Power BI: Big Data, Big Improvements

With Microsoft’s announcement of the new E5 plans, Micah Linehan, Now Micros’ Cloud Sherpa evaluates what this gives us with Power BI

Being able to visualize and manage your data as soon as it’s reported is every organizations dream. In this brief overview, let’s take a look at a few of the things in Power BI on Office365.

Works Best in Azure

There are several types of data that you can import, manipulate, and visualize in Power BI. The primary focus was SQL Databases, however there are several datasets that can be used. Power BI can be leveraged in a limited functionality set with most of the current SQL database versions. To use custom SQL data, or data from a third party application, an analysis server in tabular mode is needed to properly create a connection. This is then updated either manually or on a scheduled daily basis.

By using a SQL Database running in Azure all of the great new features and functionality of Power BI opens up. Live data refreshes make it great allowing you to have a finger on the pulse of technology. For those non-technical individuals, being able to use Power BI’s new feature natural language query allows anyone to understand the data. When on the dashboard simply start typing in a question and it manipulates the created reports to display the pertinent data you are seeking. Natural language query is a very powerful tool when used on the right platform.

Content Pack Integration

Content Pack Integration is a simple way to quickly integrate your data with Power BI. With many providers already onboard with the initial launch (Google Analytics, MailChip, GitHub, Marketo, QuickBooks Online, and UserVoice) your data may already be in a Content Pack. Connecting the Dataset will automatically create a default Dashboard and Report. This report is a template from the vendor of the most relevant data that organizations frequently access or use. This also supports the natural language query and creates a fantastic way of parsing through all of that data that has been collected to see what is really going on in your organization.

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing, NAV, and CRM are also a part of the Content Packs. Connections to these products function mainly through the OData feed that should already be in place. With these products, the Content Pack makes a clear way to configure and get up and running with great insights into your Data. CRM Online has been optimized for Power BI, and adds to the final product of a total cloud solution.

Overall Experience

There is a new way to look at your data and share it with your organization. Whether it’s your own third party content connected to the cloud or it’s already in the cloud, Power BI can help provide powerful insights. Being able to have your organization access and answer their own questions with graphs and reports or splicing all the way down into one specific segment. Power BI is an invaluable resource for any organization by creating powerful insights that help you visualize both internal and external datasets and learn how to capture the data you really need.