BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (Data Connector SDK, Analytics Challenge, April Service Content Packs, ArcGIS May Update) – Azure (SSAS Model into Azure

After all the announcements last week here are this week’s updates.

Power BI – Data Connector SDK

I know that this has been something that I have seen asked on the Power BI Community, as well as thought about in terms of having the capability to create your own Custom Data Connector in Power BI.

Don’t get me wrong they have supplied a vast array of connectors already. But by creating the SDK this means that now virtually ANY data, or even potentially anything could be integrated into Power BI. I saw a tweet from Kasper mentioning a data connector for Strava (Which I use a lot for my exercising, as well as having a wealth of data).

You can find all the details here: Data Connector SDK Developer Preview

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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 (Meet 1:1 with Microsoft Expert – May & June Webinars, Sample files as PBIX, Quick Measures Gallery, Mobile App Update – April)

Here are this week’s updates, with May starting next week I am looking forward to some interesting updates with regards to Power BI.

Power BI – Meet 1:1 with Microsoft Expert

If you are attending the Microsoft Data Insights Summit you now have the opportunity to have a 1:1 session with a Microsoft Engineer for 15 minutes. If I was attending this is something that I would have already signed up to before blogging.

You can find the details here: Meet 1:1 with a Microsoft expert at Microsoft Data Insights Summit – book your appointment today!

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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

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!

BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (Custom Refresh Schedules for Live/DirectQuery, Report Theme Gallery, Custom Visuals Community Site, Filter a report with a URL query string, Summit EMEA)

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 – 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

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

Power BI – (March Desktop Update, Theme’s Generator, Esri New Technology Integration Award, K2 Process Content Pack, Advanced Search Solution Template, Project Service Automation for Dynamics 365 Solution Template, New Custom Visual 3D Pie Chart)

There has been a whole host of updates to Power BI in the past week which is great to see, so I hope that you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed putting it all together.

Power BI – March Desktop Update

In this month’s updates there are a whole host of great updates, and the Power BI Team has been very busy. So I will go through each section below in what I think are important highlights.

Report View

This is where the majority of the updates and new additions are, which I really like because it means that there is now even more capability to customize my Power BI Reports.

The first addition is the ability to theme the reports. I know that this is something people have been asking for. And currently it does seem rather manual and the Power BI Team does speak to it in the YouTube video that this is the first version and that they will update it as the months go on. Already there is a Theme Generator by Charles Sterling for this, which you can find further down in my blog.

Next is the Preview Matrix, which has a lot of updates, one of which is performance improvements. As well as a whole host of formatting options (stepped layout, drilling into hierarchies) which enabled me to fit more data into the same area. I also liked the fact that you can now do cross filtering both from the Preview Matrix, as well as from other charts. Just remember that you need to enable this in the Preview Features to gain access to the Preview Matrix.

Even though this is something that appears quite small, I know personally in the past this is something that I wanted to change the color of the text.

Another very handy slicer is the new Numeric range slicer. The trick with this first version is that you can only use it on a Numeric column and not YET on a Calculated measure. But it does make it quick and easy to slice the data.

I have actually been asked in the past if I was able to put in the percentages on Pie or Donut charts, and now the Power BI team has released this functionality with all the different options.

And finally in the reporting section is the ability to Cross-highlight using multiple series. So this means that I now can select anything combination in my series and it will show the results.

Analytics

Under analytics it is good to see that Clustering is now generally available.

Data Connectivity

In terms of data connectivity it is good to see that you can now connect to the additional sources below.

  • Azure Analysis Services Connector
  • Azure Data Lake Store
  • DB2 Connector – Option to specify package collection
  • Combined Binaries – Gives you the option to select the sample file.

Query Editor

And finally in the Query Editor there now is automatic detection for the delimiter character when you split a column. You can still change this if the automatic detection is not right.

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

Power BI – Theme’s Generator

Following on from the update of Power BI Desktop for March and the ability to create theme’s Charles Sterling from the Power BI team as released a very easy way to create the themes that you require.

Click on this link http://thememaster500.azurewebsites.net/

Once there you get the image as shown above. You can then select the color pallet that works for you.

Then click Apply and it will download the JSON file, for you to import into Power BI.

Power BI – Receives the ESRI New Technology Integration Award

I think it is great when other providers acknowledge the work done by the Power BI Team. And here is an award from Esri New Technology Integration Award for 2017.

You can read the blog post here with all the details: Microsoft Power BI receives the Esri New Technology Integration Award for 2017

Power BI – K2 Process Content pack

This is another really good example from Power BI and K2, so if you are an existing K2 customer this is a very quick and easy way to gain insights into your data.

You can find the blog post here: Explore your K2 Process Analytics Data with Power BI

Power BI – Advanced Search Solution Template for Bing News

Here is another solution template in which you can put in some search terms and the solution template will go and use the Azure services and create a report that will allow you to view sentiment, topics, organizing people and organizations into locations.

You can find the details here: Announcing the Advanced Search Solution Template for Bing News

Power BI – Project Service Automation for Dynamics 365 Solution Template

And here is yet another solution template this time for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Project Service automation. This template will enable the business to get a set of reports for everything focused around the Project Service Automation in Dynamics 365

The blog post details can be found here: Announcing the Power BI solution template for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation

Power BI – New Visual 3D Pie Chart

As you can see above there is another new Custom Visual, the 3D Pie chart available in the Power BI Custom Visuals Gallery

You can find the visual here: Pie 3D Chart

BI-NSIGHT – Power BI (Mobile Apps Update Feb, Connecting from Power BI Mobile to SSRS, Embedding Power BI Reports)

As another month comes to a close, I am excited to see what the next week will bring. Hopefully some updates for Power BI Desktop and the service. Here is this week’s roundup.

Power BI – Mobile Apps Update for February

In this month’s mobile update they have made some additional actions when interacting with the Dashboard tiles on the mobile app. Making it easier to navigate to an underlying report, expand a tile or even look at the alerts.

A great addition is you now can have multiple SSRS Servers in your app (Currently iOS)

And finally they have made some improvements with regards to scrolling across all the mobile platforms. Which makes it a lot easier to navigate with the charts when it can possibly be so small to navigate.

You can find the blog post here: Power BI mobile apps feature summary – February 2017

Power BI – Tech Tip Connecting from Power BI Mobile to SSRS

This is a great video by Adam Saxton aka Guy In a Cube in which he goes through how to connect from Power BI Mobile to SSRS using OAuth

You can find the details here: Tech Tip Thursday: Connecting from Power BI Mobile to SSRS

Power BI – Embedding Power BI visuals, tiles or widgets into your application

There is a great blog post from the Power BI team which goes into detail and explains how to very easily embed your Power BI visuals, tiles or widgets into an existing application.

Along with this, there is also a video by Guy In a Cube going through this, click on the image below.

Here are the actual blog details: Embed Dashboards in Your Applications to Monitor Your Business in Context