BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (Email Subscriptions, New APIs for Custom Visuals, Accounts Receivable Solution Template for SAP, Help Improve Direct Query) – SQLBI (Vertipaq Analyzer 1.7) – SQL Server (Power BI Reports in Technical Preview, Getting Started with Technical Preview of Power BI Reports)

It appears that we are now getting back into the swing of things, and this means more updates and additions to the Business Intelligence World.

Power BI – Email Subscriptions

This was a feature that I know I have personally been waiting for as well as a lot of other people.

And yes this is very basic at the moment but you have to start from somewhere. And with this initial public preview you have the option to subscribe to a report page, which will be emailed to you Once a day when there is a change.

The great thing is that they are already letting me know that in a future release I will be able to subscribe other people also. And I have no doubt as the year progresses there will be additional updates.

You can read the blog post details here: Introducing email subscriptions in Power BI: stay informed when it matters

Power BI – New APIs for Custom Visuals

As you can see above there are 2 new Custom Visuals in the Gallery.

For me personally this is great, whilst I do not develop custom visuals, what this update does mean that there will be even more amazing and imaginative custom visuals in the near future.

I would love to see what other people have actually developed internally for their own datasets, so if anyone is willing even to share a picture of the Custom Visual please let me know.

For those who do develop Custom Visuals here is the blog: New APIs available for custom visuals developers

Power BI – Accounts Receivable Solution Template for SAP

As with the other solution templates, the people from Simplement have created a solution template for Accounts Receivable for SAP.

You can find the details here: Announcing the Accounts Receivable Solution Template for SAP

Power BI – Help Improve Direct Query

Below is a survey from the Microsoft Power BI Team with regards to people who use Direct Query.

Survey Link: Direct Query Survey

Blog Link: Help Improve DirectQuery!

SQLBI – Vertipaq Analyzer 1.7

I have to say that the new additions in the Vertipaq analyser are really awesome.

I like that you now have the ability to analyze your Power BI Files and see what is taking up all the space.

As well as the capability to extract all your DAX Measures. Which when working on a larger project and having to document all the measures this can be quite a cumbersome task. And along with this you can easily format the DAX expressions you the DAX formatter which I think is worth it.

You can watch the video with a great explanation of the updates here: VertiPaq Analyzer 1.7

SQL Server – Power BI Reports in Technical Preview

I know that for On-Premise customers this is something that they have been waiting for. Now you can download and install the technical preview with a lightweight installer that will take minutes to install and get you going.

What really is interesting is that you only need SQL Server 2008 or later database engine. And then SQL Server Analysis Services 2012 SP1 CU4 or later. So that means you do not need SQL Server 2016 to run this in Premise.

As well as there is a technical preview for Power BI Desktop.

And finally they have also added more functionality into the On-Premise version which is to connect live to Analysis Services Tabular and Multidimensional.

You can find the details on their blog here: Power BI reports in SQL Server Reporting Services: January 2017 Technical Preview now available

SQL Server – Getting Started with Technical Preview of Power BI Reports

As with the above link, there is already a blog post explaining how to install and configure your Reporting Services to test Power BI On-Premise.

I read through this blog post and I have to say that it is really quick and simple to get this up and running. Compared to how installations were in the past, this is like a breath of fresh air.

You can find the blog post details here: Getting started with the Technical Preview of Power BI reports in SQL Server Reporting Services

BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (SSRS mid 2017, Mobile Apps Update, OkViz Custom Visuals Updates) – SQL Server vNext (Get Data Experience,

Whilst last week there was not a lot of news in BI, Microsoft has been releasing some information which does make it feel like Christmas in the area of BI!

Power BI – SSRS Mid 2017

This was really some welcome news especially for the people who use SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) and are looking to use the Power BI Capabilities for their On-Premise data.

From the blog post, it does appear that there will be a Technical Preview from what I can understand you will be able to download targeted for January 2017.

Along with that they are looking to start with adding features for Custom Visuals, additional data connectors and Power BI Mobile apps viewing.

And finally targeting the Production ready version in mid-2017, which is fantastic.

You can read the details here: Power BI reports in SQL Server Reporting Services: Feedback on the Technical Preview

Power BI – Mobile Apps Update

Just in time for the holiday period some nice updates to the Power BI Mobile app.

As with the image above you can now annotate and share what you want to explain via the iOS app a lot easier. As well as using a QR code to get access to dashboards.

Also they have added GeoFiltering for Android, Custom URL on an Image Tile for iOS and Android and they have also adjusted the offline background refresh so that it will consume less data.

