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Power BI Book

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(1)

Power BI

Power BI

Simple, Straightforward, and Jargon-Free Answers

(2)

What Is

What Is

Power BI

Power BI

?

?

What Tools Make up

What Tools Make up

Power BI

Power BI

?

?

Pow

Pow

er Quer

er Quer

y

y

Power Pivot

Power Pivot

Power View

Power View

Power Map

Power Map

Power BI Sites

Power BI Sites

Power BI Q&A

Power BI Q&A

How Much Does

How Much Does

Power BI

Power BI

Cost?

Cost?

How Does

How Does

Power BI

Power BI

Stack up

Stack up

against the Competition?

against the Competition?

How Will

How Will

Power BI

Power BI

Fit within a

Fit within a

Broader BI Strategy?

Broader BI Strategy?

Resources

Resources

3

3

5

5

10

10

16

16

17

17

18

18

19

19

20

20

21

21

26

26

30

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CONTENTS

CONTENTS

Click on any section to go to page

(3)

What Is

What Is

Power BI

Power BI

?

?

What Tools Make up

What Tools Make up

Power BI

Power BI

?

?

Pow

Pow

er Quer

er Quer

y

y

Power Pivot

Power Pivot

Power View

Power View

Power Map

Power Map

Power BI Sites

Power BI Sites

Power BI Q&A

Power BI Q&A

How Much Does

How Much Does

Power BI

Power BI

Cost?

Cost?

How Does

How Does

Power BI

Power BI

Stack up

Stack up

against the Competition?

against the Competition?

How Will

How Will

Power BI

Power BI

Fit within a

Fit within a

Broader BI Strategy?

Broader BI Strategy?

Resources

Resources

3

3

5

5

10

10

16

16

17

17

18

18

19

19

20

20

21

21

26

26

30

30

P

P

BI

BI

CONTENTS

CONTENTS

Click on any section to go to page

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Power BI

Power BI

is part of Microsoft Officeis part of Microsoft Office 365’s Enterprise offerings. It marks the latest 365’s Enterprise offerings. It marks the latest development in two important and ongoing development in two important and ongoing trends in business intelligence. The first is the trends in business intelligence. The first is the move toward

move towardself-serviceself-service, which means, which means whether you’re an analyst, a CIO, or a whether you’re an analyst, a CIO, or a

marketer you’ll be able to pull up the metrics marketer you’ll be able to pull up the metrics you need on your own, without having to you need on your own, without having to involve a BI expert or someone from IT. The involve a BI expert or someone from IT. The second is the growing reach of

second is the growing reach ofBig DataBig Data,, which involves the collection and processing which involves the collection and processing of massive amounts of information. Big Data of massive amounts of information. Big Data analyses are often performed on information analyses are often performed on information from disparate sources, originally recorded from disparate sources, originally recorded for a variety of purposes that don’t

for a variety of purposes that don’t necessarily have anything to do with necessarily have anything to do with providing business insights.

providing business insights.

What Is

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With Big Data, you could, for instance, investigate trends in search engine queries to get a sense of what products people are interested in. Or you can

compare stock performances for various industries over a given period of time. But of course you’ll also want to understand how your own business is operating in as fine of detail as possible. The idea is that you’ll be able to apply the insights that emerge from these analyses to your plans for where to take your business in the future.

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Power BI

is actually not any one tool, but a suite of tools. You get access to the entire Power BI lineup with a subscription to the E3 or E4 versions of Microsoft Office 365, but many of the tools are available as add-ons to Excel 2010 or 2013. The technologies

underlying Power BI make it possible for users without much technical background to create reports and graphs based on data from a wide array of sources—both internal and external to their organizations.

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 &

Power BI

also allows great freedom in tailoring analyses and visuals to answer whatever questions most need answering, in whatever way is the easiest for report consumers to grasp. You can then share those reports on team or department sites, manage who can edit or update them, and present them with interactive graphs and charts, including dynamic 3-D maps. You can even simply type in a question with Power BI’s Q&A feature and get an answer in graph form.

