Dan English's BI Blog

Welcome to my random thoughts in regards to Business Intelligence, databases, and other technologies

PASS Business Analytics Virtual Chapter January 26–Take Power BI Visualizations to the Next Level

Posted by denglishbi on January 25, 2017

The next PASS Business Analytics Virtual Chapter meeting will be tomorrow on Thursday, January 26.  We welcome back Reza Rad who is a Microsoft Data Platform MVP and BI Rockstar and he will be presenting on Power BI and data visualizations.PASS_BAVC_Logo_New_201502

–> REGISTER NOW <–

January 26 – Take Power BI Visualizations to the Next Level

Session Abstract

Visualization is the front end of every BI system, and getting it right will affect tremendously on the data analysis solution. In this session you will learn tips and tricks of data visualization with Power BI, examples of effective visualizations, and you will learn when is best to use which type of chart. You will learn about best way of visualizing elements through built-in visualizations or custom visuals.

Speaker Bio –

Reza Rad (http://www.radacad.com/reza) speaks in world’s best and biggest SQL Server and BI conferences such as PASS Summits, PASS Rallys, SQLBits, TechEds, Ignites, and so on. He is author of books on this topic, and he has more than 15 years’ experience in the Microsoft BI technologies. 10 years of his experience focused on training and consulting to the largest BI teams in the world. He is also Microsoft Certified Trainer for years. He is Microsoft SQL Server MVP (Most Valuable Professional) focused on BI and Data Analysis for seven years, He has been awarded MVP from Microsoft because of his dedication and expertise in Microsoft BI technologies. He is author of Power BI book from Rookie to Rock Star (http://radacad.com/online-book-power-bi-from-rookie-to-rockstar).

–> REGISTER NOW <–

Also, we will be doing a random drawing after the webinar and giving away two $25 Amazon gift cards to anyone that attends and fills out the survey!

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PASS Business Analytics VC December 20 – The Civic Technology Movement

Posted by denglishbi on December 13, 2016

The next PASS Business Analytics Virtual Chapter meeting will be next week on Tuesday, December 20.  We welcome Adam Hecktman who is Microsoft’s Directory of Technolgoy and Civic Innovation for Chicago who will be teaching us about the new Civic Technology movement.PASS_BAVC_Logo_New_201502

–> REGISTER NOW <–

December 20 – The Civic Technology Movement

Session Abstract

Civic Technology is a relatively new movement of people with technical skills who want to work towards the public good. Developers, designers, and…yes…data folks are working together to build tools to make our democracy work for everybody and to solve some of the most intractable social problems in cities around the country. But that is only part of the story. Learn what is being done and how you can participate by joining this webinar

Speaker Bio –

Adam J. Hecktman is Microsoft’s Director of Technology and Civic Innovation for Chicago. In this capacity, Adam helps Chicago’s civic leaders – and the communities they serve – use cutting-edge ideas around technology to solve the city’s biggest challenges. He provides thought leadership on the key issues and opportunities facing Chicago today and in the future.

Prior to this role, Adam was the Director of the Microsoft Technology Center – Chicago, helping organizations maximize business value and ensure long-term success when facing their toughest business challenges and opportunities. He has been with Microsoft in Chicago since 1991. Prior to Microsoft, Adam was a consultant for Accenture.

Adam received a Bachelor of Science in commerce and business administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is pursuing his Masters of Data Science at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He regularly appears on television, print, and radio, and has authored numerous articles.

–> REGISTER NOW <–

Also, make sure you check out some of the other exciting events coming up:

The world of data and analytics is rapidly changing, and we’re pleased to offer the Business Analytics (BA) Marathon for data professionals looking to use data to make better business decisions. This edition features six back-to-back webinars focused on R and predictive analytics.

http://www.sqlpass.org/bamarathon/2016/december/Schedule.aspx

PASS BA Day 2017

Join us on January 11, 2017 in Chicago!

Immerse in a full day of intense learning guided by expert speakers. Connect with like-minded business analytics professionals. Walk away with real-world analytics knowledge that you can use immediately!

http://passbaday.com/2017/chicago/Home.aspx

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MN PASS Microsoft BI User Group Meeting – Dec 12

Posted by denglishbi on December 6, 2016

The next MN Microsoft BI User Group meeting is on Monday, December 12. We will have two presentations, the first one is embedding Power BI in applications and the other is on Data Visualization best practices.

