Welcome to the Power BI Community Blog

On this blog you will find articles, guides and information created by our community members and, from time to time, roundups and community news.

Q&A (Natural Query Language) is by far one of the features that I find really gives the WOW factor when showing people the capabilities of Power BI. And in my opinion it is awesome.

So I thought I would give a quick blog post in terms of how best you can leverage this, and hopefully also enable you to be able to WOW people.

The aim of this blog post is to show you how to quickly see and understand how use the WOW features in Q&A

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It is amazing how much more efficient it is to complete reasonably technical analysis with Power BI. One business scenario where this will bring huge value to an organisation is when looking to understand your customers better.

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Managing Complexity

by Christian_Berg Visitor on ‎12-05-2016 10:28 AM

In part one, we considered how correlation plots can easily be integrated in Power BI reports to show how various factors relate to one another. That has been a useful starting point for me when looking at new data for the first time. Unfortunately, the world is often more complicated than that. For instance, revenue and inventory may be positively correlated during the high season but negatively correlated during the other months of the year (if a lack of stock hurts sales). A simple correlation plot would not be able to show that. In this post, we will therefore look at a simple approach to detect simultaneous interactions between multiple variables.

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Please help us improve International Power BI!

by Power BI Team Mira ‎11-28-2016 12:46 PM - edited ‎12-05-2016 04:42 PM

We want to invite all of you who use localized versions of Power BI or any international data formats to participate in Power BI International testing. We appreciate any participation which will help us improve international quality of Power BI components. We will give Windows Store credit prizes(https://microsoftmerchandise.com) based on random drawing of folks who file bugs eligible for drawing.

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In this part of our Text Analytics tutorial we will learn how to extract key phrases from text messages with a little help from Microsoft Cognitive Services Text Analytics (AKA Azure Machine Learning). In the first part of the tutorial here we imported Clinton's and Trump's Facebook posts. It's time to learn how to extract the Key Phrases from those messages using Microsoft Cognitive Services Machine Learning, and with no help from IT, Developers or Data Scientists.

 

When we are done, we will be able to create stunning reports that will correlate key phrases with our metrics. In our example: We will be able to see which key phrases triggered the highest number of shares, and slice them by positive, neutral or negative sentiment, as shown in this report:

 

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Text Analytics in Power BI - Extraction of key phrases from Facebook messages (part one)

by DataChant Member on ‎11-10-2016 10:51 AM - last edited on ‎11-10-2016 11:45 AM by Power BI Admin Jessica

In my last community blog here we learn how to apply sentiment analysis in Power BI with Microsoft Cognitive Services API (aka Azure Machine Learning) and with no help from IT, developers or data scientists. In the follow-up articles we drilled down into different aspects of the Sentiment Analysis implementation in Power BI, and shared the technique in several community events. Following the great interest in these scenarios, in today's blog post we will use similar technique to extract key phrases from text messages. To make it interesting, we will pull Facebook messages from the public pages of Clinton and Trump, extract their key phrases, and correlate it with engagement levels and sentiment in cool visuals (As seen here).

 

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You can really change up the look and feel of Power BI reports by utilising this simple technique or pattern. By adding a manual disconnected table and using the SWITCH function your report can take a different shape almost immediately.

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Revenue and forecasting

by Christian_Berg Visitor ‎11-04-2016 11:33 AM - edited ‎11-04-2016 11:33 AM

Forecasting is an important part of most management positions. Knowing how many products will sell where and when, informs resource decisions like staffing and inventory. It is also an intuitive way to compare performance between different business units, product categories etc. For P&L owners it is an essential tool to proactively manage their margin by adapting investment levels.

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Do you or your users wonder how recent the data they are seeing in Power BI is? If so, there are two new easy-to-use capabilities in Power BI that make it easier for you and your users to understand the status of the data in dashboards.

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This article describes the approaches that can be used to connect Power BI to on premise data.  The impact of using the Power BI model, DirectQuery and LiveConnection are explored as well.

