A sense of Wonder… reflecting on the #PowerBI amazing journey

Few hours left in the day, been an amazing day for a lot of reasons… better late than never, they usually say right?
:)

So… finally dumping a blog pots that formed on my mind going back several months (cof, years…) now… Anyway, today is even more relevant than then, so…
 
Warning: there won’t be fancy templates, crazy ideas,  strange tools, insights, snippets or new downloads on this post. in fact it will be a completely useless post for anyone reading I guess, I just need to get it out.  Don’t have a clear objective, or clear picture of what will come up. Also I won’t be slightly concerned if it’s too short, or too long, I won’t massively edit it (ok, slightly…). Fellow reader, I’m not writing for you today, I’m sorry.

Still, A-post-must-be-written.

So, how to start? How did we get here so fast? Seems only yesterday we were seeing this new Power BI Dashboards screenshots shown at WPC 2014. ~7-8 months after seeing Power BI GA then already a immensely powerful & stable Enterprise/Self-Service/even Personal BI platform, soon after that our first major project with the technology is online.

I’m not easily surprised, and yet time & time again I was completely baffled with what Power BI teams came up delivering, beyond user & community most requested features & needs, a lot others I honestly didn’t knew I was missing, and yet I can’t live without today.

Such an amazing journey… not in my wildest dreams, honestly I would say we would get here. And boy did we need it. Back in 2013-2014 remember we were getting very uncomfortable, mainly for the medium sized/enterprise BI scenarios, at least for any BI team that only works with Microsoft BI stack: powerful but completely stale OLAP engine, no clear roadmap,  failed products ("Planning" anyone?) , acquisitions that ended up bringing no value in the long term, huge number of disparate tools with poor integration, pieces that didn’t fit properly together aside from very superficial demonstrations. (we deliver solutions we hope can add value, not fancy toys that work great in demos)

The nagging feeling that just selling the latest tools was more important the adding value. I’m still a big believer that revenue is a side effect from value we bring for customers. Add value, then capture some of it so you can add more value, repeat.  You can make the other way work temporarily but it won’t be sustainable in the long term, and even if it were… that’s not the point right?   That was the  feeling honestly, yes, we had some great tools (heck PowerView  on SilverLight was great for its time, we couldn’t have Power BI today without “project crescent” right? :)  ), but still msbi kept lagging dangerously behind new vendors like Tableau, Qlick, etc in several key areas.

Something was missing, purely speculating here. Maybe that came finally with Nadella, also James Phillips strong vision, bringing the needed kind of startup mindset to Power BI vision (reminder, speculating here!).

Don’t have much visibility on Microsoft Power BI internal journey, for years know I’ve been inspired with the lean startup, customer development movement, mindset, and from the outside at least, seems a lean startup perfect case study. Hope one day some of that backstage story can be told, really.

A new or reinforced  why- building a platform that could add immense value through the use of data, none of the typical limiting constraints, an inspiring vision, a fine tuned learning machine, powered by real feedback, real needs, really hearing customers & msbi –still- strong and devoted community. And, not less amazing, brilliant , flawless execution. Incrementally, steadily, the pieces simply kept fitting together perfectly. How can these teams have such agility without never slightly compromising a stable, robust, and coherent platform down the road. I don’t know. It shouldn’t be possible. Am I dreaming?

Mission, vision, execution, brilliantly orchestrated.

To the unsung heroes, the amazing minds than could plan, design, envision such a brilliant architecture where pieces keep fitting magically together release after release… To the teams than then gradually brought it to life. Here’s to you. Know a few, but it’s pretty clear it’s only the tip of the iceberg. :)

I remember that right about Power BI GA back in ~July 2015, I was reading “Meaningful: The Story of Ideas That Fly” (truly inspiring book btw) and really felt I could be reading the story of Power BI there, the mindset, the why. Equally inspiring. heck. Even the book color reminded me of Power BI :)

From the book description…

”We don’t change the world by starting with our brilliant ideas, our dreams; we change the world by helping others to live their dreams. The story of ideas that fly is the story of the people who embrace them, love them, adopt them, care about them and share them. Successful ideas are the ones that become meaningful to others—helping them to see what’s possible for them.”

You see…? :)

Guess when you stop having customers and start having followers instead, amazing things are bound to happen.