You can find the details here: Power BI mobile apps feature summary – December 2016

OkViz – Custom Visual Updates

The guys from OkViz have released to new Custom Visuals which are the Candlestick and the Color Helper. I do think that often we forget about Color Blind people and this visual is a great way to assist them.

OkViz has also updated all their other existing Custom Visuals, which in the past were missing some key features such as tooltips in some of them.

You can find the custom visuals here: okviz.com

SQL Server vNext – Get Data Experience

This announcement really excites me, having worked in Power Pivot and then Power BI since its inception and now to see this coming into the next version of SQL Server is really amazing.

To me it is a natural progression, and having worked exclusively in Power BI for a few months now I have learnt a great deal, but also have found that things that were traditionally very hard to do in the past are now extremely easy or easy work arounds to shape and get your data in a format that makes for great analysis.

And to see this coming to SQL Server Analysis Services means that I can now leverage all my knowledge when this comes available. Which means that large organizations who have not been able to take advantage of this now can. As well as to have all the data hosted on premise for those that require it.

As I am sure you can understand it will start out with some limited functionality, but this is still a SQL Server vNext, and with each iteration more features will be added.

You can find all the details here: Introducing a Modern Get Data Experience for SQL Server vNext on Windows CTP 1.1 for Analysis Services

SQL Server vNext – CTP 1.1 now available

It is also great to see that there is another version for SQL Server vNext just before Christmas. And there are a whole host of updates.

Firstly details around what is coming in Analysis Services Tabular models, which I have highlighted above with the Get Data Experience, as well as drill-down to established data, which is often what people request. As well as ragged hierarchies and finally enhanced security for tabular models where they are looking to give you the ability to set permissions on individual tables and more granular security!

As well as enhancements for SQL Server on Windows and Linux, which makes it easier to use SQL Server, as well as no doubt perform better.

The blog post details are here: SQL Server next version Community Technology Preview 1.1 now available

BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (PowerPivotPro & Microsoft Helping displaced workers, Visualizing weather from Microsoft OMS) – SSAS (Memory Usage (1200 Compatibility Only) report using Power BI) – SQL Server (SP1, SSRS Updates

Another week close to Christmas and another week of great news in the Business Intelligence world.

Power BI – PowerPivotPro & Microsoft helping displaced workers

A quick mention on how it is great to see both the people at Power Pivot Pro & Microsoft are working together to help people find employment.

The great thing about Power BI, is all that you need is a computer and an internet connection and you are good to go.

You can find the details here: PowerPivotPro and Microsoft help displaced workers with near-free Power BI Training Dec 7th

Power BI – Visualizing weather from Microsoft OMS

This is a great blog post where the people from Microsoft explain how using OMS they can leverage the weather data that they collect and publish it to Power BI.

If you currently use Microsoft OMS this could be a great resource.

You can read up about it here: Visualizing weather information in Power BI with data from Microsoft OMS

SSAS (SQL Server Analysis Services) – New SSAS Memory (1200 Compatibility Only) report using Power BI

Here is another really great resource of information from Kasper De Jonge, where he has updated his SSAS Memory usage report, with the latest versions of SSAS, but also to use Power BI to visualize your memory usage.

Also Kasper has put it on GitHub which means that it is open for anyone to use, as well as to contribute and hopefully make it into an amazing Memory usage report.

You can find the details, as well as how to download the file here: New SSAS memory usage report using Power BI

SQL Server – Service Pack 1

It is not often that there I would blog about a service pack, but this is an exception. As you can see above Microsoft have made available a whole host of features that were previously only for the Enterprise Edition which is now available in not only Standard Edition but also Web, Express & LocalDB.

One thing to note is that it would appear that all of the licensing updates are in the RDBMs space.

There are 3 updates for SSAS whichi is firstly that SSAS is NUMA Aware, I know that this is something people have been asking for, for a long time. As well as Memory Allocation and Heap Fragmentation.

You can find the blog post here, which has all the detailed information, as well as what additional update there are in SP1: SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 1 (SP1) released !!!

SQL Server – SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services) updates with SP1

Not only where there the licensing features with SQL Server 2016 SP1, but also updates to SSRS, as you can see above the SSRS team is listening to what clients and customers are asking for and have updated the Details view.

They have also updated the Execution logs, so that you can now get some basic information in terms of who is accessing and viewing mobile reports.

And finally direct navigation options for KPI’s, which makes it easier to navigate to a direct link when viewing a KPI.

You can find all the details here: What’s new in SQL Server 2016 SP1 for Reporting Services

BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (ArcGIS Maps, Forthcoming updates, Intune MAM for iOS App, Creating Custom Visual, Narrative Science) – SQL Server 2016 (CU Update 2, Embed Paginated Reports into ASP.NET)

This is going to be a rather long or large blog post with Microsoft Ignite this week I am certain that there will be some really amazing announcements. So here we go..

