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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