Microsoft Business Intelligence Roadmap Enhancements
An overview to the top Microsoft Business Intelligence Roadmap Enhancements announced thus far for Power BI Services and Mobile, Microsoft Excel 2016, SQL Server Reporting Services 2016, and SQL Server Analysis Services 2014-2016.I will not be the first to say this (I will be added to a long list of others), but SQL 2014 was a bit disappointing for the Business Intelligence community…..not to take away from the pure SQL improvements (in-memory OLTP, columnstore indexing improvements, etc.). But, if you look at the list of “What’s New in Analysis Services and Business Intelligence”, you will see it is a…..very…..short list: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb522628(v=sql.120).aspx. If yours is like most organizations, you may likely still be on SQL 2012 R2. My organization is finally moving to SQL 2014 as a standard. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to get the one improvement that we will utilize but I am really itching for SQL 2016 to be released. Why did I include Power BI? Well, again, many organizations may only be utilizing Power BI Desktop…like mine. I want to show the top capabilities that your organization will gain from utilizing Power BI Services and Mobile. Without further ado……
POWER BIPower BI groups Groups offer a powerful collaborative experience built on Office 365 groups. Organizational content packs Power BI makes creating dashboards and reports extremely simple, and now users can publish this content to the organizational content gallery. Real-time data support Dashboards can refresh in real time, so you don’t need to refresh them manually. Available in your native language Power BI is now available in 44 languages. Real-time data support Dashboards refresh in real time, so you don’t need to refresh them manually. SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services mobile reports Now you can view your SQL Server mobile reports in the Power BI app on your mobile device. QR Code scanning QR codes in Power BI can connect any item in the real world directly to related BI information (dashboard/reports) Data alerts Set data alerts for your data. Collaboration Annotate and share tiles.
MICROSOFT OFFICE EXCELIn Excel 2016, you can connect to OLAP cubes (often called multidimensional cubes) and create interesting and compelling report pages with Power View. Native Support for Power Query Excel 2016 now comes with built-in functionality that brings ease and speed to getting and transforming your data—allowing you to find and bring all the data you need into one place. These new capabilities, previously only available as a separate add-in called Power Query, can be found natively within Excel 2016. Access them from the “Get & Transform” section on the Data tab. Native Support for Power Pivot and Power Pivot Enhancements Excel 2016 made data analysis more discoverable, consistent and streamlined, so that you can focus less on managing your data and more on uncovering the insights that matter:
- Automatic relationship detectiondiscovers and creates relationships among the tables used for your workbook’s data model, so you don’t have to. Excel 2016 knows when your analysis requires two or more tables to be linked together and notifies you. With one click, it does the work to build the relationships, so you can take advantage of them immediately.
- Creating, editing and deleting custom measurescan now be done directly from the PivotTable fields list, saving you a lot of time when you need to add additional calculations for your analysis.
- Automatic time groupinghelps you to use your time-related fields in your PivotTable more powerfully, by auto-detecting and grouping them on your behalf. Once grouped together, simply drag the group to your PivotTable in one action and immediately begin your analysis across the different levels of time with drill-down capabilities.
- PivotChart drill-down buttonsallow you to drill in and out across groupings of time and other hierarchical structures within your data.
- Search in the PivotTablefield list helps you get to the fields that are important to you across your entire data set.
- Smart rename gives you the ability to rename tables and columns in your workbook’s data model. With each change, Excel 2016 automatically updates any related tables and calculations across your workbook, including all worksheets and DAX formulas.
- Multiple usability improvements have also been made. For example, delayed updating allows you to perform multiple changes in Power Pivot without the need to wait until each is propagated across the workbook. The changes will be propagated at one time, once the Power Pivot window is closed.
SQL SERVER ANALYSIS SERVICESThe ability to create Power View reports against multidimensional models was first introduced in SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 Cumulative Update 4. Power View for Multidimensional Models functionality is now included as part of SQL Server 2014. Power View for Multidimensional Models requires the built-in Power View reporting capability in SQL Server 2014Reporting Services (in SharePoint mode). Other versions of Power View, specifically the Power View Add-in in Excel 2013, do not support multidimensional models. Many to Many for Tabular models Many to Many relationships will be natively available in SSAS Tabular 2016. [CTP 2.0] Parallel processing for multiple table partitions in Tabular models SQL Server 2016 Analysis Services (SSAS) includes new parallel processing functionality for tables with two or more partitions, increasing processing performance. There are no configuration settings for this feature. For more information about configuring partitions and processing tables, see Tabular Model Partitions (SSAS Tabular). [CTP 3.0] Formula Fixup With formula fixup on a Tabular 1200 model, SSDT will automatically update any measures that is referencing a column or table that was renamed [CTP 3.0] New data sources for DirectQuery mode Data sources supported for Tabular 110x models in DirectQuery mode now include Oracle, Teradata and Microsoft Analytics Platform (formerly known as Parallel Data Warehouse). [CTP 3.0] Improved DAX formula editing Updates to the formula bar help you write formulas with more ease by differentiating functions, fields and measures using syntax coloring, it provides intelligent function and field suggestions and tells you if parts of your DAX expression are wrong using error ‘squiggles’. It also allows you to use multiple lines (Alt + Enter) and indentation (Tab). The formula bar now also allows you to write comments as part of your measures, just type “//” and everything after these characters on the same line will be considered a comment. [CTP 3.3] Apply row level security to a DirectQuery model Besides adding a calculated column to models in DirectQuery, you can now also can add DAX filters to them. In the same example as above we want the sales team to only see products with key values larger than 400. I now can go to the role manager and add a new role that includes a DAX expression that filters the products: [CTP 3.3] Language Translations In this CTP we now also allow translations of the SQL Server 2016 Analysis Services Tabular model into different languages to be consumed by any client tool connecting to SSAS. Very often the translations themselves are not done by the modeler but by either someone from the business users or a translator. The modeler or BI professional can now export the model metadata to be translated and reimport it back into SSDT after it is translated.
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