Power BI Dashboard In A Day Training in Richmond and Pittsburgh

I’m pleased to announce that I will be presenting two more Dashboard-In-A-Day training sessions in October.  These free, full day training sessions are co-sponsored by Microsoft and SolidQ.  I’ve had a blast teaching Power BI in lots of other locations.  What’s not to like?  It’s Power BI and it’s free.  That’s a pretty good combination.

If you’re in the area, please plan to take and day and get some great training.  Here are the dates and registration links:

October 11th
Richmond Microsoft Office in Glen Allen, VA

October 13th
Microsoft office in Pittsburgh, PA

What’s Dashboard-In-A-Day?

DIAD is designed to accelerate your Power BI experience with a comprehensive training program in a single day. A trained Power BI specialist partner will host you for the entire day – all you have to do is bring your Windows-based notebook and we will supply the rest – even lunch!* After registering, you will receive an email confirmation that includes a link to download the training materials you’ll need for the day.
With DIAD you get practical hands-on experience with SolidQ who specializes in the art and science of bringing data to life in a full-day of instructor lead report building. You will learn how to connect to, import & transform data from a variety of sources, build real data models, as well as author and publish Business Intelligence reports. You will learn how to customize and share your creations for collaboration with other groups securely inside your organization including mobile device sharing.

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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Power BI Hands-on Workshops

Chicago – full-day: March 4, 2016
San Jose, CA – 2 hour session at the PASS BAC, May 3-4, 2016

Will you be in the Chicago area on March 4th?  So will I and you can learn to use Power BI to design real business solutions at my full-day Power BI Hands-On Workshop one day before the Chicago SQL Saturday #484.  I’ve delivered this at other preconference events with sell-out attendance.  Thank you to all who have attended in other locations.  An abbreviated version was delivered at the PASS Global Summit this past November and I’ll be doing a quick two-hour abbreviated session at the PASS Business Analytics Conference this coming Spring in San Jose, CA.

Here’s a copy of the entire event description page below.  You can register here.

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 modeling 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

Registration includes lunch and beverages

When: Friday, March 4, 2016 from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM (CST) – Add to Calendar

Where: DeVry University Addison Campus – 1221 N. Swift Road Chicago, IL 60160 – View Map