News from PASS Summit’14 for Business Analytics Professionals: #sqlpass #summit14

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This post is a quick summary for all Business Analytics related updates that I saw at PASS Summit’14:

1. Theme of the Keynote(s)/Session(s) seemed to be around educating the community about the benefits of the NEW(er) tools. I saw demos/material for cloud-based tools like SQL databases, Azure stream analytics, Azure DocumentDB, AzureHDInsight & Azure Machine learning. The core message was pretty clear: A data professional does two things – 1) Guards data OR 2) helps to generate Insights from Data – And they will need to keep up-to-date on the new tools to future-proof their career.

Read more about this here: http://blogs.technet.com/b/dataplatforminsider/archive/2014/11/05/microsoft-announces-major-update-to-azure-sql-database-adds-free-tier-to-azure-machine-learning.aspx

2. Coming soon: Power BI will be able to connect to on-premise SSAS data sources (multi-dim & tabular).

3. Coming soon: A better experience to create Power BI dashboards.

Read more about Power BI updates here: http://www.jenunderwood.com/2014/11/05/pass-summit-2014-bi-news/

4. Azure Machine Learning adds a free-tier! You won’t need a credit-card/subscription to sign up for this.

5. I also saw sessions proposing new way of thinking about an architecture for “Self Service BI” and “Big Data” which might be worth following because since these are newer tools, it’s definitely worth considering an architecture that’s designed to make the most of the investments in these new tools. That’s it & I’ll leave you with a quote from James Phillips from Day 1’s keynote:

Cost Driver’s Dashboard for a Supply Chain Executive:

Supply Chain Cost Drivers Profitability Dashboard
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Summary:

Profitability equals revenue minus costs – To that end, A supply chain executive is mostly focused on optimizing cost elements to drive profitability. Here’s a mock up of a dashboard created for an executive to help him keep an eye on the overall health while making sure he gets alerted for key cost categories.

The Dashboard was created using profitability data-set & also had drill down capabilities to analyze numbers for cost buckets like Raw materials, manufacturing & logistics.

Mockup:

Supply Chain Cost Drivers Profitability Dashboard

Back to basics: continuous Vs. Discrete variables and their importance in Data Visualization.

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Take a look at the following chart, do you see any issues with it?

month trend chart line chart string to date

Notice that the month values are shown as “distinct” values instead of shown as a “continuous” values and it misleads the person looking at the chart.  Agree? Great! You already know based on your instincts what continuous and discrete values are, it’s just that we will need to label what you already know.

In the example used above, the “Date & Time” shown as a “Sales Date” is a continuous value since you can’t never say the “Exact” time that the event occurred…1/1/2008 22 hours, 15 minutes, 7 seconds, 5 milliseconds…and it goes on…it’s continuous.

But let’s say you wanted to see Number of Units Sold Vs Product Name. now that’s countable, isn’t it? You can say that we sold 150 units of Product X and 250 units of product Y. In this case, Units sold becomes discrete value.

The chart shown above was treating Sales Date as discrete values and hence causing confusion…let’s fix it since now you the difference between continuous and discrete variables:

Statistics Discrete Continuos Variable Data Visualization

Conclusion:

To develop effective data visualizations, it’s important to understand the data types of your data. In this post, you saw the difference between continuous and discrete variables and their importance in data visualization.

PASS Business Analytics Conference – Live Blogging: Day #1

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I’m at the Business Analytics conference and I thought of sharing the news that I get to listen here!

On day #1, Kamal Hathi & Amri Netz are keynote speakers today.

They started with progress made during past few months (Power Query, Power BI, Power Map, SQL server 2014, Azure HDInsight….)

Then they shared some user adoption data…

Power Pivot & Power Query:

They also shared  user adoption data about Power BI:

They use Power BI to track user adoption of Power BI.

Power BI demo contest: if you’ve not seen some of the amazing demo’s that were submitted during the Power BI demo’s then you can read them here: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/powerbi/archive/2014/02/15/give-a-high-five-to-the-top-five-finalists-in-the-power-bi-demo-contest.aspx

Mobile BI:

Microsoft is committed to having Power BI native apps on different platforms and enable BI on any device

SSRS with Power BI:

BI for the masses

It’s great to see Microsoft committed to create easy to use tools!
The Age of Classic BI -> The Age of Self Service BI -> The Age of Data.
In the new age, everyone in the organization who is curious will have tools that they can use to get to the answers!

Amir’s Demo:

Analysis of Tourism in Hawaii. It was really entertaining 🙂

New features in Power BI:

create dashboards using natural language (KPI editor)

Forecasting in Power View:

Tree maps in Power View

And I just saw a Tree maps in Power View!

Drag items from one chart to another!

you should now be able to drag items from one chart to another chart!

Combine two charts into one!

Nice interactivity feature

 

The journey to DATA CULTURE begins today…

Licenses required in Excel 2013 & Office 365 for Power View and/or Power BI:

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Here’s a quick chart that I created based on reading up from different sources about licenses required in office 2013/office 365 to use Power View and/or Power BI. It was not straight forward and I had to use multiple sources to find this information, so hopefully this helps you:

Power View Power BI Excel 2013 License

Please Note:

Double check w/ official sources. The chart is meant to guide to find the right license for your needs. Please use this as a starting point & use official resources before making a purchase decision.

Sources Used:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/powerBI/pricing.aspx#fbid=ygmkLW5EEH9

http://blogs.technet.com/b/the_microsoft_excel_support_team_blog/archive/2013/02/27/unable-to-use-excel-2010-powerpivot-workbooks-in-excel-2013.aspx

http://sqlblog.com/blogs/marco_russo/archive/2013/08/19/excel-2013-stand-alone-now-includes-powerpivot.aspx

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/excel-help/power-view-explore-visualize-and-present-your-data-HA102835634.aspx

http://cwebbbi.wordpress.com/2013/02/01/office-2013-office-365-editions-and-bi-features/

PASS BA VC: Analyzing Road Traffic Accident Data in #PowerBI by Chris Webb #sqlpass

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Join PASS Business Analytics VC on Thu, Mar 27 2014 12:00 (GMT-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada) for “Analyzing Road Traffic Accident Data in Power BI” by Chris Webb. In this one hour session, Chris will spend an hour going over the details on how he developed his amazing demo for the Power BI contest (see here & here).

here’s the link to Register: http://bit.ly/SQLPASSBAVC

Demo:

We hope to see you there!

Paras Doshi
VP – Marketing, PASS BA VC

A Note about “Edit Report” button seen on Power View reports in SharePoint:

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Power View reports that are hosted on SharePoint has “Edit report” which you cannot hide:

Power View Edit report buttonWe can’t hide this button but how do you give someone “read-only” access to Power View?

To do so, you’ll have to host the Power View report in a SharePoint library where a user has read-only access. When a user opens the report, he/she could click on edit report & make changes to Power View report but they won’t be able to save the report instead they’ll see an error:

Power View Access Denied

Official resource: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/excel-help/power-view-in-sharepoint-server-create-save-and-print-reports-HA102834736.aspx

[update]:

Also, check out this MSDN forum thread, it describes a solution to hide the “toolbar”: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/sharepoint/en-US/cec0feff-1055-4b53-a5ae-00373abdabdd/how-to-disable-edit-report-option-in-powerview-report-in-sharepoint-2013?forum=sharepointdevelopment