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

Power BI (DAX) – Quick Tip – How to count how many items are selected on a Slicer

Update: 16 December 2016 (I got a comment from Marco Russo, who suggested that can use the FILTERS DAX Syntax which will “Return a table of the filter values applied directly to the specified column.” As well as this should also be faster. I am all about the speed!

I was working on a Power BI Project and one of the requirements for a rather complex DAX calculation was to know how many items the user had selected for the Fiscal Year in the Fiscal Year Slicer, which would then determine which Calculated Measure to use.

The trick here is that I wanted the count to be shown correctly in the Row Context. So that the count of items selected in the Slicer is on EVERY row.

What I mean by this is you can very easily get a count by using a Distinct Count which I can show below.

As you can see above it is counting it once for each row, which is correct when using the Distinct Count.

But what I was required to do, was to have the 8 being shown on every row. But if I deselected Fiscal Year 2011, I wanted it to change to 7 across the rows.

I think that this is something that will be really useful as well as allow me to use the count to dynamically use Calculated Measures.

Example:

  • I am going to be using my Fiscal Date from my Date Table as a Slicer.
  • I am then going to get a count of the rows, and show the total rows on each row.

Solution

Below is the DAX Syntax as well as an explanation of what it is doing.

  • Original DAX Syntax

    ZCALC – Fiscal Year V1 =

    CALCULATE (

    CALCULATE (

    DISTINCTCOUNT ( ‘Date'[Fiscal Year] ),

    ALLSELECTED ( ‘Date'[Fiscal Year] )

    ),

    ALLSELECTED ( ‘Date’ )

    )

  • Updated and Improved DAX Syntax

    ZCALC – Fiscal Year V2 =

    CALCULATE (

    COUNTROWS ( FILTERS ( ‘Date'[Fiscal Year] ) ),

    ALLSELECTED ( ‘Date’ )

    )

  • The trick here is that I first get a count of the rows based on what has been filtered in my ‘Date'[Fiscal Year] column highlighted in LIGHT BLUE

    COUNTROWS ( FILTERS ( ‘Date'[Fiscal Year] ) ),

    • So what I am doing here is to get the count of rows for what has been Filtered.
  • Then what happens with the outer CALCULATE is that it now takes the totals and breaks the Date Filter Context on the rows and using the ALLSELECTED applies it to each row.
  • So what you now get is the following when all the dates are selected for 8 years
  • And then if I have to deselect Fiscal Year 2011, which now makes it 7 Years selected I now get 7 in each row

As you can see this is very handy and can be used a variety of ways.

DAX for your data

If you want to apply this DAX pattern to your data this is how you can achieve it.

If you have all your data in one table called “My Data” and you have a slicer called “Type” you can change the DAX syntax to the following.

Type Slicer Count =

CALCULATE (


COUNTROWS ( FILTERS ( ‘My Data‘[Type] ) ),

ALLSELECTED ( ‘My Data‘ )

)

        

  • What you need is to change the COUNTROWS to be your Slicer Column
  • And your Outer CALCULATE to be your Table Name.

Conclusion

You can see that by counting your Slicer how dynamic you can make your data.

You can download the PBIX file with the example data here (Item count on Slicer sheet): UnPivot Other Columns.pbix

BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (Mobile App Update – Android Tablets, Navigation Preview, AMA, Driving Power BI Adoption in your Organisation) – Excel (Get & Transform Update)

It does appear that as we approach the festive season, the Microsoft team are still full steam ahead, which is great for myself and the Data Analytics community.

Power BI – Mobile App update for Android Tablets

As per their blog post, it is great to see that there now is an App for the Android tablets, whilst this has been around for quite some time on the iPad tables, it has now come to Android.

It is great to see and you can find the blog post here: Now in preview: the Power BI you love on your Android tablet

Power BI – Navigation Preview

I have to say that I have already enabled the preview features, and whilst it did take a little time to get used to, it is definitely a step in the right direction.

It makes it easier to navigate when you have a lot of reports, dashboards and workspaces. As well as less clicks to get to the options that you want to use.

You can find more details here: Announcing the Power BI Navigation Preview

Power BI – AMA (Ask Microsoft Anything)

Depending on when you read this, you might be a little late, but it is great concept where you can ask Microsoft anything relating to Power BI.

I have no doubt that there will be some tough questions posed, but also a great wealth of information into Power BI.

You can see the dates and times above.

You can find the blog post here: Announcing the Power BI Ask Microsoft Anything

Power BI – Driving Power BI Adoption in your Organisation

This is a great blog post in which Microsoft gives an example of how they have used and enabled the business into data driven decisions using Power BI and how to get it adopted within Microsoft.

The really interesting part I think is that Microsoft is a large multi-country company, so if they can adopt Power BI in such a large scale, then it should be achievable with any other companies.

And not only that, but because Power BI is their own product I often like to think that because they build it, they might not use it as much as an external organisation, but they are which is great to see.

I would recommend reading through this if you are looking to get your organisation into Power BI: Driving Power BI adoption in your organization – Learn how Microsoft does this at scale

Excel – Get & Transform Update

It is great to see that there have been so many ypdates to the Get & Transform for Excel. I often feel like the Excel people do get left behind due to the sheer pace from the Power BI Team.

All of the updates are shown below

  • Web Connector—UX support for specifying HTTP Request Headers.
  • OData Connector—support for “Select Related Tables” option.
  • Oracle Connector—improved Navigator preview performance.
  • SAP HANA Connector—enhancements to parameter input UX.
  • Query Dependencies view from Query Editor.
  • Query Editor ribbon support for scalar values.
  • Add custom column based on function invocation.
  • Expand & Aggregate columns provide support for “Load More” values.
  • Convert table column to a list—new transformation.
  • Select as you type in drop-down menus.

You can read their blog post to get more details: November 2016 updates for Get & Transform in Excel 2016 and the Power Query add-in

Power BI – Using Parameters in Calculated Measures (Making Calculated Measures Dynamic based on Parameter)

What this is going to explain below is how I use a parameter that a user has entered to make a Dynamic Calculated Measure based on the Parameter entered.

Example Scenario

  • In my model I have got Parameters for the Fiscal Start Year
  • So I want to create a calculated Measure that will get me the values for 4th Year going forward
    • So what we are looking to calculate is the following, which is the Value for 2015-16
  • And then if we change the Parameters for the Fiscal Start Year as shown below
  • So I want to create a Calculated Measure that will get me the values for 4th Year going forward
    • So what we are looking to calculate is the following, which is the Value for 2017-18
  • But using the same calculation

Getting the Parameter into a table

In the steps below I am going to explain how to get our Parameter Value for the Fiscal Start Month into a table in the Query Editor

  • Go into the Query Editor
  • Then click on New Source, and select Blank Query
  • Now in my Example I name the Query “Parameter – Fiscal Start Year”
  • Next I clicked on Advanced Editor
  • I then put in the following M Code

    let

    Source = #table({“Fiscal Start Year Number”},{{#”Fiscal Start Year”}})

    in

    Source

    • As you can see above I created a table with the Column Name “Fiscal Start Year Number” highlighted in PURPLE
    • And then defined the column to have the Parameter called #”Fiscal Start Year”
      highlighted in LIGHT BLUE
  • This then results in the following table as shown below.
  • What I then did was to use the standard Query Editor Functions and changed it to the Data Type of Whole Number
  • NOTE: This is so that I can then use it to go backwards and forwards for my dynamic calculated measure.
  • The final step was to load it into my Power BI Desktop Model

Creating the Dynamic Calculated Measure

Next I will explain how I created my dynamic calculated measure, which will change based on what the Fiscal Start Date Parameter that has been selected.