Power BI – ArcGIS Maps

I am really looking forward to being able to use ArcGIS maps in Power BI. And not only will this be included in Power BI, but they have leveraged and extended the capability also.

You are able to change how it appears on the map, change the intensity of the points as well.

There is also the option to apply advanced styling properties which will enable it to display in a way that enables better analytics.

But finally they also have put in the functionality to add reference layers, which is where I see this to be a game changer. This will allow the insights derived from the ArcGIS maps to be used and viewed with more detail, but that is really easy and simple to understand.

You can find the details here: Announcing ArcGIS Maps for Power BI by Esri (Preview)

Power BI – Forthcoming Updates

And looking at this image above we can see that this is one of the most requested features. And it appears that not only will this be available in PowerPoint, but you will also have the ability to embed into SharePoint, which will be ideal for larger organizations.

As you can see above it appears that you are going to be able to share your dashboard items to a whole host of additional links as shown above. Which is great to see.

Above is taken from when you use the Publish to Web functionality in Power BI. And there now is the ability to share this in other online area’s

Power BI – Intune MAM iOS App

As you can see from the image above the Power BI Mobile App team has been very busy implementing the Microsoft Intune MAM onto the iOS app. This is great to see, because not only are businesses or organizations wanting to ensure that their data is secure in the cloud, but also secure on the people’s mobile devices.

And they have put in some great functionality, which will enable the businesses or organizations to be able to better manage how Power BI is used and secured on the mobile device.

And as mentioned in the blog post, it will be coming to Android soon.

You can find the details here: Enterprise ready: Power BI for iOS now supports Intune MAM capabilities

Power BI – Creating Custom Visuals based on Existing Visual

This is an interesting blog post by Jon Gallant, in which he explains how to use an existing Custom Visual to create your own Custom Visual. I will not go into any real detail, as with Jon’s blog post there is a wealth of detailed information on how to achieve this.

You can read about it here: How to Create a Power BI Custom Visual Based on an Existing d3 Visual

Power BI – Narrative Science

This has been covered in the past with regards to narratives for Power BI and they now have an additional update. It is great to see and I am sure that this will enable you to quickly find some hidden insights in your data.

You can find the blog post here: Narrative Science for Power BI driving customer success

SQL Server 2016 – CU (Component Update) 2

The guys from the SQL Server team have released a component update 2 for SQL Server 2016

As you can see above there are quite a few fixes in the Business Intelligence area.

You can find the details here: Cumulative Update 2 for SQL Server 2016

SQL Server 2016 – Embed Paginated reports into ASP.NET Web Apps

I am sure that all web developers who have used SSRS are happy to get this latest update. Now you can integrate the SSRS features via the API, which means that you can start using all the new capabilities that are available in SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services.

You can find more information here: Embed paginated reports into ASP.NET web apps using the Report Viewer 2016 control

BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (August Power BI Desktop Update, Future Download Report & Snap to Grid, IntelliSense coming to Power Query, Power BI Training, WebTuna Content Pack, Building a Real-Time IoT Dashboard, Chris Webb Loading Data from Multiple Excel Workbooks saved in OneDrive, SCCM Solution Template) – SQL Server (SSAS Integrated Workspace Mode, SSMS Update, Report Builder Update)

Last week there was not a lot on the go, but it seems to have picked up this week, so here are the latest insights.

Power BI – August Power BI Desktop Update

As I am sure some of you would have already seen and heard and I personally have to echo what other people have said, it is great to see how the Power BI team, as well as Microsoft take on board the issues and problems that their users face, and in this instance how quickly they have made the change, so that we can get not only the new functionality. But as requested also have the ability to use the older functionality also.

What I am referring to here is the Drill experience.

So you can use the double down arrow which will do the previous experience which will show the next level of the hierarchy.

And the new experience which is the split arrow which will perform the new inline hierarchy experience.

You can find the details here: August Power BI Desktop Update: Updated Drill experience

Power BI – Future state (Download Report) & Snap to Grid

As you can see with the image below on certain versions of the Power BI Service they have started provisioning the ability to download your Power BI report as a PBIX file. Which will be a great addition.

Next you can see that they have started working on the Snap to Grid functionality which is another great addition which will be available sometime in the near future.

Power BI – IntelliSense coming to Power Query

Just a quick update that IntelliSense is coming to Power Query, I have been working in the nuts and bolts of Power Query and this will be a very welcome addition.

