BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (Community Blog Highlights – Power BI Germany – Latest Updates for Power BI Desktop – How Microsoft uses Power BI to run its Cloud Business – Connecting Datasets to Power BI Service) – SQL Saturday Brisbane (I’m presenting) – SQL Server (SQL Server 2017 – DAX Editor for SSDT – New Get Data Experience for SSDT)

I thought that this might be a quieter week, but once again there are a whole host of updates from Power BI updates, to SQL Server 2017 announcements. Quite a bit to read through so I hope you enjoy it.

Power BI – Community Blog Highlights

I actively participate in the Power BI Community, as well as when I feel like I have something meaningful that will also contribute to the Power BI Community get it published onto the Power BI Community Blog. And in this month’s highlights I am thrilled to have my latest blog post as part of the highlight.

The other posts are below:

Power BI – Infographic for Power BI from an end to end perspective, by Gilbert Quevauvilliers

Design Pattern – Groups and Super Groups!, by Greg Deckler

Get Your Own Power Query Editor using Notepad++, by Lars Schreiber

What I Learnt Building Power BI Custom Visuals, by Chamara Ranasinghe

A Simple and Fun Guide to Microsoft Flow and Power BI, by Ruth Pozuelo

The Ultimate Waterfall Chart , by Klaus Birringer

Power BI – Germany

I know from personal experience that having your data reside in the same country you are working from means a much easier and broader adoption of Power BI. Now for people living in Germany they are able to fully comply with all the requirements in terms of having data hosted within Power BI.

As a side note I also saw that Microsoft is the first company to offer a data centre in South Korea which is great to see.

You can find the blog post details here: Experience your data with Power BI Germany and meet your compliance and regulatory needs

Power BI – Latest Updates for Power BI Desktop

I recently came across this link below, which always will point to the latest details with regards to the Power BI Desktop.

I would suggest bookmarking this page, to ensure you always have the latest information available.

https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/powerbi-desktop-latest-update/

Power BI – How Microsoft uses Power BI to run its Cloud Business

This is a really interesting blog post where they details how Microsoft uses Power BI to monitor Power BI as well as all the other BI components that fall under James Phillips. What amazes me is that for each of the KPIs shown in the screen there is a General Manager responsible for that particular product.

What this also shows is how to build an effective KPI dashboard which is easy to view and know when something is not going as it should.

You can find the interesting read here: How Microsoft uses Power BI to run its growing cloud business

Power BI – Connecting to the dataset in the Power BI Service

In this blog post from the Power BI team they go into some details around how and why you would want to use the Power BI Dataset in the Power BI Service.

One thing that I found interesting and I guess I had never thought of is that you can now connect to ANY dataset that has been published to the Power BI Service. This includes datasets from Curated Content Packs which makes the development experience that much easier.

You can find the details here: Connecting to datasets in the Power BI service from Desktop

SQL Saturday Brisbane – I’m Presenting on Power BI Real World Tips and Tricks

I am so excited that I will presenting for the first time at SQL Saturday Brisbane on Saturday 27 May 2017.

The session details are Power BI Real world tips and tricks. Below is the session excerpt:

Out in the real world, people are starting to use Power BI to gain insights into their data that were previously never seen. With Gilbert currently working full time in Power BI projects, he has first hand experience on how to leverage Power BI in work place.

By providing real world, real working examples I plan to show how some simple tips and tricks can make their reports and dashboards amazing and insightful. This will be an interactive and demo rich presentation.

The real world tips will cover the following sections of Power BI:

  • Query Editor
  • DAX
  • Visuals
  • Power BI Service

You can register for SQL Saturday here: SQL Saturday Brisbane – 27 May 2017

SQL Server – SQL Server 2017

I personally think that with the release date of SQL Server 2017, that Microsoft is looking to continue what it has been doing with the combination of experience with Power BI and deploying updates to Azure SQL Server.

