BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (Embedded Preview, Data Insights Summit Day two, Desktop Update, Power BI Publisher for Excel, KPI App for Apple Watch, R in Power BI Webinar, Content Packs Intelliboard & Ziosk) – Azure Data Catalog (Generally Available)

So after my last blog post the Data Insights Summit came to a close with a whole host of new features and future things to look forward to. As well as then Microsoft already releasing what they had promised in the typical Power BI fast paced manner. So here are this week’s updates in the world of Business Intelligence

Power BI – Embedded Preview

I literally saw this just before I was about to publish by blog post.

And what you can see from above is that they now are providing the ability to enable application developers to add interactive Power BI reports into their own applications.

I think that this is a great option to have if you already have existing Power BI reports or data sets. It means that you can leverage this into your own application. Which makes it another option on how to integrate Power BI.

You can find out the details here: What is Microsoft Power BI Embedded

Power BI – Data Insights Summit

No doubt one of the highlights of the Data Insights Summit was Nate Silver delivering a great overview around the future of the so called “Big Data”. I have not had time to watch the video yet, but I do plan to very soon.

The second day I found was more around how the new features which were explained in my previous post can be used and integrated into Power BI and leveraged by both the users and customers.

It is great to see that you did have the ability to stream some of the sessions live, which is great for people who could not make it to the actual summit. As well as them providing the ability to watch them later (which I plan on doing)

You can find all the sessions to watch on demand here: Microsoft Data Insights Summit

And if you want to read about the second day of the Data Insights Summit you can read it here: Microsoft Data Insights Summit Livestream: day two

Power BI – Monthly Desktop Update

After the past week’s excitement around Power BI, it was great to see that it did not stop them from releasing the Power BI Desktop update.

It is good to see that they made some improvements in the Report View area with regards to the ability of where to publish your Power BI report, as well as respecting the model settings from SSAS MD.

They are always improving the data modeling experience and it is great to see the focus on direct query with regards to changing the data type of a column in your Power BI Desktop. As well as referential integrity on relationships. And finally the ability to direct query for Oracle and Teradata (Interesting to see how Microsoft have leveraged the offer to Oracle customers!)

And finally they had quite a few data connectivity improvements, most noticeably the R Scripts connector.

You can read up all about the updates here: Power BI Desktop March update feature summary

Power BI – Analyze Power BI in Excel

As it was announced last week I will not go overly into too much detail, but more along how important I think that this update is.

What this means and it is what I have been alluding to and waiting for in anticipation is that we are now starting to see in my opinion SSAS Tabular as a Software as a Service offering. Yes, this is just the start of it, but I have no doubt in my mind that soon you will be able to have SSAS Tabular as you do with the Azure SQL Database or Azure SQL Data Warehouse.

By enabling the people to connect directly to your SSAS Tabular Model via Excel you are connecting to your SSAS Tabular Cloud database.

I also think that as they have mentioned before there are so many people who use Excel and will want to continue using Excel that this gives them the ability to continue using their favorite tool.

I also think that is really great because you can have one source of the truth, which you can then leverage for Power BI and for the Excel Users. Which can also mean that it gives the user the ability to look at a Power BI report and then do their own custom drill down to understand what the Power BI report is saying.

You can find all the details here: Analyze in Excel

Power BI – Publisher for Excel Generally Available

Even though this was released a while ago, it is great to see that it is now Generally Available.

So now you can quickly and easily take your work that you have done in Excel and Pin it directly to your Power BI Dashboard.

Here are the details: Announcing General Availability of Power BI publisher for Excel

Power BI – KPI App for Apple Watch

It is great to see that they have created an app for the Apple watch so that for the people who want to have the KPIs always on hand, it is almost literally on their hand.

You can find out the details here: Always have your KPIs on hand with the Power BI for Apple Watch

Power BI – R in Power BI Webinar

This is just a quick note if you are interested in how you can leverage R in Power BI then there is a demo session happening on 14 April 2016

You can find all the details here: [Webinar] – The Power Of R In Power BI

Power BI – Content Pack Intelliboard

In this content pack from Intelliboard it gives you access to Moodle learning management system.

Which will enable the people to understand how to track and analyze their learning performance.

