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SharePoint Blog

March 09
5 Planned Power BI Capabilities and 2 You Should Vote for Now!

You read the title correctly – you have the ability to help shape the BI capabilities that Microsoft is delivering via Power BI.  If you are not familiar with it yet, you will be in the near future.  Power BI  is a business intelligence tool in Office 365 that allows end users to mine their data in dynamic and insightful ways.

Therein lies the biggest detriment to the adoption of Microsoft’s jewel.  How do I use my data (usually on premise in a database or on my local drive in Excel) with a tool based in the cloud?  Microsoft did three things to address this dilemma.

      1.       At the end of January, they released Power BI Designer.  This is a powerful tool that allows you to work offline with your data and then publish it.  That’s right, you don’t need the right version of Excel to do Power View or the add-ins.  You can utilize this tool with your data.  Right now this tool is in preview (beta) mode so the features can (will) change.

      2.       Less than two weeks ago Microsoft cut in half the monthly cost of Power BI.  Reducing cost is always an effective way to speed up adoption.

      3.       Microsoft has set up a site where you can vote on the features you would most want to see in the Power BI tool.  While this has been done before what makes this compelling is that Microsoft’s Product Manager(s) are extremely involved, giving us an idea of what we will see in the product before the big Ignite event in May.

Here is the address where you can vote:

http://support.powerbi.com/forums/265200-power-bi?WT.mc_id=Blog_PBI_Announce_DI

I reviewed many of the suggestions and here are 5 features which are listed as PLANNED which will help speed up adoption:

      1.       DAX Editor in Power BI Designer – The ability to create calculations in Power BI Designer will make for a great data modeling experience.  This feature received over 500 votes!

      2.       Support for importing from Power Pivots shared on O365 or SharePoint

      3.       Data Catalog integration in Power BI Designer – The Data Catalog is a place where you can share information about a query with all users or a specific set of users within the organization.  These queries are discoverable via search and thus promote reuse.

      4.       Undo and Redo button in Designer – Hard to believe this is not there out of the box.   But as one user put it, prototyping where you can do a number of changes, preview it, and then back it out if you must is invaluable.

      5.       SQL Server Analysis Services Cubes – Microsoft is planning to add the ability to connect ‘live’ to SSAS models in the near future.  This feature received over 800 votes making it the most voted on feature that I saw.

Two other features were suggested that are worth mentioning (so you can vote on them I hope).  One is the ability to export to Power Point.  With the on premise version of Power View you can do this and it is compelling.  You can create multiple dynamic views of your data, export them and immediately have a report with accurate data for management!

The last feature is a must have!  The second most voted on feature I saw with over 740 votes: Integrate Reporting Services (SSRS).   As a consultant there are two things that I am always confronted with: Forms for SharePoint and Reports for SharePoint. 

What was nice is that the Product Manager put Under Review after this suggestion.  That means nothing but with the amount of votes this is getting, hopefully Microsoft is looking at this capability.  It would be a game changer if they could solve this problem.

There you have it, 7 features that Power BI must have.  Get your vote in today, review the other suggestions, and make one of your own.  While you are at it, download the Power BI Designer and see why in 2015 Microsoft is 2nd only to Tableau as a leader in the 2015 BI Magic Gartner report.

 

 

 

 

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