Updates to Power BI for Office 365 – From Microsoft BI Team Blog

One Step Closer to Simplifying Data Analysis and Visualization, New Features Added to Power BI for Office 365 and Power Query Add-in for Excel Preview

13 Dec 2013 9:00 AM

Today we’re pleased to announce the addition of significant new features to both the Power BI for Office 365 and the Power Query add-in for Excel previews. Introduced in July and currently in preview, Power BI for Office 365 is a cloud based solution that reduces the barriers to deploying a self-service Business Intelligence environment for sharing live Excel based reports and data queries as well as new features that enable data discovery and information access from anywhere and from any device.

One of the Power BI features users have been most interested in is Q&A, which takes data exploration to a whole new level. With Q&A, users type ad-hoc questions and the system provides them with answers in the form of interactive charts and graphs.  The search like experience is instantaneous and uses natural language query, interpreting the semantics of question the user is typing. We’ve received great responses from customers who have tested this capability on the preview sample data. Today we enable the ability to explore your own data with Q&A. You can add your own models to Q&A and begin to explore them with natural language query.  

Try Q&A today by uploading your workbook to your Power BI Site. Do this by clicking on the add link and selecting “Upload file”. This will upload and enable your workbook for use in the Power BI site. 

 

After your workbook has been enabled, click on the three dots on the thumbnail for your workbook and select “Add to Q&A”: 

 

One you’ve completed these steps you can navigate to the Q&A question by clicking the “Search with Power BI Q&A” link in the upper right hand corner of your Power BI site: 

 

Also, keeping in line with our goal to make Excel the only tool you need for data analysis and visualization, we are also excited to announce updates to the Power Query add-in for Excel preview, introducing new data source support and usability enhancements.

Connectivity to New Data Sources

  • Exchange: We add support for connecting to your Microsoft Exchange account and retrieving information about your Mail, Calendar, People, Tasks and Meeting Requests.
  • Dynamics CRM Online: We enhance Power Query’s OData support to consume OData feeds from Dynamics CRM Online.
  • JSON light support: We enabled consumption of JSON light OData feeds via the “From OData” experience.
  • Sybase IQ: We add Sybase IQ to our list of supported databases.

Below is an example of a simple visualization created by connecting to your exchange account.

  

Automatic Detection of table relationships:

  • Last month we improved how you connect to databases by providing navigation to the list of databases and tables and providing import of multiple tables. This month we add relationship detection between these tables automatically creating the relationships in the model for you.

 Transformations in the Query Editor:

  • New additions to the Query Editor ribbon include:
    • Number Transformations: If you have used the “Transform” menu in the ribbon or context menus, you will have noticed transformations for Text and Date/Time/Timezone columns. In this update, we have added new transformations that can be applied to Number columns.
    • Fill Down: You can now use the “Fill Down” button in the ribbon to fill values down within the selected column(s), filling empty cells in the column with the value of the first non-empty cell above them.
    • Sort Ascending/Descending: Easily define a sort criteria for selected column(s) by using Sort Ascending/Descending buttons in the ribbon.

 

Improvements to Search:

  • Search for Certified results: Last month we introduced Certified Shared Queries. We now add an option to the Search ribbon to allow you to narrow your search to only certified results if you choose.
  • Enabling copy of Name and Description on Search results: We thank you for your preview feedback! A consistent request has been for the ability to copy the name and description of a Search result into your clipboard. This is now possible by right-clicking on these two fields in the Search results fly-outs.

Finally, the Power BI team is excited to announce the launch of our updated website www.powerbi.com. The new site has a fresh new look and was designed with you in mind.

 

Here’s a quick look at what’s different:

  • New user-friendly navigation
  • Easy access to the Power BI blog
  • New support sections
  • New content about features
  • New social and sharing capabilities

We hope that you enjoy these new features and usability improvements. Don’t hesitate to let us know your thoughts through the forums and through the Smile/Frown feature. 

Helpful links:

Let Atidan Deliver a Customized SharePoint Roadmap for your organization:

Let Atidan Deliver a Customized SharePoint Roadmap for your organization:

 

New Deployments

Content Management

Search P.O.C.

Upgrades

Web P.O.C.

Business Intelligence P.O.C

Internet & Extranets

Social P.O.C.

SharePoint Apps

Planning Services

What is ‘SDPS’ and Why Atidan?

 

SDPS Answers your questions about SharePoint:

Atidan delivers expert advice and personalized service based on your unique needs and environment. We compliment your strategic business direction and ensure that you have the best deployment or upgrade plan possible.

