Streaming Data To Power BI

Sacha Tomey builds a quick Powershell script to feed streaming data into Power BI:

Peter showed off three mechanisms for streaming data to a real time dashboard:

  • The Power BI Rest API
  • Azure Stream Analytics
  • Streaming Datasets

We’ve done a fair bit at Adatis with the first two and whilst I was aware of the August 2016 feature, Streaming Datasets I’d never got round to looking at them in depth. Now, having seen them in action I wish I had – they are much quicker to set up than the other two options and require little to no development effort to get going – pretty good for demo scenarios or when you want to get something streaming pretty quickly at low cost.

Click through for more details and a sample script.

In-House Power BI

Paul Turley reports that the bits to publish a Power BI report to SSRS are in the latest vNext preview:

“Power BI reports in SQL Server Reporting Services: January 2017 Technical Preview now available”  This feature addition will allow Power BI reports to be published to a local SQL Server Reporting Services server, entirely-on-premises without using the Power BI cloud service.

The January 2017 Technical Preview can be downloaded from: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=54610

Reza Rad shows us installation and deployment:

We are in a world that rapidly running towards cloud. Your files are in Dropbox, or OneDrive these days, Your photos uploaded to a cloud storage, your emails are all backed up in a cloud backup media, and I’m in this thinking that in next few years, we might eat our food from a cloud kitchen! However there are still businesses and companies who require some on-premises solutions, and as long as a requirement exists, there should be an answer for it. Power BI for On-Premises bring the power of self-service, interactive reports of Power BI to these businesses. Power BI for On-premises is a great big step towards utilizing better data insight in all environments.

This will probably help more companies than you might think—Power BI is really useful as a reporting tool, but it can be hard getting sign-off to go to Azure.

Sankey Bar Charts

Devin Knight continues his custom visuals series:

In this module you will learn how to use the Sankey Bar Chart Power BI Custom Visual.  The Sankey Bar Chart is used to show a flow of data between different stages of a process.

It’s an interesting mix of sankey, bar chart, and funnel.  In other words, you may only have one thing you can use it for, but it’ll be a really good use.

Sorting By Column In Power BI

Reza Rad explains how to sort a column by another column’s value in Power BI visuals:

Problem happens when you want a Text field to be ordered based on something different than the value of the field. For example if you look at above chart you can see that months ordered from April to September. This is not order of months, this is alphabetical order. If you change the sorting of visual, it will only change it from A to Z, or Z to A. To make it in the order of month numbers you have to do it differently.

Read on for the solution.

Subset And Apply Problems

Tom Martens explains a class of generic data processing problems:

Subset and Apply means that I have a dataset of some rows where due to some conditions all the rows have to be put into a bucket and then a function has to be applied to each bucket.

The simple problem can be solved by a GROUP BY using T-SQL, the not so simple problem requires that all columns and rows of the dataset have to be retained for further processing, even if these columns are not used to subset or bucket the rows in your dataset.

One quick example of this is running totals of orders for each customer, which Tom answers using T-SQL, R, and Power BI.  Click through for those three solutions.

Wanted: Sorting Stacked Charts In Power BI

Melissa Connors would like to control stack order for a stacked chart in Power BI:

Currently, it’s displaying the stacked column in alphabetical order from the bottom up (coyote/red on the bottom, fox/black in the middle, and wolf/gray on the top). I want the ability to display it by the count for each type, not the name. In this example, I want the order of coyote, wolf, and fox. I believed that there must be a way to control the order within a stacked column, so I clicked all over the UI and fired up the Google.

Read the whole thing and vote for this Power BI idea if it’s interesting.

Why Care About The Data?

Rob Collie explains some of the benefits of Power BI with respect to its ability to dig into data problems:

Many problems/opportunities can ONLY be addressed by making thousands of small behavior changes, on an ongoing basis, out in the “trenches.”  In other words, there are some which CANNOT be addressed by a small number of smart decisions made at the top of the org.  Improved pricing behavior by the sales force for instance.  Improved quality of service by field technicians, for another.

How do you make that happen?  How do you influence a large number of people to behave differently on an ongoing basis, especially when they operate at a distance (both organizationally and physically) from you?

Fancy management consulting firms charge six-seven figures to do this, but with Power BI and/or Power Pivot, it’s no longer necessary to make that outlay.  We’ve seen organizations crack this nut with in-house resources, modest budgets, and short timelines – even though the impact is absolutely enterprise-wide.  It takes some thought and iteration, for sure, but primarily, you “just” need to build a good scorecard.

This is a non-technical post, but I like it a lot because it helps motivate decisions and gives you a good reason to investigate whether your tools are doing the work you need them to do.

Horizontal Funnel

Devin Knight shows off the horizontal funnel Power BI custom visual:

In this module you will learn how to use the Horizontal Funnel Power BI Custom Visual.  The Horizontal Funnel functions somewhat similar to the traditional funnel but it allows you to display a secondary measure and has a few more customizations than you would normally get. You’ll find that the Horizontal Funnel is great for displaying a flow of data.

One of the better non-sales uses of funnels I’ve seen is tracking completion rates on multi-page forms or multi-step processes.  If you see a huge drop-off at one step in the process, it might indicate a bug in the form or some incongruity with the end user’s expectation.

Linear Gauge Custom Visual

Devin Knight shows off the linear gauge custom visual in Power BI:

In this module you will learn how to use the Linear Gauge Power BI Custom Visual.  The Linear Gauge would often be used to visualize a KPI. It gives you the ability to compare an actual vs target as well as showing up to two trend lines.

This can be a very useful visual.  The tricky part is that the bars aren’t scaled the same, so when your eyes want to compare bar lengths, it can get a little confusing.

Connecting Apache Drill To Power BI

Bryan Smith shows how to connect Apache Drill to Power BI:

Clicking Next takes me to the From ODBC dialog.  Here, I click on the Advanced options item, ignoring the Data Source Name (DSN) drop-down, and enter a connection string with the appropriate substitution for the host parameter:

driver={MapR Drill ODBC Driver};connectiontype=Direct;host=maprcluster-3xrrusnk-node0.westus.cloudapp.azure.com;port=31010;authenticationtype=No Authentication

Notice the connection string employs a Direct connection type, indicating that the app will speak directly to one of the nodes in the cluster (as identified by the host parameter) and not to the ZooKeeper service. ZooKeeper is in use on the cluster but is not exposed externally, given the network security group changes made during my earlier deployment.  Even if ZooKeeper were exposed, it tracks the nodes of the cluster using their internal names so that any app outside the virtual network containing the cluster would not be able to leverage the information in ZooKeeper to form a connection.  The only option that works here is the Direct connection type.

It’s worth reading the whole thing, as well as checking out the UserVoice suggestion for implementing full Apache Drill support.

Categories

January 2017
MTWTFSS
« Dec  
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031