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Power Query

This is the tool you use to gather the data. It’s probably best suited to be used by analysts or data scientists simply because they’ll better understand what information from various

sources means and how it needs to be structured for meaningful comparisons. But Power Query is actually easy enough to use that with a little instruction just about anyone can make a good start at picking it up. It’s available through Excel 2013, but there are some added sharing and management features you get with a Power BI in Office 365 subscription.

We’re going to describe the tools as you’d use them sequentially, from gathering and combining the data, to modeling and analyzing it, to visualizing it, onto sharing and managing access to reports. So first…

POWER

QUERY

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Power Query

 starts with what you’ll probably recognize as an Excel Spreadsheet, but it has a lot more features and controls. The main benefit of Power Query, though, is how easy it is to import data from just about any source into the fields. Whether you need metrics on the performance of various stocks as listed on Wikipedia tables or seasonal sales figures from one of your company’s own SharePoint lists, Power Query makes data entry as simple as point and click. You can also merge data from different sources and

structure it to be compatible with whatever format you’re using.

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With Power Query, you can pull data into a spreadsheet from any of the following sources: Web page, Excel or CSV file, XML file, Text file, Folder, SQL Server database, Microsoft Azure, SQL Database, Access database, Oracle

database, IBM DB2 database, MySQL database, PostgreSQL Database, Sybase Database,

Teradata Database, SharePoint List, OData feed, Microsoft Azure Marketplace, Hadoop File (HDFS), Microsoft Azure HDInsight, Microsoft Azure Table Storage, Active Directory, Microsoft Exchange, Facebook, and a subset of Data.gov

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Power Pivot

This is the tool you use to analyze the data. Now that you’ve uploaded all the data with Power Query, it’s time to see what kinds of comparisons, correlations, and trends will allow you to derive meaningful insights from that

information. Power Pivot is another tool that can be added on to Excel 2013 (or SharePoint 2013), and it will be used primarily by BI experts and data analysts, though again with some practice just about anyone can learn how to use it. Power Pivot allows you to work with tools like the following:

What Tools Make Up

Power BI

?

POWER

PIVOT

POWER

PIVOT

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Data Models

These are what you create with all the information you gathered in Power Query. Familiar to anyone with

experience using Excel, you can think of a Data Model as an abstraction from the basic bits of information. Using the same collection of fields, you can potentially create several different abstractions depending on what kind of insights you’re looking for, and they would all be equally accurate. What the model looks like will be determined by the relationships you choose to highlight and the operations you choose to perform.

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Relationships

These allow you to define how columns from different tables with similar or identical data should be interpreted in the context of each of the tables. You may, for instance, have a column specifying the names of companies in two different tables, one to show monthly earnings and other to show annual earnings. With Power Pivot you can draw a line and highlight the relationship to make reports based on data from these columns easier to interpret.

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Data Analysis Expressions (DAX)

These are formulas that will be performed automatically by the Data Model, and the products of these operations will appear in the display. DAXs can be as simple as adding two fields and showing the sum in a third. Or they can do much more

complicated operations incorporating several more variables.

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Hierarchies

This is when one field or category exists within a larger category. Medical device manufacturers, for instance, are part of the more general healthcare industry. By creating hierarchies in your Data Model, you make it possible for people who view the report to zoom in or out, so they can compare trends at varying levels of generality and specificity, to see what’s driving them or where they may be headed.

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Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

These are the metrics that are most closely tied to your business goals. So you’ll obviously want to highlight them in your models to track all the factors that have a positive or negative impact on them.

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Power View

This is what you use to turn your tables full of numbers into graphs that can be understood at a glance. With a little instruction and practice, pretty much anyone will be able to read and interact with Power View reports. Another Excel 2013 add-on, Power View lets you present data in whatever way is best suited to the question you need to answer, from bar graphs and pie charts to trend lines and scatter plots. And the displays can be interactive, so, for instance, you can click on a table representing a hierarchical category and drill down into the subcategories within it.

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Power Map

If your data is tied to source locations, you can present it on a 3-D dynamic map. Power Map reports are also easy for people who aren’t necessarily data experts to interpret, and this tool as well comes as an add-on for Excel 2013. Power Map is usually the Power BI tool that gets the most oohs and aahs when we do presentations. You can show trends developing over time, use the mouse to pan, and zoom in or out.

