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