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

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

Power BI – Community Blog Highlights

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

The other posts are below:

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

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

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

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

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

The Ultimate Waterfall Chart , by Klaus Birringer

Power BI – Germany

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

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

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

Power BI – Latest Updates for Power BI Desktop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Query Editor
  • DAX
  • Visuals
  • Power BI Service

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

SQL Server – SQL Server 2017

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

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

You can find the details here: SQL Server 2017

SQL Server – DAX Editor for SSDT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SQL
Server – New Get Data Experience

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the weekly updates.

Power BI – Granular Tenant Settings

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

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

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

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

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

Power BI – Gateway Update for March

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Power BI – Amazon Redshift in Power BI Service

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

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

Power BI – Featured Data Stories

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

Next month’s feature requests are tables and matrices.

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

Excel – Get & Transform Updates

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

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

Power BI – Availability Monitoring Publish to Web

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

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

SQL Server – DAX support in Report Builder and SSMS

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

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

BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (Tachometer Custom Visual, Azure Active Directory Content Pack, ZynBit using Power BI Embedded) – SQL Server (CTP 1.2 Available)

There has been some great activity this past week in the world of Business Intelligence and here are the updates.

Power BI – Tachometer Custom Visual

As you can see from the image above, there is a new Custom Visual that has been added called the Tachometer.

This is a great visual when you want to use it to easily communicate measures against various attributes. As you can see above there are a whole host of details to configure.

You can find the blog post here: Visual Awesomeness Unlocked: Tachometer Gauge Custom Visual

Power BI – Azure Active Directory Content Pack

This is a great content pack from Microsoft so that you can see very quickly how your Azure Active Directory is being used.

This can give some great insights into how Azure Active Directory is being used within your Organization.

One thing to note is that you have to be either a Security Reader or Admin within Azure in order to gain access.

You can find the blog details here: Azure Active Directory meets Power BI

Power BI – ZynBit using Power BI Embedded

This is a great customer story as in to how ZynBit is using Power BI Embedded to enable their business.

You can find the details here: ZynBit Empowers Sales with Microsoft Power BI Embedded

SQL Server – SQL Server CTP 1.2 Available

There is already another version for SQL Server Next Version on CTP 1.2

This has got support for SUSE Linux Enterprise, as well as the Early Adoption Program (EAP)

You can find the blog details here: SQL Server next version CTP 1.2 now available

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 (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