• Choosing a Reporting Tool

    November 12, 2016 / No Comments » / 3092 Views

    Next to the question "How do I offload reporting effort from IT?" is "Which MS reporting tool should my users use?". Granted, Microsoft BI is not shy of reporting tools and they number is increasing! And with Power BI reports soon to be available in SSRS, the choice is getting even more difficult. The following diagram illustrates how I position reporting tools. The Y-axis represents complexity which measures the skills required to author different report types. The X-axis is for interactivity that is related to how well the tool supports interactive data exploration. The size of the bubble represents features supported by the tool – the bigger the bubble, the more features the tool supports. Of course, "features" are subjective. For example, if you care about ability to use custom visualizations, then Power BI reports should be very appealing to you (SSRS also supports custom visuals but you have to...

  • Power BI Reports in SSRS Techinical Preview

    October 28, 2016 / No Comments » / 16682 Views

    From the glimpse to the first public preview…it's great to see one of most requested feature coming to life: ability to render online Power BI reports in on-premises SSRS. Alas, Microsoft is keeping us in suspense and no official date and release vehicles have been announced yet but we can now see and test it using the VM that Microsoft put on Azure (read the Chris Finlan's steps to get started). At this point, the integration supports only Power BI Desktop files that connect to Analysis Services (Multidimensional and Tabular). Attempting to deploy models connected to something else or with imported data, doesn't work and you'll get an error. Custom visuals and R visuals are not supported yet. For the most part, the integration is limited to report viewing only (similar to what you get if you embed Power BI reports in Power BI Embedded). That's will be probably fine...

  • The Future of Microsoft Logical Data Warehouse

    October 26, 2016 / No Comments » / 19328 Views

    Let's face it, the larger the company, the more difficult is to achieve the dream of single enterprise data warehouse (EDW). In a typical mid-size to large organization, data is found in many data repositories and integrating all this data is difficult. I'm doing an assessment and strategy engagement now for a unit in a large organization, and they need access to at least 10 other on-premises systems, including two very large repositories. Naturally, they don't want to import all of this data, which could be millions of rows per day, and recreate their own copy of these large corporate repositories. So what to do? In my "QUO VADIS DATA WAREHOUSE?" newsletter, I defined a logical data warehouse (LDW), also known as data virtualization, is an emerging technology that allows you to access the data where it is. Don't we have linked servers in SQL Server that do this? We...

  • Power BI Dashboard in a Day (DIAD) for SQL Saturday BI

    October 25, 2016 / No Comments » / 38743 Views

    I'm doing a full-day Power BI Dashboard in a Day (DIAD) for SQL Saturday BI on Friday, December 9th for only $129. I'm also sponsoring the event and presenting "Embed Interactive Reports in Your Apps" presentation on Saturday at 9 AM. SQL Saturday Atlanta BI Edition is proud to announce this full day training, register at https://powerbidiad.eventbrite.com today! Power BI Dashboard in a Day (DIAD) is a one-day training designed by Microsoft to accelerate your Power BI experience with a comprehensive training program in a single day. All you have to do is bring your Windows-based laptop and we'll supply the rest – even lunch! With DIAD you get practical hands-on training prepared by the Microsoft Power BI team. During this precon we'll build a Power BI dashboard together. Along the way, you'll learn: • How to connect to, import & transform data from a variety of sources • Build real data...

  • Azure Analysis Services

    October 25, 2016 / No Comments » / 2180 Views

    Despite the mantra you might hear elsewhere, my experience shows that the best self-service BI is empowering users to create reports from trusted semantic models sanctioned and owned by IT. Most of the implementation work I do involves Analysis Services in one form or another. Analysis Services has a very important role in your BI ecosystem as I explain in the "Why Semantic Layer" newsletter. Today, at the SQL PASS SUMMIT, Microsoft announced that Analysis Services Tabular is now available as an Azure PaaS service. As a participant in the prerelease program, I had the opportunity to test Azure Analysis Services and this is why I believe you should care: If you develop cloud-based solutions, you might not have to provision a VM for Tabular anymore. Instead, you can provision an Analysis Services cloud service in seconds, just like you can provision an Azure SQL Database. You can easily scale...

  • Automating Power BI Desktop Refresh

    October 13, 2016 / 4 Comments » / 3371 Views

    Power BI Desktop is becoming an increasing popular tool for self-service reporting. But it has a glaring gap. Unlike Excel, it doesn't currently support an object model for automating tasks. Yet, there are a variety of scenarios that call for task automation, such as refreshing imported data. For example, one customer wanted to show a Power BI Desktop dashboard on a shared monitor that will refresh itself periodically. In another scenario, an ISV wanted to automate the data refresh because Power BI Embedded doesn't currently have APIs to support a scheduled refresh. Currently, there is no supported way to refresh Power BI Desktop files automatically. However, you can try the following approaches at your own risk: Use the Michal Dúbravčík's PBIXRefresher script. This is a PowerShell script that opens Power BI Desktop and sends a key to the Refresh button. Shell out to open Power BI Desktop with the file...

  • A Glimpse of Embedding Power BI Reports in SSRS

    October 6, 2016 / No Comments » / 7371 Views

    The first public demo of the highly anticipated Power BI report embedding feature in SSRS 2016 on premises came from Microsoft Ignite. Scroll to the 58 minute in the Ricardo Muti's "Create a modern enterprise reporting and mobile BI solution with SQL Server 2016" video and enjoy! I expect more details at SQL PASS SUMMIT at the end of this month. Thanks to Dan English for pointing out this video.

  • Power BI Adds Time Series Forecasting

    October 1, 2016 / No Comments » / 3726 Views

    The September update of Power BI Desktop adds one of the most requested features – time series forecasting on single line charts. You can control the confidence interval and seasonality. To use forecasting, make sure that you add a field of Date data type to the chart axis. Only when a date field is used, then you'll see the Forecast section added to the Analytics pane.

  • Presenting at Atlanta Code Camp 2016

    October 1, 2016 / No Comments » / 4445 Views

    I'm presenting Power BI Embedded at Atlanta Code Camp on Saturday, October 15th. You have the app. You have the data. What if your app could put the power of analytics everywhere decisions are made and allow your customers to gain insights? Modern apps with data visualizations built-in have the power to inform decisions in context—for any user and on any device. Join me to discover how you can embed data analytics in any app and on one device powered by Azure and Power BI Embedded. I'll share my experience in helping customers embed Power BI reports. Learn how to: Create compelling interactive reports Embed easily for faster time to value Deploy quickly and manage with ease Find the slides in these locations: 1. This site 2. SlideShare

  • MVP for 13 Years!

    October 1, 2016 / No Comments » / 57979 Views

    Microsoft awarded me again with the Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award for Data Platform. This is a prestigious annual award given to selected individuals in recognition for their expertise and contribution to the community. There are 387 Data Platform MVPs worldwide and 92 of them are in the United States. his makes it 13 consecutive years for me as Data Platform MVP!


We offer onsite and online Business Intelligence classes! Contact us about in-person training for groups of five or more students.
For more information or to register click here!


Learn Power BI at your own pace with our latest book Applied Microsoft Power BI. Targeting information workers, data analysts, pros, and developers, It is designed as an easy-to-follow guide for learning how to implement BI solutions spanning the entire personal-team-organizational BI spectrum.