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Prologika Newsletter Summer 2017

What Does Power BI Premium Mean for You?


060417_1725_PrologikaNe1.pngAs I mentioned in my Spring newsletter “15 Reasons Why Microsoft is Leading the BI Space”, Microsoft BI is enjoying resurgent interest from customers and industry observers, and Power BI gets lots of attention. I’m sure that you’ve also heard the announcements about Power BI Premium – a new dedicated licensing model for Power BI. In fact, Power BI Premium is so important to Microsoft that it’s positioned as a new product under the Power BI umbrella name instead of a new licensing model. In this newsletter, I’ll discuss what Power BI means for you and why you should strongly consider it. If you live in these cities, consider joining me at SQL Saturday Chattanooga on June 24th or the Atlanta MS BI Group on June 26th when I’ll present “Understanding Power BI Premium” and discuss its inner workings in more detail. My June calendar has the details about these events.


Why Power BI Premium?

According to Microsoft, for less than 2 years since Power BI became generally available, more than 5 million users are currently using it. As the product matures, the following growing pain points have emerged:

  • Per-user licensing model – Large organizations find it difficult to license Power BI per user. A case in point – one year after a successful Power BI hybrid pilot, a Fortune 100 organization has purchased whopping 5 Power BI Pro licenses. There are several reasons for the slow adoption by large companies but one of them is the per-user license.
  • Cost prohibitive with large user base – The per-user licensing model doesn’t include a “reader” license. If a report has a Power BI Pro features, all users accessing reports would need Power BI Pro licenses. So, if you a report that used Power BI Pro features, such as gateways or live connections, and you won’t this report to be available to 1,000 users, you had to foot $10,000/month bill because everyone required Power BI Pro.
  • Performance – Power BI Service is a shared cloud environment. Although no one has shared performance issues with me, it’s possible that the performance of your reports might be negatively affected by other organizations.
  • No “premium” features – When I teach Power BI I often get feedback that some missing features, such as caching and incremental refresh, are important. This goes back to performance but the reason why they are not currently available is because they might impact performance in a shared environment.
  • Confusing licensing – Previously, there was some overlap between Power BI Free and Power BI Pro. Many organizations find it very difficult to navigate what features are available where.

What’s There to Like in Power BI Premium?

There are several reasons why Power BI might be appealing to your organization.

To start with, larger organizations can save on licensing cost. If all users would need access to reports with Pro features, the breakpoint at which Power BI Premium reduces cost is above 500 users. That’s because, Power BI Premium allows Power BI Free users to access Pro content without Power BI Pro licenses. You can use the Power BI Premium calculator to experiment with what-if scenarios and calculate your licensing cost.

Cost savings is not the only reason to consider Power BI Premium. You also get dedicated capacity. When you purchase Power BI Premium, you buy a dedicated environment for your organization. Think of it as buying a dedicated IaaS service, such as an Azure VM, versus a PaaS service, such as an Azure SQL Database, that is shared with other users on the same server. For more information about how this works and what Premium plans are available, read the Power BI Premium whitepaper.

Almost organization I’ve consulted with has the need to embed reports for a third party. Previously, if you want to embed Power BI reports, you had to use the Azure Power BI Embedded Service, which was separate from the Power BI Service. Consequently, Power BI Embedded had to catch up with Power BI Service. For example, it still doesn’t have connectivity to on-premises data sources. The good news is that Power BI Embedded marries Power BI Service (Power BI Premium = Power BI Service + Power BI Embedded) so there will be feature parity. If you are concerned about the increased licensing cost (Power BI Embedded has an hourly-based session licensing model), Microsoft unveiled low-cost Power BI Premium plans targeted to report embedding only and starting at $625/month.

powerbipremiumplans

Another appealing detail concerning embedded analytics is that unlike Power BI Premium which requires reports authors to have Power BI Pro licenses, creating new embedded reports or changing existing embedded reports by external users don’t require a Power BI Pro license. Of course, if your organization purchases a Power BI Premium plan, such as P1 starting at $5,000/month, not only will you be able to use Power BI Premium for internal use, but you can also embed reports for external customers. In other words, one Power BI Premium license covers both internal and external reporting.

Finally, Power BI Premium-only features are in the works, such as real-time caching by pinning datasets to memory, incremental dataset refresh, secondary model copies for disaster recovery, and geo replicas to reduce latency by replicating instances around the world.