Power BI – Training


There are some great free training available to get into Power BI, as you can see above there is a “Dashboard in an Hour” as well as “Dashboard in a Day”. Not only that but there is also a really great and valuable edX course (which I have already completed) which offers some great content and learning experiences.

You can find the details about the different options here: Power BI Dashboard in a Day and Dashboard in an Hour training near you

Power BI – WebTuna Content Pack

Here is another content pack, this time from WebTuna, which is an on-demand service for alerting and monitoring the performance of your internet or internet sits. And I am sure due to the nature of the business model as well as analytics in terms of usage and where it is coming from this will give some great insights into their customers data.

You can find all the details here: Explore your WebTuna Data with Power BI

Power BI – Building a Real-Time IoT Dashboard

In this blog post from the Microsoft Power BI team they show you how to setup, configure and create a real-time IoT dashboard.

Whilst the concept is very basic (which I think is a good thing to start learning) it also shows how powerful this can actually be.

You can find the details here: Building a Real-time IoT Dashboard with Power BI: A Step-by-Step Tutorial

Power BI – Tracking Changes in PBIX files

This is a blog post from Helen Gore, where they have created something that appears to be very simple, but actually is very powerful.

What she explains in her blog post is how they track changes in their Power BI Desktop (PBIX) files, so that when other people are working on the same file, they know what the previous changes were.

You can find all the details here: HOW TO TRACK CHANGES IN POWER BI DESKTOP

Power BI – Chris Webb – Loading Data from Multiple Excel Workbooks saved in OneDrive

This is an excellent blog post from Chris Webb where he shows how to not only load multiple Excel Workbooks, but ones that are saved on OneDrive Personal or OneDrive for Business, as well as ensuring that they get refreshed on your schedule.

I will not go into all the details, as you can read them on his blog post here: Loading Data From Multiple Excel Workbooks Into Power BI–And Making Sure Data Refresh Works After Publishing

Power BI – SCCM (System Center Configuration Manager) Solution Template

If my memory serves me correctly this is the second Power BI Solution Template from the Microsoft Power BI team.

And this time it is for SCCM, and having worked with this data in the past, it is really great to see how easily it can be used to show insights into your SCCM data. As well as it does appear that you can integrate 3rd party information in SCCM also.

You can find the details here: Announcing the Power BI solution template for System Center Configuration Manager

SQL Server – SSAS (SQL Server Analysis Services) Integrated Workspace Mode

This is a great update for SSDT and the modelling experience when working with SSAS Tabular models. You now can use an integrated workspace, which means you do not have to connect to an SSAS Tabular Server.

The thing to note is that you might need additional memory, as well as they highlight in the blog post drivers for both 32bit and 64bit depending on the version of SSDT.

You can find the details here: Introducing Integrated Workspace Mode for SQL Server Data Tools for Analysis Services Tabular Projects (SSDT Tabular)

SQL Server – SSMS (SQL Server Management Studio) Update

Here is the monthly update for SSMS, and there are quite a few updates in this release.

You can find all the details here: Download SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS)

SQL Server – Report Builder Update

It appears that for SQL Server 2016 the report builder will be following a similar release process as SSMS and SSDT where there will be more frequent updates to report builder.

I am sure that this will enable a lot of future updates and enhancements for report builder.

You can find the details here: SQL Server 2016 Report Builder update now available

BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (Mobile Apps Update, Custom Visual Tool Development Update, Dynamic Security Cheat Sheet, JavaScript API, Infer Content Pack) – Microsoft Flow (Available to Everyone) – SQL Server Analysis Services 2016 (Tabular Editor)

Another great week in the world of BI.

Power BI – Mobile Apps Update for August 2016

Another month goes by and some more updates, this time from the Mobile Apps team.

In this update they have done quite a lot of work with regards to the ability to do manual refreshing of your data in iOS if you have a direct query.

The ability to use your favourite dashboard on all platforms, which is very handy when you have your selected items that you want to view, quite possibly from different data sets, but in one easy to view dashboard.

They have also made the data classification visible if you have enabled your data in the mobile app, so that the users are aware in terms of what the status is if the data they are looking at.

The new focus mode for iPad which makes it easier to view the data you want to very easily.

And finally the ability to create data driven alerts from within the Mobile App.

You can find all the details here: Power BI Mobile Apps feature summary – August 2016

Power BI – Custom Visuals Tool Development Update

I am not a custom visual developer myself but having recently worked with some developers it is great to see the updates and additions that they have added. I have no doubt that this will make the custom visual development a lot easier and extensible as we move forward.