This is allowing them to deploy and implement changes to SQL Server in at a faster pace. I do also personally think that with the deployment and testing with Azure, they can test real world scenario’s with a diverse environment to make sure that it works as expected. This allows them to then take all these learnings and put it into an On-Premise Solution.

You can find the details here: SQL Server 2017

SQL Server – DAX Editor for SSDT

It was just a matter of time before the DAX editor became part of SSDT (SQL Server Data Tools) and now it is finally here.

This will no doubt make the creation and editing of measures and calculated columns a lot easier and quicker to develop.

They are planning to have Intellisense as well as Code Formatting in future releases

You can find the details here: Introducing a DAX Editor Tool Window for SSDT Tabular

SQL Server – What’s new in SQL Server 2017 for Analysis Services

As you can see above there have been a whole host of enhancements for Analysis Services in SQL Server 2017.

The new Object-Level Security to secure more data looks really interesting in that you can now also secure it on a column level. As well as performance improvements for the developer experience, which I personally know in the past at times was particularly slow.

Along with improvements to the DMV’s, similar Date Hierarchy implementations that are currently in Power BI.

As well as other improvements you can read about here: What’s new in SQL Server 2017 CTP 2.0 for Analysis Services

SQL
Server – New Get Data Experience

With the new release of SSDT they have updated the Get Data Experience for SSAS models with level 1400.

It appears that they are looking to align with what is currently being implemented in Power BI, which is fantastic to see because it will mean a more consistent developer experience.

They are continuing to add more data sources with each release.

You can find all the details here: New Get Data Capabilities in the GA Release of SSDT Tabular 17.0 (April 2017)

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 (Granular Tenant settings, Amazon Redshift connectivity in Power BI Service, Featured Data Stories, Availability Monitoring Publish to Web) – Excel (Get & Transform updates) – SQL Server (DAX support in Report Builder and SSMS)

Here are the weekly updates.

Power BI – Granular Tenant Settings

I can personally say that I know a few of my clients who are very happy that the Power BI team has already implemented the Granular Tenant settings for Power BI. I have to say that I am once again impressed by the Power BI Team really a great job.

I also like the fact that they have gone one step further and put in the option for “Except specific security groups”, because so often you want to allow it for almost everyone, except one group. And with their implementation they make this really easy and simple to implement.

Currently as at 16 Mar 2017, the granular settings are for the following:

  • Export and sharing settings
    • Share content to external users
    • Export Data
    • Export reports to PowerPoint presentations
    • Print dashboards and reports
  • Content pack settings
    • Publish content packs to the entire organization
    • Create template organizational content packs
  • Integration settings
    • Use Analyze in Excel with on-premise datasets

You can read the blog post here: Announcing granular tenant settings in Power BI

Power BI – Gateway Update for March

As you can see above the Gateway for Power BI has had a whole host of updates in the March 2017 release.

In this release there is now an updated UI (User Interface), where you can now see the status of the Gateway.

You also have the options under the Service settings to restart the service, as well as change the Gateway Service Account.

In the Diagnostics section, you can now enable verbose logging, as well as export all the gateway logs to one zip file.

And finally under the Network section there is the capability to view the Local network status, as well as modify the Azure Service Bus connectivity mode.

There is also an update for the Gateway to use a FQDN instead of a list of IP addresses so that you will no longer be required to keep a list of IP Addresses.

Also if you are looking to use an Oracle data source with Kerberos configured the Power BI Gateway team are looking for candidates.

You can find the blog post details here: Power BI Gateways–March Update

Power BI – Amazon Redshift in Power BI Service

This is a informative blog post by the Power BI team where they explain how to connect, and publish your Power BI reports using Amazon Redshift.

You can find the details here: Announcing support for Amazon Redshift connectivity in the Power BI service

Power BI – Featured Data Stories

Congratulations to David Eldersveld on his featured data story, really a great way showcasing Power BI as well as the other people featured.

Next month’s feature requests are tables and matrices.