If you are an Intelliboard customer then you can find the details here: Explore your IntelliBoard data with Power BI

Power BI – Ziosk Content Pack

This is another great content pack from Ziosk which provide an unique dining experience. By using the Ziosk Survey Analytics the restaurants that use Ziosk tablets can gain valuable insight into the survey data. And I am sure that they will also be able to understand who ordered what, when and at what times. Which can provide some amazing insights.

You can find out all about Ziosk Content Pack here: Analyze your Ziosk® data with Power BI

Azure Data Catalog – Generally Available

It is great to see that the Azure Data Catalog is now Generally available. I have no doubt that this can be a key driver in enabling users to find the data that they need quickly and easily without having to send an email or go and ask someone.

It is great to see that they have added additional features and functionality, which will only be improved over time.

You can read up about it here: Announcing the General Availability of Azure Data Catalog

BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (Upcoming Updates, Forecasting in Power BI, Q&A Updates, Row Level Security, Excel in Power BI, Cortana Integration, New Visuals, Power BI App on Apple Watch, Desktop Trend Lines, Desktop Drill Through, Desktop Conditional Formatting, Power Apps) – SQL 2016 – Part 2

Well with the Microsoft Data Insights Summit I was under no illusion that there was going to be a whole host of updates and great new features to Power BI. And it was great to see that I was not disappointed.

So here are the highlights that I thought would be great to mention for this week’s blog post.

Here is the link to the entire Blog Post from Microsoft, and below are my details from what has been released: Over 5 million subscribers are embracing Power BI for modern business intelligence

Power BI – Forecasting in Power BI

This looks like a really great feature because what it means in my interpretation is that we can now leverage Azure Machine Learning (ML) to help forecast or predict what will happen based on the data we have provided.

I do not know all the details, but I know that this will be very welcome and at least give an indication of where your data is going, either better or worse or the same.

I know that there are some other products that have this capability, but I do think that this can be optimized and over time become a lot more accurate.

Power BI – Q&A Updates

It was great to see that after the initial updates to Q&A, they now not only are providing the capability to improve the service in terms of making it easier to use. They are now giving the ability for Q&A to be run on Direct Query Data Sources.

I was not sure initially how this was going to happen in the past, but in my view I was sure that it would be a feature that would be created or designed.

I do think that having Q&A is not only a great option in terms of selling Power BI, but it also makes it really easy for users to just ask a question and get answers. Which they can then save and have as part of their dashboard. And this will be something I would even use when looking for a quick result. I can just ask the question.

Power BI – Row Level Security for Cloud and Direct Query Sources

This is really a great new feature, and as with my next highlight below what this shows is that Power BI is almost at the point of SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) Tabular is cloud ready or SaaS.

I know already that there are a lot of good reasons and processes to use Row Level security, so that we can re-use the one data source for multiple people and only show them the data that they need to see.

There is not a lot to talk about here in terms of how Row Level security works, because it has been around in SSAS Multidimensional for some time, but it is great to see it in the cloud or Power BI.

Power BI – Power BI Data in Excel

This leads on from the previous highlight that it appears now that Power BI is a SaaS, and that once it gets released you can use your Power BI Models in the cloud and interact with them using Excel.

This then means that you can use all the standard Excel functionality. As we all know Excel is the most widely used product from Microsoft. And people are very comfortable using Excel, as well as having great skills in what they do with the data in Excel.

Now this just gives them the capability to do this. As well as it means that you potentially do not have to create a Power BI Model and then an SSAS Tabular Model for Excel. It now can all come from one source.

Power BI – Cortana Integration

It is great to see that they are integrating more of Cortana into Power BI. And in my mind I would think that it is leveraging Cortana to convert the voice text, and then pass this to Q&A which in turn can then provide the required data. I could be totally off the mark, but I would imagine it is something along those lines.

I am sure over time that this will get smarter and more integrated.

Power BI – New Visuals

As you can see above Microsoft have released a whole host of new Power BI Visuals.

I do know that the SandDance visual got a lot of applause, and it does have some great applications that were designed with the required datasets.

I particularly like the Attribute Slicer, because it appears that this one gives you the ability to slice the data, but that it will not take up a lot of screen real estate, as well as giving the option to search for your attribute that you want to slice by.

I did think I read somewhere that now Power BI has more visuals for the users to use than any of the Microsoft’s competitors.

