Dan English's BI Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘business intelligence’

New Book – Visual Intelligence: Microsoft Tools and Techniques for Visualizing Data

Posted by denglishbi on April 26, 2013

I just found out this week that the book Visual Intelligence: Microsoft Tools and Techniques for Visualizing Data was available on the Amazon for the Kindle and also in paperback now. 

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When I got home from work last night there was a package waiting for me and it was my own personal copy of the book:)

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I had the pleasure of being one of the technical editors on the book

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As well as a contributor where I got to work on one of the chapters, so you get to see some of my handy work as well, guess which chapter;)

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And I greatly appreciate Mark’s acknowledgment and allowing me to work on the book

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The authors of the book are from Pragmatic Works – Mark Stacey, Joe Salvatore, and Adam Jorgensen.

Here is the description of the book from Amazon:

Go beyond design concepts and learn to build state-of-the-art visualizations

The visualization experts at Microsoft’s Pragmatic Works have created a full-color, step-by-step guide to building specific types of visualizations. The book thoroughly covers the Microsoft toolset for data analysis and visualization, including Excel, and explores best practices for choosing a data visualization design, selecting tools from the Microsoft stack, and building a dynamic data visualization from start to finish. You’ll examine different types of visualizations, their strengths and weaknesses, and when to use each one.

  • Data visualization tools unlock the stories within the data, enabling you to present it in a way that is useful for making business decisions
  • This full-color guide introduces data visualization design concepts, then explains the various Microsoft tools used to store and display data
  • Features a detailed discussion of various classes of visualizations, their uses, and the appropriate tools for each
  • Includes practical implementations of various visualizations and best practices for using them
  • Covers out-of-the-box Microsoft tools, custom-developed illustrations and implementations, and code examples

Visual Intelligence: Microsoft Tools and Techniques for Visualizing Data arms you with best practices and the knowledge to choose and build dynamic data visualizations.

I would highly recommend getting your copy in either paperback or electronic format and checking it out.  Both versions are in full color, very nice:)

Visual Intelligence: Microsoft Tools and Techniques for Visualizing Data

Posted in Business Intelligence | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Power View meet Microsoft Excel 2013 Part 2

Posted by denglishbi on July 25, 2012

Last week I did my initial post of going over using Power View inside of Excel 2013 – Power View meet Microsoft Excel 2013.  In that post I went over how I converted the PowerPivot model of the Pan-Geo Hospitality & Travel that was used in our Visualizing Data with Microsoft Power View book (well at least a Tabular SSAS version was used, I recreated the entire model in PowerPivot).  I upgraded that model to use the Excel 2013 version of PowerPivot and then showcased some of the new features such as:

  • Background Images
  • Pictures
  • Themes
  • Relationships
  • Pie Charts
  • Map Visualizations (Bing Maps)
  • Key Performance Indicators

So what other key features are that that might be of interest?  Hmmm, good question.  And yes, there are more features.  Have you been wanting support for hierarchies?  What about drill up and down capabilities?  Well guess what, you get them both:)

You might have noticed in the previous post that you saw some hierarchies listed in the field list:

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Let’s take a quick look at using the Country Hierarchy and see how this looks in a table, matrix, and a chart.

Table

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Matrix

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Chart

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So in the table and matrix no change other than the fact that we can see our hierarchies in the field list and select them.  This allows us to quickly add multiple fields to the canvas.  What about the chart though?  I picked the country hierarchy, but I am only seeing the first level of the hierarchy which are the continents.  Where are the countries?

Well if you double click on the columns in the chart it will actually drill down into that continent and display the data for the countries!

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You will also see that the sort by and title text changed to display country and there is a new icon available when you hover over the chart, an arrow that provides drill up functionality.  So the drill up will bring you back up to continent. 

Now the neat thing about the drill up and down functionality is that you can expand on this.  The fields do not necessarily need to be part of a hierarchy, you can actually build out the drill up and down capabilities by adding fields into the field well.  So in this example I will add more fields into the chart below the country:

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So let’s double click a few times to see what we get:

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Now the one thing is that we really are not sure what we are looking at, meaning that what continent, country, and chain type did we select previously?  I can see based on the sort the trail that I have navigated, but what were the values associated with them.  That would be a nice feature.

The drill down also works for the map reports as well.

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So if we double click on the China pie chart we will go down to the city level based on the navigation defined in the field well:

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And you can use the zooming capabilities of the map as well.

