BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (Developers – Opening up the Content Packs, Weekly Service Update,Visual Scroller) – SharePoint 2016 (White Paper) – Excel 2016 (Use Excel like a Boss)

It has been a crazy last few months from the Microsoft BI stream, and finally as the year winds down they appear to also be looking to take a much needed break.

So this week’s BI-NSIGHT is short and sweet.

Power BI – Developers details

It was great to see how Microsoft have embraced not only the end users for Power BI, but also started adding a whole host of additional features and information for the Power BI Developers.

One thing that caught my attention in their blog post was the following: Over time, we intend to fully open this Developer experience up so that anyone can build Content Packs and submit them to us for publishing to the gallery.

I think that just as they did with the Visuals, by opening or creating a framework, this will allow a lot of additional companies and users the ability to be able to submit content packs to be part of Power BI. And this can only then lead to having more sources, which in turn means a greater possibility for there to be a content pack in the future that you can simply click and have all your data there ready to use.

I look forward to see what they can bring to the table going forward.

You can find more details here: Power BI for Developers: A look back at our Developer & ISV ecosystem efforts this year

Power BI – Weekly Service Update

Power BI Update

I was a bit late in terms of getting my blog post out, but at least I can include the latest Power BI weekly service update details.

One of the things that I really enjoy with the weekly service updates, is that very often what the Power BI team is putting into the Service, does filter down into the Power BI Desktop.

So this week there are some great new additions.

The pinning of your entire report as a dashboard is fantastic. As I often found that the dashboard tiles, whilst it is very good often meant that you could not fit in all the information that you want to see. This does not mean that you should overcrowd the dashboard. But at least you can put in meaningful information.

As well as now having the ability to manually refresh the tiles is great. As I was actually having this problem last week.

For both using the Images as slicers and the Visual Interactions, this has been mentioned before and it does make it a lot easier to create your reports and filters so that they have more functionality.

You can read up all about the updates here: Power BI Weekly Service Update

Power BI – Visual Scroller

Once again the quality of new Visuals that are coming and being released in the Power BI Visuals amazes me.

And this visual is once again a really elegant design, but at the same time it is really powerful.

I can see a lot of organizations or companies using this going forward. It takes up a small amount of screen real estate but it can show so much meaningful information that scrolls through.

You can find it in the Power BI Visuals Gallery here: Power BI Visuals Gallery

SharePoint 2016 – Whitepaper

With both SQL Server 2016 and SharePoint 2016 around the corner it is great to see that they have released a white paper.

Specifically, it details the information around how using Excel within SharePoint will be handled and implemented in SharePoint 2016. Which also relates to the Power Pivot Add-in.

I have downloaded the paper and I have no doubt that there will be a wealth of other information that will be within the white paper. I always find the white papers a really interesting read and often find out some really great details.

You can use the following link to find the blog post: White Paper Published: Deploying SQL Server 2016 PowerPivot and Power View in SharePoint 2016

You can download the White Paper here: Deploying SQL Server 2016 PowerPivot and Power View in SharePoint 2016

Excel 2016 – Use Excel like a Boss

There is a great blog post by the Office team.

It show cases how easy it is to use the Business Analysis features directly out of Excel when you start up Excel.

From each of the sections, you can see the Cash Flow, Stock Analysis and Calendar Analysis.

This just is another great feature that can be used to analyse your business.

You can read about all the details here: Use Excel 2016 like a boss

BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (Collaboration, Mobile, Webtrends, Natural Language, Resizing Reports, Increased Limits, Dynamics AX Support) – SQL Server 2016 CTP 2.3 – APS Update 4 – Office 2016 (Updates, Publishing Directly to Power BI)

There is a whole stack of updates with regards to Power BI this week, as well as some other updates within the BI space.

I have to quickly point out that I was very fortunate to finally meet Jen Underwood. t (Twitter) It is really great to have the opportunity to have meet up with people that you have followed for so long, read up on all the great things that they have done. And the to finally meet them in person. I do not think that there are many industries where you can actually do this.

Ok enough about me and being star struck, let’s get back to all the BI goodness from the past week.