Changes to the Power BI Portfolio

You might wonder how Power BI Premium impacts your current Power BI usage. The table below shows how Power BI Premium changes the Power BI portfolio.

Today Future
Power BI Desktop Connect to 70+ data sources

Data transformations

Report creation and exploration

No changes
Power BI Free No live connections, No gateway connectivity

Smaller capacity limits and data refresh rates

Only simple dashboard sharing

Power BI Pro feature parity
No sharing (not even simple dashboard sharing)
Power BI Pro Access to all data sources

Larger capacity limits and data refresh rates

All sharing options (simple, workspaces, org content packs)

No changes
Power BI Premium Increased capacity limits
Dedicated environment
Content distribution (reader license)
Power BI Report Server
More features in future (read the whitepaper)

So, don’t panic! You can continue using Power BI under the current per-user licensing model (Power BI Free and Power BI Pro) if Power BI Premium makes no sense to you. Another good news is that Power BI Free now has all the Power BI Pro features, so hopefully we won’t see “This report requires Power BI Pro license” anymore. The bad news is that with per-user licensing, Power BI Free is for individual use only. A Power BI Free user can’t share any Power BI content (not even simple dashboard sharing). And, unless you purchase Power BI Premium, content can’t be shared with Power BI Free users (Both inbound and outbound sharing are not available for Power BI Free users).

Power BI Report Server

Delivering on its on-premises reporting roadmap, Microsoft has extended SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) to support Power BI reports. The extended SSRS will be known as Power BI Report Server. Moreover, Microsoft has decoupled SSRS from SQL Server so it gets more frequent updates. Moving forward, SSRS becomes two products:

  • SSRS – This is the SSRS we know it but with no Power BI integration. It will get new RDL features but no Power BI integration features.
  • Power BI Report Server – It gets both RDL and Power BI features. As far as the reason for the name change, the Power BI name is a strong brand while SSRS has been associated with the old style paginated reports.

You can get Power BI Report Server in two ways:

  • As a part of the Power BI Premium plan where you get the same number of licensed on-premises cores as the v-cores you purchased within your Power BI Premium plan. You can use these licensed cores only for Power BI Premium Report Server (SQL Server requires a separate license if you install it on the same box as Power BI Premium Report Server).
  • Standalone and covered by a SQL Server Enterprise Edition with Software Assurance license. Currently, SQL Server doesn’t check for Software Assurance in any way (there isn’t such SKU). So, Power BI Premium licensing would be an honor system for customers who want to get it standalone (with SQL Server Enterprise Edition licenses).

So, although Power BI Premium Report Server has divorced SQL Server, you can still cover by the SQL Server license (kind of when you send your kid to college but she still lives with you). In both cases, developers publishing Power BI reports to the Power BI Report Server will require a Power BI Pro license at $9.99/user/mo.

MS BI Events in Atlanta

As you’d probably agree, the BI landscape is fast-moving and it might be overwhelming. If you need any help with planning and implementing your next-generation BI solution, don’t hesitate to contact me. As a Microsoft Gold Partner and premier BI firm, you can trust us to help you plan and implement your data analytics projects, and rest assured that you’ll get the best service. Regards,

Teo Lachev

Teo Lachev President and Owner
Prologika, LLC | Making Sense of Data
Microsoft Partner | Gold Data Analytics

Power BI Excel Publisher Doesn’t Load

Issue: You want to use the Power BI Excel Publisher but it doesn’t load. You look at the Excel add-ins and you see that it’s deactivated. You try to activate it and then you get an error.

Solution: Copy the following Office PIA files to the add-in folder (C:\Program Files\Microsoft Power BI Publisher for Excel\bin).

  1. Microsoft.Office.Interop.SQLIS.12.0.nupkg
  2. OFFICE.dll

Unfortunately, I don’t know where these files are located. They were given to me by the Microsoft Support and I can’t redistribute. If you can’t find them, you can call MS support and reference support case: 117041015581533.

Now when you open Excel, you should see the Power BI ribbon tab.

What Does Power BI Premium Mean for You?

I’m sure we’ve heard the announcements today about Power BI Premium. In fact, Power BI Premium is so important that Microsoft has positioned it as a new product under the Power BI marketing umbrella name instead of a new licensing model. Microsoft and industry experts covered the announcements well so I won’t reiterate the obvious. You may wonder what these changes mean for you. Let’s summarize.

Power BI Portfolio

In a nutshell, Power BI Premium targets larger organizations which have faced two issues with the current Power BI licensing model:

  • No “reader” license. If a report has a Power BI Pro features, all users accessing reports would need Power BI Pro license. So, if you a report that used Power BI Pro features, such as gateways or live connections and you won’t this report to be available to 1,000 users, you had to foot $10,000/month bill because everyone required Power BI Pro.
  • Per user license. A case in point – one year after a successful Power BI hybrid pilot, a Fortune 100 organization has purchased whopping 5 Power BI Pro licenses. There are several reasons for the slow adoption by large companies but one of them is the per-user license.

Large organizations who are seeking a mass Power BI deployment to potentially thousands of users could save big with Power BI Premium (use the nice calculator to find how much). On the downside, I’m not happy about Microsoft requiring Power BI Pro licenses for contributors on top of Power BI Premium.

I don’t see smaller organizations being very much interested in Power BI Premium. For them, a welcome change would be that Power BI Free adds Power BI Pro features. On the downside, Power BI Free loses simple dashboard sharing. This reflects the Microsoft vision about Power BI Free: it is for individual users who are evaluating Power BI. To mitigate the impact of the Power BI Free changes, Microsoft offers one year Power BI Pro trial offer to all Power BI Free users as of May 2nd.

Today Starting in June 2017th
Power BI Desktop Connect to 70+ data sources

Data transformations

Report creation and exploration

No changes
Power BI Free No live connections, No gateway connectivity

Smaller capacity limits and data refresh rates

Only simple dashboard sharing

Access to all data sources
Performance equivalent to Power BI Pro
No sharing (not even simple dashboard sharing)
Power BI Pro Access to all data sources

Larger capacity limits and data refresh rates

All sharing options (simple, workspaces, org content packs)

No changes
Power BI Premium Increased capacity limits
Dedicated environment
Content distribution (reader license)
Power BI Report Server
More features in future, such as in-memory caching, incremental refresh (read the whitepaper)

Personally, I’d like to see more Power BI pricing tiers added, e.g. Standard tiers. Currently, the lowest Power BI Premium tier (P1) is $5,000 per month which would be probably out of reach for smaller organizations. But fear not, you can stay within the old Power BI Pro licensing model.

Power BI Report Server

Microsoft has decoupled SSRS from SQL Server so it gets more frequent updates. SSRS becomes actually two products:

  • SSRS – This is the SSRS we know it but with no Power BI integration. It will get new RDL features but no Power BI features. See the Microsoft blogs here and here for more details.
  • Power BI Report Server – Distributed as a standalone installer, Power BI Report Server is a superset SSRS as it gets both existing report types and Power BI reports. As far as the reason for the name change, the Power BI name is a strong brand while SSRS has been associated with the old style paginated reports.

You can get Power BI Report Server in two ways:

  • As a part of the Power BI Premium bundle. You get the same number as licensed EE cores as the number of v-cores you purchased with Power BI Premium.
  • Standalone and covered by a SQL Server Enterprise Edition with Software Assurance license, plus Power BI Pro licenses for report authors (as with Power BI Premium).

So, although Power BI Report Server has divorced SQL Server, it’s still covered by its license (kind of when you send your kid to college but she still lives with you). Currently, SQL Server doesn’t check for Software Assurance in any way (there isn’t such SKU). So, it looks like Power BI Premium licensing would be an honor system for customers who want to get it standalone covered by a SQL Server Enterprise Edition license.

Power BI Embedded

Power BI Embedded has been gaining a lot of traction but the problem was that it’s separate from Power BI Service. Consequently, it had to catch up with Power BI Service. For example, it still doesn’t have connectivity to on-premises data sources. The good news is that Power BI Embedded marries Power BI Service so there will be a feature parity and a common set of APIs. The part that I’m not excited about is that its new licensing model requires Power BI Premium (good bye per-session licensing). This might be a showstopper for small ISVs. I hope that Microsoft introduces less expensive pricing tiers to better cater for needs of smaller companies. [Update 6/15/2017:  Microsoft announced low-cost EM* plans for Power BI Embedded starting at $625/mo]

powerbipremium

Power BI Report Measures Over Tabular Models

The May release of Power BI Desktop adds the ability to define DAX calculated measures when Power BI Desktop is connected live to a Tabular model or Power BI datasets. This is conceptually similar to defining MDX calculated members in Excel connected to a cube. The measure definitions are local to the Power BI Desktop model (the Tabular model is not modified). You can do all measure-related tasks as when you define measures in the data model, such as changing the data type and formatting the measure or changing the home table. In the screenshot below, I’ve defined a YTD report measure over the Adventure Works Tabular model.

