Since Power BI 2.0 was released a week or so ago I thought it was time I created a blog post on Power BI and show off some of the cool functionality Power BI has to offer. In this first blog post we will take a look around Power BI and see what it has to offer and include some useful links to help you get started.
So firstly, what is Power BI? In short Power BI is a cloud reporting tool that enables you to create great visualisations for your data. I won’t go into details here as there is plenty of information available – a good place to start is here: https://powerbi.microsoft.com/tour
On my Power BI instance I have created some example reports and a report dashboard already as you can see below:
Displayed above is my example Report Dashboard displaying various visualisations for % complete, Work and Cost.
The first thing you need to do before you can create the dashboards is get the data available in Power BI. You can do this by clicking the Get Data button. This will load the screen below:
In my example I selected the Files option and loaded up a file that contained my data. This could be an Excel file, CSV file, Power BI Desktop file etc. As I wanted to see my Project Online data here I chose a file I had already created earlier using Power BI Desktop that displayed my Project Online data – more on Power BI Desktop in a later post when we look at creating a new report and dashboard.
Once the report file is added you will see it appear under the Datasets heading on the left navigation pane and under the Reports heading:
Clicking on the link under the dataset enables you to create new report:
Clicking the ellipsis allows you to refresh the data or schedule a refresh. This functionality will depend on the data source you use in the file – for Project Online OData, both of these work:
Firstly you will need to click the schedule refresh option, expand Manage Data Sources:
Click Edit Credentials then chose oAuth2 and click sign in then enter the credentials for a user that had access to the OData API.
Clicking on the link under the Reports heading displays the report file I uploaded as a data source (created in Power BI Desktop but could be Excel etc.):
From the report you can add visualisations to the dashboard using the “Pin Visual” pin option. This becomes visible when you hover over a visualisation on the report:
You can create many different data sources, reports and dashboards. From the dashboard you can click a visualisation and it will drill down to the report itself. In this example if I click on my % complete treemap visualisation on the dashboard it will load the source report:
Clicking the treemap:
Loads the source report:
From the dashboard I can also create new visualisations and pin those, to do this I can use the natural language search – use the “Ask a question about the data on the dashboard” field:
For example, I might want to see a count of projects for each project owner, so I start typing “count of projectname by ProjectOwnerName”:
You can see Power BI already started to get the data and create a visualisation that matched the data type. Once I had finished typing my query it gave me this:
You can then change the visualisation using the options on the right hand pane, in this example I switched it to a multi row card:
I can then use the pin to pin the visualisation to my dashboard:
Clicking the pin will give you a notification and add the visualisation to the dashboard:
Now if I look at my dashboard I can see it has added the new visualisation at the bottom:
Next up I will walkthrough creating a new report using Power BI Desktop and load that to Power BI.
In the meantime here are some useful links for Power BI:
Power BI site: https://powerbi.microsoft.com/
Power BI blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/powerbi/