Pragmatic Works Blog

Webinar Follow-Up: Data Analytics & Distribution with Power BI

Written by Ginger Grant | Jan 12, 2015

Thank you to all of the people who took the time to view my session on Data Analytics and Distribution with Power BI. I really enjoy getting the chance to decrease the confusion I hear regarding Power BI, and hope that you will find the question and answer section helpful if you are trying to learn more about the product.

Questions and Answers

In Power BI Designer, is it possible to manipulate the colors of the charts?

While this may change as Power BI Designer is still in preview mode, currently the colors are assigned automatically. As you might guess, this is a feature that other people are interested in so it is on Microsoft’s list of things to add. If Power BI Designer color selections are implemented like they are in Power View, which is very similar to Power BI Designer, it is likely themes of colors will be available, rather than the ability to pick each color like in Report Designer, but we will have to wait and see.

Are Power BI designer/dashboard changes specific to each user?

If you have created a Power BI Designer Dashboard, you have the ability to share it with people in your organization. There are a couple of things that need to happen for this to work. The people that you share it with must have Power BI accounts, and they have to be in the same domain as you are. When you share the reports they are only able to read, not edit them. For more information regarding security and Power BI, see Microsoft’s guide here.

Can I grant access to users outside of our domain?

Power BI’s security model is a separate tenant from the security model for SharePoint in the Office365 cloud, but they are related as you can only grant access to Power BI if those users are able to access your version of Office 365 SharePoint. As stated in the previous question, for Power BI Designer Dashboard, the users must be part of the same domain.

How does Power BI perform predictions? Is it the same logic which is used in Data mining?

Power BI uses the Forecasting and Hindcasting features to perform predictive analytics. There are a number of different analytical categories, and the kind used in Power BI use Time Series. As the name suggests, Time Series models analyze a set of measurements performed over time to determine patterns in the past which can be used as guides going forward. Data Mining looks at variables, which may or may not include time, as it looks for patterns throughout the data. These underlying statistical models are not the same.

Does Power BI have Power Map feature?

Power BI definitely contains Power Map. In fact Power Map is only supported in preview mode if you do not have Power BI. This link can provide more information about the limits of Power Map in Excel. Power Map is designed to be run as a movie, and provide a directed look of the data on the map, rather than providing the interactive drill down mapping features which are available in Power View. You can share a Power Map by saving it as an mp4 video file and posting it anywhere. There are a number of Power Maps on You tube if you care to search there.

How does “R” play here?

The R language is completely agnostic as to what is the source of its data, you have the ability to use excel if you want to as a data source. If you want to use R within Excel, try the RExcel add-in, which is available here.

Is the PowerPivot where the data is stored for Power BI Designer?

No. Data can come from anywhere, not just from Power Pivot in Excel. For example, if you want to use a website as a data source, you could do that too as there are a number of different available data sources, and that is one of many.

Do you have to use Power BI Designer on the Web?

While Microsoft has designed the Power BI Designer as a web project, so that you can create Power BI Designer Dashboards as part of the preview, there is also an application available for download here. The desktop application works very similarly to the web version, with the exception of course that you will need to upload and Select Power BI Designer file as your data source. Should you wish to modify the dashboard once it is loaded, you can do so.

How would you determine anomalies or freak instances in data versus true trends?

The problem of determining anomalies is one which the practitioners of predictive analytics are constantly struggling. For trending to occur, the numbers of what was previously considered an anomaly need to increase. Forecasting within Power BI applies one of the more standard methods for accounting for anomalies, looking at the standard deviations and probability. The likelihood a number will fall within a certain range of numbers are based upon the number of times this has happened in the past, which is graphed as a bell curve. The values representing the far sides of the Bell curve are discarded, which is known as variance, which in Forecasting in Power BI is represented as 1 .The number increases with the more variance you wish to represent.

Does SharePoint on premise support Power BI Designer?

No. Power BI Designer is currently in preview version in the US for Power BI subscribers. You can download the application to play with it.

Will Power BI be available in next version of SharePoint?

While I cannot speak for Microsoft, I can tell you that it isn’t there now. For more information on SharePoint, check out their website here.

Does this work in Office 365 SharePoint? And this replace the bi feature offered in SharePoint on the cloud?

Since I do not work for Microsoft, I am hesitant to talk much about how their licensing plans really work. For more information, please check out their website.

If we want to start learning Power BI, where do we start?

There are a number of great places to learn about Power BI, the best and most up to date being here. I have included some other places where you might want to go to learn more about Power BI

 

As promised, my slides for my presentation are available here.

 

Yours Always

Ginger Grant

Data aficionado et SQL Raconteur