You can find all the details here as to what has changed, updated and added: Custom visual developer tool now Generally Available

Power BI – Dynamic Security Cheat Sheet

Kasper De Jonge, has created another great blog post in which he shows how to create and use Dynamic security in Power BI.

He explains exactly how he did it, and even has a working example that you can download and try.

Here is the blog post with the details: Power BI Desktop Dynamic security cheat sheet

Power BI – JavaScript API for Power BI reports.

The guys from the Power BI team are a very busy team. And now they have released the Javascript API which will enable you not only to embed your Power BI report into an iFrame but also enable your page to interact with the Power BI reports.

You can find all the details here: Interact with Power BI reports using the JavaScript API

Power BI – Infer Content Pack

Here is another content pack and I am sure if you are existing Infer client then this will be a very welcome addition.

Not only that but in terms of what Infer does in providing predictive technologies, I am sure that over time the dashboards will become more valuable to your business.

You can find all the details here: Explore and Analyze your Infer data with Power BI

Microsoft Flow – Available to Everyone

I have played around with Microsoft Flow and it is a great product and really easy to use when you want to automate tasks, as well as possibly get data from a site, OData feed etc and store it in a location. This is very easily achievable with Microsoft Flow.

They now have made it Generally available to everyone, even if you do not have a work or school account.

You can find the details here: Microsoft Flow now available for everyone

SQL Server Analysis Services 2016 – Tabular Editor

For the people using SQL Server Analysis Services in compatibility mode 1200 there is a great blog post, as well as details about the application that Daniel Otykier has created.

It makes it a lot easier and simpler to create and use Tabular Models, now that it uses the new JSON format.

You can find all the details here on what he has done. It does look very promising indeed.

A new way to work with SQL Server Tabular Models: The Tabular Editor

Power BI – (Twitter Solution Template, Real-time Data, Embedded GA Pricing Update, On-Premise Data Gateway Update, Monitor On-Premise Gateway) – SQL Server 2016 (SSDT Update, SSMS Update)

Here is this week’s BI updates

Power BI – Twitter Solution Template

This is the second solution template offered by the Power BI team and this time I think they have done a fantastic job. As I know of many companies who are active on Twitter and currently either do not have the resources or the time to be able to complete not only analysis of your Twitter tweets, but also the sentiment analysis.

With this solution template it allows you to very quickly and easily get this up and running. Yes you will need to have an active Azure Subscription, as well as Power BI Pro, but I think that for the larger or even smaller organizations they have already got this set up.

You can find the blog post detailing more information and how to get it up and running here: Announcing the brand & campaign management solution template for Twitter

Below is the current pricing model for the Azure related instances:

And here is the link: Pricing Information for the Twitter Template

Power BI – Real-time data

The guys from Microsoft Power BI have released another blog post where they explain how to get started with streaming data into Power BI on a dashboard.

You can then also follow this blog post by Reza Rad where he explains how to set it up and test to see how it works (Monitor Real-time Data with Power BI Dashboards)

Which you can then use to try and implement the streaming data.

Here is the blog post: Real-time in no time with Power BI

Power BI – Embedded GA Pricing Update

The Microsoft Power BI team has released an update and simplified way to understand how the Embedded pricing works.

As you can see from the above it is very simple. As well as in the blog post they also detail exactly what makes up a report session. And it is very clear to understand and see how potentially there will be a cost associated to this.

You can find the additional details here: Power BI Embedded GA pricing update

Power BI – On-Premise Data Gateway Update

Another monthly update from the Power BI team for the On-Premise data gateway. And in this months release is the ability to refresh ODBC connections.

This is something that was requested and not only that, with ODBC connections your options are almost limitless in terms of what you can connect to.

You can find the blog post details here: On-Premises Data Gateway August update

Power BI – Monitor On-Premise Gateway

This is a great blog post by Brett Powell (InsightQuest) on how to monitor the On-Premise Gateway in terms of what is being used, and what connections are being made when.

This also means that you can combine this with the other performance counter values to see how this could potentially affect the performance of your server when the data refresh is happening.

You can find his white paper here: MONITOR ON-PREMISES DATA GATEWAYS

SQL Server 2016 – SSDT Update

It is great to see that they are also updating SSDT with regular updates.

In this release there are updates to the Analysis Services Tabular Model Explorer, which gives you a better view of the objects in your tabular model.

There are also updates for the Always Encrypted.

As well as fixes and improvements.

You can find the blog post here: Introducing Tabular Model Explorer for SQL Server Data Tools for Analysis Services Tabular Projects (SSDT Tabular)

SQL Server 2016 – SSMS Update

Here is the monthly update for SQL Server Management studio.

There are a whole host of fixes and additions in the changelog.

You can find the details here: Download SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS)