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Power BI for Office 365 first thoughts

I’ve been meaning to write something on Power BI for a long time now, and I’m a little late in getting round to writing this, as most of the dust has already settled after Microsoft sent out the first round of invites to the Power BI for Office 365 preview, and a lot of people have produced some amazing work with Power BI.  Chris Webb has written a pretty comprehensive review on his blog, as have countless others.

What is Power BI?

For anyone living under a rock (or new to the world of MS BI), Power BI is a new offering from Microsoft which makes their new Excel-based self-service BI tools shareable and collaborative in a way that was previously only available for organisations rocking a SharePoint Enterprise installation.  By hooking their toolkit up to Office 365, they’re providing a cloud-based ecosystem in which to share, manage and explore data, using their suite of data tools: Power Query (formerly Data Explorer), Power Pivot (formerly PowerPivot), Power View, and Power Map (formerly GeoFlow).  If you want to know a bit more, I’ve got a more detailed post on the included functionality in Power BI for Office 365. Continue reading “Power BI for Office 365 first thoughts” »

Microsoft announces Power BI for Office 365

After launching a number of really neat self-service business intelligence plugins and components over the past couple of years, Microsoft has finally announced their complete self-service BI package: Power BI for Office 365.  Incorporating Microsoft’s four big self-service BI components of the past year or so; PowerPivot, PowerView, Data Explorer and GeoFlow, the Power BI suite combines these parts into a single, unified offering.  Most exciting of all though, is the inclusion of a mobile application for either Windows (I’m assuming Win 8) or iPad, which could very well be the secretive “Project Helix”, revealed at last year’s SharePoint Conference. Continue reading “Microsoft announces Power BI for Office 365” »

Screenshot showing chart editing in SSRS Report Builder

5 Reasons why PowerView can’t replace Reporting Services

The other week I wrote a post discussing how PowerView was the future of SQL Server Reporting Services, and the killer features that made it a compelling choice.  Despite the numerous positive advances that PowerView brings to Microsoft/SQL-based reporting, there are of course a number of counter arguments.  I deliberately left these out in order to look at some of these reasons in a later post.

As such, here are five reasons why PowerView, despite all its pizzazz, is simply not capable (in its current form) of replacing the venerable SSRS. Continue reading “5 Reasons why PowerView can’t replace Reporting Services” »

Screenshot of PowerView in Excel 2013

6 Reasons why PowerView is the Future of Reporting Services

Since its introduction with SQL Server 2012, PowerView has started to become the familiar face of Microsoft’s self service business intelligence offering.  Its inclusion in Excel 2013 has only reinforced its position as the premier tool for quick, interactive  visualisation of data, in conjunction of course with the magnificent PowerPivot.  But ask any “traditional” BI developer/architect about Reporting Services (SSRS), and it’s likely that they will staunchly defend it, decrying PowerView as a gimmick.

So here are 6 reasons why PowerView is NOT a gimmick, and may in fact be the future of SQL Server Reporting Services. Continue reading “6 Reasons why PowerView is the Future of Reporting Services” »

GeoFlow brings 3D geographical visualisation to Excel 2013

The other week, Microsoft announced GeoFlow for Excel 2013 at the SQL PASS Business Analytics conference in Chicago.  While it’s not exactly new, it is at least, a pretty impressive looking addition to the data visualisation toolkit.

However, while GeoFlow finally brings 3D geographical visualisation to Microsoft’s self-service BI utility belt (in your face, Batman), it’s hard to make a case for it for any purpose except wowing executives and potential clients.

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Continue reading “GeoFlow brings 3D geographical visualisation to Excel 2013” »