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Power BI PowerPoint Integration Arrives (ish)

Power BI has been on a roll recently, releasing a bunch of features that have overall strengthened Microsoft’s self-service business intelligence offering. It’s spiritual predecessor PowerView had a nice integration with PowerPoint. Now Power BI PowerPoint integration has arrived.

In the September update, we received a big upgrade to Power BI’s mapping capabilities through the introduction of ArcGIS maps. There has also been continued development around R integration within Power BI to better support the needs of customers requiring advanced analytics. You can now even connect to your preferred R IDE when developing R-based custom visuals or run an R script over your dirty data to impute missing values.

Power BI PowerPoint integration

n the last couple of days, Power BI has quietly released a feature that I personally think will get everyone excited and appeal to the masses – the ability to publish Power BI reports to PowerPoint with the click of a button! So lets get started on how you can find and use this new feature.

Open up a report in Power BI Online and click “File”. You will then see the screen below. Click the “Export to PowerPoint (Preview)” button to generate a PowerPoint file. It will contain a slide for each Power BI report page as well as a title slide containing information on when the data was last refreshed and the file downloaded.

Power BI PowerPoint Publishing

Power BI PowerPoint Publishing

Unfortunately, as you can see in the screenshot below, the end result is not what I expected. I would have liked to have seen a fully interactive experience that included the ability to use cross-highlighting/cross-filtering. It appears, for now at least, that the feature has fallen short of my expectations.

Power BI PowerPoint Publishing

Power BI PowerPoint Publishing

That being said, there are a few caveats, the first and biggest one is that this feature is in preview. We know from past experiences that Microsoft has been happy to ship features to Power BI that aren’t fully ready in the hope that they can leverage feedback from the community sooner rather than later. A recent notification from the Power BI team confirmed that this will be the case.

Publish-PowerBI-Report-Page-to-Powerpoint

The second caveat is that in this demonstration we have used some Agile BI magic behind the scenes which probably has caused some headaches for Power BI’s cookie cutter Power BI PowerPoint feature. I tested this hypothesis by exporting a more simplistic Power BI report and I’ll be honest, I was impressed with the results.

The moral of the story, keep it simple for now.

Publishing-Power-BI-Reports-to-PowerPoint

This feature will eventually end up becoming a main selling point of Power BI over its competitors, but it still has a long way to go.

I’ve found with some things in Power BI you just have to be patient. In 2-4 months time, this feature will be generally released and I’m going to assume that this feature will end up being a lot closer to our current expectations. To put things in perspective, it has been less than a year and a half since the launch of Power BI and it has already become one of the leaders in the self-service BI market according to Gartner. In my opinion, one of the reasons that people see strength in Power BI is that they know it will continue to grow and develop faster than any other self-service product. I hope it continues as it’ll mean we’ll be seeing more new and improved features like this one coming to Power BI soon.

Predictive Power Visualised AML + Power BI

Sydney Power BI User Group

PBI_UserGroup_v2 (2)

We are excited to announce that our user group was one of the very few selected from across the world to be a launch partner for the newly formed Power BI User Groups! (PUGs) This partnership will allow our group to receive support from the Power BI team in the way of exclusive perks, contests, content, swag and more!
As well, because the Power BI group is data driven, we will be providing statistics about our meetings and content it can be aggregated with the other PUG
statistics. We will have Power BI dashboards and reports to evaluate trends and patterns that are most popular for the successful PUGs across the world. You will also play a key role in those statistics. The more we participate the more perks we earn as a group and as individuals!
As we are a launch partner, there will be a lot of flexibility and we play a key role in shaping the Power BI User Group Program, so feel free to share your feedback on our group page and with our leaders.
We would like to encourage you to show your support, tweet about it (don’t forget to use #powerbi for MS amplification) and visit this link now to claim your badge on the Power BI Community. We look forward to this exciting journey of being a Power BI User Group.

Iman Eftekhari, Agile BI co-founder and principal consultant speaks about loT and Cortana Analytics at Microsoft in Denmark.