 

Get more value from your Microsoft Software Assurance (SA) investment:

This benefit is available at five levels: 1, 3, 5, 10, and 15-day engagement plans that are best aligned for your organization’s size. If you have SDPS vouchers, Microsoft will pay for your SDPS engagement with Atidan.

 

Receive SharePoint best practices and tools from Atidan and Microsoft:

 

Atidan leverages best practices for SharePoint deployment by analyzing the customer environment and providing tools and technologies that help customers manage SharePoint implementation and manage the migration of data.

              

Three Core SharePoint Deployment Offerings

1. SharePoint Deployment Planning

The SharePoint Deployment Planning offer helps you to plan an effective deployment of Microsoft SharePoint for your organization. Through this offer you will receive a comprehensive introduction, understanding, and customized roadmap for leveraging the SharePoint platform to transform your content management, collaboration, and search strategy to better drive your business initiatives.

What you get…

An integrated deployment plan that can help lower costs, optimize business productivity infrastructure and create a secure and well-managed collaborative infrastructure that supports the key capabilities of SharePoint including:

  • Social
  • Mobile
  • Business Intelligence
  • Process
  • Search
  • Content management

 

2. SharePoint Upgrade Planning

The SharePoint Upgrade Planning offer helps you to discover the value of upgrading and provides you with a customized migration plan for leveraging the business collaboration platform for the enterprise and the web. This offer is designed for customers who have already deployed earlier versions of SharePoint.

What you get…

  • A comprehensive introduction to SharePoint 2013
  • A thorough understanding of the upgrade process as it relates to your deployment
  • Awareness of the upgrade “costs” and benefits (immediate / future)
  • A customized migration plan for deployed workloads

 

3. SharePoint for Internet & Extranet Sites Planning

The SharePoint Internet Sites Planning offer provides you with a unified solution for managing your Web Content lifecycle. SharePoint provides a single platform that brings end-to-end capabilities like structured publishing (WCM), social computing (blogs, wikis, discussions, ratings, tagging, comments), search, personalization, commerce, and advertising together to your intranet, extranet, and Internet sites to create a differentiated, engaging customer experience that will drive loyalty and repeat traffic to your site.

 

What you get…

A customized plan for deploying a unified solution for managing your Web Content lifecycle. Leveraging SharePoint allows you to:

  • Establish an Enterprise Platform for your Web Content Management
  • Increase IT Manageability and Efficiency of your Web Solutions
  • Simplify your Content Publication Lifecycle
  • Integrate and Extend your WCM Solutions

Six New SharePoint POC Offerings

 

4. Enterprise Content Management POC

 

SharePoint 2013 delivers core content management capabilities in a single, extensible platform. These capabilities are central to the SharePoint platform and provide a consistent approach to managing traditional content (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF), Web content, and social content (blogs, wikis). By taking an integrated approach to Enterprise Content Management (ECM), SharePoint 2013 can reduce the need to maintain multiple systems and develop costly integration solutions.

The eDiscovery functionality in SharePoint Server 2013 provides improved ways to help you protect your business including eDiscovery queries across multiple SharePoint farms and Exchange servers, non-disruptive in-place preservation of documents and email, and support for exporting those documents and email messages. Atidan’s Planning & POC will address these core topics:

  • Social Interaction
  • Document Set Management
  • eDiscovery
  • Records Center
  • Enterprise MetaData Management
  • Search Visualization

5.  Web Content Management POC

Web content management is a better experience in SharePoint Server 2013. Not only can content authors cut and paste content directly from Word and have the resulting semantically correct HTML markup display in the styles that were defined by the site designer, but site owners and designers can now customize the global and current navigation menus by dragging and dropping menu items directly on the page.

There are many new features that improve video and image handling, as well as inserting page external components via iframes using industry standard web development.  Other powerful new features in SharePoint Server 2013 include Topic Pages for easily managing and presenting catalog information, tight integration with the native search engine and improved multi-lingual support. In addition, SharePoint 2013 supports many new mobile computing capabilities like device channels to target content to specific display platforms, a new geolocation data type and push notifications.  Atidan’s Planning and POC will address:

  • Easy Content Authoring & Management              Managed Navigation
  • Targeted User Experiences                                 Content Re-Use
  • Search As Content Provider                                Multi-Lingual Support

 

6. Business Intelligence POC

Business intelligence (BI) in SharePoint 2013 provides comprehensive BI tools that integrate across Microsoft Office applications and other Microsoft technologies.