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Power BI – Live connection vs. Import, comparison and limitations

by jirineoral Regular Visitor ‎10-31-2016 02:13 PM - edited ‎10-31-2016 02:13 PM

Some of the data sources have option both to import data as well as use live connection. But there is no easy method to change it once you already built your report. So you should rather carefully decide which method you’re going to use upfront. To make this decision right, it is good to know limitations of each method. Purpose of this blog post is to cover these limitations.

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Are you facing issues while refreshing CRM Online Data in your power BI reports?

Has your customer reported report failure or the message "Unable to read data from the transport connection"?

Read on for an alterntive approach to the OData connector to access CRM Online Data using FetchXML!

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Reviewing individual business units and benchmarking them against one another is an important process to verify that investment levels are still appropriate. Working as a business controller I frequently facilitated management reviews. The goal then was to assess if teams had the appropriate amounts of resources. A business that was underperforming and that saw few growth opportunities might find their resources reallocated whilst a high growth area might have a business case for incremental investments. To normalize for variations growth potential and risk various techniques were used. An internal finance function might develop this point of reference in the form of a forecast or “budget”.

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n the September 2016 update of the Power BI Desktop, the Power BI team took the first step toward providing Power BI users with the possibility to add forecasting to charts. Forecasting, a fundamental component of data mining, is one of the first steps towards providing artificial intelligence to users of Power BI. 

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There were already written few blog posts both about Row Level Security. I would like to add one more about this topic. I use this pattern for several years in SQL Server Analysis Services. Biggest advantage of this approach is, that you don’t have to fight with table relationships, which can be sometimes tricky to make work correctly.

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One type of analysis I like to use quite often is comparing this year totals to last year totals. I want to also always make it as dynamic as possible. All I should have to do is change the context of my calculation (ie. bring in a new dimension like regions/products etc) and everything should automatically re-calculate.

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Strategic decisions support through business driver analysis

by Christian_Berg Visitor on ‎10-17-2016 11:04 AM - last edited on ‎10-17-2016 11:49 AM by Power BI Admin Jessica

Having interviewed and worked with hundreds of business analysts and P&L owners, I am impressed by the capacity of human intuition. People who have been in role for more than a couple of years can often balance multiple complex considerations and quickly make a good decision. This frees up time for the employee. Unfortunately, this spare time is more often used to increase the frequency at which they look at the standard reports, rather than deep analysis to try and challenge their already impressive understanding of the business. A common problem with this is confirmation bias and existing misunderstandings of true drivers can persist or a change in underlying fundamental is overlooked. In the next couple of posts, I will share techniques that I have seen successfully employed to counter common heuristics and to increase the chance of continuous improvement.

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Become your organization’s strategic advisor by using Machine Learning and Power BI

by Christian_Berg Visitor on ‎10-17-2016 11:03 AM - last edited on ‎01-04-2017 10:32 AM by Power BI Admin Jessica

In this series of blog posts, I will provide a step by step guide on how to become the change agent that puts your organization on a path towards continuous improvement using the most valuable decision support techniques.

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One thing, unfortunately missing currently from Power BI is being able to create theme colours for your reports. The only way to change the colours within a report is to go and change the HEX values manually within the formatting section. You can obviously use the current palette, but quite frequently this isn't enough. There may be corporate colours to use or you even just may want your report to pop a bit more with some vibrant and coordinated colours.

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"Once upon a time...", a Power BI poem

by Power BI Admin Jessica on ‎10-11-2016 12:17 PM

This charming Power BI poem was written by Mike Davies, Creative Business Analyst for NHS England, to celebrate the conclusion of a project. We hope it puts a smile on your face, as it did with ours!

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Are you looking to test and implement Dynamic Row Level security. But it seems like it just does not want to work as you are expecting it to? Well in this blog post I give you some tips in order to ensure that you can get it up and running.