Long post I, I warned right? Anyway, and also speaking of Azure, SQL Server,  Microsoft new support for Open Source platforms, R, Hadoop, Spark, so many others, such a powerful data platform we now have in our hands. Huge responsibility for us, data professionals, to take all this and deliver on the promise of immensely valuable data.

Should not surprise many, that I feel we’re not there yet (far from it, never been the one easily pleased with only gorgeous dashboards, sorry!). I believe we’re still capturing a tiny potential of the value hidden in all this data. But those thoughts will have to wait for another day. (hope it won’t take another year anyway…)  

Disclaimer: I don’t work for Microsoft, never have, although I work pretty much exclusively with Microsoft stack since I started my professional life, and also very sure, that I will stick with msft stack to the end of my work life. (that is, aside from my faithful Kindle and those precious things called moleskins )  

So, anyone still reading should have this in consideration. I may be biased… slightly…

Better late than never, Happy Birthday Power BI! :)

Rui

Guest interview in Power BI Developer Blog and a new Send To Power BI app for Excel

Be sure not to miss the latest blog on the official Power BI Developer Blog :) , the amazing Power BI team asked us to share some thoughts on our latest work & research working with the new Power BI APIs and capabilities. And we were deeply honored to contribute. How cool is that? :)

Read the full post here.

And celebrating the day :) also announcing that even if you can already use SmartCharts to push & sync data to the new Power BI Preview directly from Excel, you now have a dedicated app just to do that :) a brand new Send To Power BI Office App for Excel.

Give it a test drive and leave us your feedback or review. :) It will be greatly appreciated!

Download the new app from the App store.

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For more info:

DevScope GitHub repository
Send To Power BI Excel App
SmartCharts Excel App
DevScope Office Apps
Rui Quintino Blog
Rui Romano Blog
www.devscope.net

Awesome day! :)

Rui

Hot July 2013 for #msbi content–Selected posts & news on #ssas #powerbi #powerview

I don’t remember the last post I wrote just to gather/curate content on #msbi, but these last weeks/days have been so full of good #msbi content, I really can’t resist! …and we still have two days left! :)

Amazing content, read for yourself: (anything missing? just say so, comment below !)

MSFT Blogs & all about Power BI

“Pure Power” :)

Don’t miss the amazing Power BI demo by Amir Metz: Power BI Demo

Power BI Blog

Worldwide Demographics & Statistics using Power Query and Power View by Faisal Mohamood [MSFT]

Office Blogs

Announcing Power BI for Office 365

Microsoft Business Intelligence

Q&A Feature of Power BI

MSFT research

DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU’LL BE 285 DAYS FROM NOW AT 2 P.M.? THESE DATA-MASTERS DO

Kasper de Jonge PowerPivot Blog

Power BI

 

#msbi community

Chris Webb’s BI Blog

New MDX Divide() Function

Point-In-Time Dimension Reporting In DAX

Defining DAX Measures In The With Clause Of An MDX Query

Some Thoughts About Power BI

 

Jason Thomas Blog

Drill-down Behaviour in Power View

Power BI for Office 365

 

Gerhard Brueckl’s BI Blog

DAX vs. MDX: DataMembers in Parent-Child Hierarchies

 

Blue Granite Blog

Is Microsoft Power BI a Game Changer?

 

CSS SQL Server Engineers

Tracking down Power View Performance Problems by Adam W. Saxton

 

LessThanDot

Rants about Connect by Koen Verbeeck

 

From oralys blog:

Round function in MDX by Hilmar Buchta

PDW: Cube processing experience by Michael Mukovskiy

Considerations for the distribution key for distributed tables on PDW (part 2) by Hilmar Buchta

Considerations for the distribution key for distributed tables on PDW (part 1) by Hilmar Buchta

Caution with SQL Server 2012 SP1 CU4, Bug with nested multi-valued parameter by Stefan Grigat

 

Paul Turley’s SQL Server BI Blog

DAX: Returning the Nth Selected Value in a Slicer

We’ve Got The Power: “Power BI”, New Microsoft BI Suite Announced

 

http://redphoenix.me/

Excluding Analysis Services files from Anti Virus scanning

 

Jason’s Technical Topics

Cache Warming on an Analysis Services Tabular server

 

Byobi

SSRS + MDX: Dynamic Dimension Attribute on Row Axis

Why You Need to Routinely ProcessFull

 

Other selected news & content:

Stephen Few

A new edition of Information Dashboard Design

http://www.idgconnect.com/

Portugal: An Unlikely Business Intelligence Hotspot? :)