You can find the featured data stories here: Congratulations to this month’s Featured Data Stories

Excel – Get & Transform Updates

There are two updates to the Excel Get & Transform updates in the March 2017 update. The first is a new transformation which allows you to extract data values from a column. And the second is where you now have support for SQL Server Failovers when using a SQL Server database connection.

You can find the details here: March 2017 updates for Get & Transform in Excel 2016 and the Power Query add-in

Power BI – Availability Monitoring Publish to Web

Charles Sterling from the Power BI team has a great blog post if you want to monitor the availability and ensure that your Publish to Web is working. He shows this in a few simple steps.

You can find the details here: Setting up availability monitoring for Power BI Publish to Web Results

SQL Server – DAX support in Report Builder and SSMS

In the latest release of Report Builder and SSMS (SQL Server Management Studio) there now is the ability in the query designer for DAX.

You can find all the details here: Query designer support for DAX now available in Report Builder and SQL Server Data Tools

BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (Desktop Update, Service Updates, API Updates, Mobile App Update, Visual Contest Results, Content Pack – Stripe) – Office 2016 (Excel Updates, Power Query Update, Excel Predictions) – SQL Server Analysis Service 2012 Tabular Update – SQL Server Analysis Services 2016 Extended Events

So this week there was once again a whole host of updates with Power BI, as well as finally the official release of Office 2016.

It sure is a busy time be in Business Intelligence space, especially in the Microsoft space.

So let’s get into it…

Power BI – Desktop Update

So I woke up this morning to see that there has been a massive release in the Power BI Desktop application. I immediately downloaded and installed the update. I have already used some of the features today.

And there was a whole host of updates, too many to go through all of them here, but I would just like to highlight the ones which I think are really great additional features.

I am really enjoying the Report Authoring features, and I have mentioned it before but the drill up and drill down features are really great and allows for more details to be in the report which you will not initially see on face value.

Then under the data modelling section I have to say that I am currently not any DAX guru, but I do appreciate how powerful it is, and how you can really extend your data with so many DAX functions. In particular is the Calculated Table, which Chris Webb has already blogged about and has some great information here: Calculated Tables In Power BI

And there are some great new features with regards to Data Connectivity as well as Data Transformations & Query Editor improvements, which all forms part of Power Query. Which once again enables the author of the reports to enrich the data, which in turn will create great visualizations.

You can find out all about all 44 updates here: 44 New Features in the Power BI Desktop September Update

Power BI – Service Updates

So yet another great update on the Power BI platform.

I think that finally being able to customize the size of the tiles is really good. So that you can fit more meaningful information on your dashboard.

Another great service update is to be able to Share Read Only dashboards with other users. This is great because often you create dashboard and reports, which you want to share with users and let them interact with your data, but not make any changes.

As well as having more sample content packs which will be a great way to showcase how powerful Power BI is.

You can read about it and all other updates here: Power BI Weekly Service Update

Power BI – API Updates

There is no pretty picture for the API updates, but there are some great new features.

The one that I think is really good is the ability to be able to embed a Power BI tile into an application. So at least it gives you the ability to have the great features of Power BI in your application without having to go directly to Power BI.

I also see that there is the ability from what I can see to pass some filters or parameters into the Power BI report via the URL which is really good and can prove to extend the functionality.

These are the details in the API updates

  • Imports API
  • Dashboards API
  • Tiles and Tile API
  • Groups API
  • Integrating Tiles into Applications
  • Filtering Tiles integrated into your Application

You can find out all about it here: Power BI API updates roundup

Power BI – Another Mobile Update

The Microsoft team must be working 24 hours a day with the amounts of updates and additions that are coming out from Microsoft.

They have released some additional updates into the Mobile application which are great, as we all are well aware that having a mobile application really can help showcase your solution. As well as ensure that it gets to the right users and that they can see the related information.

You can find out about the updates to the IOS, Windows and Android details here: Power BI mobile Mid-September updates are here

Power BI – Visual Contest Results – People’s Choice Awards

As you can see above this is the first people’s choice award for the Visual Contest result, which I can see myself using that with my existing data.

