BI-RoundUp – Power BI (June Desktop Update – Data Insights Summit Details – Power BI Embedded Pricing & Details – Power BI Premium Generally Available – Power BI Report Server Generally Available)

I was fairly certain that there were going to be a whole host of updates and additions to Power BI, and I can say that I am not disappointed. There is a whole host of information below, where I will endeavour to try and get it all to you, so this might be a bit long to read, but it will be worth it.

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BI-RoundUp – Power BI (Service Update April & May – Personal Gateway Update – How to Purchase Power BI Premium – Managing Power BI Premium – Memory Consumption in Power BI File – Power BI – Exposing M Code)

It has been a busy week with the start of another month leading into June, so here are the updates. I am pretty confident that with the Microsoft Data Insights Summit happening Monday & Tuesday of next week that the new version of Power BI Desktop, as well as some new features will be revealed then. And I cannot wait, I always look forward to the start of each and every month.

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DAX – Getting the Previous Year to Date Value up to and including the Current Month Selected – Not the entire Previous Year

So for this example it is best explained with an image below, then some additional context afterwards

  • If you look above we have got the [Sum of Sales] for Dec 2010-11
    • NOTE: This I selected in the Slicer on the right hand side.
  • Then I have created a Year to Date (YTD) measure which is the running total for the Year
    • NOTE: This is the measure below.

      YTD-MTD-CY = TOTALYTD([Sum of Sales],’Date'[Calendar Date],”06/30″)

  • As you can see for Dec 2010-11 with the measure [YTD-MTD-CY] I have the Year to date value.

Now the requirement was if the user selected any Fiscal Month (EG: Feb) from the Slicer, they are looking for the Feb 2009-10 value for the Previous Year (Feb 2009-10). So once again if I show this in a picture this is the value that I am looking to get.

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BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (Premium, May Desktop Update, New Pricing 01 Jun 2017, Pride 2017, Azure Consumption Insights Content Pack)

I always anticipate that the start of each month will be busy with the updates to Power BI, but this month is an exception with not only the release of the May Power BI Desktop Update, but also a new pricing and capacity model with regards to Power BI Premium. So let’s get into it shall we.

Power BI – Power BI Premium

With the update to now having Power BI Premium coming on 01 June 2017, this means that there is a whole host of changes, updates and additions that have happened with regards to the Power BI Service.

I am going to highlight below what I think is most relevant, and provide links further below if you want to go into more details.

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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 (Service March Update – New Navigation Experience, Desktop Terms & Definitions – Whitepapers) – BI Survey (BARC BI Survey 2017) – Excel – (Get & Transform Updates for April 2017)

There has been a variety of updates and blog posts in the past week, so here are my BI updates.

Power BI – Service March Update

There were quite a few service updates for March within the Power BI Service.

The first was the granular controls which was a very welcome feature. And I know that something that a lot of companies have been asking for. (As well as where I am currently consulting)

Another great new feature was the capability to view related content. This gives the user the ability to see how their content is related, as well as to quickly go into additional items from the view related content.

There was also an improvement for the troubleshooting for DAX queries, which helps with the diagnosis of errors or issues.

Then there was the custom scheduled cache refresh which is really handy in terms of how to handle this for DirectQuery sources.

As well as the ability for Amazon Redshift, and finally the move of the Custom Visuals into the Office Store.

You can find the blog post here: Power BI Service March Feature Summary

Power BI – New Navigation Experience

I have enabled the preview features on Power BI for quite some time, and I have to say with each iteration it has gotten easier and better. The new navigation experience is awesome. And makes interacting with Power BI in the service a lot easier. This is especially true when you start to have multiple workspaces, compounded with multiple dashboards, reports, workbooks and datasets.

This new navigation experience makes it a lot simpler to use and navigate.

