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Category: PowerBI

The Future of SharePoint is almost here!

The Future of SharePoint is almost here!

 

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Good morning from 34k feet somewhere over New Mexico! I am currently flying out to San Francisco to take part in the Future of SharePoint event tomorrow. I have been lucky enough to have spent time out in Redmond over the past few weeks and have had a chance to see some of what Jeff Teper and the SharePoint Team are going to share with us tomorrow and I can tell you that it is some game changing, super exciting stuff

If you haven’t already registered for the Live Stream you should stop reading and do it right now…  I will wait… http://aka.ms/FutureOfSharePoint

Now that you’ve done that we can continue Smile

If you aren’t able to stream the feed for some reason or just want to an up to the second view into what I am thinking about the event, my colleagues Todd Klindt, Randy Drisgill, and John Ross will also be Live Blogging the event on the Rackspace SharePoint site at http://sharepoint.rackspace.com/live-event. You can download a calendar reminder for this here.

Want to keep up with what is trending on Twitter around the event? Check out the Twitter Analytics Power BI dashboard that Dave Feldman, John White & I put together below.

Last night as we were playing with our Twitter Analytics I saw someone tweet the question: “Can the future of SharePoint really live up to all the hype?”. I am hopeful & optimistic for the first time in quite a while that it can, however only time will tell. I for one am betting heavily that it will as I have chosen to tie my career to SharePoint & Office 365. From everything that I have seen from Microsoft recently they are doing 3 things very right in my opinion:

1.) They are listening. Whether it is via User Voice, direct interactions with them, or the telemetry that they are using coming from the service they are listening to what we are telling them with our words and our actions.

2.) They are getting fresh blood into the right seats on the bus and keeping the world moving forward.

3.) They are investing in innovation. This is something that they had stopped for a while, but they are back with a vengeance.  There is nothing more exciting in the tech world to me than innovation.

I am excited to see what they have to say tomorrow and I hope you are too. May the 4th be with you!
-jase

Microsoft Flow and Power BI make awesome bedfellows

Microsoft Flow and Power BI make awesome bedfellows

On Friday April 29th Microsoft release the preview of its latest toy, Microsoft Flow. Flow is similar to Zapier & IFTTT in that it connects to online services and takes actions based upon trigger events. During the demo to a group of Microsoft MVPs we saw some interesting ways to utilize Flows, but I couldn’t wait to get my hands into it to build some fun Power BI visualizations against more easily accessible data.

Saturday morning I built out a simple Flow that took data from Twitter and added it to a SharePoint Online list.

From this I was able to create a Power BI report that visualized Tweets by count of Tweet and demonstrated individual tweets vs re-tweets. The data was drillable to the text level. I gave John White a call because I thought I had finally created something that we could geek out on before he got to it! Amazingly enough I had and within minutes we were adding refinements and enhancements, giddy as school girls.

The core issue that I was facing with my Report and methodology was that SharePoint lists are not best suited for contain the amount of data that we are likely to see this week with the Future of SharePoint event on Wednesday, let alone a month or year’s worth of twitter data. After we talked my Report had become a very slick visualization (embedded below).

 

 

 

 

John & I agreed that we needed more geek out time and decided to meet back up later in the evening. I started getting texts an hour before our meet up time with links to what John had built in the previous hour. An Azure SQL Database to house the twitter information, 5 new flows to capture specific Twitter data, and a Dashboard backed report that is slicker than Canadian Goose poo.

 

We knew that we had to share this new cool stuff with the community, but didn’t think we had the cycles to write the hundreds of pages of content we needed to get the point across. Then we remembered that we have Camtasia licenses thanks to TechSmith‘s generous Microsoft MVP offer.

 

John & I spent the next hour recording a 3 part series that you can find on the BIFocal YouTube Channel or simply click on the links below. We take you through creating an Azure SQL Database, building Flows, and finally using Power BI to create awesome Reports and Dashboards.

Our final product in the web series can be found below. Keep in mind that it the anonymous report is only refreshed 8 times a day.

 

 

 

 

We hope that you enjoy the content!

-jase

 

Announcing the new ITUnity web show: BIFocal

Announcing the new ITUnity web show: BIFocal

BIFocal LogoI was sitting in the speaker room at SharePoint Fest Seattle having a Skype chat with John White. We were collaborating on some Business Intelligence content that we could deliver at conferences either together or independently, but still ensure that we were providing a consistent message. At some point during this chat one of us suggested that this amusing & informational back and forth that we were having would make for a pretty decent podcast. Dan Holme, CEO of ITUnity, overheard the comment and said “It would make an even better web show on ITUnity!” Thus an idea was born.

I am excited to announce that a mere 5 months later we are ready to go live with our new monthly web show, BI Focal. We are going to keep you up to date on all of the latest news in the BI space, provide Tips & Tricks, have interesting guests, take viewer questions, and even do some cool demos.

We hope that you will join us for our inaugural show “Select * from Hosts” on January 28th, 2016 at 1:30PM Eastern Time on ITUnity. Check out our promo below:

Announcing the new PowerBI

Announcing the new PowerBI

Over the course the past few years, Microsoft has slowly been upping its game with regard to business intelligence. In February 2014 Microsoft announced PowerBI for Office 365 and has slowly but surely been improving the offering over the course the passing year. With yesterday’s announcements Microsoft firmly planted its flag in the business intelligence space.

Previously the offering was an add-on to Office 365 E3 License ($20 per user per month) that cost an additional $20 per user per license. The new PowerBI has been stated to be a 75% percent reduction in price which suggests that PowerBI licensing will be stand-alone from Office 365.

In addition to the dramatic change of decoupling PowerBI from Office 365, Microsoft has also rolled out to flow will also be rolling out two flavors of the service called PowerBI & PowerBI Pro. The base version will be free general availability while the Pro version will cost $10 per month.

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The major differences between the two offerings is in exist in the premium features such as live interactive connectivity to data sources, ability to leverage the data management gateway, and the collaboration features. Both plans have data capacity limits, quantity of streaming data, and frequency of scheduled data refresh however there different tiers of access to those features.

There are lots of exciting new features that come to the new PowerBI is a part of this new release such as mobile apps for both iOS and Windows content pack services for dynamic, sales force, and send grid as well as the ability to explore data with natural language queries.

Having played with the iOS app for iPad over the past several months I can say that the improvements to the mobile experience is dramatic. The new graphs and charts the Microsoft has been working on bring the data to life and give you a true dashboard like experience. One of the awesome features of the mobile app is the ability to share snapshot right from the app.

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Uploading an existing workbook with Power Views makes them rapidly available and even indexes them to be available in Power Q&A, referred to as Dashboards, in a matter of minutes. Prebuilt Power Views pop in under Reports and are easily viewed right on the web and in the mobile app.

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More to come on the creating PowerBI models using the new PowerBI Designer, which as of this post is currently working however the upload function is disabled, and connecting to data sources Analysis Services using the new PowerBI Analysis Services Connector.