Fastest way to get a #msbi VM with #sharepoint 2013 & #PowerView Multidimensional? use online MS sales demo VMs

Do you need a clean Sharepoint 2013 #msbi VM with PowerView multidimensional for demos/testing purposes? Don’t want to –or can’t- build one from scratch? and have you access to Microsoft partner resources?

Online pre-prepared #msbi vms&demos  at http://fs.mssalesdemos.com/

Well, be sure to check the MS partner site http://fs.mssalesdemos.com/ for demo VMs. You’ll find at least two fully loaded VMs for #msbi with SharePoint 2013 and several prepared demo content & resources (powerview, powerpivot, excel).

These VMs work extremely well for demoing or testing purposes, they start in minutes and you connect using remote desktop. Performance is very acceptable. And you can save them for later use! :)

Unfortunately none has CU4 applied to run PowerView over multidimensional cubes, but we can solve that very quickly! Just download & install the CU4/(or the most recent CU5) :)

Download and install SQL 2012 SP1 CU4 for SSAS multidimensional support in SharePoint PowerView

I started up an instance of the “SQL Server 2012 BI Demo – Breakthrough Insight (March 2013)” VM. Already has SQL 2012 SP1.

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Wait until the VM starts, connect using the rdp link:

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and just download the hotfix inside the VM (should be very fast, 770MB took only a few minutes in my case).

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Apply the SQL 2012 SP1 CU4 (I updated all instances just in case, took a bit longer). (ps-be sure to stop the World Wide Web Publishing Service service to avoid a restart and closed all Man. Studio and similar apps,

restart the www service after CU4 finished)

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And you’re done!

Create a “Semantic Model connection for PowerView” data source for your SSAS cubes

Now, just create a new data source in Sharepoint (ex: http://intranet.contoso.com/Shared%20Documents/) and open it to start PowerView . You even got some multidimensional models installed (ex: contoso retail).

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Click the created data source and PowerView should open connected to the Contoso Retail cube:

Check the official guide to know more: “Understanding Power View for Multidimensional Models

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& Save the demo VM for later use on mssalesdemos

And for the better part :), you can then save the VM for later use (just don’t trust it will be there forever… they sometimes expire and disappear without warning…).

For this use the “Stop and Save” option (prepare to wait between 5-10 minutes while the VM is saved).

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The new VM should then appear in your catalog. You can come back later and start from were you left off:

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btw- if you want to check other demo resources in the VM:

 

http://intranet.contoso.com/sites/bicenter

http://intranet.contoso.com/PowerPivot%20Gallery/Forms/Gallery.aspx

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Take care!

Rui

An alternative model for faster Excel Self Service BI–Excel Data Insights Addon– Part I

Finally some minutes to share my thoughts & some light into what I presented this last saturday at SqlSat Portugal . I had a great time doing this session (as expected, public speaking can turn into an addiction really, particularly for shy folks and introverts like myself :)… thrilling experience…  ).

Feedback was great and some people were even a little doubtful :) of what was really going on under the hood… for such a fast/single click to insights experience/self service BI with Excel 2013. :)

The presentation slides are available here, you can browse through them online. They are not very extensive but they should guide through  the main topics:

the why – in the age of data, big data, and vast diversity of key performance improvement indicators –or better, datasets-, the need for more agility, productivity, an instant/single click self service BI with Excel 2013, PowerPivot and PowerView is needed (IMO)

and the “what”a somewhat “twisted” self service model/concept that loads your data into existing reusable powerpivot/powerview templates, supported by a new Excel addin (concept sample/preview) that for now goes with the name of Data Insights

Have to say that all this is currently at proof of concept/sample level. Although I am very happy, even surprised, with the results, and yet to discover a big showstopper. Being the reason to fully share this soon, to allow for anyone to contribute and we can move the idea further. Some help from the PowerPivot/PowerView product teams would be particularly helpful as I think this kind of models could be near perfect with a few adjustments in powerpivot/excel/powerview core modules. (also could enable a much wider adoption of data usage & analytics with Excel 2013… just saying…)

The concept is very simple to grasp from an end user perspective, just grab your data (database connections, data explorer, whatever), put it in a regular table:

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and click Explore data in the Data Insights Addon Excel ribbon:

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Wait a few seconds (currently I’m not totally happy with performance, part due to the sample addon data handling code-that we can tune a little bit-, part for the excel data model/powerview loading/refreshing times-that will be hard for us to tune if not impossible ;) )

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Either way, a click and 10 secs to 40 secs latter (depending on the data), we get a full PowerView/PowerPivot model to explore, prefilled with dashboards, commonly used dimensions & visualization patterns. We can easily change what measure to focus on, reusing the same visual & interactive patterns.

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(as a side bonus you don’t even need PowerPivot enabled for this, although PoweView is a must honestly – note to the product team: startup times could benefit a little tuning!)