You can find the blog post details here: Get ready for the new Power BI navigation experience

Power BI – Desktop Terms & Definitions

There is a really insightful blog post by Sam Lester from Microsoft where he goes into the terms and definitions when using Power BI Desktop.

If someone new is starting out in Power BI and using the Power BI Desktop this is a great place to start.

You can find Sam’s blog post here: Power BI Desktop – Terms and Definitions

Power BI – Whitepapers

There is now a central location for all the related whitepapers for Power BI.

This will be really handy because it will be easy to reference this for customers and clients going forward.

As well as I enjoy reading and learning from released whitepapers, so this means that I now have a central location for some great reading material.

Here is the link to where you can find the whitepapers: Whitepapers for Power BI

BI Survey

Every year I have been working in the Business Intelligence space I have been participating in the BARC BI Survey, and due to being a participant I get a copy of the results once completed. I find this invaluable to see what is happening in the BI space.

If you are interested please follow the link to complete the survey: BARC BI SURVEY 2017

Excel – Get & Transform Updates for April 2017

It is great to see the changes and updates that are made to Power BI filter down into the Excel Get & Transform.

In the April update they have included the following updates:

  • Support for the same file extensions in Text and CSV connectors.
  • ODBC and OLE DB connectors—support for Select Related Tables
  • Enhanced Folder connector—support for Combine Binaries from the Data Preview dialog
  • New Change Type Using Locale option in Column Type drop-down menu inside Query Editor
  • New Insert Step After option in the Steps pane inside Query Editor

You can read up about it here: April 2017 updates for Get & Transform in Excel 2016 and the Power Query add-in

BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (Desktop Update April – Quick Measures Preview – Mobile Apps Summary – Video Gallery & Ask a Partner Anything – View Related Content Pane – Sneak Peak add new Columns from Example – Tracking Adoption via Power BI Audit Logs)

There has been a whole host of updates and interesting things in Business Intelligence in the past weeks, so please find below the updates.

Power BI – Desktop Update April

This month’s Power BI Desktop update for April has a whole host of great updates and new features this month, which I will highlight what I think is most relevant below.

Report View

The first update in the Report View section is the ability to rename the axis titles. I know that personally this is something that I have been looking for and now the capability is there.

Next is additional updates to the Matrix Preview, in which you can now sort the matrix by the grand total and row headers in ascending or descending order.

As well as now you can also resize the columns as you could do previously in the original matrix.

And finally, you can now word wrap column headers, row headers and values in the matrix preview. This can be configured separately in the formatting pane.

Analytics

Not only has the Power BI team made it better and easier to create the default measures. But with the Quick measures they have made it as simple as a drag and drop and then Power BI Desktop writes the DAX for you. I personally think that is a giant leap forward as it enables users who are not very strong in DAX to still be able to create powerful measures, which in turn will create greater insights into their data. This will also then let people learn how DAX works because they can see and modify the code, as well as give more advanced DAX users the capability to edit the DAX measure if so desired.

This entire preview feature I think is another game changer and it will enable people to quickly create the measures that they require, as well as to get people to build their DAX skills if so required. And I have no doubt that more quick measures will be added.

As you can see above, you can now try Q&A in Spanish. This must be the result of the Power BI Surveys that have been conducted in the past.

Data Connectivity

Once again this is another idea that a lot of people have been asking for and it has already been delivered. This is the ability to connect to a dataset that exists in the Power BI Service.

This is wonderful as what it means is that as long as you have got the required access, you are now able to access a dataset already uploaded into the Power BI Service. So what this also means is that you will not have to worry about creating measures, how the data is updated etc, because you are a consumer of the Power BI dataset.

This also means that now you can have multiple people working on a single dataset. Which is the start of having multiple developers developing reports and insights into your data.

The one caveat is that when you use the Power BI Service dataset you cannot edit or modify anything within this dataset, you will have to get the dataset owner to make the required changes and then for them to upload it the changes or updates into the Power BI Service. But still a giant leap forward.