Internet of Things (loT) is now even more practicable with the power of the cloud analytics. Now with Cortana Analytics which have included components across a broad set of Azure Services, Power BI and APIs, you can connect your sensors and devices to the cloud to do more intelligent stuff and “Connect the Dots”. In this session you will get an overview of the capabilities in Cortana Analytics, and Iman will show you an outlook of the future. Find here the event link.

Microsoft Cophenhagen

Why Cortana Analytics is such an impressive tool?

(1) Analytics that enables action

Take action ahead of your competitors by going beyond looking in the rear-view mirror to predicting what’s next. Enhance your business applications with machine intelligence to evolve from simple descriptive analytics to prescriptive recommendations.

KEY BENEFITS

  • Predict: Predict what will happen with state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms
  • Prescribe: Augment and improve your decision making processes with proactive alerting and recommendations on actions to take
  • Automate: Simplify and automate decision making when dealing with complex problems that involve multiple variables that may change in real time

(2) Perceptual intelligence

Interact with customers and stakeholders in new ways and infer intent with vision, face, speech, text and sentiment analysis to customise responses and drive appropriate actions.
KEY BENEFITS

  • See: Recognise your users and customers with face detection, identification and verification. Recognise objects within images to tailor your responses to your customers
  • Hear: Add speech recognition and response to your applications and translate spoken words into intent to drive actions needed for the business
  • Read: Understand and analyse text, e.g. customer feedback on your site or forum, to determine overall sentiment and key phrases

(3) Fast and flexible

Why start from scratch when you don’t have to? Build with partner solutions for your industry or extend our basic building blocks to tailor the solution to your specific needs.
KEY BENEFITS

  • Get started quickly: Build on top of industry-specific partner solutions or customise machine learning models, APIs and templates from our Solutions Gallery
  • Use all your data: Connect to and get value from data of any volume, variety and velocity both on premises and in the cloud
  • Open and extensible: Empower your organisation to work with the languages and frameworks they already know and use like R, Python and Hadoop

(4) Secure and scalable

Your business needs will grow over time; so should your infrastructure. Continue to get value from your data in a secure, compliant and scalable way.
KEY BENEFITS

  • Secure: Keep your customers’ data safe on a trusted and secure cloud platform with encrypted communications, threat management, mitigation practices and regular penetration testing
  • Compliant: Ensure infrastructure compliance with your industry through our broad set of compliance standards such as ISO 27001, HIPAA, FedRAMP, SOC 1 and SOC 2
  • Scalable: Elastically scale to petabytes of data as your business needs grow over time, while keeping the flexibility and choice to manage multiple data repositories in the cloud

(5) Personal digital assistant

Integrate with Cortana, your truly personal digital assistant. Cortana works with the Cortana Analytics Suite to enable your business, and your customers’ businesses, to get things done in more helpful, proactive, and natural ways.
KEY BENEFITS

  • Helpful: By intelligently learning about your business needs over time, Cortana becomes increasingly helpful when it comes to connecting data into intelligent action.
  • Natural interaction: Interact with you data with natural language and speech, through Cortana.
  • Proactive: Always looking out for you and your customers, Cortana can analyse business and customer data to pro-actively suggest helpful actions, trends and insights.

Ask us for more information about Cortana Analytics here.

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MailChimp Power BI helps you visualising your email Data

MailChimp Power BI – working together beautifully!

We from Agile BI always knew that Power BI is amazing. But now even more amazing things are possible with the corporation of MailChimp and Power BI.

MailChimp: More than 8 million people and businesses around the world use the popular tool to send their marketing emails, automated messages, and targeted campaigns. So do we soon for our fortnightly newsletter.

Mail-Chimp-logo

Power BI: Helps you to share, find and visualise.

These two programs in connection help you to visualise your data as you have never seen it before.

1452.01

This is the dashboard you will see when you have provided credentials and given MailChimp access to Power BI.

Businesses can analyse their data now like data scientists. There are no coding skills necessary. Each tile in this colourful puzzle as you can see in the pic above lets you dig deeper into data heaven and visualises it in a manner that is easily understood.

