July was an incredible month for Microsoft BI fans. I can barely get this summary out on time! There has been a lot of worldwide interest in the recent news and releases.

 

 

  • Power BI is now generally available as of July 24th. It is jam packed with enhancements across all areas of the offering. Check out the What is New in Power BI SlideShare or the Power BI GA Launch recording for a deeper dive and demos.
  • Power BI Desktop now has control of colors, custom colors, axes, data labels, titles, rich text boxes and hyperlinks. New data vizzes were added including waterfall, donut and area charts. In the latest release, we also have more data sources, more data prep features (45+), DAX calculation features (200+), along with many other new and improved capabilities. See longer list and related articles in the official Power BI bogs.
  • An open source D3.js GitHub project was published for customizing Power BI data vizzes.
  • Full-fidelity Excel rendering on PowerBI.com for any Excel workbook stored on OneDrive for Business was added this month. Excel workbooks including pivot tables, pivot charts, slicers, quick explore, data tables, worksheets and even Power View sheets can be interactively browsed just like the Excel Online user experience.
  • More data sources, in-memory and direct connectivity options, were added to Power BI along with on-prem data refresh for hybrid business intelligence. Direct connectivity to popular Apache Spark for HDInsight is now available. Azure SQL Database, Azure SQL Data Warehouse and on-premises SQL Server Analysis Services Tabular models are also direct connectivity data sources.
  • A native Power BI mobile app for Android was released.
  • Group collaboration, quick navigation to Office 365 apps, custom URLs on dashboard tiles, code-free Organizational content packs and more running start, pre-packaged content packs from third-party apps were added in July.
  • A preview of Azure Data Catalog was announced enabling centralized publishing of approved self-service business intelligence data sources along with related data source metadata.
  • Cortana Analytics Suite, a future bundled offering for delivering intelligent business analytics, was announced along with cool predictive Power BI demonstrations in a recorded webinar.
  • Datazen Server was updated with improved MDX functionality along with a preview of Datazen Publisher for Windows 7.
  • An upcoming Office 365 E5 Suite offering was announced at World Partner Conference that bundles Power BI, Social Collaboration, Delve, Sway, other apps and capabilities.
  • There was also much more news across the wider Microsoft, Azure and Enterprise Data Platform solutions this month. The biggest news of all being the release of Windows 10.

Keeping up with Microsoft

The Microsoft teams are moving sooooooo fast with weekly and monthly releases. It can be fairly challenging to keep up with all the exciting news – even if you are an extreme type A personality like me that loves to constantly monitor the market. I will confess that both my energy and Diet Mountain Dew reserves have been completely depleted this month covering the buzz on a 24×7 basis. If you like to sleep more than I do, merely follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn to get a stream of updates as I get them. If you want to keep your knowledge or skills up to date, I frequently publish updated free training material, decks and videos for anyone to enjoy.

Listening to Customers and Partners

On a closing note, I will also share that Microsoft staff (CEO, corporate vice presidents, program managers, engineers, field, support, etc.) do actively monitor the social reaction, community site, articles, blogs, videos, and so on. They are listening closely to customers and partners in ways that I have never seen happen in the past. They do truly care. I see it daily and I hope that you see it too. I am personally experiencing a new, different, better and light-speed paced Microsoft that keeps on surprising me in good ways this year.