The Amazon Redshift data connector has now moved out of Preview and is in the Beta phase, so it is easier to find and use.

There has also been updates to the SAP Hana and BW connectors, now giving you the ability to have more control with regards to the parameters selection. I am sure that people that use SAP will find this very welcome.

Query Editing

The ability to add a column by example has been out for almost 2 weeks now, but this is once again (yes I am repeating myself a bit!) a game changer because it now allows people who do not understand Power Query or the M language to quickly and easily build new columns within their dataset. And this also does it in the Query Editor, where I personally think it is the right place for this to be done, so that before it is brought into the Power BI Desktop Model, the data is already there and can achieve better results.

As you can now see above you now can split your column by delimiter or number of rows and if you wanted to split it into Rows.

The basic Group By in the Query Editor now allows you to group by a single column and output by a single column.

The Go to Column is a very handy feature because it allows you to quickly find your column, which is especially helpful when your table is very wide with a lot of columns.

You can find the blog post for the Power BI Desktop Update here: Power BI Desktop April Feature Summary

Power BI – Quick Measures Preview

There is already a blog post out by the Power BI team with regards on how to leverage and use the Quick Measures Preview.

It has some great content and is well worth the read.

You can find the blog details here: Quick Measures Preview

Power BI – Mobile Apps Summary

There have been some additional updates to the Mobile Apps for Power BI which are the Q&A Improvements and 3D touch for iOS.

Multiple SSRS Server support for up to 5 SSRS Servers. As well as improvements to the slicers.

You can find all the blog details here: Power BI Mobile apps feature summary – March 2017

Power BI – Video Gallery & Ask a Partner Anything


As you can see from above the Power BI team has now launched the Video Gallery where you can view tips and tricks on how to do things with Power BI. I think that this is great because it is often easier to see how to do things.

As well as another Ask a Partner anything on 06 April.

You can find all the details here: Announcing the new Power BI Video Gallery and Ask a Partner Anything live event

Power BI – View Related Content Pane

Once again the people in the Power BI team, specifically on the Power BI Service side are making it a lot easier to navigate and understand how your reports piece together.

This is very powerful as well as easy to use, because you get to see all the related content, but you also get the capability to be able to go into the settings or item specific areas, where before you would have had to go through a few clicks to get there.

You can find the blog details here: Announcing the View Related Content Pane: Faster Results with Fewer Clicks

Power BI – Sneak Peak add new Columns from Example

As you can see from above, this is a sneak peak of a new feature that is going to be released in the next version of Power BI Desktop.

I have to say that this is amazing, as it is starting to do the hard yards for you. Yes it might take a bit of practice to get it right, but once you have mastered it, it can save you a lot of time and effort

And the thing that I really like is that it will enable the users who are not so proficient at Power Query to be able to expand on their data, which in turn will lead to amazing insights.

You can read the blog post here: A sneak preview of the new Add Column From Examples data transformation

Power BI – Tracking Adoption via Power BI Audit Logs

This is a great blog post from JAVIER GUILLEN, where he shows you how to use the Power BI Audit logs to show how adoption of not only Power BI, but also the dashboards and reports are being used.

You can find the blog details here: TRACKING ADOPTION VIA POWER BI AUDIT LOGS

SSAS / Power BI – DirectQuery WhitePaper

As you can see above there is a whitepaper for DirectQuery in SQL Server 2016 Analysis Services, it is noted that some of the concepts are shared with Power BI.

And I have already downloaded the whitepaper and will be getting stuck into it very shortly.

You can find the blog post details as well as the link here: DirectQuery in SQL Server 2016 Analysis Services whitepaper

Power Query – Adding Parameters within a piece of text

Below is where I had a situation where I wanted to put in a parameter within a piece of text. This was so that I could then dynamically change the Month Version for my budget and when I refreshed my data it would then use my specific Month Version. This was due to the requirement being that they wanted the ability to select ANY Month Budget Version.

Example

  • I had a requirement where I wanted to use a parameter value, but it would form part of a complete part of text. And as shown below in this example it would be for Mar (March)
  • I wanted the Output to look like the following:
    • Budget_Mar_YR1
  • And the part which is part of the variable is highlighted in BLUE above “Mar
  • I also wanted to re-use this for multiple conditions later in my script.
    • I required it for the following:
      • CY – This is for the Current Year
      • YR1 – This is for the following Year 1, so if I am in 2016 it would be for Year 2017
      • YR2 – This is for the following Year 2, so if I am in 2016 it would be for Year 2018
      • YR3 – This is for the following Year 3, so if I am in 2016 it would be for Year 2019

Solution

In order to do this, I went into the Advanced Editor in the Query Editor.

The name of my Parameter was calledBudget Version“, so when using it in the Advanced Editor it would be used with the following syntax below.

#”Budget Version”

In the section below is where I now defined by additional conditions, so that they would be dynamic. An explanation will follow afterwards.

BudgetVersionCY = “Budget_”&#” Budget Version”&“_CY”,

BudgetVersionYR1 = “Budget_”&#” Budget Version”&”_YR1″,

BudgetVersionYR2= ” Budget _”&#” Budget Version”&”_ YR2″,

BudgetVersionYR3= ” Budget _”&#” Budget Version”&”_ YR3″,

As you can see above each line was compromised of the following:

  • I defined our name highlighted in RED
    • BudgetVersionCY
  • Then I started with what our name was, which is highlighted in BLUE
    • “Budget_”
  • Next is where I inserted our Parameter highlighted in PURPLE
    • &#” Budget Version”&
    • NOTE: When you want to add additional TEXT or parameters you have to open it with the ampersand “&” as well as close it off (or end it) with an ampersand “&” also.
  • And then finally I added some more text at the end highlighted in BLUE again.
    • “_CY”

Then later in my query is where I put in my conditional statements into my Conditional Column as shown below.

#”Filtered Rows” = Table.SelectRows(#”Added Custom2″, each ([Budget Version] = #”
BudgetVersionCY
” or [Budget Version] = #” BudgetVersionYR1” or [Budget Version] = #” BudgetVersionYR2” or [Budget Version] = #” BudgetVersionY3“)),

Final Note

Just one thing to note, is when I put in the following syntax into my Query Editor you will lose the capability to edit it by using the settings or Gear icon

Power BI – Create Last Dataset Refresh Date

Whilst I have read and found other ways to get the Last Dataset Refresh Date, I find that my method is a lot easier and cleaner to complete.

Creating the Last Dataset Refresh Data

Open Power BI Desktop and go into the Query Editor.

Then click on New Source and select Blank Query

Next I renamed my Blank Query from Query1 to Last Dataset Refresh

Next click on the Advanced Editor and put in the following M Code, which I will explain what it does after the code.

let

TodaysDate = DateTime.From(DateTimeZone.SwitchZone(DateTimeZone.FixedLocalNow(),10)),

#”Converted to Table” = #table(1, {{TodaysDate}}),

#”Renamed Columns” = Table.RenameColumns(#”Converted to Table”,{{“Column1”, “Last Refresh Date Time”}}),

#”Changed Type” = Table.TransformColumnTypes(#”Renamed Columns”,{{“Last Refresh Date Time”, type datetime}})

in

#”Changed Type”

What the above is doing is it is getting today’s Date and time. And this is where I created the magic on the first line.

If you have a look I have put in the Timezone that I am in. I currently am living in Brisbane which is +10 from GMT.

So as you can see from above I have put in 10 for the DateTimezone.SwitchZone, highlighted in BLUE.

The rest of the code converts it to a table, and then I rename the column and finally give it the data type of DateTime.

So the result is the following I created shown below.

I then loaded this into my Power BI Model.

Using the Last Dataset Refresh in your Power BI Reports

Now what I did was I had to create a Calculated Measure, so that I could then use the Last
Dataset Refresh Date.

Below is the Syntax that I used to create my Calculated Measure called Data Last Refreshed

Data Last Refreshed =

VALUES ( ‘Last Dataset Refresh'[Last Refresh Date Time] )

Finally I put the measure onto my report and configured it with the Card Visual and the following properties shown below.

I did this to ensure that it would take up the least amount of screen real estate as possible.

And I test it by publishing it to the Power BI Service and it displayed the correct Date and Time.

Conclusion

As you can see this is a simple and effective way to shown when the data in your Power BI Report was last updated.

Any questions or suggestions please feel free to let me know.

BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (Design your own Swag, Custom Refresh Schedules for Live/DirectQuery, Report Theme Gallery, Custom Visuals Community Site, Filter a report with a URL query string, Summit EMEA, Custom Visuals in Office Store, Data Insights Summit Session Details

Once again the world of BI is very busy with great new features and other details which I have put into this blog post below.

Power BI – Design your own Swag

There is a competition to design your own Swag Shirt for Power BI. As you can see above is my entry, so if you like it, please go and vote for it here: Power BI – Create – Collate – Visualize & Explore

As well as look at the other entries here:

Power BI – Custom Refresh Schedules for Live/DirectQuery

I have to say I have noticed that the Power BI team are currently releasing a lot of features which give a lot more granular control to different things in the Power BI Service. From my point of view this is fantastic as it allows more flexibility in the product, which means it can potentially be released to a wider audience in some instances.

This latest release with regards to the Custom Refresh Schedules for Live/DirectQuery is another great granular feature. This allows the user to now control how often to refresh the cash, which is used for the Dashboards tiles. And can help ensure that it can be optimized.

You can find the blog details here: Announcing Custom Cache Refresh Schedules in the Power BI Service

Power BI – Report Theme Gallery

Due to the release of the preview feature of Report themes into Power BI Desktop, the Power BI Team has now release a Report Theme Gallery.

This is where you can showcase your theme that you created, as well as share it with others who might want to use it.

I personally think this is great, and once again shows how Power BI is a community where we can share our knowledge.

Here are the details: Power BI Community Report Theme Gallery

Power BI – Custom Visuals Community Site

Here is yet another great initiative from the Power BI team, and this is all around the Custom Visuals where they have created a Custom Visuals Community site.

This will be a great resource for people who are looking to develop Custom Visuals as well as assist other people with issues.

You can find all the details here: New custom visuals community site: developers and users unite!

Power BI – Filter a report with a URL Query String

Apparently this has been in the documentation for some time, but was only publically shown now by Adam Saxton (Guy In a Cube).

In the blog post they show how you are able to filter reports in the URL using a Query String.

This functionality used to exist in Power View for SharePoint and I can remember using it in various scenario’s where you wanted the report to automatically filter. This is great to see that you can now do this in Power BI also.

You can see Adam’s video and blog post details here: Filter a report with a URL query string parameter

Power BI – Summit EMEA

If you are in the EMEA region I would suggest if possible attending the Summit EMEA, where you can learn about Power BI, as well as discover other details around Power BI and the various insights it provides.

You can find the details here: Dive into Power BI at Summit EMEA

Power BI – Custom Visuals available in the Office Store

It is interesting to see that the Custom Visuals are going to be moved to the Office store. In a way I can understand this, but it also makes me lead to think that in the future there is the possibility to potentially pay for Custom Visuals?

I am sure we will find out sooner or later.

Here is the blog post details: Custom visuals now available in the Office store

Power BI – Data Insights Summit sessions

You can now get access and see all the sessions that are going to be available at the Data Insights Summit session.

I see that there will also be a pre-con day on 11 June 2017. Loads of great content

Here are the details: The Microsoft Data Insights Summit is back – check out our full session catalog today!