The original table is added to the model, so you can use all your fields and further customize the model & dashboards, (ex: search). You’ll have both conformed/prebuilt dimensions like date, time, categories, pictures,  together with your original data.

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This was for sales data, the same single click experience can be used to get the same data insights experience for any other dataset as longs as it shares some common concepts like date/measures/categories/images.

Take tweet data for example, a table with tweets in a few msbi hashtags, with users and pictures:

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Another click on Explore Data, and:

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Finally can get some insights when’s the best weekdays and time of day to tweet and blog :) : (although the dataset is very small to jump to clear conclusions…)image

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This is self service that makes sense to me. Will it target all self service scenarios? Of course not! Are there shortcomings? Yes, they are, more on that later. But for a lot of end user scenarios, simple and small datasets, this would be just perfect! Finally, not more date tables, time dimensions, wasted effort doing the same models over and over again.

All this works from a template based model, so I can edit once directly in Excel, and reuse many times with all kinds of datasets:

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So here it is, I think there’s something to explore here… what do you think? Trimming the sample & code, few tweaks missing, to share soon.

Final thanks to DevScope BI Team, Rui Romano for the excel addin draft code, Jorge Esteves for the dynamic PowerPivot model, Sónia Gomes for the AddIn icon and help with layout, and Jason Thomas, even if he’s not aware :), for his  work on dynamic measure & group selection. (we were very confortable with this on regular SSAS cubes, the posts by Jason were helpful bringing the concept to powerpivot/dax) . The work by Tom Gleeson at his blog (Gobán Saor) is also of particular relevance to this concept. This one for example :) will probably be very helpful taking this concept further…

Take care,

Rui

Browsing & exploring a “big” #kindle library, part II, now with #Excel2013 #PowerView

Well just recently updated my Kindle orders & highlights data from Amazon (see my previous post here), and just remembered that would also make a very good case for some cool (and useful, imo) Excel 2013 PowerView dashboards. There’s an image available for each books, fits perfectly with PowerPivot and PowerView.

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Valuable Data & Insights

Aside from the usual visual bells & whistles, being a kind of data “playground” and a very cool demo for friends, our team, partners & customers, there are actually some very real scenarios where this data and analysis are of great value to me:

  • remember/recap my favorite books just by checking the number of highlights I’ve made (a very reasonable indicator for that)
  • to check & control my book “budget” (unfortunately it is not, yet…, real time… )
  • check savings from free kindle books promos, just for fun (& profit ) :)
  • to choose a book to read next, very usual, based on books I haven’t read yet, ie with no highlights from me, that have good ratings (either avg stars or number of reviews, or my “calculated” overall score)
  • much better browser (PowerView or PivotViewer) from my library that the Kindle or any Kindle iPad, the native apps clearly were not developed to make it easy to browse your own kindle library when you have a few hundred books…actually one of the reason I gave up on using my Kindle device, inability to slice & dice and help me choosing what to read next (honestly, it could be awesome to have this on kindle& kindle apps… don’t get it really how it’s still missing)

Brief Excel 2013 & PowerView Walkthrough

I won’t get into much detail how to get something like these going on Excel 2013 PowerViews, there are plenty of other good resources to learn the basics on PowerPivot and PowerView, but honestly for something like this it’s  very intuitive  indeed with the new Office & PowerView.

We’ll need a main table:

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The usual “Date” utility table…

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Check you have both tables on the PowerPivot data model:

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Create the relationship between these two tables (by my order date in this case):

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Fine tune the default behavior of the main table in order to get a better user experience, ex: title images:

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Define a Default field set:

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Save, back to Excel and Create a new PowerView Dashboard:

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And be creative! :) 

Ex: 2012 highlight (PowerView data “highlighting” it’s really the killer feature)image

Final thoughts

Now I have two very interesting browsers for my kindle books, both PowerView and PivotViewer , fun they’re both running SilverLight, who would figure that ?

Nevertheless, some things I am already missing in PowerView:

  • exact copy/paste/duplicate PowerView sheets… as it insists on changing display positions
  • automatic date handling, someone better to solve this soon, lets skip the needed date table shall we?  I think that would allow much wider adoption of Excel analytics. Getting really tired of date/time tables, honestly… no wonder end users don’t get them easily… they are smart
  • analyze in excel option, jumping to a native Excel Pivot Table maintaining  the specific value/context- much like SmartPivot detailby feature or Office 2012 QuickExplore , that would be killer

btw-How can you build a very reasonable Kindle library like the above just with “minimal” budget? That, I will cover soon on my personal development blog :)

Anyway…$400 in books, I really hope my wife is not reading this. :)

Take care!

Rui

 

Related Posts

This is a post reminder that we are still waiting for #SQL #PowerView to be able to explore #SSAS Multidimensional…

Not the most inspired post I know :) Just a reminder.

I would also add that the possibility that this would only work for SQL 2012… would be a tiny little bit difficult to understand honestly… Or at least, give us strong technical reasons please.

And don’t forget to vote the connect request.

Rui