Here are more details of the SandDance visual: Visual Awesomeness Unlocked – SandDance

And you can to here to view all the visuals here: Welcome to Power BI custom visuals

Power BI – App on Apple Watch

Just a quick note to see that they will release an App for the Apple watch. This is great for people who like to have the updates coming onto their smart watches.

Power BI – Desktop Trend Lines

As it would happen they also show cased what is coming up in next release of Power BI Desktop.

And it is great to see that there is the ability to put in a trend line, which can often lead the user to understand the trend of the data that they are looking at.

Power BI – Desktop Drill Through

I personally know that this is something that I have been looking for, as well as very often people have said that Power BI is great but there is no drill through functionality.

Well now it is here and it is awesome. And I know that already when chatting to my fellow peers that they are happy and amazed that it has been done. Which means we can then leverage more of Power BI.

Power BI – Desktop Conditional Formatting

I know that often it helps people to better understand the data when there is some conditional formatting that has been applied.

It is great to see that we now have the ability to do this which will further enrich the Power BI experience.

Power BI – Power Apps

I have no doubt that as time goes on there will be a better or tighter integration with Power BI and Power Apps, as a means of getting data into Power BI which can then be used to further enrich the Power BI experience as well as the related data.

SQL 2016 – Part 2

In part to of the details of SQL Server 2016 they go into the SSAS improvements and new features.

I know quite a bit of this has been released before, but this is one central page where you can see all the improvements, to which there are many as well as additional features.

If you want to see all the improvements and updates you can read about it here: Enable business insights for everyone with SQL Server 2016: Part 2

BI-NSIGHT – Data Insights Summit (Watch online for Free) – Power BI (Service Update, Mobile App Update, ClickDimensions Content Pack) – Excel 2016 (Power Pivot Update) – SharePoint 2016 (RTM Released)

There has been quite a bit of activity this week, but just enough so that it was not hectic to try and keep up with all the updates.

Data Insights Summit – Watch Online Free

Just a quick note that you can watch the Data Insights summit online for free, of selected sessions.

I have no doubt that the keynote will be where there will be a whole host of updates and great information.

Here is the link to the article: Data Insights Summit—free online Excel and Power BI sessions

Power BI – Monthly Service Update

There are some really great functional updates in the Power BI Monthly service update.

With the updates in the dashboards it makes it easier to print from Full screen mode, change the width and also to enable or disable the Tile Flow. As per the picture above, is that what your required output is.

It is also great to see that they are always looking to improve the Q&A by adding trend lines, putting in the gauge and area charts. And finally improving the auto-complete which will help the users answer the questions that they are trying to ask. Which I feel in turn means that they can get their answers quicker and easier.

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

Power BI – Mobile App Update

There have been a few updates to the Power BI Mobile app recently for all the mobile platforms.

Having the new report gallery for iPhone and Windows 10 makes it that much easier to find your reports.

A feature that I really like is the offline capability as often you might not have an internet connection, but at least that means due to the reports auto refreshing and the caching you have the ability to still be able to view your data and reports.

The updates to the special tiles is also great to see, as I am sure that the adoption of Power BI on the mobile platform means that this updates make people use their mobile devices even more often.

My final piece that I want to touch on is the ability to view the reports on all mobile platforms. As often the dashboard gives you some great insight into what is happening, but you need some more detail. Or the ability to drill down on your mobile device, and now you can do this and see the underlying report and interact with it. Which often makes the understanding of the dashboard item, and potentially gives you the ability to action something.

You can find out all about the Mobile Updates here: Power BI Mobile Apps Update – March 2016 & New offline capabilities for Power BI Mobile apps

Power BI – ClickDimensions Content Pack

This week there is yet another content pack, and on this occasion it is ClickDimensions which is email marketing and marketing automation for Microsoft Dynamics CRM

This is a great way to interact with your data and see how successful your email marketing campaigns where.

You can find out about the content pack here: Explore your ClickDimensions data with Power BI

Excel 2016 – Power Pivot Update

It is great to see that once again Power Pivot in Excel 2016 is getting some attention.

I think that it is great to be able to save the diagram view as a picture as often that is a really easy way to visually show the mapping of your tables, and ideally if it has been built with best practice in mind, showing the star schema.

Also the enhanced edit relationship makes it a lot easier and quicker to create relationships.

You can find details here: New feature updates for Power Pivot in Excel 2016

SharePoint 2016 – RTM

It seems in my mind that the release of SharePoint 2016 has not got the publicity that I imagined or thought that it would receive.

But it is great to see that it has been finally released and I have no doubt that soon I will see some blog posts about the new capabilities.

You can read about the release here: SharePoint 2016 RTM and the Future of SharePoint event

BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (Pride, Gantt Visual, Windows Dev Center Content Pack, Custom Visual Sandboxing) – SQL Server 2016 (RC0, Reporting Services & Analysis Services Update, SSDT, Linux)

It has been another busy week in the Microsoft BI world, and amazing things still coming out from the Power BI Team, and it appears that SQL Server 2016 is full steam ahead which is great to see.

Here is my weekly BI-NSIGHT round up.

Power BI – Pride

What this is, is for you to let the rest of the world know why you enjoy or possibly even love working with Power BI. And the opportunity for it to be shown at the upcoming Data Insights summit.

You have to submit it by 11 March 2016.

You can find more details here: Share your Power BI and Excel pride with the world!

Power BI – Gantt Visual

This is another great visual from Microsoft and one that will be used to track projects or a timeline of events.

This would be really good, when overlaying it with other key information.

You can find out more details about the visual here: Visual Awesomeness Unlocked – Gantt chart

Power BI – Windows Dev Center Content Pack

Another week, and another great content pack from Microsoft. This week it is for the Windows Dev Center, which is where you can use the information to track all the information relating to your app (ratings, reviews, etc..)

If you do use Windows Dev Center you can find out more details here: Visualize your Windows Dev Center analytics data with Power BI

Power BI – Custom Visual Sandboxing

What this is, is the ability to be able to develop your Custom Visual so that it will not affect other things in the APIs or within the Power BI framework, as far as I can understand.

They do go into more details, but I think that this is a smart move because it allows the development process to be completed in isolation.

You can find all the details here: Custom visual authors: Sandboxing is coming and here’s what you need to know

SQL Server 2016 – RC0

Finally, we have got a release candidate for SQL Server 2016.

Whilst there was not a massive lot of additional features to the product line up, I have no doubt that a lot of the code or underlying technology is starting to be ironed out.

There were some features which I will cover in the sections below, but from a purely SQL Database Engine standpoint it is great to see that now you can have scoped configuration. Which gives you the ability to be able to have specific settings in different databases and does not have to be server wide.

You can find out the details here: Technical Overview: SQL Server 2016 Release Candidate 0

SQL Server 2016 – Reporting Services Update

It is great to see that SSRS is getting some more attention and has some new features which is great.

There has been a whole host of updates that have happened already, but in this release is the ability to be able to pin your SSRS items to a Power BI Group.

They have also simplified the configuration and management of the Data Caching and Refreshing. Which is great to see as I did feel that there were almost too many options that at times could confuse the users.

You can find out all the SSRS Updates here: Get more done in the new Reporting Services web portal with SQL Server 2016 RC0

SQL Server 2016 – Analysis Services Update

There are quite a few updates for SSAS.

The first one might seem fairly simple, but it is something that I thought was lacking in the past. And to now be able to have display folders does make it that much more manageable. As well as easier for the end users to navigate.

The user of PowerShell and SSIS against the new tabular model is something that I would have expected to be in the product. And great to see that it is there already.

And finally to see that it now is an Object Model is really great and can make the development process that much easier.

You can find the SSAS details here: What is new in SQL Server Analysis Services 2016 RC0

SQL Server 2016 – SQL Server Data Tools Update

There has been a February update for SSDT, which includes a lot of the new features that are available for SQL Server 2016.

You can find the details and download link here: SQL Server Data Tools Preview update for Feb 2016

SQL Server 2016 – SQL Loves Linux

This was something that was totally unexpected. But to me it makes perfect sense. Linux is a big platform and a lot of people use it. And to be honest SQL Server is really simple and easy to use.

Now you can leverage the best of both of you have Linux servers.

You can read about the announcement here: Announcing SQL Server on Linux

BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (Enterprise Gateway Update, Desktop Update, Mobile App Update, Dynamics AX 7 Content Pack, Azure Security Center Content Pack, New Visuals) – SQL 2016 (Hear from the Engineers) – Excel 2016 (Funnel Chart)

There has been a lot of updates that have happened this past week. Loads of goodness especially in Power BI, so read all the details below.

