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Power BI Expands Microsoft Cloud Self-service BI

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Expanding its Office 365 feature set, Microsoft introduced Power BI. Power BI is an umbrella name of the following BI offerings in the cloud: Power Pivot, PowerView, Power Query (previously known as Data Explorer), and Power Map (previously known as GeoFlow), plus more. Microsoft demonstrated Power BI at WPC yesterday (scroll to the 30th minute marker to see the Amir's heart attack-provoking demo) or see the YouTube extract.

The "more" is the intriguing part to me:

  • Data Management Gateway – not sure how exactly this will work but it will provide some sort of connectivity to on-premise data so you can schedule PowerPivot data refreshes between the Microsoft cloud and your corporate data. Expect your ISP speed provider speed to be a limiting factor here so don't hope for fast refreshes of millions of rows.
  • BI Sites – a dedicated SharePoint site that will support finding and collaborating on BI artifacts.
  • Mobile support – Power View is going HTML5!
  • Natural language query – Amir covered this interesting feature pretty well. I don't know how it works behind the scenes yet (probably a natural language-to-DAX translator).
  • Data views – data stewards can publish datasets so they can be easily discoverable by Power Query.
  • King of the Hill – an interesting new PowerView visualization (demonstrated by Amir toward the end of the demo).

We don't know at this point when these features will make to on-premise SharePoint, which probably would have been a better starting point for these enhancements. And, pricing hasn't been announced yet. Look for Power BI toward the end of the summer if cloud self-service BI makes sense to your organization.


Posted Tue, Jul 9 2013 7:28 by tlachev