A Quick Romp Through Power BI

Well, the MS Worldwide Partner Conference in 2013 produced some interesting announcements, the one that particularly caught my eye was ‘Power BI’.

It is a collection of products for Office 365 / Azure initially that will then be rolled out to the general SQL Server / MS Office offering.

There are four main components :-

  • Power Query

This product was formerly known as ‘Data Explorer’ and is an add in for Excel 2013 that allows data discovery and integration of data into Excel. I’m yet to have a play, but it appears like a very cut down version of SSIS for personal use.

  • Power Map

This product has also been the victim of a rebranding exercise. This also is an Excel 2013 add in and used to be called ‘GeoFlow’. It is a tool for superimposing excel data onto Bing Maps.

  • Power Pivot

An old favourite, which has also had a name change from PowerPivot to Power Pivot. This is also an Excel add in for 2010 or 2013 and allows very large volumes of multi table data to be stored in memory. Exceedingly fast and exceedingly efficient.

  • Power View

This has been around for a while as well, as a SQL Server 2012 SSRS Add-in for SharePoint Server 2010 & 2013 Enterprise, also a feature of Excel 2013. It is a self service BI tool for ad-hoc reporting tool that works with Power Pivot and SSAS tabular model. It gives the likes of Tableau and Qlikview a run for their money.

I’m disappointed that ‘Power BI’ is really just going to be cloud based initially, so that will force us in the direction of Office 365 to do decent trialling …

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