The tidal wave of wonderful business intelligence news from PASS Summit 2015 and the gorgeous view from my hotel window of fall leaf colors in their full glory are keeping me smiling this weekend. Since landing at SEATAC last week, this Florida gal has not seen a single ray of sunshine and she might have fallen off the diet wagon for a few days. Sigh… but there was sooooo much to celebrate! Check it out.
PASS Summit 2015 (#Summit15)
The incredibly awesome October business intelligence announcements from PASS Summit will get several dedicated articles. The BI Foundation session and other engineering sessions reinvigorated Microsoft BI fans. PASS Summit 2015 did not disappoint. In fact, social networks and blogs are buzzing with excitement that Microsoft shared the best BI vision in over 10 years! Do you want to see it? You can view the recorded BI Foundation session and demos on PASS TV.
A few key themes and must read announcements include:
- THE BOX IS BACK! Keynote messages this year emphasized “we have our head in the cloud with our feet on the ground”, “move to cloud at your own pace”, “choice”
- SQL Server 2016 CTP 3 is available for download, it has a quite a few new and improved business intelligence features for Reporting Services and Analysis Services
- Microsoft’s Reporting Roadmap showcased symmetry across on premises and cloud BI, unification of on premises reporting via Reporting Services, Datazen and future Power BI Desktop report publishing to a beautified Reporting Services server with one set of mobile apps
SQL Server Business Intelligence (#SQLServerBI)
Last week with the SQL Server 2016 CTP 3 release, SQL Server Business Intelligence teams blogged about the following topics:
- Reporting Services chart pinning to Power BI dashboards
- Improved positioning of report parameters
- Exporting reports to PowerPoint
- Creating Treemap and Sunburst charts
- Designing reports in an updated version of Report Builder with a modern theme
- Viewing and interacting with reports in modern browsers with a HTML5-based renderer
- Better report printing from modern browsers without installing an ActiveX control
- R scripts and visualizations in Reporting Services reports powered by Advanced Analytics (Revolution R) now available in SQL Server 2016 CTP 3
- Future Datazen publishing to Reporting Services server
- Future fresh, modern new look and user experience for Reporting Services
- New DirectQuery with SQL Server, SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse (Microsoft Analytics Platform System), Oracle and Teradata plus MDX support for DirectQuery
- Added bi-directional cross filtering and an improved diagram view layout
- Improved SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) are now available for Visual Studio 2015
- Rich DAX formula editing and a new tabular scripting capability in SSDT
- DBCC support for Analysis Services and so much more!
Power BI (#PowerBI)
The October highlight from Power BI teams was the release of custom data visualizations for use in Power BI Desktop and PowerBI.com via a simple download and import of a .pbiviz file (no code required) from the new Power BI Visualization Gallery. At PASS Summit, Microsoft mentioned they would add at least one custom visual per week to the Gallery!
There was an announcement of a partnership with Alteryx and launch of a Visual Analytics Kit that includes a Power BI Output destination, connectors to Microsoft SQL Server, Azure and Cortana Analytics Suite components. To learn more about these new capabilities, join the live webinar on November 3 or view it on demand.
At PASS Summit we got sneak peek demos of the following:
- R in Power BI Desktop
- Analysis Services Multidimensional and SAP Hana direct connectivity
- Pinning Excel ranges to Power BI dashboards
- Automated Insights on a data set
- Better time intelligence
- 3D maps (look like Power Map) in Power BI Desktop and PowerBI.com
- QR code scanning with chart overlays in Power BI mobile apps
- Enterprise Power BI Gateway
- So much more!!! Check my Twitter feed for images of showcased demos.
Power BI releases this past month include:
- New Q&A feature called How to Ask that provides available fields and question suggestions
- Adding Shapes to Reports highlighting an area, visual or creating an infographic
- Full screen mode, zooming with in-focus, hide navigation via URL and other enhancements
- Data connectivity, gateway and content packs containing prebuilt data models, reports and dashboards for Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Quickbooks Online, Planview Enterprise, Mandrill, Azure Enterprise Agreement and Sparkpost
- Mobile team released new functionality and usability improvements
Related Analytics News
For the first time ever, Microsoft SQL Server is the clear leader in the Gartner Operational DBMS Magic Quadrant that was published in mid-October. SQL Server teams across Microsoft worldwide cheered when we heard the fantastic news.
There was actually waaaaaay too much this month for me to cover in a wrap up article. The pace of development is unbelievable and almost impossible to keep up with now. My secret on how to attempt to track all of these announcements, aside from Google alerts, is to monitor Twitter. Thus my Twitter feed has more news, tips and goodies in it than my blogs.
- GA release of Datazen Publisher for Windows 7
- Public preview of Azure Data Lake Analytics and Azure Data Lake storage; Azure Data Lake Analytics is a new service built on Apache YARN and includes U-SQL, a language that unifies the benefits of SQL with the expressive power of user code
- More Azure Data Factory data sources
- Public preview of In-Memory OLTP
- Operational Analytics in Azure SQL Database
- Couple new Azure Data Warehouse capabilities
- Azure Stream Analytics and Azure DocumentDB integration
- Azure Data Catalog added rich text documentation for registered data assets and containers, Hive data sources on-premises and mentioned future integration with Power BI at PASS Summit
- SnapLogic + Cortana Analytics Suite for self-service data ingestion, preparation and delivery from virtually any source – whether on-premises, in the cloud or in hybrid environments
- SSIS and MDS improvements covered earlier are showing up in SQL Server 2016 CTP 3
- Python Tools 2.2 Visual Studio (PTVS) Update 1 in Public Preview
Last but not at all least, with SQL Server 2016 CTP 3 we finally get to play with Advanced Analytics = R in SQL Server! More to come on that mega-hot topic in another dedicated article. In the meantime, check out the PASS Summit Advanced Analytics Foundation session recording.