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What Tools Make Up

Power BI

?

Power BI Sites

Since the queries and tables and workbooks you create will likely be of value to other people in your company, and since they’re easy to work with, you’ll want to make them accessible to your coworkers. Power BI Sites are similar to sites in

SharePoint in that you can set one up for each department or team that may need to use a common online dashboard and storage cache. Anyone who needs the information on one of your reports can then access it on the Power BI Site. You can even collaborate with each other in creating, editing, or updating the report. You’ll need at least an E3 subscription to Office 365 to access Power BI Sites.

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Power BI Q&A

Another tool only accessible with E3 and E4 Office 365 subscriptions, this is the ultimate in self-service business intelligence. You can use Power BI Q&A even if you’ve never even seen an Excel Spreadsheet before. All you have to do is type in a question and you’ll get a graph formatted to make to make the answer as easy to grasp as possible.

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You can get the Excel tools (Powers Query, Pivot, View, and Map) with an Office 365 Midsize Business subscription for $15.00 per user per month. For a company with 60 employees, that works out to $900 a month, or $10,800 a year. You can also get Excel 2013 with Office 365 Pro Plus for $12 per user per month. That’s $720 a month for 60 employees, ($8,640 per year).

To get Power BI’s full capabilities though (with Sites, Q&A, Data Management, and the Windows Store App to take Power BI mobile), you need an E3 or E4 Office 365 subscription. E3 is $20 per user per month, or $1,200 a month for 60 employees ($14,400 a year). E4 is $22 per user per month, $1,320 a month for 60 employees ($15,840 a year). Check for deals and pricing updates here:

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/business/compare-all-office-365-for-busin ess-plans-FX104051403.aspx 

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Tableau Desktop is Power BI’s most attractive alternative. Both Tableau and Microsoft hold prominent places in Gartner Research’s 2014 Magic Quadrant Leadership Sector for business intelligence. According to Ken Raetz, Manager of Business Intelligence Services at LBMC Technologies, Tableau’s “very rich visualization capabilities are far superior to that of Excel and Power BI.” But, he points out, Power BI will be much less expensive for most users. “If you own Excel 2010 or 2013,” Raetz explains, “you can download the

functionality for free. And more often than not, the visualization capabilities of Excel are quite good enough.”

How Does

Power BI

 stack up

against the Competition?

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Raetz goes on to say:

Another reason we selected Power BI is the shallow

learning curve for users, compared to Tableau and

other similar solutions. Excel is very familiar to

most data analysts and finance/accounting teams. It

is a comfortable environment on which to add

powerful analytic capabilities.

How Does

Power BI

stack up

against the Competition?

(24)

In another review, Brandy Craig, a BI Consultant at Matisia

Consultants says: “I'm glad to leave a maintainable solution in the hands of my client, and Power BI is the only BI Development tool that does ETL, Data Models, Drag and Drop report building, Pivot Tables, and more in an environment that's well known.”

Craig goes to say, “If you haven't seen the demos online, do a search, and see for yourself - this is a great BI suite! (I do not work for Microsoft, although I do consult out there from time to time. I do occasionally make a recommendation for a different BI

reporting tool, but in general, find Excel can accomplish quite a bit for less money and in less time.)”

How Does

Power BI

 stack up

against the Competition?

(25)

Rob Kerr, a BI expert with business analytics firm Blue Granite, explains why Power BI will be appealing to many companies:

How Does

Power BI

 stack up

against the Competition?

Power BI will be a quick win with customers

who need ‘big company BI’ without the capital

investment and complexity that accompanies

it. Other customers will initially resist moving

their BI systems to Microsoft’s cloud for a

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“While Power BI’s SaaS strategy will postpone adoption for some customers, it’s the right one for Microsoft and its customers. Why? Reduced Complexity. Power BI will be compelling primarily because of the array of integrated functionality it provides. Provisioning such a comprehensive system on-premises would take most customers weeks or months. As with Office 365 and Windows Azure, Power BI instances will deploy in days, not weeks, and future infrastructure upgrades will be left to Microsoft, freeing in-house resources to worry only about the application layer…

How Does

Power BI

 stack up

against the Competition?

