• Tableau Hyper vs. Power BI xVelocity

    February 18, 2018 / No Comments » / 44 Views

    To compete more effectively with Power BI, Tableau acquired a database technology called HyPer. Like the Microsoft xVelocity in-memory technology (formerly known as VertiPaq), which powers Analysis Services Tabular, Power BI, and SQL Server Columnstore, HyPer is an in-memory database system. Hyper was initially developed as a research project at the Technical University of Munich. Tableau explains that "with Hyper, transactions and analytical queries are processed on the same column store, with no post-processing needed after data ingestion. This reduces stale data and minimizes the connection gap between specialized systems. Hyper's unique approach allows a true combination of read-and write-heavy workloads in a single system. This means you can have fast extract creation without sacrificing fast query performance. (We call that a win-win.)". Tableau shipped Hyper with Tableau v10.5. Here, we have a statement that Tableau claimed that Hyper achieved 3x faster data extraction and 5x increase in query performance...

  • Overwriting Power BI Filters

    February 14, 2018 / No Comments » / 518 Views

    Scenario: You've created a dashboard-looking Power BI report that has a filter. Most visuals on a report page need to show only data for the selected filter but some must ignore the filter. Solution: There are several solutions to achieve this goal depending on requirements. Let's start with the no-brainer and move down in complexity. Move the unfiltered visuals to another report page -- Slicers and page-level filters filter visuals on the same page (note that the Power BI Desktop February update allows you to configure a report-level slicer). By moving the visuals that should remain unaffected by the slicer to another page, you're effectively ignoring the page-level filtering. Use a slicer and "Edit Interactions" – If you use a slicer, you can use the Edit Interactions feature (Format ribbon) to specify which visuals ignore the slicer selection. Edit Interactions is described in more detail here. Consider using time calculations –...

  • PASS Summit 2018 Registration

    February 10, 2018 / No Comments » / 1920 Views

    Planning to attend the PASS Summit this year? The PASS Summit is the go-to conference for data professionals that will take place November 6-9, in Seattle, WA. You have two options to register: Early bird registration priced at $1,699 has started and it will continue until March 23, 2018. As a bonus, use code LGSTRMZB8 at registration to get streaming access to all PASS Summit 2017 content! Pay the regular price after March 23, 2018.

  • Visual-level Formatting in Power BI

    February 7, 2018 / No Comments » / 2186 Views

    Scenario: You want to overwrite the formatting of some field in a Power BI Visual, such as in the case of showing the field in one visual with decimals and  then in another without decimals. Or, you might want to overwrite the default format when connected live to a semantic model. You search left and right, bing the Internet, and still no clue as to why Power BI doesn't have this feature. Answer (that you probably won't like): Most visuals already support display units and decimals. Table and matrix would probably get this feature very soon. We don't have ETA for full custom format string override (per visual). Your vote counts so vote on ideas.powerbi.com. As a best practice, I recommend applying format settings in the model so that it's applied consistently to all reports. In the narrower case of formatting measures, you can create a new measure and change its...

  • Mark as Data Table in Power BI

    February 6, 2018 / No Comments » / 2176 Views

    In my "Understanding Dates in Power BI Quick Measures" blog, I mentioned that having a Date table is a best practice but Quick Measures didn't support it. Fortunately, the February update of Power BI Desktop fixes this. Now you can mark a Data table as such, as you've been able to do in Excel Power Pivot since the beginning. Marking a date table accomplishes three things: Disables the Power BI-generated date hierarchies (aka as inline hierarchies). Good riddance! Check the same blog for details of why inline hierarchies should be avoided. Allows you to use your Date table for time calculations in Quick Measures. Makes DAX time calculations work even if the relationship between a fact table and the Date table is created on a field that is not a date field, such as a smart integer key (YYYYMMDD). Previously, you had to create the relationship on a field of...