Power BI – Collaboration

I have to say that I think that this is a really great feature. Because you have already created the workspace within your Power BI Environment, ideally you want to know what other people are thinking and saying. And ideally you want to also be able to view the report to which they are referring to. This is a great way to keep everything in once place.

You can find more details about the Power BI Collaboration here: Collaborate with your Power BI group

Power BI – Mobile Updates

The Power BI team sure have been busy. In this past week they have also updated their Mobile app for Power BI. It is great to see that Microsoft is investing a lot of time and effort into the Mobile area. This really helps when you are showing people how awesome Power BI is, and you can just take your mobile device out of your pocket and quickly show them a Power BI report.

They have made a lot of changes and updates. The thing that I really like is that you can view the Excel files that are directly connected in your Power BI, as well as having the custom colors that you more than likely spent a little too much time just getting right. But at the end it makes for a great looking report.

You can read about it here: What’s new on the Power BI Mobile apps?

Power BI – Content Pack Webtrends

Here is another great Content Pack from the Power BI team and their partners. It is really great to see so many content packs available and I am sure that this is only the start. I am sure that at some point in time, there will eventually be a case where there will be a content pack which will make your life and the people who require some type of reports really happy.

The Webtrends content pack is a great way to see the visitors journey across all the different platforms that Web Trends monitors

You can read about it here: Visualize your Webtrends data in Power BI

Power BI – BI Weekly Service Updates

In the Power BI, BI weekly updates they have put in some great new service features.

The first one is that now they have put some more great work into the Q&A Natural Language engine. As per the blog post below, it now means that it makes it easier to see what other people have been asking in terms of questions. As well as to see what other people have pinned to their dashboard based on what Q&A questions were previously asked.

Next as per the screenshot above is the ability to change the view of your report. This is really great as everyone does not have the same screen size or resolution. So now you can change the view of your report, and then ensure if you know that it is going to be consumed by the mobile audience that it all fits in and looks good! We all like good looking reports.

And finally is that they have increased the limits for the data sets (200) and reports (200). Which is really great. Currently the only downside is that you will have to do quite a bit of scrolling if you have either that many datasets or reports. But I have no doubt that Microsoft will make this easier in due course.

You can read about it here: Power BI Weekly Service Update

Power BI – Dynamics AX Support

In my new role we are using Dynamics AX, and it sure would be great to have direct connectivity into Microsoft Dynamics AX.

It would mean that we could then create reports directly out of the Microsoft Dynamics AX cubes, which means that the users who need this vital information would be able to get the information that they require, when they want it. As well as across the different platforms.

I cannot wait for this to come out.

You can read about it here: Dynamics AX

SQL Server 2016 – CTP 2.3

Unfortunately, no nice picture for SQL Server 2016

But what I do want to highlight is that we are finally getting to see that BI is getting some love and attention in SQL Server 2016. I had no doubt that it was being worked on, but it is always nice to see something. It often gets me thinking of how best this can be used.

I would say that almost all of it relates to SSAS (SQL Server Analysis Services) Tabular and DAX. Which is great to see that SSAS is finally getting some attention. It is really a great product that is used on a daily basis On Premise. And to see that some of the features and work that has gone into Power BI, is making its way back to On Prem.

You can read about all the updates and details of SQL Server CTP 2.3 here: What’s New in Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services Tabular models in SQL Server 2016 CTP 2.3

APS – Update 4

With regards to the Analytics Platform System, it is amazing to see how far the product has come. And it does appear that they are also starting to work at light speed, as they are doing with Power BI and SQL Server.

There are some great new updates which I will highlight here, with regards to PolyBase/Hadoop enhancements, T-SQL compatibility improvements to reduce migration friction from SQL SMP, Performance and OEM Hardware on AU4

You can read about it more in detail here: Analytics Platform System Update 4 Generally Available

Office 2016 – Updates

There has been a whole host of new updates and additions to Office 2016. And especially to Excel.

It is really great to see so many new features that are being incorporated and developed. To me personally it shows why Excel is used by so many people across the world, and with this continued investment they will continue to use Excel.

