What is Power BI?

Power BI is an self-service business intelligence offering from Microsoft. It is primarily aimed at business users to access corporate information (and even information outside of the organization) without (or with the least) involvement of IT. Users can build their own business intelligence solutions, share and collaborate with team members and finally publish this information.

From the mid 2000s, with the launch of SQL Server 2005, Microsoft had been striving to bring business intelligence to the masses. Business Intelligence at that time was mostly used by large enterprises and was quite a costly solution to put into place. So, when SQL Server 2005 came into being with a new and improved Analysis Services, sporting Unified Dimensional Model, all of a sudden even small organizations could implement BI.

Fast forward to the present, we have self-service BI and analytics running the show, and Microsoft is in the middle of the game once again with Power BI. If you would like to learn more about Power BI and what it offers, I have a curation on Curah! dedicated especially for this. The content of the curation will change as Power BI evolves, so go take a look: https://curah.microsoft.com/348325/what-is-power-bi.

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[Presentation] Business Intelligence and Data Analytics on the Microsoft Platform

This is a presentation that I delivered to the Microsoft Student Champs community in Sri Lanka on the 13th of March, 2015. The presentation provides an overview of what business intelligence and data analytics are and what Microsoft offers as tools. The presentation is meant to serve as a starting point for those interested in the subject, and who would like to learn more.

So, if there is anyone interested, please comment in the comment section about what you would like to know, and I might just write a post to explain… 🙂

Getting Started with Business Intelligence on the Microsoft Platform

I was invited to the monthly Microsoft Student Partner meet-up last Friday, and I was excited to be speaking to an all-student audience after a long time. I had checked with the organizers about the audience’s know-how of business intelligence, and was told that it was something new to them. So, I decided to talk about Business Intelligence and Data Analytics on the Microsoft platform.

Now, 5 years ago, this subject would have been much easier to talk about. However, in recent times, the space of business intelligence and data analytics has changed much. Even within the Microsoft space of BI there is a lot to look at, and if you are new in the field, getting started is going to be quite a tough little challenge. With this in mind I built a little slide-deck, and a simple demo that I hoped would wow, or at least give them a moment’s awe, and waltzed into the auditorium.

Continue reading Getting Started with Business Intelligence on the Microsoft Platform

Power View color themes: A bane for adopting Power BI

When Power BI functionality first came out for Excel, I was very excited. I still am. I always try to use it as much as I can even to prove simple points. I promote its usage wherever I can. As a techie I find it a great tool; am very fond of it. Others however, look at it from a slightly different perspective: Something that is trivial from my point of view, but entirely the opposite from a business user.

I was recently helping out a project manager build a dashboard of metrics for a client. Data was in Excel, imported from a couple of sources, she needed it mashed up and showcased with a wow factor. This was a chance for me to impress someone with Power BI. So I got her set up with Excel 2013 and all the Power BI add-ins. Then, I taught her to shape the data using Power Query, and build a model in Power Pivot, and finally put it out on a couple of Power View sheets. It wowed her! This was exactly that she had wanted to impress the client with – something additional apart from the services we were already giving them.

Continue reading Power View color themes: A bane for adopting Power BI