit EMEA

If you are in the EMEA region I would suggest if possible attending the Summit EMEA, where you can learn about Power BI, as well as discover other details around Power BI and the various insights it provides.

You can find the details here: Dive into Power BI at Summit EMEA