PASS Business Analytics Conference Hands-on Micro Workshop

I’m jumping on a plane bound for San Jose, California today headed to the PASS Business Analytics Conference (BAC).  If you plan to attend my hands-on workshop, Tuesday at 2:00, the following information will help you prepare:

Bring your laptop
running Windows 7, 8 or 10.  Power BI will work, at minimum, on Windows 7 32 bit with 4 GB of RAM.  A 64-bit OS with more RAM is better but not required.  When you install Power BI Desktop on Windows 7, you may be instructed to install the .NET Framework 4.5.  Please do this ahead of time.

Install Power BI Desktop
Just go to PowerBi.com and install it from the Products menu.  You don’t need an account to install Power BI Desktop.

Charge your laptop battery
We will be meeting in a standard session room in the afternoon without additional power.  Plan to spend the two hours running on battery power (and don’t use up your battery charge earlier in the day).  I don’t have control over the schedule or meeting room facilities so please plan ahead.  We also won’t have control of the wireless Internet connectivity which I hope to use to provide files and exercise instructions.  Just in case of connection issues, I will provide files on USB drives.

If you do not yet have a subscription setup at PowerBI.com, that’s OK.  In this shorter version of the workshop, we will spend most of the time working offline.  If you do have a subscription, you can publish and work with the online features but this is not a requirement.

Really looking forward to seeing you there!

Publish to the Web, Partner Showcase & Best Power BI Report Contest

It was a big day for Power BI!

The Power BI Partner Showcase is online as of today. Please check-out the two solutions from SolidQ: https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/partner-showcase/

Power BI reports can now be embedded into a pubic-facing website!  Today,
Faisal Mohamood, Group Product Manager on the Power BI team announced that Power BI reports can now be published to the web for all the world to see – woo hoo!    I’ve worked with the feature and it’s quite easy to implement.  Details are here.  To exhibit this new capability, Microsoft is hosting a Best Report competition which I entered with the SolidQ Airline Performance Tracker.

Please vote for your favorite visual report created with Power BI.  Here is my entry into the contest:  http://community.powerbi.com/t5/Best-Report-Contest/SolidQ-Airline-Performance/m-p/17207#M11

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Hey, Cortana; Show me Power BI

The proliferation of Power BI across the Microsoft ecosystem is astounding and Power BI keeps popping up in the most interesting places like live streaming dashboards in Cortana Analytics and just recently on the Windows 10 desktop.  Power BI is so much more than a simple data visualization tool for desktop data and social media streams.  With the Windows 10 Cortana integration, you simply ask Cortana a question and the answer is visualized in the search results window above the Start button.  Any published datasets you choose are added to the list of all the stuff Cortana checks when you ask her questions.  A link below the visual takes you to your Power BI dashboard in the web browser to interact, add fields & filters, change the visual; and pin the results to the dashboard if you like.

I’ve made a quick video to demonstrate how it works.  By the way, you can just type your questions instead of speaking them to Cortana.  Questions are sent to the Power BI Q&A feature for the datasets you chose to integrate from your subscription.

The Windows 10 “Threshold 2” update a couple weeks ago introduces Power BI integration with Cortana on the desktop.  I checked for non-critical updates on my desktop machine like I often do each Sunday an Windows Update tells me that the update is ready to download and install:

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This is a substantial update that took a while – and a few system reboots – to install.  Once the system is updated, you need to make sure the user account you use for your Power BI subscription is integrated with Windows 10 using the Settings > Accounts page in Windows…

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After that, Cortana integration should show up in your Power BI tenant online.  In the settings page, check the “Enable Cortana…” box for each dataset you want to integrate.

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Interacting with Power BI is now a simple matter of asking Cortana  questions that line-up with objects in the published model, just as you would using the Q&A feature from a dashboard in the web browser.  In most cases, you’ll want to navigate from the Windows search results window to the full page view by using the “Show more details in Power BI” link.

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