Where to go for best practice advice for Power BI: The Data Gods
One of the most common questions I hear from customers and students is “what are your recommended resources for learning and staying current with Power BI?”. I find some people get stuck learning Power BI because they are simply overwhelmed with information and choices. Google search will often raise more questions than answers because there is a lot of noise on the Internet. Expert advice can be found only after dismissing the myriad of posts asking questions, sharing opinions, and sifting through outdated and confusing information. Most information found in discussion forums is outdated because the product changes so often. So, what are the most reliable sources for Power BI expert advice and best practices?
I follow several industry experts and I own many great books. Chris Wagner (KratosBi.com | @KratosBi), Microsoft MVP, has compiled the most comprehensive go-to list of Microsoft data experts called the Data Gods (you can see the complete list here). When I was added to the collective of featured “Data Gods” last week, I was hesitant to brag about. I mean, there’s no modest way to post this picture. The title of “Data God” is a lot to live up to – but it is truly an honor and I want to thank Chris and others for this recognition.
More importantly, this is a concise list of reliable industry experts – which I have paired-down to those who blog and post regularly about their experiences and advice. I know and follow nearly everyone on this list but there are a few folks with whom I have not yet had the pleasure to meet. There are also others featured in the Data Gods collection who make significant contributions in other ways, aside from frequent blogs and articles. I’ve also added a few additional notable community contributors.
Free Best Practice Resources
Following is my selection of members of the Data Gods counsel with links to their free resources. Most of these are blog sites or web sites that include blogs and articles available for free without requiring a sign-in or subscription:
Alberto Ferrari & Marco Russo – SQLBI.com | @marcorus | @FerrariAlberto
For most of us who work day-to-day with Power BI and other Microsoft BI tools, SQLBI.com is the first stop for expert advice. Alberto and Marco have set the gold standard for Microsoft BI best practices and design patterns. The breadth and depth of their expertise is expansive and they are known for going deep into the nuts and bolts that make Power BI work. These guys are are literally an extension of the Microsoft product development teams by guiding Microsoft leadership and evangelizing the platform. Their books on DAX and Tabular model design are considered by the most serious Power BI Developers to be the most comprehensive reference books available.
Patrick Leblanc & Adam Saxton – GuyInACube.com | @GuyInACube | @awsaxton |
You either know these guys or you’ve never searched the web for Power BI help. Adam started the Guy In A Cube YouTube channel several years ago as a side project while doing BI technical support work for Microsoft. Patrick came from a BI and SQL Server consulting background before joining Microsoft and teaming with Adam. Today they share design techniques and feature highlights in weekly, high-quality short videos and a Saturday morning live streamed Q&A session. Adam and Patrick are members of the Customer Advisory Team (CAT) focused on supporting Power BI enterprise customers. Their weekly Power BI community Roundup video features the most current Power BI blog posts and release notes.
Chris Webb – blog.crossjoin.co.uk | @cwebb_bi
Chris is one of the most prolific, enduring and consistent bloggers in the Microsoft BI industry. His posts and articles go deeper then most, prepared with thought, effort and insight. Before joining the Microsoft Customer Advisory Team (CAT), he ran a successful training and consulting firm, specializing in the Microsoft BI platform. Over the years he was, and continues to be, the go-to expert on SQL Server Analysis Services, MDX, Power Query and DAX; and continues to share his knowledge and advice through his blog.
Matt Allington – Excelerator Blog | @ExceleratorBI
Matt’s main focus is business-centered self-service BI and financial analysis. He is a tried-and-true expert in the Excel and Power BI Desktop space. His training, presentation and writing style is clear, authoritive and to-the-point. He has the best collection of intro and intermediate level books on Power BI and DAX; each is short, concise and easy-to-understand. His books, Supercharge Power BI and Learn to Write DAX are excellent way to get started.
Seth Bauer, Mike Carlo & Steve Campbell – PowerBI.Tips | @PowerBITips | @Seth_C_Bauer | @Mike_R_Carlo | @PowerBISteve
PowerBI.tips is an expansive collection of free resources and utilities for Power BI with focus on visual themes, layout and color selection. This dynamic trio covers the important bases: Seth on visual design, Mike on enterprise solutions and Steve focusing on application development. They have an array of external tools for things like connection management and project documentation.
