Launch of the new PowerBI Community group in Brisbane

So I thought I’d do up a small blog, as it’s pretty interesting and relevant.  Tonight I am attending the Microsoft BI user group in Brisbane, and we’re meeting at the Microsoft offices in George Street.

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There has been a release overnight of ‘publish to the Web’ for PowerBI.  Recently there was a competition held in the UK, and we have there a visualisation of M25 accidents that won Best Report in the UK.  It’s all  interactive.

http://community.powerbi.com/t5/Best-Report-Contest/M25-Road-Traffic-Accidents/td-p/17210

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There are open source visualisation templates available as part of the new PowerBI toolset.

We heard also from Peter Ward, who advised that there’s a PowerBI executive group targeted at business groups and sharing about the strategy meeting on the third Friday of every month.  Welcome to attend either or both groups.  Bring that ‘PowerBI goodness’ back to your own organisation.

Ron Dunn from Wardy’s IT gave the main presentation for the evening, and the overarching theme is practical implications of PowerBI.

One key point is the vision for Microsoft BI reporting.  Here, the vision is on interactive reports – that’s Power BI Desktop.  Then there are spreadsheets – and of course, that’s Excel.  Report builder is good for Paginated reports, whereas mobile reports use Datazen.

PowerBI is Microsoft’s competitor to Tableau and Qlikview.  Tableau is kind of expensive, and possibly better at Infographics.  Power BI is a maximum of $12 per user per month – though there are free versions available – whereas say Tableau might be $2,000 per seat.

PowerBI is moving away from ‘cloud only’.

Power BI Desktop is a free download.  It does geospatial representations a map.  Connects via data source connectors to data sources.  Lets you pick a number of visualisation sources, and drag-and-drop to build an interactive dashboard.  The visualisations are linked to each other.

In many ways, some of the functions are moving out of Excel into Power BI as a tool.

Does have visualisations in reporting services, although its integration with Sharepoint is somewhat limited.

Noted that Microsoft is moving its releases of PowerBI to more monthly releases rather than yearly.

Works with both on-premise and Cloud data.  So, you can have some of your data on-premise; proper support for this seems to be coming later.

Need to check out ideas.powerbi.com – this is a forum run by Microsoft where ideas can be voted on.  This is actively managed and communicated on.

This really creates problems for organisations that run with locked desktops and such like.

Ron has some thoughts on these matters to close.

  • Power BI is unbeatable value (free is quite good if it’ll do what you want)
  • Power BI is designed for millennial freedom (i.e. locked down desktops?  Pfft)
  • Power BI is not a complete BI solution (need the BI stack for that)
  • Power BI is a rapidly evolving work in progress
  • Power BI is for people, not applications
  • Power BI is amazing
Question and Answer sessions
In the wrap up at the end, one point was ‘How does Power BI deal with data governance?’.  And of course the answer here is that it doesn’t.  This means that Power BI does not follow data governance rules in its implementation – you can end up having your data that is subject to rules that Power BI completely stomps over.  So no, it doesn’t do that.
What about Excel and Power View?  Answer – it is going to continue to be supported.  As noted in the vision, there’s PowerBI Desktop, Excel, Integrated Reporting, and mobile reporting (Datazen).  Tonight’s discussion focussed on PowerBi Desktop.

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