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Archive for the ‘Power BI’ Category

On-Premise Power BI–A Microsoft Story

Posted by denglishbi on November 18, 2016

Just a few warnings, backgrounds, and heads up before a do a quick status update here on the current Power BI on-premise situation.  If you do not know me or haven’t met me before, I am a huge Microsoft fan and always have been and will continue to be. I have run every version of the desktop OS since Windows 3.1 as well as Office since version 2.0 and SQL Server since 6.5.  I have owned the three versions of the Zune with the original brick, nano, and touch. I was an early adopter of the Windows phone with the Samsung Blackjack and not until very recently have I made the switch to Android (but I still have a Windows Phone with Win Phone 10 running to test), but that is because of Microsoft’s new vision and direction where their software can run on any device (even on iOS, crazy).  I will always be a fan of Microsoft, nothing will ever change this.

All of the opinions and information that I state in this post here is simply my personal experiences as well as a few thoughts that I just wanted to post. Oh and by the way, I am not a graphic artist by any means, so please don’t slam me for my mocked up image below. I love movies, so just wanted to put this quick little graphic together, I hope you like it.

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So let’s begin the story.

Last year, back when Power BI went GA in July 2015 there was a pretty significant announcement made. Microsoft and Pyramid Analytics had formed a strategic alliance and this is what helped Microsoft deliver the Power BI Desktop application so quickly. If you are not familiar with the Pyramid Analytics product offering, BI Office, but you might be familiar with a former product that Microsoft acquired, ProClarity, they are for the most part the same thing. An outstanding tool for doing reports, dashboards, and self-service models with Analysis Services.

Along with the announcement and the release there was information that at some point Power BI Desktop users that owned BI Office would be able to publish their reports to a Pyramid Analytics Server. I was so excited about this announcement that I immediately downloaded, installed, called my Pyramid Analytics sales person, and did a blog post – Power BI Desktop Install Experience & Publish Feature!

Well needless to say it took some time for the Publish feature to be actually turned on and the new version of BI Office to be available, so flash forward to basically one year later from the GA announcement and Pyramid Analytics Launches On-Premise BI for Power BI Desktop. Once again I downloaded the new version of Power BI Desktop and I then had to wait for the new version / update for the BI Office.  Once I had everything installed I was able to quickly test out and use Power BI reports on-premise, very exciting!

Example of a Power BI Desktop report in BI Office:

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A few things to note about the Power BI and BI Office functionality:

– the reports have to be created with live connections to an Analysis Services database

– custom visualizations are not supported

– Power BI report items and reports can easily be integrated into BI Office dashboards (storyboards)

– the reports can be modified and viewed in the browser, but they cannot be saved, would need to download and publish to update

– Power BI published reports can be secured through BI Office

– Power BI reports can easily have the data sources changed once published in BI Office if migrating content between environments

 

So this is all good.  Now in the meantime, pretty much everything we are hearing from Microsoft with regards to the roadmap for Reporting Services is that all reports will be able to run in the new SQL Server 2016 Web Portal. This means mobile, paginated, Power BI, as well as even Excel workbooks. This has been talked about and discussed since October 2015. We were a little uncertain about Excel, but with the recent announcements with regards to SharePoint-Integrated Mode going away, we now know that Excel workbooks will be viewable in the Web Portal as well.

The excitement and anticipation for Power BI coming to on-premise in Reporting Services has been building up all year and finally it was demoed at Microsoft Ignite (click link to watch video) and PASS Summit as well as a Technical Preview in Azure being released to test drive. Everyone including me is just biting at the chops to get our hands on this and now it is available. Everything looks great and now the waiting game to see how we can get this new functionality.

Well I was not able to physically attend the PASS Summit this year (I watched some of the keynote and sessions that were streamed live), but apparently it was stated at the What’s New and What’s Next session that Power BI on-premise was not coming to SQL Server 2016 in an update or service pack. This new functionality was in development and would be made available in SQL Server v.Next only.

