Microsoft-in-campus Session On Power BI [Part 1]

Meet the cloud based analytics and visualization tool from Microsoft – Power BI. Power BI is a easy-to-use self-service business intelligence tool.

This post is a part of the series called Microsoft-in-campus session on Power BI.

  1. Microsoft-in-campus Session On Power BI – Sharing My Insights
  2. Microsoft-in-campus Session On Power BI [Part 1]
  3. Microsoft-in-campus Session On Power BI [Part 2]
  4. Microsoft-in-campus Session On Power BI [Part 3]
  5. Microsoft-in-campus Session On Power BI [Part 4]

What Is Power BI?

Power BI is a cloud based SSBI(self-service business intelligence) tool. You heard that. It’s cloud based and all you need to use Power BI is just a browser.

With Power BI you can analyze and visualize data. You can collaborate with your team, create reports and share the reports with intended people. Visit PowerBI.com and get your hands on the Microsoft’s SSBI tool right away.

History Of Power BI

Until 2015, Microsoft as part of Business Intelligence, was focusing more on Power Query, Power Pivot, and Power View and MSBI tools. Though these tools were powerful, yet it required the involvement of IT developers to come up with a report or analysis.

Starting from early 2015, Microsoft started to shift its focus towards SSBI. This is where Power BI plays an important role. Power BI is not just intended for BI developers. Anyone with data wanting some insights can use Power BI. It’s easier to analyze and visualize data with Power BI. This tool leverages HTML 5 to render visualizations in browser.

How Do You Use Power BI?

There are two ways to use Power BI.

  1. Power BI Service (PowerBI.com)
  2. Power BI Desktop

What Is Power BI Service?

As mentioned earlier, Power BI can be accessed via PowerBI.com and this cloud SaaS is called the Power BI service. To access the cloud service, you require a modern web browser and a work email address. You cannot sign up for Power BI using emails from free service providers like Gmail, Yahoo or Outlook. No other special hardware or software is required.

What is Power BI Desktop?

Power BI Desktop is a free application that works in conjunction with the Power BI Service. Power BI Desktop allows you to do the following.

  • Get the data from variety of sources
  • Create relationships between your data and enrich your data model
  • Create and save your reports
  • Upload or publish your reports

The reports created using Power BI Desktop can be published to Power BI Service right from the Power BI Desktop application. Both Power BI Service and Power BI Desktop are free.

Power BI, in terms of pricing model, is categorized as

  • Power BI (Free)
  • Power BI Pro

You can upgrade to pro version by purchasing the license.

How Power BI Pro Differs From The Free Power BI Service?

Power BI Pro allows you to consume live data sources, on premise data and allows to collaborate with team using Office 365 groups. With the free Power BI Service and the Power BI Desktop, you can only analyze and visualize data but cannot share or collaborate with your team.

The below image shows the comparison between Power BI and Power BI Pro.

Power BI vs Power BI Pro Power BI vs Power BI Pro

Learn more about Power BI vs. Power BI pro.

How Much Does Power BI Cost?

Power BI and Power BI Desktop versions are free. The Power BI Pro version costs $9.99/user/month (600 INR/user/month)

Power BI And On-Premise Data

This Microsoft-in-campus session was intended to encourage the Organization to use Power BI and the speaker focused on how the Organization can connect with on premise data to analyze and visualize data.

Power BI is not available as an internal product or as an internal service. However, by using Power BI service, Organizations can collaborate and share reports using the on premise data.

Power BI can be connected to variety of data sources including files and databases. It can also directly connect to third party applications such as Salesforce, Mail Chimp, Google Analytics, etc. using the built-in connectors.

The speaker concluded the first session with these topics.

Microsoft-in-campus Session On Power BI — Sharing My Insights

In this post, I’ll share my insights from the Microsoft-in-campus session on Power BI that I attended recently. The session focused on how developers and professionals can leverage Power BI.

Technical conferences and sessions are great opportunities to learn new technologies, tools and to meet exciting people.

Recently I had the opportunity to attend a session on Power BI for developers and professionals and I would like to share with you the stuffs that I learnt from the training.

If you’re new to Power BI, then this blog post is absolutely for you. I have divided the blog post into a four part series based on the session topics.

This post is an introductory blog post and will give you a quick overview of what will be covered in each blog post.

The speaker of the session is Kedar Ghanekar, Solution Specialist and Practice Head at Synergetics.

Okay, let’s get started.

The one-day session was broken into four small sessions. The following are the broad classification of the one-day training session.

  1. Introduction to Power BI
  2. Power BI Data Sources
  3. Power BI Reports and Dashboards
  4. Power BI Live Reporting

Introduction to Power BI

This blog post will focus on introducing Power BI and its capabilities.

The speaker started by introducing Power BI and the tools included in the suite. He then explained the history of Power BI, how to get started with Power BI and the infrastructure needed to use Power BI.

Later in the session, the speaker covered the pricing model of Power BI and whom Power BI is intended for.

Power BI Data Sources

We cannot speak of analysis and visualization without connecting to data. This blog post focuses on Power BI’s ability to connect to variety of data sources.

The speaker focused on the variety of data sources such as files, databases and cloud apps that can be connected to Power BI to acquire data for analysis.

The speaker also focused on Content Packs in Power BI in this session. Content packs allows to share reports and insights with intended people or groups.

Pushing data to Power BI via Personal Gateways was also discussed.

Power BI Reports and Dashboards

This blog post enlightens on how you can generate reports and visualizations after connecting to data.

The speaker began by highlighting the three important components of Power BI – Datasets, Reports and Dashboards. The hierarchy between these components were also explained.

The speaker then continued the session with a simple demonstration. A sample report was generated and then the speaker demonstrated how the reports can be enhanced by adding parameters, filters, etc. Adding parameters and filters gives more flexibility to the end users in understanding the data.

The demonstration also included saving the reports and the speaker explained the various file formats used in Power BI.

Power BI Real-Time Reporting

This session focused on creating real-time dashboards and reports using Power BI. This allows to create visualizations with data continually updated.

REST API in Power BI allows to fetch and push data to Power BI from client/web applications. This is very useful when creating real-time reports. The speaker gave an overview on how REST API in Power BI works and demonstrated with a small console application.

The speaker also mentioned how Azure stream analytics can be used with Power BI for real-time reporting.

With this the session came to an end and the speaker opened up for questions.

The session was engaging and I felt that it session proved to be effective and the speaker attained the purpose of the session — introducing Power BI to Business Intelligence developers and Professionals.

Thanks to my Organization, Synergetics and Microsoft for organizing such an informative and effective session.