(27)

“Pace of Evolution. The BI/Data Analytics space is rapidly changing. Mobility, Big Data and traditional Business Intelligence are quickly merging to create a new kind of insight & analytics landscape.

Cloud-based systems can iterate and improve faster than traditional on-premises alternatives. Ultimately, adopting a cloud-deployed system will benefit customers by providing more modern, up-to-date systems that keep up with their evolving BI/Analytics needs.

Broadened Adoption. By removing the need to make large up-front infrastructure investments, Power BI will make the decision to use the technology much easier for more customers--ultimately

broadening adoption of advanced BI capabilities.”

How Does

Power BI

 stack up

against the Competition?

(28)

Power BI is seductive. Once you get your hands on the controls, it’s easy to start to feel like you have an entire world of data at your fingertips and that it’s all yours to sift through for insights relevant to your business decisions. But, as you’re plugging in to diverse data sources, structuring tables and relationships, building models, drawing up graphs, and creating dynamic presentations, you need to keep in mind two crucial questions:

• How reliable is this data?

• What does the data mean in the context of our business goals?

You could do an analysis of Facebook comments, for instance, and come away thinking people have a generally favorable view of your product. But then you have to ask how “favorable” is being defined. And you also have to ask if

Facebook commenters are representative of your target customers. If they are, you still have to ask how you can use this information about their favorable views to make further progress toward your goals.

How Will

Power BI

 Fit within

a Broader BI Strategy?

(29)

So you do have detract a bit of marketing hype from the videos and other

materials you come across when researching Power BI. In and of itself, Power BI really can’t stand in place of a comprehensive business intelligence strategy. Power BI is a spectacular tool set for collating, modeling, and visualizing

data—but you need to have a reliable process in place for recording meaningful data in the first place. One of the best things about Power BI is that it allows you to pull in information from a wider array of sources than ever before, but not all information is gathered using the same methods, definitions, samples, etc. So the farther afield you go to get your data, the more provisional you should consider any conclusions derived from it. And most of the information you’ll be relying on will be internal to your organization. This means you have to have a way to generate the data before you can use any tools, however powerful, to analyze it. And you need a way to make sure the data is clean and not duplicated, unusable, or contaminated with extraneous or unreadable bits of information. (Raw data can be dangerous.)

How Will

Power BI

 Fit within

a Broader BI Strategy?

(30)

A more holistic view of business intelligence follows steps such as: • Setting business goals

• Identifying key performance indicators relating to those goals

• Establishing procedures and putting in place mechanisms for recording and storing data on those indicators

• Creating regular processes for collecting, reporting, and sharing this data (This is the step where Power BI is most helpful)

• Scheduling meetings of decision-makers to discuss the reports, interpret them in the context of your business goals, and determine the

implications for the broader business strategy

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Power BI for Office 365 – Overview and Learning:

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/office365-sharepoint-online-enterprise-help/power-bi-for-office-365-overview-and-learning-HA104103581.aspx 

Power BI –Getting Started Guide:

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/office365-sharepoint-online-enterprise-help/power-bi-getting-started-guide-HA 104103589.aspx?CTT=5&origin=HA104103581

Power BI: Self-Service Business Intelligence Archived

Webinar, with Aaron Crouch:

http://landing.apterainc.com/power-bi-self-service-business-intelligence-archive

“Power BI For Office 365 Reviews and Ratings,”

TrustRadius:

http://www.trustradius.com/products/power-bi-office365/reviews

Power BI

Simple, Straightforward, and Jargon-Free Answers

(32)

“Is Microsoft Power BI a Game Changer?” by Rob Kerr at

Blue Granite:

http://www.blue-granite.com/blog/bid/322825/Is-Microsoft-Power-BI-a-Game-Changer 

Office 365 Business Pricing Table:

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/business/compare-all-office-365-for-business-plans-FX104051403.aspx

Office 365 Pro Plus:

References

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