These BI tools are: Excel 2013, Excel Services in SharePoint 2013, PerformancePoint Services in SharePoint Server 2013, Visio Services in SharePoint, SharePoint 2013, and Microsoft SQL Server. Atidan’s Planning and POC will address:

  • Excel & Excel Services
  • Powerview and PowerPivot
  • Visio Services
  • Performance Point Services
  • SQL Reporting Services with SharePoint Integration

 

7.  Social POC

Social computing isn’t just a new set of tools – it’s a new way of thinking about organizations.  It’s about putting people at the center of the organization and ensuring that customers, employees, partners can connect with the people and information that they need to actually get their work done.

The social computing and collaboration features in SharePoint Server 2013 and Yammer offer an improved administration and user experience, in addition to new functionality for enterprise users to share and collaborate with others in their organization. The introduction of Community Sites offers a forum experience to categorize discussions around subject areas, and connect users who have knowledge or seek knowledge about subject areas. Improvements to My Sites offer a more intuitive workflow for users to develop their personal profiles, store content, and keep up-to-date with activities of interest. Atidan’s Planning and POC will focus on:

  • Yammer
  • Personal Sites
  • Team & Project Sites
  • Communities
  • Integration

 

8. Search POC

Search in SharePoint Server 2013 is a single unified platform that combines an integrated, easy-to-manage query and data integration platform with native integration of the best-of-breed core enterprise search technology to give users the ability to find the content, information, and people they need.

New Search features in SharePoint Server 2013 make it easier for you to locate more relevant information and find colleagues quickly and efficiently.  And now, user behavior influences the relevance of documents, bringing more popular results to the top of the list over time.  Other key improvements include search UI changes that allow you to look into the search results with a simple roll-over instead of having to click into the document, as well as powerful new ways to process Query Rules and Results Sets.

9. SharePoint Apps Planning

The new apps model for SharePoint provides a new method to deliver specific information or functionality to a SharePoint site.  An app for SharePoint is a small, easy-to-use, stand-alone app that solves a specific end-user or business need. Site owners can discover and download apps for SharePoint from a public SharePoint Store or from their organization’s internal App Catalog and install them on their SharePoint sites. These apps for SharePoint integrate the best of the web with SharePoint 2013. They do not replace SharePoint features and solution packages, which customize or enhance SharePoint sites.

Unlike features and solutions, which farm or site collection administrators have to install, apps for SharePoint are stand-alone applications that owners of sites can add to their SharePoint sites. The apps for SharePoint have a simple lifecycle – they can be installed, upgraded, and uninstalled by site owners. Atidan’s Planning engagement will focus on:

  • The new Apps model
  • Business Connectivity Services
 

Atidan customizes every planning and proof-of-concept engagement to meet our client needs.

 

Contact us for a personalized briefing and project review.

Gartner Outlines 10 IT Trends To Watch

Gartner Inc. offered a glimpse of 10 trends for IT professionals to pay attention to over the next five years.

The trends were discussed in a Thursday Webinar by David J. Cappuccio, a research vice president at Gartner. He noted that IT pros are busy enough with daily operations, with “74 percent” of IT budgets devoted to those concerns. Still, he contended that there are lots of new technologies and trends that will have an impact on IT departments.

From Redmond Magazine – http://redmondmag.com/home.aspx 

Gartner expects these trends will affect IT over the next five years:

  1. “Software-defined networks
  2. “Software-defined storage
  3. “Hybrid cloud services
  4. “Integrated systems
  5. “Applications acceleration
  6. “The Internet of things
  7. “Open Compute Project
  8. “Intelligent datacenters
  9. “IT demand
  10. “Organizational entrenchment and disruptions”

End user expectations are affecting IT. New workers getting out of college are expecting access to everything all of the time, from any device, from anywhere, Cappuccio said. They typically own between three and four devices today, he added.

http://redmondmag.com/Articles/2013/10/03/10-IT-Trends.aspx?Page=1

 

Powermap Preview for Excel 2013 is released!

Power Map is a 3D data visualization tool for Excel that provides an immersive experience for making discoveries in data that might never be seen in traditional 2D tables and charts. Power Map lets you plot geographic and temporal data visually, analyze that data in 3D, and create cinematic tours to share with others.
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=38395Image
With Power Map you can:

  • Map Data: Plot more than a million rows of data* in 3D visually on Bing maps and visualize the data with 3D columns, bubble/pie charts, heat maps, and regions.
  • Discover Insights: Discover new insights by seeing your data in geographic space and seeing time-stamped data change over time.
  • Share Stories: Capture screenshot “scenes” and build cinematic, guided interactive or video “tours” that can be shared broadly, engaging audiences like never before.
  • Image