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This time we will look at the new way of connecting dynamically to a data source within Power BI Desktop. As with monthly power bi desktop updates we see new features getting released that makes it even more enterprise capable and solve real world problems that we face in day to day work. Power BI Desktop update for July 2016 included ability to reference queries as a source for parameters and so we are going to look at how to achieve dynamic selection of source using query parameters.

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We want to hear what's got you thinking about Power BI and Business Intelligence, from opinion pieces on the latest industry trends, to helpful tips and how-tos for your fellow Power BI users, to "trip reports" from your local User Group meeting or Microsoft event. 

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The Languages of Power BI

by smoupre Super Contributor on ‎09-16-2016 08:39 AM - last edited on ‎09-29-2016 11:37 AM by Power BI Admin Jessica

Struggling with deciphering all of the various languages used with Power BI? Confused about when to use DAX versus "M" versus SQL, versus R? Fear not, this article will clear up the confusion and set you straight on all of the various languages of Power BI and when to use them. Each language you will generally encounter when using Power BI is covered including what it is, when to use it, where to use it, why you would use it, how you would use it and its overall level of difficulty ranging from 1 being easiest to 5 being the hardest.

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Tired of creating Power BI calendars? Well, me too, so let's put a stop to that.

 

In this blog post you will learn how to create (or download mine) a proper calendar that ”self-generates” when you open the file and is configurable.

If you download mine, you most likely will need to add columns that are relevant to you, but using the methodology explained in the post, you will do it only once.

 

Note: You need to have the latest Power BI Desktop update installed.

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Sentiment Analysis in Power BI

by DataChant Member on ‎08-04-2016 10:35 PM - last edited on ‎08-22-2016 04:28 PM by Power BI Admin Sandy

You may think that Sentiment Analysis is the domain of data scientists and machine learning experts, and that its incorporation to your reporting solutions is the domain of advanced developers and expansive IT projects. Well, today this is going to change.

 

Today I will show you how to gain Sentiment Analysis insights without the help of machine learning gurus or software ninjas. All you need to do is open your Power Bi Desktop and follow the steps below.

 

Oh, and to make it fun, let's pretend we are the social media analysts of the US Presidential Candidates, and analyze the sentiment of their Facebook posts. When we are done, we will be able to tell who is more positive on Facebook, Trump or Clinton, and if we see a trend of positivity or negativity over time.

 

Are you ready to begin? Here is the dashboard you will be able to create if you continue reading.

 

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Maps in power bi have improved significantly over past few releases and works fine across desktop, service and mobile app. However I recently saw a post by user where he had several addresses listed in the dataset and when plotted on map he realised number of plottings on map seemed little less than actual records in the dataset. Upon investigation it was found some addresses where not listed on Bing Maps but they were on Google Maps. If there was latitude longitude values it would have been easier since they would come up on Bing maps regardless of the address. That prompted me to explore the idea of geocoding and reverse geocoding in Power BI.

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On previous blog posts, I have showed you how to create monitoring dashboards for both Google Analytics and Adwords.

I use those dashboards myself even though I am not a big fan of monitoring dashboards. Here is why:

 

Are monitoring dashboards useful? Yes, they surely are, specially in picking up variances and allowing you to react and learn from changes.

 

Are they needed? I would like to answer NO to that one.

 

One of the greatest features that Google analytics have, is Intelligence alerts where you get an email when variances occur (set up by google and yourself) and therefore you eliminate the need for those awful monitoring dashboards.

 

Can we do this in Power BI? Yes, with a but..

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Angel Abundez and and the folks at DesignMind mentioned they are offering a $150 instructor led Power BI training -Sacramento July 22nd (SQL Saturday Precon)

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Past releases in power bi have seen new enterprise related capabilities coming out which lets you manage power bi usage within your organisation. Few such feature that came out with Power BI desktop April update is query parameters and template files. In this blog post we will look at how to utilise those two features within power bi desktop to meet specific organisation needs.

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