3678.03

  • Four pages of reports will be provided from Power BI.
  • Cross filter between particular entries like product name and visualise it by other selections.
  • For customisation use the “pinning” option for certain entries and load them to the dashboard. Resize them and edit them as often as you want.
  • On top of the dashboard is also a question box located to ask questions about your data. Try “Show total emails by campaign title” or “Show total clicks by location on a map”. Those results can also be pinned to your dashboard.

0525.02

You want to visualise in which area the email subscribers are most engaging? There is a map for it!

The corporation of Power Bi and MailChimp helps you to keep focused on your most important email data metrics and gives you an easy understandable and visualised insight in your data.

Agile BI will switch soon because of this new incorporation from our existing platform to MailChimp to enjoy these advantages.

We from Agile BI support you to gain information about Power BI with the following options:

  • Come to one of our introductory or intermediate Power BI workshops in Sydney. The next one happens soon. Agile BI Power BI workshops
  • Or we come to you and show you in a Power BI demo session what is possible

Contact us for more information:

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

What makes BI different from an Agile perspective?

Let’s start with a bold proposition: Waterfall doesn’t work for BI. Agile doesn’t work for BI.

Why doesn’t Waterfall work?

On the face of it, the reasons for Waterfall not working for BI are easy to tease out for those familiar with the field. Waterfall requires fixed inputs and outputs with a high degree of certainty over requirements. This works (to a limited degree) for some IT projects as it is possible to define this. Infrastructure is a good example. Even in application development there is often a reasonable degree of certainty in terms of requirements and desired functionality. In a BI project these are often easy to define to start with, but rapidly unwind as requirements change or are clarified (and often worked out as part of the projects progression) and the user realises what they asked for is either unattainable or was addressing the wrong question in the first place.

…but surely Agile fixes this?

Well, no. It should as in theory it adapts better to rapid change…   but when Agile is attempted it rapidly descends into chaos due to a lack of deliverables coming out of the sprints, project owners and managers get nervous and Waterfall rears its ugly head again in an attempt to provide an illusion of certainty and control. Agile methods should help deal with the level of change that BI projects seem to inherently contain, but somehow struggle. Much of this is down to a common problem with Agile and Waterfall.

Is BI development the same as software development?

Here’s the rub. In Larissa Moss’s approach “Extreme Scoping: An Agile Approach to Enterprise Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence” she calls out that one of the biggest issues with trying to get Agile with BI projects is the data integration component. While in a BI project the output artifacts are not unlike traditional coding – reports, ETL jobs and the like – the input artifact – data – is nothing like an easily definable requirement. If your CRM data and your Web Analytics data need to be inter-meshed, there’s a whole bunch of groundwork to do to uncover that. Common keys to be found, business rules to be teased out, access to be obtained. That may be as simple as looking up two common identifiers – in which case, good luck – but usually its far more complex.

This is what kills both Waterfall and Agile delivery. In estimation it’s assumed that the coding is the work. When in reality the coding is really the expression of a data exercise which could be a matter of both interpretation and integration. In software development the coding is the expression of an idea – e.g. “I want to be able to use a shopping cart plug in to sell my product”. In BI development this an expression of the data, which is bounded by the vagaries of the quality of the data, how it should be interpreted and how it interacts with all your other data. Resolving this extends far beyond calling an ETL job complex and assigning it 5 days in the project plan.

So what do we do next?

Whatever method we adopt, we have to listen to Larissa’s message – that we cannot run a BI project the same way we run a coding project. Time needs to be allowed resolve the data issues – up front – before any estimate of difficulty is assigned. After all, once the problem is understood, defining a report as simple or complex is easy enough – but until the problem is understood you may as well be estimating with a dartboard.

Check out Larissa’s book here:

James Beresford, Agile BI Director, speaks to Dice.com about Career Enhancing BI Skills

In an interview with leading jobs website Dice.com, Agile BI Director James Beresford talks about the skills needed to advance a BI Career. The article emphasises that soft skills – especially the ability to engage with the business on their terms and the technologists on theirs to create the right results for both teams – is what really makes the difference.

 

James says in the article ““What I am seeing is that there is an increasing bifurcation of BI developers into those who stay on the pure developer track and hit career stagnation and those who ‘get’ business, who then become the leaders in the field.”

