Microsoft development is literally moving at the speed of light. The massive daily waves of September releases have been impossible to track. As promised, I will share as much as I can to help those of you that like to know what is cool, new and exciting. Despite overdoses of caffeine, sleep deprivation and inside connections, I can’t keep up with all of our releases across business intelligence and analytics any more. I joke that my role is going to kill me. My heart has stopped several times this month in shock and awe. If I do die, you will know why! Oh and my spirit will come back to haunt the Microsoft BI teams to continue seeing what gets cooked up next. I need to see the day where we have HoloLens-like, immersive, virtual exploration of data. Enough drama, here are the key announcements, releases and highlights for September 2015.

Power BI Custom Data Visualizations

By far my favorite releases this month were by my peers in the community. I have always told Microsoft that the extended global #sqlfamily was totally amazing. This month the community exploded with out of this world awesomeness. Here are a few of my favorite custom data visualizations built by the community for the community. You can see all the of the contest custom data visualization entries on the new Power BI Community site. These and much more will be coming verrrrrrrrrrrry soon to Power BI users for anyone to easily use without having to know any code!

highlight custom vizzes


One of the heart stoppers was an aquarium custom visual with swimming fish that are sized according to the data. Even the aquarium decorations are configurable. If data changes are small, the fish get smaller, swim slower and can end up floating at the top. It is soooooo creative. This is a must see video. What an incredible and unexpected fun way to visualize data in a live infographic!


Another total heart stopper was Synoptic Panel for Power BI by SQLBI. This team wrote a web app to visually design custom background images for heat mapping in Power BI. It is absolutely incredible and totally useful. I can think of a million use cases for this gem. It is beyond fantastic.


Bazillion Power BI Releases

Power BI momentum continues to grow exponentially. If I am not answering your email, LinkedIn, Twitter or IMs, I do sincerely apologize. I am trying my best but the volumes are extreme and it never seems to lighten up?!? On a brighter note, the rest of the world is beginning to see that Microsoft BI is really coming back and it will be better than ever. Two excellent BI market pulse reports came out this month from highly respected industry analyst firms. Both were refreshingly delightful for Microsoft BI fans to read.

BI Wave

This month’s Power BI incremental release highlights are as follows:

SQL Server 2016 BI On-Premises Enhancements

This month we also saw SQL Server BI on-premises finally coming back to life. The Reporting Services blog had been on a sabbatical for two years. (Hmm..that is what I need, a sabbatical!) You can follow their blogs and Twitter to keep up with updates. Riccardo Muti and Kasper de Jonge are the PM’s on those offerings that usually write up the posts and are enjoyable to follow. There were a few great features released this month for Reporting Services and Analysis Services in SQL Server 2016 CTP 2.3 and SQL Server 2016 CTP 2.4.


You will hear much more exciting news regarding SQL Server BI on-premises during PASS Summit – it is only a few weeks away. Remember that SQL Server BI on-premises blog I wrote a few months back on IGNITE announcements? Skeptics, can you see it now? Yes indeed, it really is happening.

Excel 2016

Office 2016 is now generally available. Here are a few new Excel 2016 goodies.


Other Related Analytics News

Gee, if that was not enough information overload. Then check out all of the announcements from Strata, AzureCon and the Microsoft advanced analytics teams. I have been drowning in an RFI this month and confess that I have not been able to watch recorded sessions yet to pick out technical highlights BI pro peers might appreciate. This is what I could extract from Twitter buzz.

You can find many more golden nuggets that I missed in the #Azure, #PowerBI, #SQLServerBI and other product team Twitter feeds. I am not kidding when I say Twitter is how I find out about releases these days. If you are not on Twitter, come join me in the fun (or total chaos) monitoring modern, continuous release, analytics markets.