Power BI – Enterprise Gateway

There has been an updated release for the Enterprise Gateway for Power BI. And I have to say that this has come leaps and bounds in a very short space of time.

And today to my great delight it was so great to see how simple it really is to use.

As with the above screenshot I had created my reports using Power BI Desktop, and then was using the Personal Gateway to update the data. But because it was coming from a SQL Server I initially could not use the Enterprise Gateway.

With the latest releases you can now use the Enterprise Gateway to also use the scheduled refresh for SQL Server sources, amounts many additional sources. So all I did was go into my dataset, then look under the Gateway connection and it had the option to select which gateway I wanted to use.

So simple and yet so powerful at the same time. I had to make no change to my report or connections. That is really amazing.

It is also great to see that it does this for Web URL’s, Files and Folders on Premise also

You can read about it all here: Power BI Gateway – February Update

Power BI – Desktop Update for February

This is a massive Power BI Desktop Update, and as I have done in the past I am going to highlight what I feel is really great.

The first thing to highlight is the ability to see the data behind the visual. To me this is amazing to now have this as part of the Power BI Desktop and part of the report. The reason being is that I have thought that Power BI is an amazing visual application. But where it was at times lacking was what functionality and ability that you had using Excel. Where you could get the visuals but also if required to see the underlying data.

Now with this new update, it begins to open the door to make this happen.

Next is the new KPI that they have created. This is very similar to some of the other KPI visuals, but the thing that I like about this is that from the get go, a lot of people have been asking for KPIs, and often sighting that it was something that was missing from the product. With the ability to navigate folders and all the properties of the KPI I think this is a welcome addition.

The above image is not the best, but if you can squint your eyes you can see that there now is the ability to create your Own Hierarchy in your Power BI model. This is really great, because sometimes for certain reasons (Getting data from the Web, or CSV Files) you did not have the hierarchy that you needed. Now you can do it quickly and easily.

There are a whole host of updates, as well as connectors, additional content packs etc. in this release.

If you want to read up all about the updates here is the link: Power BI Update: Lots of new authoring features and a new Power BI Desktop update

Power BI – Mobile App Update

There have been some additional updates once again to the Power BI Mobile App, and it is great to see that they have continued to add the functionality to the additional platforms. Whilst mostly on Windows 10, I have no doubt that it will be added to the other platforms if not there already.

You can read up about it here: Power BI Mobile Apps Update – February 2016

Power BI – Dynamics AX 7 Content Pack

Once again another content pack, this time it is the Dynamics AX Content pack. Which delivers some great insights into your AX data.

They have created to content packs, one for Financial Performance and another for Retail. It is great to see these out of the box style reports, which will help a lot of organizations using AX 7.

You can find out more details here: Explore your Microsoft Dynamics AX data with Power BI

Power BI – Azure Security Center Content Pack

The content pack guys must have been really busy in the past because this is the 3rd content pack release this week. And this time it is to do with the Azure Security Center data.

This gives you the ability to be able to analyze your security for all your Azure resources. And be able to trend and see what is happening over time.

You can read more information about it here: Analyze your Azure Security Center data with Power BI

Power BI – New Visuals


The above two visuals are the Long Text Viewer and Image Viewer respectively.

And the Long Text viewer just gives you the ability to be able to put a whole stack of text into your Power BI report. Which is sometimes required.

The Image viewer is a simple data bound image. So that you can use it to simply show images based on your selection.

You can view them in the visuals gallery: Welcome to Power BI custom visuals

SQL 2016 – Data Driven Event – Hear from the Engineers

As you can see from above there is the Data Driven event happening where you will have the ability to hear from the Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and their customers on how data insights are ensuring that their business is ahead of their competitors.

You will also have the ability to listen and understand first hand from the Microsoft Engineers that helped build the product.

You can find out and register with more details here: Data Driven

Excel 2016 – Funnel Chart

It appears that this one slipped through the cracks. With all the focus on Power BI and SQL Server 2016, there was an update to Excel. And they now have a new visual for the Funnel. Whilst this has been in SSRS and even more recently in Power BI, it is great to see that it is now in Excel.

You can find out about this updates and other updates here: February Office 365 updates