There are so many updates I cannot cover them all here but the three things that I want to highlight quickly is the ability to use your existing data to forecast what could potentially happen in the future. I think that this gives some great insight and is really easy to use.

Next is all the new chart types, which I know people have been asking for, for a long time. As well as being able to use them to show the data in a relevant manner. As we all know it is a lot easier to show things as a picture.

And finally is the ability to publish your Excel Workbook directly to Power BI. I think that it is really great and a smart move, because it allows the users to be able to take all their hard work, and then give them the ability to then leverage Power BI, enabling them to not only create amazing visualizations, but to also have a platform to share, collaborate as well as enable viewing on a mobile device.

You can read all about it here; What’s new for business analytics in Excel 2016

BI-NSIGHT – Power BI GA (24 July 2015) / Updates – SQL Server 2016 CTP2.2 (SSRS Treemap & Sunburst Charts)

This week has been another amazing and interesting week with regards to Power BI.

So here are is the latest information that I could get my hands on!

Power BI – GA (General Availability)

This week finally Power BI will go into General Availability. Which has been a long time coming and something that I have been looking forward to ever since it was announced.

I can remember reading about all the changes that are going to be coming out this summer (Northern Hemisphere), and eagerly waiting to see what these changes would be. Would some of the items that I have voted for be in the upcoming updates. And indeed some of them are. Which is great and shows how Microsoft has started to listen to what the customers and users are looking for.

In my opinion I do think that in a year’s time, Power BI will be an amazing product with a whole host of new features and usability that we previously had never thought of!

It is great to see that they are going to be releasing updates in the same way as they have done with Power Query. Due to this being out of the Office and particularly Excel, it means that they can make changes, updates and new functionality which will be rolled out on a regular basis. And what that means of both the customers and the developers is that we get an ever evolving product.

One of the things that I wanted to highlight is that I did test out the new Rendering engine. And not only does it look amazing, with so many customizations, it is also lightning fast. I mean really fast when you click on a visualization. They do speak about it in the Power BI – GA and beyond… but WOW to actually use it and try it out, it is quick.

You can either vote for existing idea’s or create your own idea here: Microsoft Power BI Support

As well as if you are looking for help or want to help out they have also created a fantastic community which can be found here: Microsoft Power BI Community

And finally you can read all about the Power BI GA here: Power BI – GA and beyond…

Power BI Updates

Along with the Power BI GA (General Availability) coming at the end of the week, the extremely busy people at Microsoft have started rolling out some of the changes into the online Power BI Service.

There are quite a few changes which I will put in point form below, which you can read about in full at the bottom of this post.

  • Team Collaboration
  • Organizational Content Packs
  • Free Trial for Power BI Pro
  • Bring While Excel File/s into Power BI
  • Upload CSV Content
  • Replace Excel, Power BI Desktop, and CSV Files into Power BI
  • Row-Level Security For On-Premises AS Tabular Model.

There is quite a bit of information above, and some of it is based around an organization and some of the updates are based for end users. But they are all amazing features and something that I can see being used on a daily basis.

I have to highlight importing Excel Files into Power BI from OneDrive. This is another great feature, the reason for this is that not everyone uses Power Pivot in Excel. A lot of people are used to using the Sheets within Excel and this is where their strengths are. So providing the ability for people to upload their Excel files and be able to consume it from within Excel and then visualize it is another avenue to show the value of the work and their data that they created!

You can read about it here: Power BI Weekly Service Update

Here is another screenshot of the Text Box from Jen Underwood (@idigdata)

Power BI – Limit of 10 Reports per Dataset

I came across the blog post by Adam W. Saxton which describes an error some users were getting when trying to save a report and getting the above error.

It appears that currently there is a limit of 10 reports per dataset. I personally think that this should be sufficient. Due to the fact that you can have multiple pages within each report. As well as if there is a requirement to create more than 10 reports, there must be a lot of data to visualize, and there could be the potential with all the reports for the impact of the visualizations to be lost with so many reports.

The one thing to note from the details below, is that it is for each dataset ONLY. If you create a new report on a different dataset, you then will be able to create another 10 reports!