050317_0117_PowerBIRepo1.png

Behind the scenes, the DAX query generated by Power BI Desktop adds the measures as query-scoped measures in the /* USER DAX BEGIN/END */ section:

DEFINE MEASURE ‘Reseller Sales'[Reseller Sales YTD] =

(/* USER DAX BEGIN */

TOTALYTD(SUM(‘Reseller Sales'[Sales Amount]), ‘Date'[Date])

/* USER DAX END */)

EVALUATE

ROW(

“Reseller_Total_Sales”, ‘Reseller Sales'[Reseller Total Sales],

“Reseller Sales YTD”, ‘Reseller Sales'[Reseller Sales YTD]

)

Report-level measures are a welcome enhancement. Bringing this further, I’d like to see the ability to define report-level measures using the Quick Measure feature. Another feature that I’m waiting for is the ability to use custom measures (both defined in the model and report-level) in the new numeric range slicer (currently in preview).

Automating Excel to Power BI Publishing

Excel 2016 added a Publish to Power BI menu to let you export or connect Excel workbooks to Power BI. You can read more about this Excel feature here. One area where Excel is still ahead of Power BI Desktop is that is has an object model that lets you automate tasks with VBA. Unfortunately, Power BI Desktop doesn’t have an object model so you have to resort to unsupported ways (aka hacks) to automate tasks, such as refreshing and publishing to Power BI. I discussed some here.

I’ve noticed that Microsoft added not yet documented PublishToPBI method to Excel 2016. With it, refreshing the Excel data model and publishing it to Power BI Service takes two lines of code (you’d need more code to open the Excel workbook from an external application).

Sub Macro1()

ActiveWorkbook.Model.Refresh

ActiveWorkbook.PublishToPBI PublishType:=msoPBIExport, nameConflict:= msoPBIAbort, bstrGroupName:=”<Some Workspace>”

End Sub

Power BI Quick Measures

One of the most common complaints raised by Power BI customers is the DAX steep learning curve. The April release of Power BI Desktop introduces a feature called Quick Measures. Currently in preview (make sure to enable Quick Measures from File ð Options and settings ð Options, Preview features), Quick Measures are supposed to replace Quick Calcs. Besides supporting only a limited number of packaged calculations and not working on top of custom measures, the problem with Quick Calcs is that they don’t show the DAX formulas so there isn’t a way for you to learn from the work Microsoft did or to change the formulas to customize their behavior. This changes with Quick Measures.

You can create a Quick Measure over implicit or explicit measures. To do so, once you add a field to the report, expand the measure drop-down in the Fields of the Visualizations pane, and the click “Quick measures”. Then, select the calculation type. Currently, Power BI Desktop supports about 20 quick measures organized in four categories: Aggregate by category (average, min, max, variance), Filters (filtered value, difference or percentage from filtered value), Time intelligence (YTD, QTD, MTD, and their variances), Running total, Mathematical operations (additions, subtractions, division, multiplication, percentage difference).

040417_0137_PowerBIQuic1.png

For some obscure reason, the YTD quick measure I tried works only with an inline date hierarchy (Power BI Desktop can auto-generate an inline date hierarchy when you add a Date field to the report). But fear not! Once you create the quick measure, it becomes a regular measure and it gets added to the Fields list. Which means that you can change its formula! This is the auto-generated one.

SalesAmount YTD =

IF(

ISFILTERED(‘Date'[Date]),

ERROR(“Time intelligence quick measures can only be grouped or filtered by the Power BI-provided date hierarchy”),

TOTALYTD(SUM(‘ResellerSales'[SalesAmount]), ‘Date'[Date].[Date])

)

And this is how to get it work with any field in your Date table.

SalesAmount YTD = TOTALYTD(SUM(‘ResellerSales'[SalesAmount]), ‘Date'[Date])

Quick Measures are a welcome upgrade of Quick Calcs. They are designed to help you add common calculations and help you learn DAX.

“Get the Most Out of Power BI” Seminar on May 3rd

Patrick LeBlanc and I will deliver a free seminar “Get the Most Out of Power BI” on May 3rd, 8:30 AM to 12 PM, at the Microsoft Office in Alpharetta.

You won’t want to miss this educational and engaging event! Please register today as seating is limited at http://prologika.com/event/get-the-most-out-of-power-bi/.

Power BI is about empowering all types of users to get insights from data. It consists of the Power BI Service (powerbi.com), Power BI Desktop, Power BI Mobile, and Power BI Embedded, and it comes in two pricing options: Power BI Free and Power BI Pro. Power BI enjoys a tremendous momentum and industry observers has given it high scores. Packed with a dizzying variety of features, Power BI supports different solutions but it might be difficult to understand which features you need to reduce licensing cost.

Join Prologika and Microsoft for a 3-hour free seminar on Wednesday, May 3rd, 8:30 AM -12 PM ET, at the Microsoft Office in Alpharetta, when Teo Lachev (CEO of Prologika) and Patrick LeBlanc (Data Platform Solutions Architect at Microsoft) share practical knowledge and experience to help you get the most out of Power BI. If you’re planning Power BI rollout in your organization, this event is for you. Join Prologika and Microsoft for a 3-hour free seminar on Wednesday, May 3rd, 8:30 AM -12 PM ET, at the Microsoft Office in Alpharetta, when Teo Lachev (CEO of Prologika) and Patrick LeBlank (Data Platform Solutions Architect at Microsoft) share practical knowledge and experience to help you get the most out of Power BI. If you’re planning Power BI rollout in your organization, this event is for you.

Learn tips and tricks to stay within Power BI Free and reduce cost, including:

  • Simple sharing
  • Content service packs
  • Avoid gateways for refreshing imported data
  • Deploy Power BI reports on-premises
  • Share reports with external users

Power BI customer stories from the frontline

  • Learn how other customers use Power BI
  • Learn top customer issues when adopting Power BI that we have faced
  • Explore different problems and how we have fixed them

Ask questions and get them answered

“7 Ways to Integrate Excel with Power BI” Presentation on April 19th

I’m presenting “7 Ways to Integrate Excel with Power BI” for the Atlanta Modern Excel Group on April 19th at the Microsoft office in Alpharetta. Prologika and Microsoft are sponsoring the event. Please RSVP here.

Power BI is gaining a momentum but Excel still rules the corporate world. Fortunately, Power BI and Excel are not exclusive choices. Join me to learn how you can preserve your Excel investment in Power BI.

I’ll start by explaining the value Power BI brings to different types of users. Then, I’ll discuss and demo seven options for integrating Excel with Power BI:

  • Import Excel files in Power BI Service
  • Build self-service data models from Excel data
  • Deploy Excel models to Power BI
  • Convert Excel models to Power BI
  • Connect to Excel reports
  • Analyze Power BI datasets in Excel
  • Add Excel reports to Power BI dashboards

Prologika Newsletter Spring 2017

15 Reasons Why Microsoft is Leading the BI Space


I hope you’re enjoying the beginning of 2017 and you’re staying healthy and busy. It’s been a hectic and exciting period for me. I published the second edition of my “Applied Microsoft Power BI” book in January to keep it up to date.  It’s great to see all the momentum and interest surrounding Power BI. Just last month, I taught my “Applied Power BI” class three few weeks in a row! On the implementation side of things, companies of all sizes are adopting Power BI. And, one of our customers made the Power BI blog with their CRM platform that uses Power BI Embedded to deliver interactive reports to their users!


The Gartner 2017 Magic Quadrant for BI and Data Analytics

Speaking of Power BA and its momentum, industry observers are taking notice. As Kamal Hathi (General Manager, Microsoft BI) announced, the newly released Garner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Data Analytics gave Microsoft a very high score. Read the full report here.

Of course, there are many competing definitions of what constitutes a BI and Analytics platform. Note that Gartner reviewed only Power BI and certain aspects of Cortana Analytics. Reporting Services, Analysis Services and the other on-premises and cloud Microsoft BI-related solutions are not covered, such as Azure SQL Database, SQL Data Warehouse, Azure ML, Query Catalog, Cognitive Services, HDInsight,  Data Lake, StreamInsight). If we take them in consideration, where will the dot be?

The image below shows the Microsoft’s lift between last year and this year in the Gartner magic quadrant. What a leap!

 031117_2001_PrologikaNe2.png  031117_2001_PrologikaNe3.png

I’m surprised to find that the dot is not higher on the ability to execute, especially considering that Gartner ranked Microsoft and its main rival (Tableau) almost the same. You might also find my two-part blog about Tableau vs. Microsoft useful if you are tasked to compare these two vendors.

Understanding the 15 Critical Capabilities

As explained in the report, to evaluate vendors, Gartner uses 15 critical capabilities to support five main use cases: Agile Centralize BI Provisioning, Decentralized Analytics. Governed Data Discovery, Embedded BI, and Extranet Deployments. The following table includes my comments on each of the 15 capability.

Capability My Rank  Teo’s Comments
Infrastructure BI Platform Administration, Security and Architecture
Capabilities that enable platform security, administering users, auditing platform access and utilization, optimizing performance and ensuring high availability and disaster recovery.

Medium to High

There are a lot of things here:
Security – More work is required to support external users in Power BI, Power BI Embedded, and SSRS
Administering users – Power BI supports a progressive deployment depending on the desired level of integration with Office 365 (unmanaged tenant, managing tenant, and federated AD)
Auditing: Power BI supports auditing access and utilization but more work is required for proactive monitoring and improving its data governance capabilities
Performance and HA: Highly-redundant and scalable backend, consisting of SSAS Tabular farm and Azure services.
Cloud BI
Platform-as-a-service and analytic-application-as-a-service capabilities for building, deploying and managing analytics and analytic applications in the cloud, based on data both in the cloud and on-premises

High

Power BI supports both pure cloud and hybrid architectures depending on data volumes and security requirements. No other vendor offers both architectures.
Data Source Connectivity and Ingestion
Capabilities that allow users to connect to the structured and unstructured data contained within various types of storage platforms, both on-premises and in the cloud.

High

As of this time, Power BI supports close to 70 connectors to let you connect to cloud and on-premises data sources. No scripting required.
Data Management Metadata Management
Tools for enabling users to leverage a common SOR semantic model and metadata. These should provide a robust and centralized way for administrators to search, capture, store, reuse and publish metadata objects such as dimensions, hierarchies, measures, performance metrics/key performance indicators (KPIs), and report layout objects, parameters and so on. Administrators should have the ability to promote a business-user-defined data mashup and metadata to the SOR metadata.

Medium to High

Microsoft offers an organizational BI Semantic Model (BISM) which is typically implemented as an Analysis Services Tabular or Multidimensional models. On the self-service side of things, users can create Excel or Power BI Desktop models. IT can promote a self-service Excel model to a Tabular model. Although not officially supported because Power BI Desktop is changing every month, IT can upgrade a Power BI Desktop model to a Tabular model.
Self-Contained Extraction, Transformation and Loading (ETL) and Data Storage
Platform capabilities for accessing, integrating, transforming and loading data into a self-contained storage layer, with the ability to index data and manage data loads and refresh scheduling.

Medium

SSIS is the most popular on-premises ETL tool. More work is required to bring similar capabilities in the cloud (I think Azure Data Factory is a step backwards)
Self-Service Data Preparation
The drag-and-drop, user-driven data combination of different sources, and the creation of analytic models such as user-defined measures, sets, groups and hierarchies. Advanced capabilities include semantic autodiscovery, intelligent joins, intelligent profiling, hierarchy generation, data lineage and data blending on varied data sources, including multistructured data

High

Power BI Desktop and Excel has a fantastic query editor (originated from Power Query) that scores big with business users. Other vendors that score high in the Magic Quadrant don’t have such native capabilities. Power BI and Excel have best of class self-modeling capabilities (much better than Tableau). Azure Query Catalog can be used for dataset autodiscovery.
Analysis and Content Creation Embedded Advanced Analytics
Enables users to easily access advanced analytics capabilities that are self-contained within the platform itself or available through the import and integration of externally developed models.

High

Not sure what is meant here by “advanced analytics capabilities”. Power BI supports Quick Insights (brute-force machine learning), integration with R, Azure Machine Learning, clustering, forecasting, binning, but I might be missing something.
Analytic Dashboards
The ability to create highly interactive dashboards and content, with visual exploration and embedded advanced and geospatial analytics, to be consumed by others.

