I’m working on a series of articles about creating enterprise solutions with Power BI and the first article was published this past week in SQL Server Pro Magazine. I will republish the completed series but until then, I’ll post short excerpts from each article. In future posts, I’ll show examples and demonstrations.
Power BI is a bona fide sensation. It’s only been about seven months since the rebooted version 2 release and transition from Office 365 to PowerBI.com and Power BI Desktop. Since that time, Gartner has moved Microsoft to a leading position on the Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms. Like a young, prized race horse sprinting to the lead from the center of the pack; Power BI is being taken seriously and bigger players are considering the right timing to place bets.
Microsoft is rated by Gartner as the having the most complete vision while Tableau and Qlik rate slightly higher in their ability to implement. This makes perfect sense to me as “Microsoft BI” is not one simple product choice. This is my opinion: The Microsoft BI platform has many components and offers many choices, but is certainly comprehensive and scalable. Microsoft have always erred on the side of offering choices where some competitors have a monolithic product. Power BI is great single-product solution for simple projects, and with room to grow as needed. At scale, Power BI is delivering “the last mile” of data visualization beautifully on top of the robust foundation of SQL Server, Analysis Services, Integration Services, HDInsight, Stream Analytics, machine learning and all the other Azure services.
Three months ago I attended the first meeting of a new Power BI MeetUp group in Portland, Oregon. Last week we had a full house. Power BI groups are popping up all over the world as users, businesses and BI practitioners are embracing this product. The Power BI Community site currently lists 59 user groups! Capabilities added to the product each month are numerous and pace of development is increasing. The first wave mainly focused on features for self-service users and small group scenarios. The next wave will address larger-scale scenarios, security, administration and developer tools for integration. The SQL Server and BI product teams have made their intentions clear in recent announcements. Jen Underwood’s article, “Top Takeaways from Microsoft’s Reporting Roadmap” last month underscored that the new BI platform will address big business solutions in the cloud and on premises. We’ve seen tremendous momentum but there is more progress to be made.
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 😀 Get your family and friends to vote, get your kids involved. How about the neighbors? Sure, bring ’em over!
History clearly confirms that good things come in threes. As far as I know this is the first time that only the three most widely recognized Business Intelligence platforms have been placed in the top-right leaders/visionaries space of the Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms, as of February 2016.
Microsoft is rated by Gartner as the having the most complete vision while Tableau and Qlik rate slightly higher in their ability to implement. This makes perfect sense as “Microsoft BI” is not one product or tool. It has many components and offers many choices, but is certainly comprehensive and scalable.
Power BI is delivering “the last mile” of data visualization beautifully on top of the robust foundation of SQL Server, Analysis Services, Integration Services, HDInsight, Stream Anlytics, machine learning and all the other Azure services. It’s also a great single-product solution for simple projects with room to grow as needed.
Oh, here are the results…
The quadrant chart also shows that there is significant opportunity for all these vendors to improve their execution and implementation strategy. BI is not easy to do. Using some tools, it may be easier to get started or to build something simple to demonstrate functionality but data is inherently complex and every business must approach analytics a little bit differently. There is a lot of wisdom in this simple portrayal. (just got the link to the entire Gartner report and added the link below). A notable statement is that there are no “challengers” which emphases a significant margin between the leaders and others.
In SQL Server 2016, my favorite report tools get some love with a few cool new features including, a little polish added to a few existing features, and a complete Report Portal overhaul.
Reporting Services reached a certain maturity as a rock-solid reporting platform somewhere just after 2008 – or at least it got past puberty. Most report developers would agree, the versions that followed SQL Server 2008 R2 were more like a midlife crisis for the product, because the feature set stalled for about five years. The latest version is not a complete product rebirth by any means, but it is a good indication Reporting Services is not headed for retirement any time soon; it now plays an important role in the larger Microsoft reporting ecosystem.
Rather than rehashing information posted about new and upcoming reporting features available elsewhere, I’ll share my experience thus far with the latest community technical preview (CTP 3.2) and some insights from the product developers. As with any preliminary software build, your experience may differ.
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.