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Pretty cool and you can do more with the map with the layout settings in the Ribbon:

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In addition to hierarchy, drill up & down, and cool map capabilities there is another minor addition that was added and that was support for hyperlinks in a text box.

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In this example I have a text box that includes the words ‘Microsoft BI’ and below that a hyperlink to the web site.  If I hold the CTRL key and click on the hyperlink it goes to the web site:

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They hyperlink simply gets added after you type in the URL and press a space, hit enter, or click out of the text box.

Well that covers the majority of the new enhancements to Power View, for the complete list checkout the links at the bottom of my previous posting – Power View meet Microsoft Excel 2013.

I will continue to work with the new features and post any additional findings I might come across like using images from the data models and the issues you might encounter along with using these files in SharePoint.

Posted in Business Intelligence, Reporting Services | Tagged: , , , | 13 Comments »

Power View meet Microsoft Excel 2013

Posted by denglishbi on July 19, 2012

This week Microsoft released the Public Review of Office 2013 (aka Office 15).  You can download and check this out now for yourself and read some reviews of the new changes here:

One of the items that I have been patiently waiting to talk about and demonstrate is the new Power View and not only the new enhancements to it, but that it also is available in Excel 2013!  With Excel 2013 the PowerPivot and Power View COM add-ins are provided with the installation, you simply need to enable them in the Options->Add-Ins section.

Before I dive into the new Power View let me show a quick screenshot of one of the Power View reports from our Visualizing Data with Microsoft Power View book.

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A couple of things I want you to take a look at primarily is the field list.  Also you will be able to compare this look to the enhanced one that I will now show off in Excel 2013.  To create my Excel 2013 I decided I would go against a complete Excel solution, so I created a complete Pan-Geo Hospitality & Travel PowerPivot Model.  I did this first in Excel 2010 and then upgraded this in Excel 2013 by accessing the Model in the PowerPivot Ribbon in Excel 2013 (you will notice that in this screenshot you will see two PowerPivot tabs and that is because I have both versions of Office running along with the add-ins (PowerPivot for Excel from SQL 2012 and now the one for Microsoft Office PowerPivot for Excel 2013).

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When I opened up my Excel 2010 file with the PowerPivot model in Excel 2013 (which I also enabled the PowerPivot add-in) I then went to the 2nd PowerPivot tab in the Ribbon and clicked the Manage button in the Data Model section.

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Could really use a line break in this warning message box:)

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So just to reiterate the situation and give you an option to cancel.

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Time to reboot:)

WARNING: I did notice one issue with the upgrade, the KPI that I had defined in my Excel 2010 PowerPivot model did not convert over, so I had to create the measure from scratch and setup the KPI again

Once I had the model converted over I used the new option in the Insert tab of the Ribbon for Power View (right in the middle in the Reports section)!

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If you click on this and you do not have the add-in enabled you will be prompted and you can enable it then.

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This creates a new worksheet in the workbook and then you can start building out your report, just like you can do with the current version of Power View, but this time you are doing it in Excel and not in your web browser as part of the Reporting Services 2012 integration with SharePoint 2010.

Here is what I ended up with recreating the Hotel Performance Dashboard report displayed above (notice if you can see a few extra items I have added and any other differences):

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Did you see anything new on the report?  No, not the fact that I changed the Play Axis in the scatter chart or the data labels being added in the bar chart.  Look closer….okay, so you did see it, there are images included in the report and they are not part of the model definition!

The first one that I will point out is in the top left hand portion of the report and the new option I used here is the Picture option in the Insert section.

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You can include Image files now so you can include the company logo as a report header (jpg, jpeg, and png files).

The other image you see is in the background of the report and for this I used the Set Image option in the Background Image section.

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Here you can select the same type of image files as the picture and then you can specify the position option as Fit, Stretch, Tile, or Center. Along with that you can specify the transparency level and here I have it set to 90%.

Pretty neat, right?

Well you can do more formatting.  If you recall in the existing Power View we have Styles – Using Styles in Microsoft Power View.  In the new version here we can really tweak the report setup using the Themes section.

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I can change the Font from Segoe UI to Times New Roman. I can select a different Theme, adjust the Font Size, and alter the Background (these changes are all at the report level, not item).  The result (not saying this is ideal) ends up looking like the following:

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Another interesting item you can do here in Power View is in the Data section of the Ribbon.  You can actually review and modify relationships.

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Pretty slick.