As well as this applying to both the Free and Pro versions.

You can read about this limit here: Limit of 10 Reports per Dataset/Data Model

SQL Server 2016 CTP 2.2

Browsing through Twitter this morning I came across an update to SQL Server 2016, and there is an update with regards to CTP2.2

I quickly found the details on the SQL Server Blog, which I will post the link to afterwards. I had a quick read through to see if there was anything new relating specifically to BI.

I was happy to see that they included two new chart types. Namely Sunburst and Treemap. This lead me to quickly create a VM and see what they actually look like!

Unfortunately due to time constraints and not really knowing where to exploit the new chart types I could not actually see what they look like in Reporting Services.

There have also been some updates to MDS, which allows Compound Keys, SCD Type 2 and syncing an entity between models.

You can read all about it here: SQL Server 2016 Upgrade Advisor Preview and CTP 2.2 now available

 

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”

BI-NSIGHT – Power BI Designer Update – Power BI Twilio Connector – Excel 2016 Visualisations – Azure Data Lake

Fortunately this week, the Microsoft machine was a little quieter, but still as expected new updated in the Power BI Space.

Power BI Designer Update

 

I have read quite a few blog posts, downloaded and viewed the Power BI Designer update. And I have to say they are some welcome changes.

In my mind I see that over time, they are porting some of the functionality within Power Pivot into Power BI Designer. Which is a great welcome, and whilst they are doing this, they are also making additions, such as the DAX intelli-sense, which is amazing. As well as giving the user to create a column within the Report screen. It makes the report authoring experience that much quicker and better.

I do think that the product is moving along in leaps and bounds. Especially for customers and users who do not have access to Excel 2013 and potentially Excel 2016!

You can read all about the updates here: Power BI Designer May Update

Power BI – Twilio Connector

 

Just a quick note, that there is yet another great connector for Power BI. I personally have not come across this before, but in my mind it is starting to show how Power BI is starting to gain momentum from other companies, which can leverage their reporting and product exposure by utilizing Power BI. As well as a great benefit for existing customers, to have a great easy to use as well as informative reporting platform.

I am certain that the Twilio connector, will show some companies a great insight into their data and real-time communications.

You can read more about it here: Visualize and analyze your Twilio data in Power BI

Excel 2016 Visualisations (Charts)

 

Example Treemap Visualisation below

There are some great new visualisations or new charts coming in Excel 2016. I did watch the Channel 9 video from Ignite which had more details and it did showcase the new charts and how they can enable you to view your data in a totally different way. I think that this is really welcome.

Here is a link to the video: What’s Next for Visualizations in Microsoft Office

As well as a great blog post by Clint Huijbers, in which he does a great job to show examples of the new visualisations (charts): New visualizations in Excel 2016

Azure Data Lake

 

I once again have to say that this is another smart move by Microsoft. In my mind this is a great product. The reason for that is now you could have the potential to run your entire organisations data within the cloud.

You could start by storing all your data, within the Azure Data Lake, thereafter if you require a data warehouse you could then leverage the Azure SQL Data Warehouse, from which you could then visualise your data using Power BI. This is a great story to be able to tell and to explain to potential customers as to why they should potentially choose Microsoft Azure.

In terms of the Azure Data Lake, from what I have read it is not to be confused with just storing your data in the cloud. It gives you the ability to quickly and efficiently get your required data out of your data lake. The great benefit is that you can store as much data as is required. You do not have to worry about the structure of your data, you can just store it in the Azure Data Lake, and then when there is a requirement to gain insights into your data, it is immediately available.

I also see that if you had to put as much data as you won, or could get your hands on, into your Azure Data Lake, when you start looking at gaining insights, it just means that you will have a whole stack of information at your fingertips. Which then means that you could potentially cross relate data, where previously you did not have it, or it was stored in another system that was hard to access, or to extract data. If you then have to couple this with Azure SQL Data Warehouse as the extraction layer, and run that through Machine Learning, you could potentially be onto something that competitors have not even begun to realize the benefits!

You can read about it here: Introducing Azure Data Lake