Please Register Now (Please register so that we can have your name badge pre-printed)

MN Microsoft BI User Group December 2016 Meeting

Sponsored by:

image[12]MSFT_logo_Page

Date: Monday, December 12, 2016

Check In: 12:45 PM Event Time: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Location: Microsoft Technology Center – 3601 76th St W, Suite 600 Edina MN 55435 (in LOW 1, 2, and 3)

Please Register Now (Please register so that we can have your name badge pre-printed)

Agenda:

  • 12:45-1:30 : Check-In, Pizza, Networking
  • 1:30-1:45 : Microsoft BI User Group Updates and Announcements
  • 1:45-2:45 : Embedding Power BI Visuals within your application for internal and external users
  • 2:45-3:00 : Break
  • 3:00-4:00 : A Bigger Boat: Data Visualization Lessons from the Movie Theater
  • 4:00-4:30 : Wrap Up & Networking

Presentations:

Session 1: Embedding Power BI Visuals within your application for internal and external users

Power BI Visuals can be consumed in different ways and fashions. You can either consume them directly from PowerBI.com or by embedding them within applications (both for internal and external users). In this session, we will cover how to embed Power BI Visuals into application for internal users (using Power BI Developers API’s) and for external users (using Power BI Embedded).

Speaker: Prateek Gandhi, Data Platform Solution Architect

Prateek works at Microsoft as a Data Platform Solution Architect. As a Microsoft employee for the last 4.5 years, he has worked with several large enterprise customers in the Twin Cities helping them with SQL Server, Azure and SQL BI. He has also been working with Microsoft database technologies for the last 15 years with a lot of emphasis on SQL Server.

Session 2: A Bigger Boat: Data Visualization Lessons from the Movie Theater

When Chief Brody first sees the shark in Jaws, he carefully backs away from the stern of the Orca and quietly, but certainly, tells Quint, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” That one line, combined with a terrific delivery by Roy Sheider, packs a great deal of contextual information into six words.

Making efficient use of space to convey meaning is a vital part of good Data Visualization.

In this session, we will discuss the fundamentals of human visual perception, including the important distinction between Pre-Attentive and Attentive Processing. We will use examples from feature films like Jaws, Alien, and Sneakers to show important aspects of visual analysis around Color, Form, Position, and Motion. We will then put these concepts into practice via demos in Excel and Power BI. By the end of this session, you will have a solid understanding of the importance of data visualization and how to use it to enable better decisions.

Speaker: Mark Vaillancourt, Data Solutions Architect

Mark is a Data Solutions Architect for Microsoft, helping organizations design data solutions in Azure. He has been working with Microsoft data technologies since 2007. Before joining Microsoft, he was a Business Intelligence consultant and two-time Microsoft Data Platform MVP. With a background in Theater and Improvised Comedy, Mark makes sure that his presentations are both informative and fun.

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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.

image

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:

image

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: , , | 7 Comments »

PASS Business Analytics Marathon–Dec 14

Posted by denglishbi on November 18, 2016

Next month is the next PASS Business Analytics (BA) Marathon on Wednesday, December 14. Six great sessions to check out! I will be kicking it off as well, so please register and join me during the event!

Stay ahead of the curve in the rapidly changing business analytics (BA) field and join us for the latest edition of the BA Marathon on December 14, 2016.

Industry experts will deliver six back-to-back webinars on R, Power BI and predictive analytics – topics that are highly relevant to today’s BA professional. Attend any of the webinars or all six!

Webinar Date: Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Start time: 17:00 GMT

Session 1: Analyzing Healthcare Open Data with Power BI
Dan English, Senior Data Warehouse Architect, Constellation

Session 2: Big Data Analytics with SparkR
Jen Underwood, Founder of Impact Analytix, LLC

Session 3: Disrupt the Static Nature of BI with Predictive Anomaly Detection
Uri Maoz, Vice President of US business, Anodot

Session 4: Using R to Clean and Transform Small Data
Mark Wilcock, Technical Delivery Manager, ‎Credit Suisse

Session 5: Visualizing Multiple Time Series with R in Power BI
Bill McLellan, BI Team Lead and Sr. BI Solutions Specialist, TKC Holdings

Session 6: Real-World Predictive Analytics
Miguel Molina-Cosculluela, Managing Partner & Analytics Evangelist, Analytikus
Diwakar Rajagopal, Senior Director of Partnerships, Pyramid Analytics


Register for any of the webinars and even if you are unable to attend the live events, we’ll notify you to access the session recordings.

Thank you to our presenting sponsor

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PASS Business Analytics VC December Meeting–R; One Ring to Rule Them All

Posted by denglishbi on November 18, 2016

The next PASS Business Analytics Virtual Chapter meeting will be next month on Wednesday, December 7.  We welcome Microsoft Data Platform MVP Leila Etaati who will be going over the use of R and the new capabilities provided with R Server and in SQL Server 2016.PASS_BAVC_Logo_New_201502

–> REGISTER NOW <–

December 7 – R; One Ring to Rule them All

Session Abstract

R is one of the most popular and powerful analytics languages. That helps data scientists to prepare data, predict data and visualize it. Microsoft offers several deployment options to bring next-generation advanced analytics to your business. Microsoft R Server delivers R-based analytics to where your data lives. In this session, first basic concepts of machine learning will be discussed. Then, a demo of how to use R for data cleaning, visualization, and prediction will be presented. Subsequently, an introduction to using R server and R in SQL Server 2016 will be shown. Finally, a brief introduction on how to use Azure ML and Power BI with R will be presented.

Speaker Bio –

Leila is a PhD, mentor, speaker, and Senior Consultant. She spoke in some important SQL server conference such as PASS Summit, PASS BA, 24 Hours of PASS, SQL Rally and Microsoft ignite New Zealand. She has over 10 years’ experience working with SQL server. She was involved in many large-scale projects for big sized companies as SQL server and BI consultant. She worked in Industries including banking financial, power and utility, manufacturing. Leila is PhD of Information System department, University of Auckland, New Zealand. She is a lecturer of BI and Machine Learning courses.

–> REGISTER NOW <–

Also, make sure you check out some of the other exciting events coming up:

The world of data and analytics is rapidly changing, and we’re pleased to offer the Business Analytics (BA) Marathon for data professionals looking to use data to make better business decisions. This edition features six back-to-back webinars focused on R and predictive analytics.

http://www.sqlpass.org/bamarathon/2016/december/Schedule.aspx

PASS BA Day 2017

Join us on January 11, 2017 in Chicago!

Immerse in a full day of intense learning guided by expert speakers. Connect with like-minded business analytics professionals. Walk away with real-world analytics knowledge that you can use immediately!

http://passbaday.com/2017/chicago/Home.aspx

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PASS Business Analytics Day – Jan 11 in Chicago

Posted by denglishbi on November 3, 2016

Immerse yourself in a day of intense learning guided by expert speakers. Connect with like-minded business analytics professionals. Choose one of two in-depth full-day sessions packed with case studies and expert advice. Walk away with real-world analytics knowledge that you can use immediately! PASS BA Day Jan 17 Chicago

PASS Business Analytics Day – January 11 in Chicago (home of the World Series Champions – Chicago Cubs!!!)

Join us for an exceptional learning opportunity with leading experts. Choose from one of the two following sessions for $595:

image

Advanced Analytics Track: In-database Analytics with R and SQL Server 2016
Speakers: David Smith, R Community Lead, and Seth Mottaghinejad, Data Scientist, Microsoft
Learn More

Data Visualization Track: Mastering Power BI Solutions
Speaker: Paul Turley, Mentor with SolidQ, BI Architect, and Microsoft Data Platform MVP
Learn More

<<- REGISTER NOW –>>

Who Should Attend?

Whether you work in finance, operations, marketing, sales, or customer service, PASS Business Analytics Day is designed for professionals who want to improve their business and data analytics skill set and learn best practices for making data-driven decisions and recommendations. Join us in Chicago, IL for this opportunity to learn from world-class analytic leaders and to network with the local analytics community.

Seating is limited, so register now!

<<- REGISTER NOW –>>

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MN PASS Microsoft BI User Group Meeting – Oct 27

Posted by denglishbi on October 24, 2016

The next MN Microsoft BI User Group meeting is coming up on Thursday, October 27. We will have two presentations, the first one is a case study from Red Wing Shoes on Advanced Analytics and the other is on ETL in the Cloud.

Please Register Now (Please register so that we can have your name badge pre-printed)

MN Microsoft BI User Group October 2016 Meeting

Sponsored by:

image[12]MSFT_logo_Page

Date: Monday, October 27, 2016

Check In: 12:45 PM Event Time: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Location: Microsoft Technology Center – 3601 76th St W, Suite 600 Edina MN 55435 (in LOW 1, 2, and 3)

Please Register Now (Please register so that we can have your name badge pre-printed)

Agenda:

  • 12:45-1:00 : Check-In
  • 1:00-1:45 : Pizza Lunch
  • 1:45-2:00 : Microsoft BI User Group Updates and Announcements
  • 2:00-3:00 : Red Wing Shoes – Keeping on the Heels of Advanced Analytics
  • 3:00-3:15 : Break
  • 3:15-4:15 : ETL in the Cloud
  • 4:15-5:00 : Networking

Presentations:

Session 1: Red Wing Shoes – Keeping on the Heels of Advanced Analytics

For over a century Red Wing purpose-built footwear has been at the spearhead of innovation in the standard of excellence for work boots. As a global leader, they are on a journey to transform their business by leveraging data management and advanced analytics. Hear from Red Wing Shoes on how they are driving product transformation with data and analytics. See how SQL Server master data management and analytics is leveraged to implement data governance, gather and share business insights improve product performance.

Speaker: Jay Wardle, Director, Business Intelligence & Analytics

Jay is the Director, Business Intelligence and Analytics for Red Wing Shoe Company. He leads the long-term strategic direction of BI and data architecture as well as the team who performs development on and operations of BI&A platforms. He is currently driving initiatives in Merchandise Analytics and Business Performance Management to get to "One Source of the Truth." Additionally, he is moving RWSC to Self-Service BI both technically and culturally.

Session 2: ETL in the Cloud

In this session we will canvass the many options you have for doing ETL/ELT work on the Azure platform, including IaaS, PaaS and “serverless” options. We will dive deeper into two workloads with demos and some “tips and tricks” for Azure Data Factory and also Azure Functions.

Speaker: Michael Ludwig, Microsoft Data Solutions Architect

Michael is a Data Solutions Architect at Microsoft in Edina, where he works on Machine Learning, Big Data and Blockchain applications on the Azure platform. Prior to joining Microsoft, Michael worked at Silver Bay, designing and optimizing geographical and financial statistical analysis solutions (mostly regression analysis and clustering). Before that, he was a database architect and then the lead systems architect of a multi-tenant cloud-based Internet-of-Things application for LogicPD, in Minneapolis.

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PASS Business Analytics VC September Meeting – Building Real-Time Scorecards with Mobile Report Publisher

Posted by denglishbi on September 13, 2016

The next PASS Business Analytics Virtual Chapter meeting has been postponed and will be on Thursday, October 20.  We welcome George Carlisle who will be going over the new SQL Server Mobile Report Publisher that is available in SQL Server 2016.

–> REGISTER NOW <–PASS_BAVC_Logo_New_201502

Oct 20 – Building Real-Time Scorecards with the Mobile Report Publisher

Abstract

Organizations are complex and there is a need to keep things simple. Scorecards can help and now the Mobile Report Publisher formerly the Datazen Publisher can make this data available on desktop and mobile so you can make the best decisions in real time. Information is vital to business today but many organizational leaders wonder how to stay focused on strategic goals with so much operational data at their fingertips? The Scorecard is a strategy performance management tool to help you do this.

Bios –

George Carlisle is building a cloud genetic cloud startup in Maryland. Prior to this, he worked at Ericsson, Verizon Federal, and Hewlett-Packard supporting global accounts in solution architect roles. Also, he is an Adobe, Intel and Microsoft Partner.

image

–> REGISTER NOW <–

If you are planning on attending the PASS Summit 2016 use the following discount code and save $150

Save $150 right now using discount code VC15BKR3

If you are interested in speaking at an upcoming PASS BA Virtual Chapter meeting we are always looking for speakers, please leave a comment or send us an email at PASSBAVC@SQLPASS.ORG

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PASS Business Analytics VC August Meeting – Maximize your Microsoft Investment with BI Office

Posted by denglishbi on August 17, 2016

The next PASS Business Analytics Virtual Chapter meeting is coming up next week on Thursday, August 25.  This month we welcome Pyramid Analytics and they will go over their BI Office product and show the Power BI on-premise solution.  If you are not familiar with Pyramid Analytics, they are one of the PASS national as well as local SQLSaturday sponsors.  If you attend a local SQLSaturday event or go to one of the major PASS Conferences (Summit or Business Analytics) make sure you stop by their location and check them out.

–> REGISTER NOW <–PASS_BAVC_Logo_New_201502

Aug 25 – Maximizing your Microsoft investment with Pyramid Analytics BI Office

Abstract

Pyramid Analytics BI Office is the top analytics platform for the Microsoft BI Platform. BI Office provides a complete on-premise or private cloud solution with unparalleled governance, security, and integration with Microsoft, including Power BI Desktop content. This session will provide an overview discussion and demo of the BI Office application, including advanced analytics with complex topics made easy (such as reusable R models). Target audiences include business analysts, data scientists and Power BI users.image

Bios –

Peter Sprague is VP of Product Marketing at Pyramid Analytics. A veteran of ProClarity, Capstone and Microsoft; Peter Sprague has been developing analytic tools, and designing and deploying enterprise BI solutions for over 15 years.

John Hormaechea is Director of Product Marketing at Pyramid Analytics. John has previously worked at Microsoft as part of the SharePoint and Business Intelligence product marketing teams. and ProClarity in various sales, consulting, and training roles.

image

–> REGISTER NOW <–

If you are planning on attending the PASS Summit 2016 use the following discount code and save $150

Save $150 right now using discount code VC15BKR3

If you are interested in speaking at an upcoming PASS BA Virtual Chapter meeting we are always looking for speakers, please leave a comment or send us an email at PASSBAVC@SQLPASS.ORG

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