You can find out about it and the other entries here: Power BI Best Visual Contest – 1st People’s Choice Award!

Power BI – Content Pack Stripe

Once again this was another great content pack update this week.

There are a whole host of people who are using the Stripe platform payment for their online business. From the really small guys to the big guys. And this gives everyone a really great and easy way to understand and visualize your data. As well as what payments you are getting.

You can find out more about it here: Monitor and Explore your Stripe data in Power BI

Office 2016

I am very happy to see that Office 2016, has been released before the actual year of 2016.

I have mainly been focused on all the features in Excel, due to being in BI. But there are a whole host of updates, fixes and new additions in Office 2016.

You can read all about it and all the details here: The new Office is here

Excel 2016 – Features

With Office 2016 being released this blog post from the Office team shows a lot of the great features that are available in Excel 2016.

It does showcase a lot of great features focused on Business Analysts, as well as how people can leverage all the new features in Excel 2016.

You can read up all about it here: New ways to get the Excel business analytics features you need

Power Query Update

With so many things going on within Power BI, there has been another great release with Power Query.

As you can see with the picture above it is great to finally have the ability to write your own custom MDX or DAX query to get the data which you require from your SSAS source.

Another great feature is the ability to extract a query from one of the steps within your current Power Query query, and then you can use this in another Power Query window. As they say it gives you the ability really easily use the same code over again, without having to do it all over again.

You can read all about it here: Power Query for Excel September 2015 update

Excel Future Prediction

I recently came across a really interesting article from some of the Industry experts within the BI space, and for them to predict how they see Excel’s use as well as where they see it fitting into the BI space in the upcoming years.

There were some really insightful and interesting details, which made me think about how Excel has evolved over the years, and with the current additional investments going into Excel, how this is going to be leveraged and improved in the years to come.

You can read all about their thoughts here: 27 MICROSOFT EXCEL EXPERTS PREDICT THE FUTURE OF EXCEL IN BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE

SQL Server Analysis Service 2012 – Tabular Update

There has been a CU update for SQL Server 2012, and one of the great updates relates to SSAS Tabular for columns that have a high cardinality. Which was a performance issue before this release.

It is great to see that this has been addressed, especially due to the fact that in SSAS Tabular there will be cases when columns will have a high cardinality. And even though it is often super quick, we would like everything to be as fast as possible.

You can read all about the updates to SQL Server CU 8 here: Cumulative update package 8 for SQL Server 2012

SQL Server Analysis Services 2016 – Extended Events

I think that it is great to see that we are finally getting some additional features and updates to Analysis Services.

When I read up about the extended events, this is something really great to see. I actually have been in an exercise to monitor what has been going on our SSAS instance both in terms of performance, as well as which users are accessing the cubes and what they are doing. And currently there is not a super elegant solution to achieve this.

With the extended events this makes it a lot easier and gives you the ability to quickly get the information that you require.

I also love it that you are able to have a live query, which you can use to see if you are specifically running something. As well as if you want to ensure that you are capturing the right events.

This is definitely something that I will be looking to use when we finally can install and use SQL 2016.

You can find out about all the details here: Using Extended Events with SQL Server Analysis Services 2016 CTP 2.3

BI-NSIGHT – Multiple Power BI Announcements – Cortana Analytics – Particle and Microsoft – Azure Data Catalog – Power Query Update

So the past week has been filled with a whole host of announcements, particularly in the Power BI space, but as well as with Microsoft’s cloud based solutions.

A lot of the information that I have found due to the current World Partner Conference!

So as we do every week, let’s get into the amazing details.

There is quite a bit of content this week, so please scroll down and then down again.

Multiple Power BI Announcements

So there was a whole stack of Power BI Announcements, which has been fantastic news for the BI community

Power BI General Availability – 24 July 2015

There has been a whole host of activity with regards to this fantastic news, as well as the blog post from Microsoft detailed below. So I will quickly give my personal view of this news.

I do think it is the perfect time for Microsoft to from a Preview product to General Availability (GA). It ties in with their release of Windows 10, and being summer in the United States I am sure it is an amazing time there. Also by Power BI coming out of Preview and into an actual product this gives it some additional credibility and traction within a very competitive market.

In terms of Power BI as a whole it has been a whole new way that Microsoft have released a product. Along with this they have actively engaged with the customers and end users and actually listened and often taken the advice from the community and put this into the product. I find this amazing and something that has not been done in the past. And this is where I feel going forward is where Microsoft will leap frog the other vendors.

I also think it is a VERY smart move to open the Visualizations and give the power to the developers. This will result in a massive increase in new charts that were previously never used or never thought of. And this all lends itself to people who want to implement their own charts to start looking at Power BI. Along with this it also continues with the Microsoft community, as I pretty sure without doubt that people will share their visualizations with each other. This means not only does Microsoft benefit, but also the customer or end user.

I might have totally misunderstood all the hype around the above, but I am sure somewhere that there was a hint that there might be a content pack for Twitter data. Now that would be something that would be amazing!

If you want to read about all the details and updates, please read their blog post: Announcing Power BI general availability coming July 24th

Power BI New Capabilities

Microsoft have been super busy and they have released a great blog about the new capabilities that have been released with the General Availability coming up on 24 July 2015

Below are the sections, and you can read the blog post afterwards for more details.

I would just like to highlight the Q&A Visual formatting. I think that this is another great feature. Due to allowing you to be able to format a Q&A question. And the reason that this works so well, is that you will have some questions that will be common amongst the business people. And in my mind you would want this to look really great. As well as potentially really POP when the question is asked. And this now gives the report developer the ability to do this.

  • Office 365 App Launcher
  • Custom URL Support
  • Storage Management
  • Q&A visual formatting

Read here for more details of the above: New capabilities added to Power BI

Power BI – Spark

Once again Microsoft have released another Content pack which I personally think keeps on elevating Microsoft in terms of competing with the likes of QlikView, Tableau etc.

By integrating directly with Spark on HDInsight it allows customers and end users to easily view their data that they have been processing within the Spark. In terms of Spark on HDInsight, that already has made the barrier of entry to use an appliance and software like Spark that much easier and quicker to deploy. Then along with this they plug this into Power BI, which then means that it is a great and powerful interface to visualize their machine learning algorithms and graph computations.

You can read more details here: Visualize big data with Power BI and Spark on Azure HDInsight

Power BI – Acumatica Content Pack

Here is another great content pack from Microsoft and Power BI.

Acumatica Cloud ERP is a cloud based platform that provides business management applications such Financials, Distribution, CRM and Project Accounting.

You can read more about it here: Analyze and Explore your Acumatica Cloud ERP data with Power BI

Power BI – Development of content pack for tyGraph

I read about tyGraph analytics getting a development pack for Power BI. This is really good news as it appears that tyGraph is used by a lot of customers. And by using Power BI it will enable the existing tyGraph customers to leverage Power BI for the reporting requirements.

You can read more about it here: tyGraph Analytics Is Announcing the Development of a Content Pack for Microsoft Power BI

Cortana Analytics

The Cortana Analytics Suite is once again why I really enjoy working within the Microsoft space. It appears to me that they are not only looking to create great cloud based products, but also innovate and create something that as a whole really makes sense for people to want to use and realize the potential of the data that they have, or data that they can create.

I really like the way they have integrated a whole host of applications, to make it easier and simpler for people to be able to use it as a product. And as with anything once you get to use a new product, get a better understanding of the product, you then want to be able to do more. And with Cortana Analytics Suite, they provide out of the box functionality, but going forward it also gives the customer or end user the functionality to dig in a whole lot deeper and create their own custom solutions.

I watched this video below and it is amazing to see how technology can enable people to make smart decisions which in turn makes us happier and healthier. In my view it also shows where this is going in the future. As well as how there are unbounding possibilities of how we can integrate things (IoT) and make quicker decisions than ever before.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock ushers in a new age of proactive, personalized healthcare using Cortana Analytics Suite – Watch the Video inspiring stuff

You can read more about Cortana Analytics here: Cortana Analytics

Particle and Microsoft

I think that this is another great partnership, especially the way we are starting to see the IoT happening and starting to gain some real traction. I also find that Particle is a great company that is enabling their customers to do things that previously were either too expensive to implement or were never thought about! And I am pretty sure further down the line, this will integrate with Power BI, or Particle will create an interface using the Power BI REST API.

You can read more about it here: Microsoft + Particle

Azure Data Catalog

This is another great cloud based product from Microsoft. The reason that I thought to put it in my blog, is that there are a lot of businesses that are looking to see how to manage their metadata catalog, as well as where the business information is stored. And this is where the Azure Data Catalog comes in.

This enables almost any business user to be able to put up some information about their data and where they got it from. As well as enriching their data source information with what they are doing with the actual data. This enables other people within the business to quickly identify where the actual source of their data is. I think that this will mean the more people that know where to get the data, the more the data will be used. Which in turn will lead to better insight into their data. Which will finally or potentially lead to business value!

You can read about it here: Announcing the Public Preview of Azure Data Catalog

Power Query Update

I just saw that there was another Power Query update for Excel.

There are a total of 6 updates listed below:

  • Improvements to ODBC Connector
  • Navigator dialog improvements
  • Option to enable Fast Data Load versus Background Data Load
  • Support for Salesforce Custom environments in Recent Sources list
  • Easier parsing of Date or Time values out of a Text column with Date/Time information
  • Unpivot Other Columns entry in column context menu

You can read about it here: 6 updates in Power Query for Excel

BI-NSIGHT – Power BI for Android Devices – Power BI Designer vs Excel – Power BI Refresh for On-Premise – Power BI Refresh from OneDrive – Power BI Interface Updates

Whilst I thought that this week might be a bit on the quiet side, I think that my previous suspicion is correct, and the wonderful people from Microsoft like to send out updates on a Wednesday.

Power BI for Android Devices

I was just browsing through twitter and I came across a tweet and clicked on the link, not entirely sure what it was about.

But it lead me to the Google Play store and I now could see the following below.


And here is the URL: Google Play Store – Microsoft Power BI

Power BI Designer vs Excel

I was reading another fantastic post by Rob Collie, where he gives some great insight for Power BI Designer vs Excel Where Rob mentions how Power BI can help out the Excel Pro’s, specifically in point number 7. What is assumed here by my interpretation is that in the future, Power BI Designer will be able to import a Power Pivot Model into Power BI Designer. I think that this would be fantastic as often I have created something in Excel, using Power Query and Power Pivot. And then a light goes off in my head, and I think this would be great to visualize in Power BI (Both for being in the cloud and mobile functionality). But when I have tried to import the Excel file, currently it only shows you any Excel tables. I do have a work around for getting your Power Pivot Model in Excel exposed within Power BI, which is the following and something that I have mentioned before. So here is the quick way to get this done.

  1. It is quite simple.
  2. All that you have to do is to create on Power View sheet within your Excel file, save your Excel file and then upload it into Power BI directly or via OneDrive.
  3. Once it opens and you go into creating your report, you will see the entire Power Pivot Model exposed!!

Give it a go, it is really quick and easy to setup. You can read Rob Collies post here: Power BI Designer vs. Excel: What’s Microsoft Up To?