Let’s quick go back to the second screenshot above and take a look at the Field List.  Notice something different here?  What are those Globes and Spotlights doing in the list?  Yep, you guessed it, Power View now provides geo-coding capabilities to use with the new Map visualization, plus it also supports Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)!  In addition to the new Map visualization, the Pie chart has also been made available.

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You can even include Pie charts in Maps (just a bit of a warning here, currently the Pie charts do not support data labels, similar to PerformancePoint Analytical Chart reports).

The mapping capability uses Bing Maps just like SSRS does for some of its mapping that was introduced in SQL Server 2008 R2.

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Here is an example of a Map (including Pie charts, just to put it over the top):

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You can see in the Field Well that there are new spots for Locations, Longitude, and Latitude.

If you are looking for the Card visualization it is now under the Table.

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Now what about those KPIs, how do those look?

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Well, looks like we still need some work here, but it is a start.  The indicators it is using are not correct.  I would like to see a more condensed view and options here to provide the detail information about the KPIs, but at least we can include them now.

Now there are more new items and capabilities that I haven’t even touched on yet, so stay tune for another post next week.

For more information about the new BI features in Office 2013 check out the following links:

Enjoy and kudos to all of the Microsoft teams that were involved to make all of this happen!

If you liked this post, check out the 2nd part here – Power View Meet Microsoft Excel 2013 Part 2

Posted in Business Intelligence, Reporting Services | Tagged: , , , | 13 Comments »

Microsoft Business Intelligence (BI) Resources

Posted by denglishbi on October 13, 2011

UPDATE (10/20/2011): Added an updated link for the PowerPivot TechCenter – http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/bi/ff604673.aspx.

Attended a session today on Power View and received a USB drive with some good resources on it. I thought I would share one that contained a bunch of links:

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Microsoft BI Resources

PowerPivot Hands on Demo and Download: http://powerpivot.com
PowerPivot (Self-Service BI):
SSRS (Operational & Managed Reporting):
SSRS Report Builder (Ad Hoc Reporting):
PerformancePoint Services (Dashboards, Scorecards, Advanced Analytic Charts & Grids):
Excel (Personal Productivity):
SSAS (OLAP):
SSAS (Data Mining):
SSIS (ETL):
Forums to use for researching / posting questions

I also have a list of the Microsoft BI portals, but I think most if not all are possibly listed above here already – Microsoft Business Intelligence Portal Page References.

Posted in Business Intelligence | Tagged: , , | 6 Comments »

Minneapolis Tableau User Group May 17, 2011

Posted by denglishbi on April 25, 2011

The next Minneapolis Tableau user group meeting is coming up hosted by Alan Wernke.  If you are interested in Data Visualizations then this will be a user group you will want to check out. 

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Date: May 17th – 3:00pm CST

Duration: 180 minutes

Location

US Internet

12450 Wayzata Boulevard

Minnetonka, MN 55305

United States

Agenda:

  • 3:00 pm – Welcome / Introductions
  • 3:15 pm – Networking with MN TUG Members
  • 3:30 pm – Navigating Tableau Maps: A Compass for Beginners Vicki Siemers, Sr. Marketing Research Analyst at RBC Wealth Management
  • 4:15 pm – Tableau 6.0 features: Powerful Parameter and Table Calculation Alan Shilepsky, Wernke Consulting Services
  • 4:30 pm – Tour of US Internet Datacenter with Mark Elert
  • 4:45 pm – Break
  • 5:00 pm – Tableau in the Enterprise: Panel discussion Shawn Spott, Mike Keys, Alan Shilepsky, Rob Dewey, Eric Sanders Tableau. Please send your questions to Alan Wernke in advance of the meeting
  • 5:45 pm – Future Events

If you are interested in visualizing your data and dashboard solutions then you will want to check out this event – Register Here.

Posted in Business Intelligence, Training | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Minneapolis Tableau User Group March 9, 2011

Posted by denglishbi on February 23, 2011

The next Minneapolis Tableau user group meeting is coming up hosted by Alan Wernke.  If you are interested in Data Visualizations then this will be a user group you will want to check out. 

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Date: Mar. 9th – 3:00pm CST

Duration: 180 minutes

Location

Lund Food Holdings, Inc.

4100 West 50th Street

Edina, MN 55424

United States

See map: Google Maps

Proposed Agenda:

  • Networking – 3:00 – 3:30 pm
  • Mike Keys, NumericalTruth.com – 3:30 – 4:00 pm
    Dashboards on Tableau Server — Tableau is an excellent platform for creating dashboards and Tableau Server is a good way to distribute and automatically update them. In this demo I’ll create a simple dashboard and demonstrate some tips and tricks I use to make effective interactive dashboards like highlighting actions and benchmark comparisons. I’ll then publish the dashboard to Tableau Server and show off basic functions available to server users like filtering and data export and basic server functions like extract scheduling and permissions. I’ll end with an overview of the Server licensing models.
  • Shawn Spott, RBC Wealth Management – 4:00 – 4:30 pm
    Niche to Nexus, Driving Business Intelligence Usage — Shawn will outline how RBC Wealth Management took a niche implementation of Tableau and grew it to a major firm resource in less than year. What was the impact of Tableau Server in a self-serve model and some unconventional approaches to driving usage.
  • TBD – 4:30 – 5:30 pm
  • Networking – 5:30 – 6:00 pm

If you are interested in visualizing your data and dashboard solutions then you will want to check out this event – Register Here.

If you are not familiar with Tableau you might want to check out a couple of areas on their site Solutions and Visual Gallery.  You might want to check out a white paper on their site by Derek Comingore, Microsoft SQL Server MVP, titled Self-Service BI Synergies with Microsoft PowerPivot.

Posted in Business Intelligence, Training | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Minneapolis Tableau User Group January 19, 2011

Posted by denglishbi on January 14, 2011

Next week a new user group is starting up in the Twin Cities.  This is being started up by one of my friends, Alan Wernke.  If you are interested in Data Visualizations then this will be a user group you will want to check out.  This is the very first meeting and the topics that will be presented are a case study with the Tableau 6.0 software along with tips & tricks.  Of course there will be time for networking as well.

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Date: Jan. 19th – 3:00pm CST

Duration: 120 minutes

Location

Minneapolis College of Art and Design

2501 Stevens Avenue

Minneapolis, MN 55404

United States

See map: Google Maps

Proposed Agenda:

  • Introduction & Networking
  • Bike Share Program (NiceRideMn) Case Study – Tableau Software 6.0 in action!
  • Networking
  • Tableau 6.0 – Tips & Tricks
  • Q & A
  • More networking

If you are interested in visualizing your data and dashboard solutions then you will want to check out this event – Register Here.

If you are not familiar with Tableau you might want to check out a couple of areas on their site Solutions and Visual Gallery.  You might want to check out a white paper on their site by Derek Comingore, Microsoft SQL Server MVP, titled Self-Service BI Synergies with Microsoft PowerPivot.

Posted in Business Intelligence, Training | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Microsoft Business Intelligence Portal Page References

Posted by denglishbi on October 20, 2010

UPDATE (6/2/2011): Updated the Microsoft BI link to reflect updated BI site and resources (2nd link) and added the SharePoint 2010 Resource Centers link.

Looking for good information in regards to the Microsoft Business Intelligence components?  Not sure where to start?  Well look no further, here is a list I compiled that provides the current link to where the portal pages are for each BI related component:image

Microsoft Business Intelligence Scenarios http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/bi/default.aspx
Microsoft Business Intelligence http://www.microsoft.com/BI/en-us/pages/home.aspx
SQL Server Best Practices (MSDN & TechNet – slight differences and not sure why there are two of them) http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/sqlserver/bb671432.aspx
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sqlserver/bb331794.aspx
SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/sqlserver/cc510304.aspx
Report Builder http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/ff657833.aspx
SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/sqlserver/cc511477.aspx
SQL Server Analysis Services Multidimensional Data (SSAS) http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sqlserver/cc510300.aspx
SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) Data Mining http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sqlserver/cc510301.aspx
PowerPivot for Excel (Business Intelligence) http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/bi/ff604673.aspx
SQL Server Master Data Services (SSMDS) http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/sqlserver/ff943581.aspx
Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Products http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/default.aspx
Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Resource Centers http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/ff465365
Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007 http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/office/performancepoint/default.aspx#tab=1

 

These are all great reference points to help you get started in the technology, highlight particular areas, and also introduce you to the members of the community.  The first part is to find them and that has been taken care of (wish it was a bit easier myself…).  Some items listed are on TechNet and some on MSDN.  Not sure what the differences are between the two, TechNet and MSDN (IT Pros vs. Developers I guess), and that has confused me why these are split.  Now to go explore and check them out, that part is up to you.

If I have missed one please let me know and I will be sure to add it to the list.

Thanks and enjoy!

Posted in Business Intelligence, Training | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

 
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