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

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)

BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (Embedded Pricing) – SQL Server 2016 (CU1, Mobile Report Publisher for July) – Excel (Power Query Update)

This week has been a good week in the BI domain.

Power BI – Embedded Pricing

As you can see from above they now have released what the pricing model will be for Power BI Embedded.

You can find the link below to view what your pricing will be based on your data center you use.

Power BI Embedded Pricing

SQL Server 2016 – CU 1

This is the first release since the launch of SQL Server 2016 and the list is quite extensive in terms of the fixes.

You can view all the fixes in the link below, but I would recommend testing and then deploying as required.

Here are the details here: Cumulative Update 1 for SQL Server 2016

SQL Server 2016 – Mobile Report Publisher Update

It is great to see how Microsoft has evolved in terms of releasing updates to their product lines in a much for frequent and consistent manner. As is this case with the Mobile Report Publisher.

This update has a lot of bug fixes and optimizations. They do recommend also installing SQL Server CU1 which is in the blog post above, to ensure that the runtimes are aligned.

You can find the details here: Mobile Report Publisher update for July now available!

Excel – Power Query Update

There has been an update for Power Query or Get and Transform in Excel.

There are a whole host of updates and it is great to see that a lot of the features first appear in Power BI but quickly make their way to Excel also. And it appears that some of these features are not yet in Power BI, but I would expect them to be there soon.

Here are a few of the updates that I find relevant.

There are a whole host of new connectors and improvements for existing connectors.

They have also put in the Inline input controls for functions which makes it a lot easier to use and interact with the functions.

The support re-order the steps which is sometimes vital to get the required output.

And finally the option to get new data from within the query pane you can easily do this which makes it easier to add new data.

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

BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (New On-Premise Gateway, Data Stories Gallery, Embedded GA coming soon – Publish to Web GA, New Visuals,) – SQL Server (R Client, Migration Assistant for Datazen) – Excel (Faster Pivot Tables in Excel 2016) – Azure (Azure SQL Data Warehouse GA)

There sure has been a whole host of updates and additions in the world of BI in the past week. So here they are below.

Power BI – New On-Premise Gateway

This is another great update that I did not see coming. But it does make total sense. As well as great to have a single point in which you can leverage Power BI, Power Apps, Microsoft Flow and Azure Logic Apps.

I already have been using it for Power BI and it has made the connection to On-Premise data so easy to gain access to and leverage existing investments.

You can find all the details here: Gateways July update – going beyond Power BI

Power BI – Data Stories Gallery

This is a great incentive to see your data as a story. I also think that this will give some great insights into what people are doing and using Power BI to not only tell a story but to also leverage what they have done and how they have utilized Power BI.

You can find all the information here: Share inspiration in the new Data Stories Gallery (and get a t-shirt!)

Power BI – Embedded General Availability Coming soon.

For the ISV’s and companies that are looking to leverage Power BI into their applications it is great to see that it will be Generally available on 11 July 2016.

This will also bring with it all the capabilities that you would expect, as well as I have no doubt some additional features further down the road.

You can find out about the announcement here: Power BI Embedded General Availability coming soon!

Power BI – Publish to Web Generally Available

This is a feature of Power BI that I think really goes a long way to get people interested and using Power BI. The publish to web feature is so easy to use to get it out there. As well as being included in the Power BI license cost, means that when you want to share this, it can be done.

And I am sure that more features will be added further down the line.

You can find all the details here: Power BI publish to web General Availability

Power BI – New Visuals

We seem to be getting some additional visuals coming from the Microsoft Research team which is great to see.

The Strippets Browser can be used to view a collection of documents or news stream. There appears to be two ways to interact with this visual. The first is where you can view the information as a thumbnail, and if you click on the thumbnail it will provide you with more information. Second is the option to use the outlines view, where it strips it all down to create a visual cross-section of a document collection.

The Cluster Map is where you can view the topics in a document collection in an expressive image mosaic.

The Facet Key shows the most frequent entities and enables you to systematically analyze them.

You can find all the details here: New Power BI Custom Visuals Enable Browsing and Analyzing Collections of Text

SQL Server – R Client

It is great to see that Microsoft have finally released their own version of the R Client. This is to compliment their existing investments with R in SQL Server 2016. As well as it being open source, community-supported I have no doubt that this will be the go to R Client in the near future.

You can find the details here: Introducing the free Microsoft R Client

SQL Server – Migration Assistant for Datazen

This is a migration assistant for customers who currently have got a Datazen Server and Content and want to migrate it to SQL Server 2016.

You can find all the related information here: SQL Server Migration Assistant for Datazen Preview now available

Excel – Faster Pivot Tables in Excel 2016

It is nice to see that they have not forgotten about OLAP servers, as this could well apply to both the multidimensional and tabular OLAP models.

And who does not like things that are faster? And it is great to see these additions in improved query efficiency, reducing the number of queries and smarter caches.

You can find the details here: Faster OLAP PivotTables in Excel 2016

Azure – SQL Data Warehouse Generally Available

Just a quick note that the Azure SQL Data Warehouse is now Generally Available.

The blog post does list all of the capabilities and not only that but it appears to also make use of the premium storage in the data centres which means that you can scale it even higher in terms of DWU.

You can find the blog post here: Announcing the general availability of Azure SQL Data Warehouse, an elastic, parallel, columnar data warehouse as a service.

BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (Notifications, Help Improve Power BI) – Excel – (Power Query Update)

Another week and some more updates to the world of BI

Power BI – Notifications

It is great to see that we now have got some notifications in a similar way in which we have had in the Mobile App.

As often I am sure that I have shared dashboards with people and they either are not aware or missed the email. Now they can easily see it when they log into the Power BI Service.

Also at the bottom of the blog post it is great to see that they will be enabling real-time data alerts as you can currently do within the Mobile App. As this is something that will be very handy for people to ensure that if there is a specific movement that they are made aware of this.

You can find the details here: Power BI Notification Center

Power BI – Help Improve it

There is a blog post to take a survey to help and improve Power BI.

Click on this link below to see the post and take the survey. As well as a chance to win a $50 gift card from Amazon.

Help Improve Power BI Desktop

Excel – Power Query Update

There appears to be an update for Power Query, which is great to see it going back into Excel, as I am sure that a lot of these changes have already been implemented in Power BI

You can find the download here: Microsoft Power Query for Excel