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Explore the New Updates to Power BI Desktop

Posted by Sandeep Chanda on Dec 8, 2015

Power BI Desktop has been growing in popularity in the world of self-service business intelligence. The recent November release promises a bunch of new additions. 26 to be exact according to the official post from the Power BI team. I will talk about a few that I found are most promising from the perspective of the future of Power BI.

First on the visualization aspect, there are many additions, but the one I like in particular is the addition of a play by axis feature for the scatter charts. You can now play your aggregations in the scatter by a timeline, which I think is pretty nice, especially since in most scenarios in a scatter chart you, are for most part, trying to analyse aggregates over a period of time--such as multiple fiscal years. I tried creating a play by axis for my Facebook activity aggregates over a timeline and it came out pretty good. In case I didn't mention it, you can directly query Facebook Graph data using the Power BI Facebook adapter!

Another nice feature of the scatter chart is the horizontal slice by dimension (in my case it was the "type" of the post).

Quick Tip: The date time data may not be in an appropriate format for analysis and often you need to transform. If you need to split date and time into different columns, then you can use a custom transform "T"!

While there are some nice additions to the visualization, however, the most important ones are related to data modeling, connectivity and transformation. There is some intelligent automation that is introduced in the data modeling stage. Date Time fields will now automatically expand in the fields pane to allow drill down in terms of the date time hierarchy. The charts will reflect this hierarchy for drill up / down. This is the first in a series of planned automation.

Apart from this, the connectivity features now supports integration with SAP HANA , bringing results from an R script and also integrates with Azure Data Lake services.

In terms of transformation, it now supports addition of a prefix or a suffix to a text column. You can find this under the Transform tab when you select a column containing text data.


data modeling, Data Analytics, Power BI, data analytics tools, Power BI Desktop, business intelligence and analytics

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