High

“Highly interactive dashboards and content” is what Power BI is all about.
Interactive Visual Exploration
Enables the exploration of data via an array of visualization options that go beyond those of basic pie, bar and line charts to include heat and tree maps, geographic maps, scatter plots and other special-purpose visuals. These tools enable users to analyze and manipulate the data by interacting directly with a visual representation of it to display as percentages, bins and groups.

Medium

Power BI covers all stated requirements in this category. However, while its visualization capabilities are improving every week, more work is required to catch up with the Tableau and Qlik in some areas, such as cell drillthrough, ability to repeat visualizations, such as to nest a bar into a table, conditional binding, exression-based properties and filters, and others.
Smart Data Discovery
Automatically finds, visualizes and narrates important findings such as correlations, exceptions, clusters, links and predictions in data that are relevant to users without requiring them to build models or write algorithms. Users explore data via visualizations, natural-language-generated narration, search and NLQ technologies.

Medium to High

Through Quick Insights, Power BI can automatically find correlations, outliers, and other hidden trends. It doesn’t currently have native narrative capabilities, except for the custom visual from Narrative Science. Power BI is one of the few vendors that offers natural queries.
Mobile Exploration and Authoring
Enables organizations to develop and deliver content to mobile devices in a publishing and/or interactive mode, and takes advantage of mobile devices’ native capabilities, such as touchscreen, camera, location awareness and natural-language query

High

Native apps for iOS, Android and Windows to surface both Power BI and SSRS reports.
Sharing of Findings Embedding Analytic Content
Capabilities including a software developer’s kit with APIs and support for open standards for creating and modifying analytic content, visualizations and applications, embedding them into a business process, and/or an application or portal. These capabilities can reside outside the application (reusing the analytic infrastructure), but must be easily and seamlessly accessible from inside the application without forcing users to switch between systems. The capabilities for integrating BI and analytics with the application architecture will enable users to choose where in the business process the analytics should be embedded.

High

An Azure cloud service, Power BI Embedded allows you to embed reports for external users with very appealing cost-effective licensing model. On premises, SSRS offers similar capabilities.
Publish, Share and Collaborate on Analytic Content
Capabilities that allow users to publish, deploy and operationalize analytic content through various output types and distribution methods, with support for content search, scheduling and alerts. Enables users to share, discuss and track information, analysis, analytic content and decisions via discussion threads, chat and annotations.

High

Power BI supports subscriptions and data alerts but we can do better, such as to allow an admin to subscribe other users. Power BI workspaces and groups allow users to share BI artifacts, participate in discussion lists, and share calendars. Power BI Mobile allows users to annotate reports.
Overall platform capabilities Platform Capabilities and Workflow
This capability considers the degree to which capabilities are offered in a single, seamless product or across multiple products with little integration.

Medium to High

The integration hub is Power BI Service which integrates Power BI reports, Excel reports, SSRS reports. More work is required on integration with Excel reports that connect to SSAS models.
Ease of Use and Visual Appeal
Ease of use to administer and deploy the platform, create content, consume and interact with content, as well as the visual appeal.

High

As far as deployment, Power BI is “five seconds to sign up, five minutes to wow!” As far as the visual appeal, beauty is the eye of the beholder but Power BI has done respectable job to follow best visualization practices.

MS BI Events in Atlanta

As you’d probably agree, the BI landscape is fast-moving and it might be overwhelming. If you need any help with planning and implementing your next-generation BI solution, don’t hesitate to contact me. As a Microsoft Gold Partner and premier BI firm, you can trust us to help you plan and implement your data analytics projects, and rest assured that you’ll get the best service.

Regards,

sig-1

Teo Lachev
Prologika, LLC | Making Sense of Data
Microsoft Partner | Gold Data Analytics

Implementing Header-Details in Power BI

Lots of things to like in the just released March update of Power BI Desktop! My favorite? We can now implement header-details text reports using the updated Matrix visual. Previously, Table and Matrix visuals wouldn’t allow you to select a row to cross filter other sections. Now, you can use the Matrix visual for the header section. When you click a row in the “header”, other visuals get cross-filtered. In the screenshot below, the Table visual shows all customers who have purchased the selected product. Also, notice that the Slicer visual has also been upgraded to allow sliding a numeric measure.

030717_0323_Implementin1.png

Events

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