Melissa Coates – CoatesDataStrategies.com | @SqlChick
Melissa is one of the deep thinkers in the industry, always asking the right questions and challenging the status quo. She’s also one of the most pleasant people I’ve ever met. Her blog posts are thorough and insightful. Melissa has co-authored multiple whitepapers for Microsoft on data governance, enterprise deployment and migration.
Leila Etaati & Reza Rad – Radacad.com | @leila_etaati | @Rad_Reza
Leila and Reza are known as one of the power couples in the industry. With nearly limitless energy, they have traveled from New Zealand over the years to present at more conference events than I can count. Leila is one of the BI industry’s thought leaders in the machine learning and AI space, with education and credentials behind her experience. Reza’s expertise with Power Query and Power BI are impressive. They freely share their knowledge through their blogs, articles, training classes and have published numerous books.
Kasper de Jonge – KasperOnBI.com | @Kjonge
Kasper is a Principal Program Manager on the Power BI product team and based in The Netherlands. A regular conference session headliner, Kasper is very tuned into customers’ real-world enterprise BI reporting problems. He has been blogging for years and has recently launched a YouTube channel.
Alice Drummond – DiscoverEI.com | @AliceDiscoverEI
With an emphasis on environmental data analysis, one of the things I appreciate about this Alice’s active blog series is that with each post, she shares a comprehensive collection of blog sites and training resources to help readers find supportive information and expand their knowledge.
David Eldersveld – DataVeld.com | @DataVeld
If David can’t figure it out, it probably can’t be done. Over the years, he has pushed the limits, discovered and developed some very unique and interesting techniques to integrate things like graphics and geospatial data with Power BI. David is very active in the community and shares different ways to take Power BI beyond the out-of-the box features to do things that many of us had no idea was even possible.
Brian Grant – CSGPro.com | @BrianGrantBI
Brian has a unique intellect and a passion for problem-solving and sharing knowledge, particularly related to Power Query and DAX. I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with Brian on multiple occasions in conference presentations and training events. He and his colleagues have developed an interesting method to understand the mechanics of the DAX language that he shares in a video series called the Elements of DAX.
Reid Havens – HavensConsulting.net | @HavensBI
In a few short years, Reid has risen to all-star status by tirelessly designing and sharing data visualization techniques. He is a master of spit-and-polish presentation and report design.
Meagan Longoria – DataSavvy.me | @MMarie
Meagan has broad expertise but her focus is designing reports for accessibility and accurate data presentation. Her posts and conference presentations are very insightful. She challenges the status quo and shares specific techniques to provide accessible report designs.
Matthew Roche – BIPolar.com | @SQLAllFather
Matthew is a member of the Microsoft Power BI Customer Advisory Team (CAT). He has considerable experience with several Microsoft development initiatives that have culminated in leading products and Azure services that are used to create enterprise data solutions. He is an industry thought leader who is very active in the online community. He shares his insights, leadership and expertise through his blog and industry conference events, most notably related to modern data governance and Power BI dataflows.
Gil Raviv | DataChant.com | @GilRa
Author of Collect, Combine & Transform Data in Excel using Power Query and Power BI, and excellent reference book. Gil maintains an active blog.
SqlServerBi.com | @Paul_Turley
I add my own blog to this resources list where I share my thoughts about best practice design and development approaches in this series: Doing Power BI The Right Way.
Gilbert “Q” Quevauvilliers – FourMoo.com | @GilbertQue
From has vast experience consulting with IT and business consulting customers, Gilbert shares relevant examples and lessons learned. He is an active blogger and community supporter.
Imka Feldman – TheBiAccountant.com | @TheBIccountant
Deep, business-focused, creative problem-solving techniques using Power Query/M in Power BI and Excel.
Ruth Pozuelo Martinez – Curbal.com | @CurbalEN
Ruth puts tremendous energy and creativity into her video presentations which she posts frequently. She covers everything from intro to moderately advanced level Power BI design with complete and thorough examples, all presented in a stunning greenscreen format.
Parker Stevens – BiElite.com | @PowerBIElite
Parker’s blog site is an extension of his “BI Elite” YouTube channel, with numerous short tutorials and excellent “how-to” examples.
James Serra | JamesSerra.com
Thorough and consistent, James shares announcements and guidance about the Microsoft data platform and data warehouse architecture.