SQL Server 2016 RC0 SSRS and Mobile Report Features

SQL Server 2016 RC0 hit the streets today and I just barely got it installed in my test sandbox.  I’ve been using the CTP 3.2 & 3.3 previews and anxious to see if a few broken or missing features are working  now …so here it goes…

The Mobile Report Publisher was (how shall I put it) a little fragile in CTP 3.3.  Let’s see how it does in the release candidate:

First Thing – Mobile Report Publisher had some issues before this release but I had no problems building a simple report.  No weird video issues…


But will it style?  The color styling features didn’t work in the last version…

OK! Styling works with all the color palette choices!  Nice.


The phone and tablet layouts were wonky in the previous version.  Let’s see what happens if…


Tablet layout visualizes and seems to work as designed.

Last but certainly not least …phone…


WORKS, ding dig ding, we have  winner!

Stay tuned.  I promise more, later after I’ve had a chance to do some serious mobile report design and testing.

February 2016 TechNet Guru Competition

Every month I judge entries in the TechNet Wiki Guru competition SQL Server Business Intelligence category.  Over the years, we have seen excellent contributions and insightful articles about advanced techniques and product tips.  The next time you need to solve a particularly vexing BI problem, go to the TechNet Wiki and do a focused search.  You’re likely to find useful solutions. 

This month, there are three particularly good entries that I would like to showcase.  These are all great entries and valuable contributions.  The winners we will announced here: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/33351.technet-guru-contributions-february-2016.aspx

SSIS – Transfer data from Multiple tables using a single DFT
A framework for importing multiple tables and adapting to different column data types.  This is a common challenge in large-scale ETL projects that often requires third-party products or deep programming.  This approach solves the problem with out-of-the-box SSIS.

DAX: Dates Prior to 1900
A common issue when working with historical dates.   These techniques work-around the native data type and DAX function limits with dates earlier than 1/1/1900.

SSRS Tips : Implementing OR Based Logic for Dataset Filters
SSRS report filters are powerful but not always intuitive.  This technique applies OR logic to compound Boolean filters to work-around limitations of the designer.

Power BI Best Report Contest… voting closes on Feb 14

The voting must be in by February 14.  My entry is currently in third place with six behind it.  There are indeed some impressive entries created by some good, hard-working individuals.  Be honest, look at the others and then vote for mine.  Did I say that?  Oh, no.  That’s not what I meant.  What I wanted to say was vote for mine and then look at the others’  Maybe that’s not it either.  Oh, I get so confused!  Follow your heart, get out there and vote, and remember who your friends are :-D  Get your family and friends to vote, get your kids involved.  How about the neighbors?  Sure, bring ’em over!



Power BI Workshops, Spring 2016

These Power BI Workshop sessions are coming up pretty soon and if you’re in the area of these events, please consider attending.  Learn core skills for data wrangling with Power Query and M, data modeling with Power Pivot and SSAS Tabular, calculations with DAX and data presentation and analysis with advanced Power BI visuals.

Chicago – March 4th
SQL Saturday preconference – Full day

Huntington Beach – April 1
SQL Saturday preconference – Full day

Phoenix – Apr 15
SQL Saturday preconference (registration link TBA)

San Jose – May 3-4
PASS Business Analytics Conference – 2-hour micro workshop

With all the changes and new features added recently to Power BI, expect to see updates to the sessions that are not yet detailed in the abstract.

Session description:

This engaging workshop will teach attendees how to use Power BI Desktop to create a complete solution delivering dashboards, self-service and mobile BI.  Attendees will learn to analyze information using impactful and interactive visualizations.  We will create a solution using a variety of data sources that can be used on the desktop by Data Analysts or for group collaboration in the Power BI secure cloud service.

Attendees should have a basic knowledge of database concepts and should know how to use Excel 2013 or newer.

Computer Requirements

Bring your laptop running Windows 7 or newer (4 GB of RAM is required, more is better, 64 bit OS recommended).  Before the session, attendees should download and install the Power BI Desktop and create a free account at PowerBI.com (90% of the exercises can be completed in Power BI Desktop without a PowerBI.com subscription.)  Note that to create a subscription you must use a work email address rather than an address from a free mail provider such as Hotmail, GMail or Yahoo!.  If you have any difficulty getting signed up, follow the directions at this post.

At the conclusion, attendees will know how to use Power Query to combine and transform data from different sources; Power Pivot to model data for reporting and discovery, and write calculations, KPIs and complex metrics. They will learn to use Power BI report visuals to create interactive visualizations and dashboards, and Excel PivotTables, PivotCharts, slicers, conditional formating and advanced features to create collaborative dashboards and reports. Finally, attendees will learn to deliver a collaborative BI solution in Power BI online enabling natural language queries with Power BI Q&A, scheduled data refresh and queries using live, on-premises data.  We will also introduce enterprise capabilities which include connectivity to live, on-premises data sources through DirectQuery and Analysis Services.

BI Solution Components

Begin with a brief and high-level introduction to the components of traditional BI solutions to help attendees appreciate the usual scale and cost.  Discuss the options to scale these items for small and large projects.  Discuss the trade-offs for each and the value of centralized solutions, data quality and master data management.  Discuss the challenges of designing, building and maintaining large-scale BI solutions.

Topics covered:

  • Introducing the Power BI Dashboard designer
  • Universal principles of data behavior
  • Universal data problems & visualization principles
  • Interactive visuals
  • Project types & scale
  • Self-service BI & enterprise scale projects
  • Power BI project stages
  • Managing data transformations with Power Query
  • Introduction to advanced “M” script
  • Data modelling with Power Pivot
  • Introducing DAX Calculations
  • Visualizing & exploring with Power BI report visuals
  • Building live, interactive dashboards
  • Publishing and collaborating with PowerBI.com
  • Integrating Excel pivot tables & reports
  • Introducing management groups & content packs
  • On-premises and large-scale solution options
  • Data Management Gateway & scheduled refresh