Power BI Refresh for On-Premise

This is something that I have been waiting for as well as voted for some time ago. And it fills me with great pride to see this being implemented. It shows that the people at Microsoft are hearing our voices loud and clear. I have to say that this is going to be a real game changer in my opinion for the following reasons:

  • Firstly it is so simple to install and configure the Personal Gateway on your PC. Due to the installation being so simplistic, as well as not requiring Administrator privileges it means a lot more people will be able to install it and use the functionality.
  • Next is they have updated how often you can refresh your data.
    • The have chosen the magic number of 8.
    • Which to me represents your 8 hour working day.
    • Perfect to get hourly updates.
  • Integration with your domain account.
    • As we know a lot of sources integrate with your domain account, for single sign on, as well as easier controls on security.
  • Refresh history, and sending emails on failure.
    • This is another great feature that we are used to having, in terms of getting emails when things break.
    • I do like it, that it will only send you an email when it fails. So no need to clutter up your Inbox.

You can read in more detail here about all the details: Refresh for on-premises sources is here!

Power BI Refresh from OneDrive

This is something that I did figure out a while ago, which I did blog about previously. It entails using Power Update to update your Excel workbook for On-Premise, then Power Update uploading the updated workbook to OneDrive, after which Power BI will automatically update. You can read about it here: Automating refreshing of Power BI Reports and Dashboards with Excel Workbooks and Power Update It is great to officially have some more information. And a lot of companies are starting to use OneDrive as their document storage solution. So now we know that it will update your OneDrive files connected to Power BI once every hour. Which in most instances is pretty good? Another thing to note, is that from my workings with SharePoint online, it actually uses OneDrive to store all the documents. So if you have SharePoint online, you effectively have got OneDrive, which you can then connect to Power BI. (Disclaimer I am not 100% certain which subscription to SharePoint Online this is for.)

Power BI Interface Updates

From what I could see there are two additional updates within Power BI. The first is the change of the new Minty Fresh theme, which is good to see. I would not be surprised to see an option later to select your own themes as you can do with Power View in Excel. The second update is within the Dashboards in Power BI. When you click on the Tile Details button you now get an additional option as shown below You can now set a Custom Link, which I think is really great, because this could link to anything. Which gives the report developer more options, as well as allowing the Report Consumer to be able to interact with an additional dataset which is outside of the report.

Power BI – Creating a Dashboard when not automatically created

What I found was that in some instances when you imported data into Power BI, it would not automatically create the dashboard.

This would also result in your dataset not being indexed (if that is the correct terminology) so that you could then use Q&A in order to enable users to easily search for results using Q&A

As with our example below, in order to replicate what would happen when Power BI does not create a dashboard, we are going to create a new report also. In effect this could be the case when for some reason Power BI does not create a report and or dashboard. And then how to quickly create the dashboard and then ensure that you can then use Q&A to interact with your data.

NOTE: We will be using our Excel file which we imported the data previously: Importing your Excel Workbook from One Drive for Business into Power BI and create a simple report and Dashboard

Creating your Power BI Report and Dashboard

  1. Log into your Power BI.
  2. Click on Datasets, then click on Explore
    1. As you can see with our example above for our Auto Update of Adventure Works DW
  3. We then create a very simple report as shown below based on our Adventure Works Data
    1. Then click on Save, and as below we saved our report with the following name:
  4. Now we can see our report under Reports
  5. Next will be to create the dashboard.
    1. The trick that I have currently found is that in order to create the dashboard which will map to the same
      report is to give it the identical name
    2. So click on the plus sign next to Dashboard to create your new dashboard as shown below
    3. So once complete it will look like the following:
    4. And the initial screenshot will also be blank, as well as in the Q&A section there will be no text prompting you to “Ask a question about the data on this dashboard
  6. Now go back to your report you created in step 3 above.
    1. Now pin an item to your dashboard
    2. Now when you go into your dashboard that you created in step 5 above you will see your pinned item or tile.
  7. Now in order to get the Q&A
    working, from what I have read you have to wait for the Power BI service to index or go through your data in order to create the required synonyms.
    1. NOTE: This can take a few
      minutes or longer to create the required synonyms.
    2. NOTE II: I have sometimes found that closing the Power BI app in your browser and opening it again, results in the Q&A then being there.
  8. If you go back into your dashboard after some time you should be greeted with the following as shown below:
    1. And now you can ask a question such as “Sales by City”