 

Read the full article here: Evolving From SQL Monkey to BI Pro

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Power BI PowerPoint Integration Arrives (ish)

Power BI has been on a roll recently, releasing a bunch of features that have overall strengthened Microsoft’s self-service business intelligence offering. It’s spiritual predecessor PowerView had a nice integration with PowerPoint. Now Power BI PowerPoint integration has arrived.

In the September update, we received a big upgrade to Power BI’s mapping capabilities through the introduction of ArcGIS maps. There has also been continued development around R integration within Power BI to better support the needs of customers requiring advanced analytics. You can now even connect to your preferred R IDE when developing R-based custom visuals or run an R script over your dirty data to impute missing values.

Power BI PowerPoint integration

n the last couple of days, Power BI has quietly released a feature that I personally think will get everyone excited and appeal to the masses – the ability to publish Power BI reports to PowerPoint with the click of a button! So lets get started on how you can find and use this new feature.

Open up a report in Power BI Online and click “File”. You will then see the screen below. Click the “Export to PowerPoint (Preview)” button to generate a PowerPoint file. It will contain a slide for each Power BI report page as well as a title slide containing information on when the data was last refreshed and the file downloaded.

Power BI PowerPoint Publishing

Power BI PowerPoint Publishing

Unfortunately, as you can see in the screenshot below, the end result is not what I expected. I would have liked to have seen a fully interactive experience that included the ability to use cross-highlighting/cross-filtering. It appears, for now at least, that the feature has fallen short of my expectations.

Power BI PowerPoint Publishing

Power BI PowerPoint Publishing

That being said, there are a few caveats, the first and biggest one is that this feature is in preview. We know from past experiences that Microsoft has been happy to ship features to Power BI that aren’t fully ready in the hope that they can leverage feedback from the community sooner rather than later. A recent notification from the Power BI team confirmed that this will be the case.

Publish-PowerBI-Report-Page-to-Powerpoint

The second caveat is that in this demonstration we have used some Agile BI magic behind the scenes which probably has caused some headaches for Power BI’s cookie cutter Power BI PowerPoint feature. I tested this hypothesis by exporting a more simplistic Power BI report and I’ll be honest, I was impressed with the results.

The moral of the story, keep it simple for now.

Publishing-Power-BI-Reports-to-PowerPoint

This feature will eventually end up becoming a main selling point of Power BI over its competitors, but it still has a long way to go.

I’ve found with some things in Power BI you just have to be patient. In 2-4 months time, this feature will be generally released and I’m going to assume that this feature will end up being a lot closer to our current expectations. To put things in perspective, it has been less than a year and a half since the launch of Power BI and it has already become one of the leaders in the self-service BI market according to Gartner. In my opinion, one of the reasons that people see strength in Power BI is that they know it will continue to grow and develop faster than any other self-service product. I hope it continues as it’ll mean we’ll be seeing more new and improved features like this one coming to Power BI soon.

Predictive Power Visualised AML + Power BI

Sydney Power BI User Group

PBI_UserGroup_v2 (2)

We are excited to announce that our user group was one of the very few selected from across the world to be a launch partner for the newly formed Power BI User Groups! (PUGs) This partnership will allow our group to receive support from the Power BI team in the way of exclusive perks, contests, content, swag and more!
As well, because the Power BI group is data driven, we will be providing statistics about our meetings and content it can be aggregated with the other PUG
statistics. We will have Power BI dashboards and reports to evaluate trends and patterns that are most popular for the successful PUGs across the world. You will also play a key role in those statistics. The more we participate the more perks we earn as a group and as individuals!
As we are a launch partner, there will be a lot of flexibility and we play a key role in shaping the Power BI User Group Program, so feel free to share your feedback on our group page and with our leaders.
We would like to encourage you to show your support, tweet about it (don’t forget to use #powerbi for MS amplification) and visit this link now to claim your badge on the Power BI Community. We look forward to this exciting journey of being a Power BI User Group.

Iman Eftekhari, Agile BI co-founder and principal consultant speaks about loT and Cortana Analytics at Microsoft in Denmark.

Internet of Things (loT) is now even more practicable with the power of the cloud analytics. Now with Cortana Analytics which have included components across a broad set of Azure Services, Power BI and APIs, you can connect your sensors and devices to the cloud to do more intelligent stuff and “Connect the Dots”. In this session you will get an overview of the capabilities in Cortana Analytics, and Iman will show you an outlook of the future. Find here the event link.

Microsoft Cophenhagen

Why Cortana Analytics is such an impressive tool?

(1) Analytics that enables action

Take action ahead of your competitors by going beyond looking in the rear-view mirror to predicting what’s next. Enhance your business applications with machine intelligence to evolve from simple descriptive analytics to prescriptive recommendations.

KEY BENEFITS

  • Predict: Predict what will happen with state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms
  • Prescribe: Augment and improve your decision making processes with proactive alerting and recommendations on actions to take
  • Automate: Simplify and automate decision making when dealing with complex problems that involve multiple variables that may change in real time

(2) Perceptual intelligence

Interact with customers and stakeholders in new ways and infer intent with vision, face, speech, text and sentiment analysis to customise responses and drive appropriate actions.
KEY BENEFITS

  • See: Recognise your users and customers with face detection, identification and verification. Recognise objects within images to tailor your responses to your customers
  • Hear: Add speech recognition and response to your applications and translate spoken words into intent to drive actions needed for the business
  • Read: Understand and analyse text, e.g. customer feedback on your site or forum, to determine overall sentiment and key phrases

(3) Fast and flexible

Why start from scratch when you don’t have to? Build with partner solutions for your industry or extend our basic building blocks to tailor the solution to your specific needs.
KEY BENEFITS

  • Get started quickly: Build on top of industry-specific partner solutions or customise machine learning models, APIs and templates from our Solutions Gallery
  • Use all your data: Connect to and get value from data of any volume, variety and velocity both on premises and in the cloud
  • Open and extensible: Empower your organisation to work with the languages and frameworks they already know and use like R, Python and Hadoop

(4) Secure and scalable

Your business needs will grow over time; so should your infrastructure. Continue to get value from your data in a secure, compliant and scalable way.
KEY BENEFITS

  • Secure: Keep your customers’ data safe on a trusted and secure cloud platform with encrypted communications, threat management, mitigation practices and regular penetration testing
  • Compliant: Ensure infrastructure compliance with your industry through our broad set of compliance standards such as ISO 27001, HIPAA, FedRAMP, SOC 1 and SOC 2
  • Scalable: Elastically scale to petabytes of data as your business needs grow over time, while keeping the flexibility and choice to manage multiple data repositories in the cloud

(5) Personal digital assistant

Integrate with Cortana, your truly personal digital assistant. Cortana works with the Cortana Analytics Suite to enable your business, and your customers’ businesses, to get things done in more helpful, proactive, and natural ways.
KEY BENEFITS

  • Helpful: By intelligently learning about your business needs over time, Cortana becomes increasingly helpful when it comes to connecting data into intelligent action.
  • Natural interaction: Interact with you data with natural language and speech, through Cortana.
  • Proactive: Always looking out for you and your customers, Cortana can analyse business and customer data to pro-actively suggest helpful actions, trends and insights.

Ask us for more information about Cortana Analytics here.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

 

MailChimp Power BI helps you visualising your email Data

MailChimp Power BI – working together beautifully!

We from Agile BI always knew that Power BI is amazing. But now even more amazing things are possible with the corporation of MailChimp and Power BI.

MailChimp: More than 8 million people and businesses around the world use the popular tool to send their marketing emails, automated messages, and targeted campaigns. So do we soon for our fortnightly newsletter.

Mail-Chimp-logo

Power BI: Helps you to share, find and visualise.

These two programs in connection help you to visualise your data as you have never seen it before.

1452.01

This is the dashboard you will see when you have provided credentials and given MailChimp access to Power BI.

Businesses can analyse their data now like data scientists. There are no coding skills necessary. Each tile in this colourful puzzle as you can see in the pic above lets you dig deeper into data heaven and visualises it in a manner that is easily understood.

3678.03

  • Four pages of reports will be provided from Power BI.
  • Cross filter between particular entries like product name and visualise it by other selections.
  • For customisation use the “pinning” option for certain entries and load them to the dashboard. Resize them and edit them as often as you want.
  • On top of the dashboard is also a question box located to ask questions about your data. Try “Show total emails by campaign title” or “Show total clicks by location on a map”. Those results can also be pinned to your dashboard.

0525.02

You want to visualise in which area the email subscribers are most engaging? There is a map for it!

The corporation of Power Bi and MailChimp helps you to keep focused on your most important email data metrics and gives you an easy understandable and visualised insight in your data.

Agile BI will switch soon because of this new incorporation from our existing platform to MailChimp to enjoy these advantages.

We from Agile BI support you to gain information about Power BI with the following options:

  • Come to one of our introductory or intermediate Power BI workshops in Sydney. The next one happens soon. Agile BI Power BI workshops
  • Or we come to you and show you in a Power BI demo session what is possible

Contact us for more information:

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

What makes BI different from an Agile perspective?

Let’s start with a bold proposition: Waterfall doesn’t work for BI. Agile doesn’t work for BI.

Why doesn’t Waterfall work?

On the face of it, the reasons for Waterfall not working for BI are easy to tease out for those familiar with the field. Waterfall requires fixed inputs and outputs with a high degree of certainty over requirements. This works (to a limited degree) for some IT projects as it is possible to define this. Infrastructure is a good example. Even in application development there is often a reasonable degree of certainty in terms of requirements and desired functionality. In a BI project these are often easy to define to start with, but rapidly unwind as requirements change or are clarified (and often worked out as part of the projects progression) and the user realises what they asked for is either unattainable or was addressing the wrong question in the first place.

…but surely Agile fixes this?

Well, no. It should as in theory it adapts better to rapid change…   but when Agile is attempted it rapidly descends into chaos due to a lack of deliverables coming out of the sprints, project owners and managers get nervous and Waterfall rears its ugly head again in an attempt to provide an illusion of certainty and control. Agile methods should help deal with the level of change that BI projects seem to inherently contain, but somehow struggle. Much of this is down to a common problem with Agile and Waterfall.

Is BI development the same as software development?

Here’s the rub. In Larissa Moss’s approach “Extreme Scoping: An Agile Approach to Enterprise Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence” she calls out that one of the biggest issues with trying to get Agile with BI projects is the data integration component. While in a BI project the output artifacts are not unlike traditional coding – reports, ETL jobs and the like – the input artifact – data – is nothing like an easily definable requirement. If your CRM data and your Web Analytics data need to be inter-meshed, there’s a whole bunch of groundwork to do to uncover that. Common keys to be found, business rules to be teased out, access to be obtained. That may be as simple as looking up two common identifiers – in which case, good luck – but usually its far more complex.

This is what kills both Waterfall and Agile delivery. In estimation it’s assumed that the coding is the work. When in reality the coding is really the expression of a data exercise which could be a matter of both interpretation and integration. In software development the coding is the expression of an idea – e.g. “I want to be able to use a shopping cart plug in to sell my product”. In BI development this an expression of the data, which is bounded by the vagaries of the quality of the data, how it should be interpreted and how it interacts with all your other data. Resolving this extends far beyond calling an ETL job complex and assigning it 5 days in the project plan.

So what do we do next?

Whatever method we adopt, we have to listen to Larissa’s message – that we cannot run a BI project the same way we run a coding project. Time needs to be allowed resolve the data issues – up front – before any estimate of difficulty is assigned. After all, once the problem is understood, defining a report as simple or complex is easy enough – but until the problem is understood you may as well be estimating with a dartboard.

Check out Larissa’s book here:

James Beresford, Agile BI Director, speaks to Dice.com about Career Enhancing BI Skills

In an interview with leading jobs website Dice.com, Agile BI Director James Beresford talks about the skills needed to advance a BI Career. The article emphasises that soft skills – especially the ability to engage with the business on their terms and the technologists on theirs to create the right results for both teams – is what really makes the difference.

 

James says in the article ““What I am seeing is that there is an increasing bifurcation of BI developers into those who stay on the pure developer track and hit career stagnation and those who ‘get’ business, who then become the leaders in the field.”

 

Read the full article here: Evolving From SQL Monkey to BI Pro