As part of our offerings on information management, Power BI has rapidly become a significant piece of many of our solutions. Updates are made monthly and sometimes even more frequently than that as Microsoft has embraced the advantages of agile development for this cloud service.
For that reason, we want to summarize some of the more recent additions that have been very beneficial to our clients.
Support for R:
The language of R is the top most popular programming languages worldwide within the field of statistics. In Power BI this powerful language can now be used both in data visualizations and with data integrations.
Users can script their own visualizations using R’s many libraries. Datasets are passed on dynamically so that interactions from other charts in a report also filters visualizations built using R.
Using R, we can extract and transform data using any of the advanced statistical tools and libraries available. We have extracted data from PDF documents, calculated p-values on the fly during load of data to Power BI. Here is an example of using R to leverage machine learning in Power BI.
One of the intended uses of Power BI is to empower end-users to get their own data and analyze with few clicks rather than months of development. For this an array of built-in connectors are now available to end-users. Our favorites are:
- Salesforce – build your own reports in Power BI rather than using the difficult custom report interface of Salesforce. 5 minutes and you are all set to begin.
- Google Analytics – although you can also just pull in the pre-built reports Power BI provided. This allows you to build any analysis on this data you wanted.
- SharePoint Online lists – an easy great feature. If you use SharePoint Online and need to add a dimension to your DW with manually data. Just add it in a SharePoint list and pull it directly from Power BI
- Dynamics CRM Online – pull straight from the API with no additional code needed
- Web – a new feature, scrape any table of an existing website without having to write a single line of code, just pick the table and load.
Using Power BI these sources can now be combined with any other data you may have in databases, excel files or other formats.
It has been a while since we have seen any new visualizations ship with the product, but that is simply because most of them are published to a separate visuals library and can be imported by the user as needed. Just like apps for your phone are community driven, Microsoft has managed to cleverly build a community for Power BI visuals. You can build your own using the freely provided API or search the library for existing ones. There are tons of great advanced visuals out there. Take a look here!
For more information on getting started with Power BI, contact our partner and information management expert, Casper Thomsen on email@example.com or +14696670926.