Power BI

New Power BI Features Shown At WPC

OK, so I’m not at WPC this year but I have just watched this video of Scott Guthrie’s session “The Cloud for Modern Business”. If you’re interested in seeing some new Power BI features take a look at the demo by James Phillips, general manager for Power BI, starting at 21:20:


Some of the new things I noticed:

  • 21:40 – a nice shot of one of the new Power BI dashboards first announced at the PASS BA Conference earlier this year. You can see several new types of visualisation such as treemaps, radar charts and gauges (gauges? GAUGES? Shhh, don’t tell Stephen Few).
  • 22:33 – a list of out-of-the box data sources is shown from which new models can be created. They include: Salesforce, MS Dynamics, Facebook, Google Analytics, Twitter, and Upload Excel.
  • 22:50 – data is imported from Salesforce in the browser. This isn’t happening in Excel on the desktop, folks, it’s in the browser. This is significant!
  • 23:10 – another new visualisation shown, a doughnut chart (if that’s the right term). I see names of people from the Power Query team in the data.
  • 24:50 – a Q&A analysis is pinned to the dashboard
  • 25:50 – much is made of the fact that the dashboard is touch-enabled
  • 25:55 – “Partner Solution Packs” are announced. This sounds important! It seems to be referring to the Salesforce demo earlier, and these solution packs are said to include: data, connectivity to the data sources, visualisation and interactive reports. So it sounds like Microsoft are going to encourage data vendors (or other sources of data) to build these solution packs on top of Power BI as pre-packaged analytical apps. Probably a good idea.
  • 26:15 – editing a dashboard in the browser and swapping one visualisation for another. Again, the HTML 5 browser based editing experience – we haven’t seen Excel once in this demo.
  • 27:55 – “If there was ever a partner opportunity, this is it”. Again much emphasis here. Seems like these new Power BI features, especially the solution packs, are aimed at giving partners incentives to sell and customise Power BI (something which they have not had up to now, to be honest).

Oh, and you probably already heard that Azure Machine Learning is now in public preview. Check out the docs and samples here. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some integration between this and Power BI to come too.

10 thoughts on “New Power BI Features Shown At WPC

  1. These are exciting new features! The Salesforce data import has been a BIG ask from clients I have talked to. Looking forward to seeing (and maybe even building) the partner solution packs. 🙂

  2. Thanks for the fantastic write-up. This is exciting BI news from Microsoft. They weren’t kidding at PASS BAC when they said to wait for WPC news. I missed this keynote due to traveling/long flight today but I can’t wait to see it.

    The browser-based, no Excel aspect…interesting move. We are heading into a browser-based BI future. My husband, a business analyst, has always griped that he can’t install Excel add-ins at work or upgrade Excel. Love the mobile, added popular connectors and the APIs/solutions/marketplace concept. I have been wanting to build Power Pivot templates myself but could not because I advised a customer to build them last August. On the gauges, Mr. Few will be heart aching a lot in the future. I am already seeing Infographics being sprinkled into many of the BI vendor data discovery tools. It will be up to us implementers to choose the right visualizations and also help our clients understand best practice data visualization. : )

    Gee, dying for more details ….when, what are they showing here, new SSRS or new something else? If anyone knows, please share.

    Jen Underwood

    1. Chris Webb – My name is Chris Webb, and I work on the Fabric CAT team at Microsoft. I blog about Power BI, Power Query, SQL Server Analysis Services, Azure Analysis Services and Excel.
      Chris Webb says:

      Looks like that link is dead. I just searched around on the WPC site and after following a few links, signing in with my Microsoft/LiveID account, and following some more links found the videos again. Can you try this link?

  3. Thanks Chris for sharing your thoughts on this. Those new dashboards look very exciting – combine that with Power Q&A (driven by speech recognition) and we will have finally arrived at the “Minority Report” dream solution. I can’t wait to start building and deploying these!

    FYI that same video is available on YouTube – a lot easier to share. Here’s a link that skips to 21:08

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