  • Below is my Dynamic Calculated Measure syntax with the explanation what I did afterwards.

    Total Value for 3rd Year =

    CALCULATE (

    [Total Value],

    FILTER (

    ‘Budget Data without New Year’,

    ‘Budget Data without New Year'[Fiscal Year Number]

    = VALUES ( ‘Parameter – Fiscal Start Year'[Fiscal Start Year Number] ) + 3

    )

    )

    • What I have done is to name and start my Calculated Measure and put in the filter.
    • The part where the magic happens in the Filter
      • In here is where I specify that I want to look at the ‘Budget Data without New Year'[Fiscal Year Number] and compare that with the VALUES from my parameter ‘Parameter – Fiscal Start Year'[Fiscal Start Year Number]
      • And then I always want to go forward by 3 to get the 4th year going forward
  • So once this has run I should get the following as shown previously for Fiscal Start Year Parameter 2012
    • And I get the following below.
  • So if I change the Fiscal Start Year Parameter to 2014 once this has run I should get the following as shown previously.
    • And I get the following below.

Conclusion

By using Parameters and putting it into a table means that this can then be used to dynamically create other calculated measures.

You can download the PBIX file with the example data here: UnPivot Other Columns.pbix

BI-NIGHT – Power BI (Export to PowerPoint, New Visual Liquid Fill Gauge, Tech Tip Display Text, Automating Power BI Desktop Refresh, Webinar Create PowerApps to send real time data to Power BI) – DAX Studio (Release 2.5.0)

Another week closer to SQL Pass, and here are the recent updates and interesting articles

Power BI – Export to PowerPoint

It is great to see that after some screenshots from Microsoft Ignite that this has already been implemented into the Power BI Service. I am sure that there will be more details around this in due course from the Microsoft Power BI team.

I did export a Power BI report to PowerPoint and it exported each report to a different slide. And when you clicked on the slide it would then hyperlink you to the report within the Power BI Service. I am sure that this is the first iteration, and that the features will evolve over time.

You can find the blog post from Microsoft here: Export Power BI report to PowerPoint (Preview)

Power BI – New Visual Liquid Fill Gauge

As you can see from above there is a new custom visual, the Liquid Fill Gauge. And this is another really handy visual when you quickly want to show how your value is doing.

You can find the blog details here: Visual Awesomeness Unlocked: Liquid Fill Gauge

Power BI – Tech Tip to Display Text in Tooltips

From the people at Power BI, they have released a tech tip Thursday, with this week’s tip being how to display text as a tool tip as shown above. This can be really handy for when people are interacting and using the data.

You can find the tech tip details here: Tech Tip Thursday: Displaying text columns in tool tips

Power BI – Automating Power BI Desktop Refresh

There was an interesting blog post by Teo Lachev, in which he shows 2 different ways to refresh your Power BI Desktop File automatically.

The one option is to use a PowerShell script developed by Michal Dúbravčík (I am fairly certain that it works, but as always check the code when downloading from the internet), or the other option is to use Power Update to do this for you. Which is really easy and simple to use, as well as being extremely cost effective.

You can find the details here: Automating Power BI Desktop Refresh

Power BI – Create PowerApps to send real time Power BI

Hopefully people will see this in time, and if not I am fairly certain that they will publish the webinar later.

But please if you are interested and are using Power Apps, this looks like a great webinar to see how you can leverage Power Apps to send real time data to Power BI.

You can find details here: Webinar 10/20: Create PowerApps to send real time Power BI data

DAX Studio – Release 2.5.0

I have to say that anyone that is developing using Power BI, Power Pivot or SSAS Tabular then the DAX studio is most certainly a must have tool to have in your tool belt.

It offers a whole range of really useful and helpful ways to understand exactly what you are trying to achieve. And ensure that you do it in the most efficient way possible.

You can find the updates to DAX Studio here: DAX Studio 2.5.0 Release

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

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”