  • Reporting on Concatenated Field in DAX

    February 3, 2018 / No Comments » / 1003 Views

    Scenario: You have a concatenated field stored in a table. For example, a medical claim might have several denial reasons. Instead of representing this as a Many-to-Many relationship, you've decided to store this a comma-delimited field, such as to allow the user to see all codes on one row. However, users are asking to produce counts grouped by each reason code, such as this one: Solution: Follow these steps to implement a DAX measure that dynamically parses the string. Implement a DenialReason table with a single column DenialReason that stores the distinct reason codes. Add the table to your Power BI Desktop/Tabular model. Leaving it hanging without a relationship. Add a CountByDenialReason DAX measure that parses the string: CountByDenialReason := CALCULATE (     SUMX ( Claim,         IF (             NOT ISEMPTY (                 FILTER (                     VALUES ( DenialReason[DenialReason] ),                     PATHCONTAINS (                         SUBSTITUTE ( Claim[DenialReason], ",", "|" ), DenialReason[DenialReason]                     )                 )             ),             1         )     ) ) The NOT ISMPTY clause checks if the row contains any reasons. The PATHCONTAINS checks...

  • Business Value of Semantic Model

    January 31, 2018 / No Comments » / 2276 Views

    A while back I wrote about the ROI for BI and this blog happened to be one of my post popular blogs. I'm a big fan of a BI semantic model for the reasons I outlined in my "Why Semantic Layer" newsletter. Although written five years ago, these are still valid reasons and a semantic model plays a prominent role in every organizational BI solution. But management cares about business value and not architectures. Allow me to share just one feedback that I got today from one of our insurance customers. In the insurance business, a loss triangle is very important way to analyze losses incurred from claims. Previously, it would take an actuary in this company a month to compile the data and produce a loss triangle report for several important measures, such as Loss Paid Inception to Date. With the semantic model we implemented, it takes seconds. How...

  • Power BI Sharing Got a Bit Better 2

    January 28, 2018 / No Comments » / 2155 Views

    A week ago, I wrote that Power BI sharing improved by giving you the ability to include specific reports and dashboards in an app. Recall that that there are three ways to share Power BI content: workspaces, apps, and dashboard sharing. Only the last two lets you share content out of a workspace, such as by sharing with free users if the workspace is in a Power BI Premium capacity. The fast-changing cloud world brought in another nice enhancement this week: the ability to share reports, just like you could share dashboards. Suppose you have published some content to a workspace and want to share some reports with a certain group of users and other reports with another group of users. An app can't do it because there is a 1:1 relationship between an app and a workspace and in the process of creating an app you specify a fixed...

  • Atlanta MS BI and Power BI Group Meeting on January 29th

    January 25, 2018 / No Comments » / 2137 Views

    MS BI fans, join us for the next Atlanta MS BI and Power BI Group meeting on January 29th at 6:30 PM. Julie Smith will hack sweet reports in Power BI. Innovative Architects will sponsor the meeting. And your humble correspondent will show you two new cool Power BI features: integration with PowerApps and Q&A in Power BI Desktop. For more details, visit our group page. Presentation: H*ckin Sweet Reports with Power BI Level: Intermediate Date: January 29, 2018 Time 6:30 – 8:30 PM ET Place: South Terraces Building (Auditorium Room) 115 Perimeter Center Place Atlanta, GA 30346 Overview: Power BI is constantly evolving; this session is an overview of the current elements of Power BI and ways to implement them, based on experience in the field using it. Topics include the Power BI Service, Power BI Desktop, Power BI Embedded, Pricing models and some details of Power BI Premium. Sample data...

  • Power BI Sharing Got a Bit Better

    January 20, 2018 / No Comments » / 2362 Views

    One Power BI aspect that I'm not crazy about is sharing. It's my experience that most organization could benefit from a simplified sharing where users or groups are added to a workspace with different roles and permissions, such as Content Manager, Browser, Administrator. This could have worked conceptually like SSRS security. At some point, we could have nested workspaces and custom roles, such as a role that gives viewers permissions to rearrange tiles. Alas, Power BI doesn't support this security model. Instead, it supports dashboard sharing and apps. This can be confusing. For instance, if you have Power BI Premium, you might be tempted to add Power BI Free users to a workspace after you've heard that Power BI Premium lets you share content with free users. Unfortunately, adding Power BI Free users to a workspace accomplishes nothing and they will quickly discover this fact when they attempt to access...

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