What?!? Are you serious???? I know, my exact thoughts and I just found this information out YESTERDAY!?!  I was completely baffled, slightly upset, and extremely confused. I followed up on this since I wasn’t able to attend or see the session yet from PASS Summit and it has been confirmed by internal Microsoft resources. The information is apparently public knowledge, no secret, and it has never truly been communicated that Power BI would be coming to SQL Server 2016.  The only thing communicated, but rather slyly, was that Power BI functionality would be coming in the future and was being worked on. But everything we have been seeing has led us to believe that it would be made available in SQL Server 2016, but now sadly that is not the case. I sure hope that customers that purchased SQL Server 2016 in anticipation of this also purchased the product with Software Assurance. Otherwise they could have been misguided by some of the Microsoft sales and messaging.

 

As of right now, the functionality that we are expecting to see in the Power BI / SSRS on-premise story is very similar to what we (or I should at least say I) have with BI Office.

– the reports have to be created with live connections to an Analysis Services database

– custom visuals are not supported

The main exception though, at least currently, is that there will be no dashboard functionality. That is kind of the secret sauce with BI Office, very slick.

 

You can continue to stay up-to-date with some of the status with Power BI being made available for on-premise by checking out the Power BI Ideas forums. In the near future we should expect to see a blog posting by the SSRS team to provide us the true communications about the Power BI and SQL Server story, so stay tuned and subscribe to their blog feed.

Well I will wrap this post up. I am not by any means upset with the SQL team, it is complete opposite. I love all of the work they do and amazed at what is being worked on. Just seems like we need better and more accurate communication so that we can keep our expectations in check. This will help the community, MVPs, and customers all plan accordingly and make sure everyone is on the same page.

Posted in Power BI | Tagged: , , | 5 Comments »

Power BI–Marvel vs DC Movie Analysis

Posted by denglishbi on February 24, 2016

Back in January Microsoft held it’s second community Power BI contest for Best Report Contest. After a few weeks of brainstorming and sifting through data I finally came to a conclusion that I wanted to do some analysis on a couple of items that I like, movies and super heroes, so why not take a look at how Marvel and DC movies have faired over the years:)

This is an interactive report comparing the results of Marvel versus DC movie information with regards to the number of movies, adjusted worldwide gross box office earnings, and includes IMDb ratings. You can get a feel for the shift from the 1960’s through the 1990’s as DC dominated the market and then Marvel stepped in and has dominated the box office since.

Will DC regain its focus and dominance that it once had? Batman v Superman could be a start and that is where its roots are from and then later this year with Suicide Squad it can gain some more momentum. Maybe next year with Justice League and Wonder Woman it will find new life and something to compete with Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and X-Men. You will see in the insights that keeping the movie rating at a PG-13 level is key, these movies will average 4x more than an R rated movie will gross.

Sorry Marvel, Deadpool is not looking good for earnings, but you will make up for it with Captain America Civil War which should make 5x as much! (this comment was made on Jan 29, prior to Deadpool opening up at the box office)

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This report showcases and highlights a bunch of features in Power BI, integrating multiple data sources, calling a web service, cards, charts, drill down, custom visuals, slicers, color definition, back ground images, and more!

Here were some of the insights I discovered while exploring this data:

– From 1960 to 1990 DC dominated making 86% of movies and grossed $4.54B more than Marvel movies

– From 2000+ Marvel has made 80% of the movies and grossed $15B more than DC

– R rated movies average $446M less than PG-13 movies

– Marvel movies average $60 to $90M more than DC movies

– Marvel/DC: stick to Avengers and Justice League characters! They make more money;)

Another insight that I was curious about was why Iron Man 3 was so popular and grossed so much money.  I mentioned this to my wife and she quickly asked, “Well did it come out after the Avengers movie?”  I switched back to my Power BI report…well “Yes it did, that is brilliant!” So follow up the movies with more spinoffs, kind of like DC will do next year with Wonder Woman.

Here is my video showcasing my Power BI Best Report Contest Entry, unfortunately I did not make it into the Top 10 for the voting process.

If you want to check out the Top 10 finalists they are all posted here and I believe at some point they will be adding all of the entries into the public showcase area as well.

And I guess Deadpool is defying the odds and proving everyone wrong, after two weeks in the box office it has already beat out the best X-Men movie here in the US and has grossed nearly $500M globally. Not bad for a movie they spent $58M on to make, plus it was banned in China.  So I guess maybe making the next Wolverine move Rated R might work out okay.

After Less Than Two Weeks, Deadpool Is Already the Biggest X-Men Movie Ever

After Less Than Two Weeks, Deadpool Is Already the Biggest X-Men Movie Ever

As of February 22, Deadpool has grossed almost $236 million in the United States, according to Box Office Mojo. During its entire run, the previous #1 X-film, X-Men: The Last Stand, grossed just over $234 million.

I hope you enjoyed this, now I have to figure out what else to check out with Power BI!

Posted in Power BI | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

How to: Build a SQL Server Dashboard with Power BI Desktop

Posted by denglishbi on August 25, 2015

Just last month Microsoft released the new Power BI which included a new self-service BI application called Power BI Desktop. I introduced this when it was first launched in the following blog posts – Power BI Desktop Install Experience & Publish Feature! and Ready, Set, and Go! PowerBI.com, Power BI Desktop, and Pyramid Analytics Alliance. A few weeks ago I was exploring some new uses for this application and the first one I tried out was to create a SQL Server Dashboard that would provide some information about my local SQL Server instance running on my laptop. Let’s take a look at the final result –

PowerBI_SQLDashboard'

Here we can see that I included the SQL Server logo, the name of my machine, the version and build number of SQL Server I am running, and then some information about the databases – the count, sizes, types, last backup, recovery model, and file information.

Now let’s take a quick look at how this was built. First thing you will need to download and install the Power BI Desktop application. It appears that since the initial release the application has already been updated a few times, latest build version is 2.26.4128.403 and it was released on August 20, 2015. The application is available in both 32 and 64-bit versions.

Once you have the application downloaded, installed, and started up, the first thing we will want to do is get some data. You can either click on the Get Data on the Getting Started screen when you open the application or in the Ribbon you can click on Get Data and then SQL Server.

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Then enter in your server name and provide the query to get the information. In this case the query will be running against the master database and the query will be the following:

SELECT @@servername ServerName,
@@version SQLVersion,
sdb.NAME DatabaseName,
sdb.create_date CreateDateTime,
sdb.compatibility_level CompatibilityLevel,
sdb.collation_name CollationName,
sdb.recovery_model_desc RecoveryModel,
Max(bus.backup_finish_date) AS LastBackUpTime,
size.sizeinmb DatabaseSize,
CASE
WHEN sdb.database_id < 5 THEN ‘System’
ELSE ‘User’
END DatabaseType
FROM sys.databases sdb
LEFT OUTER JOIN msdb.dbo.backupset bus
ON bus.database_name = sdb.NAME
INNER JOIN (SELECT [DatabaseName] = Db_name(database_id),
[Type] = CASE
WHEN type_desc = ‘ROWS’ THEN ‘Data File(s)’
WHEN type_desc = ‘LOG’ THEN ‘Log File(s)’
ELSE type_desc
END,
[SizeinMB] = Cast(( ( Sum(size) * 8 ) / 1024.0 ) AS
DECIMAL(18, 2))
FROM sys.master_files
GROUP BY grouping sets ( ( Db_name(database_id), type_desc )
, ( Db_name(database_id) ) )) size
ON sdb.NAME = size.databasename
AND size.type IS NULL
GROUP BY sdb.NAME,
sdb.create_date,
sdb.compatibility_level,
sdb.collation_name,
sdb.recovery_model_desc,
size.sizeinmb,
sdb.database_id

Once the query has been populated to create the data we clean it up a little bit by splitting some columns, changing data types, renaming the columns to be more user friendly, and provide a name for the data query.

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We can then close this query and add more, in this case we have another query that will provide the information about the files associated with each database. The query we are going to use was actually used in the first query and was from the following post located here:

SELECT [DatabaseName] = Db_name(database_id),

[Type] = CASE

WHEN type_desc = ‘ROWS’ THEN ‘Data File(s)’

WHEN type_desc = ‘LOG’ THEN ‘Log File(s)’

ELSE type_desc

END,

[SizeinMB] = Cast(( ( Sum(size) * 8 ) / 1024.0 ) AS DECIMAL(18, 2))

FROM sys.master_files

GROUP BY grouping sets ( ( Db_name(database_id), type_desc ),

( Db_name(database_id) ) )

Once this data set is added we apply a filter, pivot the data, rename the columns, and then provide a name for the query and close and load the data.

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Now that we have the two data queries, we can establish a relationship between the two (you could also merge them together if you would prefer).

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And then you can create reports and add text boxes, images, slicers, and visualizations.

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Now we could stop here at this point, but what fun would that be. What if I wanted to be able to monitor and report on my databases while I am out on the road or having a conversation with a colleague? Hmmm, there must be a solution for that…and ‘Yes’ there is!

Microsoft provides the online PowerBI.com service that allows you to upload (or Publish) your Power BI Desktop creations. I already have an account, so I can click on the Publish button in the Ribbon and then I will be prompted to save the file and if I have already published this before an option to Replace the existing dataset (or Cancel).

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The solution will then be published and you will be provided a link to access the item directly.

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Once published I can create a dashboard in the online service and pin the items I want to my dashboard from the reports I included (see the initial image in the blog post for the final result). You can also enhance the reports and edit them if needed, just be careful though, if you publish from the desktop you could override changes in the online version of the reports.

Now, are we done yet? No way, what about refreshing the data? But how can I do that, the data is running on my laptop… No worries, download and install the Power BI Personal Gateway. Once this is downloaded, installed, and configured (Power BI Personal Gateway online knowledge base article) you will have the ability to refresh the dataset that is loaded in the online PowerBI.com service.

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How cool is that! And you can see in the below screenshot that is exactly what I did, if you compare this to the initial dashboard at the top of the post you will see that there are two additional databases (flashback goodies – Northwind and pubs return!).

PowerBI_SQLDashboard_refresh

And I can view this on the mobile application on my phone as well:)

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There are lots of possibilities for expanding on this set of reports – analyzing database and table statistics, usage, queries, and more.

I would really love to hear what you think of the “new” Power BI and the ideas and creations you are building, leave a comment and let me know, thanks!

Posted in Power BI | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Power BI Desktop Install Experience & Publish Feature!

Posted by denglishbi on July 23, 2015

Tomorrow is the official Power BI GA release for the “new” 2.0 version of Power BI.  With the new release there will be a new version of Power BI Desktop application (formerly known as Power BI Designer).  This application is already available to download and here is the quick walkthrough of the install as well as some sample pics of a file that gets published to the PowerBI.com site!

Install Experience

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Are you ready?

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Awesome! Game on:)

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Version: 2.25.4095.554

Publish

With the new release of the application you can publish to PowerBI.com in the cloud and soon to on-premise Pyramid Analytics Server (not available yet, but hopefully very soon, maybe next month).  Just announced today was the strategic allegiance and collaboration of Pyramid Analytics along with Microsoft.

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Power BI Desktop file created from IMDb data.

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File published to PowerBI.com

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Very cool.  There are a ton of new features and functionality in the new application.  Way too many to cover here, so check out the Power BI team blog.

Here are some good articles and resources to check out:

Announcing Power BI general availability coming July 24th

Power BI team blog (great content, examples, articles, announcements)

Power BI Community site

Microsoft Power BI Support

Training Resources (provided by Jen Underwood)

Enjoy and I would love to hear your feedback!

Posted in Power BI | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

Power BI Preview–The Designer

Posted by denglishbi on April 9, 2015

We will continue exploring the ‘new’ Power BI Preview and in this post we will look at the Power BI Designer.  The Power BI Designer is the new download tool that you can get (for FREE) that provides the ability to get data, transform it, add calculated columns, merge, etc. (Power Query) and create reports (like Power View – but the Silverlight is gone! but features not completely identical yet, few more visualizations added though).

NOTE: The Power BI capabilities that have been added to Excel over the years with the add-ins and some are becoming native, are now transitioning into the designer to allow for more rapid releases and one tool versus the different add-in components.  And did I mention…it is FREE?!?

To get started you will first need to download and install the designer.  You can check out one of my previous posts on the walkthrough of installing and highlighting the features – Installing Power BI Designer Preview Experience.  You can download the designer from the downloads location on the Power BI site.  In this example I have the latest build that was made available at end of March 2015 – version 2.21.3975.261.

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Once you have this downloaded and installed you will then launch the tool to get started.

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On first launch you have the ability to access forums, the team blog, tutorials, and videos.  The team has done an outstanding job on creating lots of great content right out of the gate!

If you are familiar with Power Query then you will be very comfortable with the get data portion and creating the queries that can then be used to load the model to be used for report creation.

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In this screenshot you will see that there has been a recent update and a new source is available for Google Analytics!  This was recently announced in the blog here – 7 New Updates to the Power BI Designer Preview (March 2015).

In this example I will go back to a previous one I did when I first covered Power Query (previously known as Data Explorer) – Installing Data Explorer Preview & Demo with IMDB Data.  I will try and recreate this solution with the new designer and you can see the comparison.  At the end I will note a few of the differences that I have come across so far.

First I will get the data, this time around I am going to get the core data from the IMDB website like I did previously, but then I will use a function to do a call and retrieve JSON from http://omdbapi.com.

Original site view on IMDB (click image to go to the actual site)

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Initial query results getting data from the web

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Function created that will then provide additional information about the movie such as genre, actors, awards, runtime, rating, plot, votes, poster url, etc.  In my initial example I did I used VBA code and parsed XML data, this time around I am doing this all with Power Query functionality.

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Now combining this function call into a calculated column in the first query we end up with our complete data set.

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We can then create our reports.

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If you compare this to my original post from the Data Explorer you will notice that they are a tad different.

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So some of the items that I came across in the new designer are the following (as of 4/9/2015):

– No image support in data model, not able to access the model yet to complete this setup, plus not able to include or embed images

– No ability to control the formatting of the numeric values as far as number of decimals, to include commas, currency

– No data card title support, this goes back to not being able to access the model and complete the setup

– Not able to resize columns and easily resize items such as data cards

– Not able to add data labels to visuals

– Not able to remove a sort on a table once it has been triggered (I accidently did this a couple of times, clicked on a column)

– No textbox at all which is possibly the #1 item used today in Power View

– No play axis support in scatter charts

– No color, styles, or theme support options to control color options

– Limited filter options (need to drag-and-drop to filters), no pinned filters, and just multi select checkboxes (so hope you don’t have a long list, numeric values do have some extra options)

Some of the things that you will see that have been added are the following:

– easily change visuals when item selected

– new visuals that were added such as – treemap, filled map, radial gauge, funnel, and combo charts (require same axis if you combine them)

– new relationship options to provide support out-of-the-box for many-to-many

Now once you have your data and reports created the next step is to save your file (pbix extension) and then if you go back to the Power BI site in the Get Data section you can upload your file to a dashboard (make sure you are in the dashboard you want this added or create a new one first).

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Once you have the file uploaded you will see your reports and dataset as well. In the next post we will take a look at adding items to the dashboard and exploring the Q&A capabilities.

For a recap of previous posts check out the following:

Getting Started with the Power BI Preview

Power BI Preview Layout Overview

Power BI Preview–Getting the Data

If you liked the example and want to check out the file you can download it from here http://1drv.ms/1JqmwaF

NOTE: I have set the File Settings in this file to ignore Privacy levels, otherwise I was being prompted for each call to the web to get the images for the move posters that are being pulled into the model (ready for when the support for images and accessing the data model is available – thanks to Kasper for his help on this – Loading an image into the Model using Power Query).

Hopefully in a couple of weeks we will be able to expand on this example once we can access the data model, can’t wait!

Posted in Power BI | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Power BI Preview–Getting the Data

Posted by denglishbi on April 1, 2015

In the first two posts we looked at Getting Started with Power BI Preview and then Power BI Preview Layout Overview.  The next item that you will want to do now that you are somewhat familiar with the “new” Power BI is getting data to create datasets, reports, and dashboards!

Power BI Preview is known as a SaaS (software as a service) – a web-based service that you can leverage to deliver your solutions.  As mentioned in the first post there is a free as well as subscription based offering ($9.99 per user/month) . There are also canned built-in solutions that you can leverage right out-of-the-box.  So if you are using or have any of the following services or functionality the time it will take for you to getting insights is greatly reduced, you can get a kick start to your reporting with just a few clicks:

– Excel workbooks: leverage existing Excel files; could contain tables, charts, data models, Power View reports; these would be uploaded to the Power BI Preview site

– Power BI Designer File: we will cover this more in the next post, but if you download the designer and then load data, create reports, and save the file you can upload this into the Power BI Preview site

– SQL Server Analysis Services: with the downloadable connector that was mentioned in the second post for the layout overview you have the ability to query on-premise tabular SSAS databases

– Online services: if you are using GitHub, Marketo, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Salesforce, SendGrid, or Zendesk you can connect using your credentials and there are pre-built templates that will be created for you with dashboard, reports, and dataset to jump start and get quick insights to the service and your usage

– Retail Analysis Sample: the initial sample that gets displayed and you see in the first two posts; sample file you can get familiar with to see functionality and test drive

To get started simply click on the Get Data (item #2 in the Layout Overview post).

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Now you will see the list of the options you have to get started to work with data.

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As an example let’s take a look at the GitHub option we will go to GitHub –> Connect.

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For this example I am going to connect to the d3 repository (d3 is a JavaScript visualization library for HTML and SVG).

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You will then be prompted for authorization and I am already signed into GitHub. This is using oAuth.

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This will now create a new dataset, reports, and dashboard. It will connect and begin to import the data that will populate the dashboard and you will be able to immediately get some insights!

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And if you look at the reports that were added you can see there is additional information that you can review and add to the dashboard and you can also create more reports and enhance the out-of-the-box template that was provided.

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Pretty amazing, and this is all free!

In the next post we will take a look at using the Power BI Designer to create our own dataset and reports that we can then use to load into the Power BI web site.

Posted in Power BI | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Power BI Preview Layout Overview

Posted by denglishbi on March 26, 2015

In the first post, Getting Started with Power BI Preview, I discussed briefly the “new” Power BI and went over how to get access to this service.  Now that you have access I want to go over the layout of the land and show the different items you have access to on the Power BI Preview site.

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1. Microsoft Power BI Public Preview – this is your landing / home page. If you access other areas such as getting data, reports, datasets, etc. you can click on the top right to return to the home page to view your currently selected dashboard.

2. Get Data – using the Power BI Preview web site interface this is the area where you will be able to bring in your data to create datasets, reports, and eventually dashboards.  In the next post of this series we will explore this area in more detail.

3. Content Pane – you have the ability to search and filter the existing content you have available in the datasets, reports, and dashboards.  These areas expand and collapse and the plus sign next to the datasets will send you to Get Data and the one next to Dashboards will allow you to create a new dashboard.  Once you create a new dashboard you can then get data, create reports, and pin items to it.

4. Dashboard Title & Share – the current dashboard title you are viewing and a link that allows to to invite others to view as well as possibly share your dashboard you have created along with the data.

5. Q&A – this is the natural query language capability, the same one that is provided in the current Power BI in Office 365.  You have the ability to ask questions of your data just like asking questions on Bing or Google to get results.

6. Dashboard content – this is the content that has been selected from the reports that were developed on the dataset as well as results possibly from Q&A that have been pinned.  These items (tiles) can be resized and rearranged once they have been pinned. This reminds me of the Windows 8 and Windows Phone start screen – live tiles.

7. Support, Help, and Feedback menu – just grouping these last remaining items together that are in the top-right.

  • The first icon which looks like the typical settings / configuration icon we are used to is actually the download area and will provide access to the Power BI for iOS app, Power BI Designer Preview, and the Analysis Services Connector Preview.
  • The second icon is the Support / Help icon which gives you access to Getting Started material, Contact Support (email the team), What Should We Build Next (forum and voting area), Help Topics, Power BI for Developers (yes there is a developer area and API information), About Power BI (version number information).
  • The third icon is simply the feedback one to rate and let the team know what you think of the Power BI Preview.
  • The final icon is your account and provides option to sign out.

Next up, we will go over creating your first dashboard, dataset, and reports.  Stay tuned for more!

Posted in Power BI | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Getting Started with the Power BI Preview

Posted by denglishbi on March 24, 2015

Last year Microsoft began working on a “new” Power BI version / capability.  This was released to a limited group of users for feedback and then last December was released within the U.S. and I posted this first post – Installing Power BI Designer Preview Experience.  Now this past week it is available in over 140 countries – Power BI Preview now available worldwide.image

So what it so special about this new experience?

Well first of all to get started using Power BI you no longer need to use Excel.  Excel has been the main driver of Power BI capabilities and the container where data and reports would be created to then share with others through SharePoint and/or Power BI in Office 365.  Now the data can be collected using either the new Power BI Designer or directly through the new browser based Power BI preview experience.

The next item that makes this interesting / attractive is the price.  Yes, how much does this end up costing you?  Well to get started all you need is to create an account and the rest is actually free.  Yes, that is correct, free.  Of course the “Free” version does come with some limitations, but for the most part you have the same capabilities as the version that is the paid Pro service of $9.99 user/month.  And that is price cut from the previous Power BI online experience of $40/month.  Here is more information about the new pricing and feature comparison between the Free and Pro paid versions – Power BI Preview Pricing.

In order to get started you simply need to do the following:

1. Go to the following web site – http://powerbi.com

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2. Next sign up by entering your business or educational email address

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3. Complete the Microsoft Power BI sign up process by following the link in the email you receive

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4. Once you enter in the information and click start you will get a confirmation and depending on the current usage you might have to wait 15 minutes or so for everything to get spun up and ready for you to begin

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5. Sign In to the Power BI site specifying that you are using a work or school account

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Now in my case this is actually a personal Microsoft account and not provided by my organization, I am simply using my work email for my Microsoft account.  I will now switch over and login with my organization provided email, I just wanted to show what the process would look like to get started with the process.

6. Once you are logged in you will now be able to access the Microsoft Power BI Public Preview site

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That is all it takes, so in less than 15 minutes or so you can be logged in and ready to roll.  Next up, we will go over a quick tour of the layout of the site.  Stay tuned!

Posted in Power BI | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

Installing Power BI Designer Preview Experience

Posted by denglishbi on December 18, 2014

Today Microsoft announced the new Power BI features including the new Power BI Designer tool that provides a separate downloadable standalone application that can be used for Power BI features such as Power Query and Power View!  This is completely separate from Excel – now users can connect to data, relate data, create reports, and also import them to Power BI dashboards to share!

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So in this example I was able to connect to an existing Excel file I had with some preloaded data (Customer and Geography tables), relate the data (queries) together, create a report (as you can see there are new visualizations available such as treemap, gauge, filled map, funnel, combo chart, etc.), and save the file locally (pibx file extension).

Now that I have a Power BI file with a report I can go to the Power BI Dashboard site and upload this file to share the content.

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Once you get the report loaded you can then continue your design experience, pin items to a dashboard, and share (within your own organization for now)!  All of this is done in HTML5, so no worries about Silverlight.

Quite a few of the new visualizations are not supported to be pinned yet, but at some point they will, so hold on.

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Very cool, a whole new user and sharing experience!

There is also a ton of great help and support documentation, videos, and walkthroughs available as well

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Enjoy and thanks to the Power BI team!

Posted in Power BI | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

IMDb Analysis with Microsoft Power BI

Posted by denglishbi on January 15, 2014

The Microsoft Power BI Contest entry submission ended today and this morning I worked on my video and got my entry posted.  For my entry I ended up going with the Top 250 rated movies on IMDb.  Last year when I was testing out “Data Explorer” (now called Power Query) I did a blog posting that highlighted this set of data along with some Power View reports here – Installing Data Explorer Preview Demo with IMDb Data

Since that post, which was back in March 2013, the data on the web page has changed (ratings of course, but the data available).  Like now the vote counts were not included in the table on the web page.  Also, I was using an external site to get some XML data to reference for additional information about the movies, well that changed to, so I did get to freshen up the demo a bit.  I also had to prepare some additional items for the Office 365, Power BI, Q&A, and I did setup a Windows 8 Power BI demo.

For our entries we were limited to only 10 minutes, so by no means are these going to be an end-to-end instruction guide.  I didn’t go into a deep analysis of the data, what I was trying to demonstrate was the ability to go from a basic web page of data to a fully decked out analysis tool.  I used Excel 2013, Power Query, Power Pivot, Pivot Charts and Tables, Power View, Office 365, Power BI, and the latest Q&A, so I was trying to show off as much as I could and stay within the timeframe provided.  I also had a demo to show off the Windows 8 Power BI app, but I wasn’t sure the Camtasia video capture software would capture the app demo since it was running on my desktop (will need to test that).

Here is the entry on Facebook (view in full screen to get better resolution – also turn the volume up) – IMDb Analysis with Microsoft Power BI.

PowerBI Facebook Demo

Action Item (please help and vote – Jan 20 thru 30)

Starting next week on Monday, January 20 the entries will be open for public voting.  I would appreciate all of the support you could provide (please vote, and pass it on to co-workers, family, relatives, family, etc.).  The voting will run through Thursday, January 30.  Then 10 out of the 61 entries will move on the semi-finals!  So I need all of the support you can provide.  Thanks so much!

Posted in Data Explorer, Power BI, Power Query | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »