Power BI Embedded is here

The announcement of Power BI Embedded came last week during Microsoft’s Build Conference and now enables software vendors or anyone building an application to embed the power of Power BI into their application.  I have been hearing about this feature for almost a year now since starting at HIMMS 2016 conference where I had the privilege of running the Power BI demo’s at the Microsoft booth.  While hoping that this feature wouldn’t of taken a year to come to fruition, it is something to be celebrated now.

As provider of technology with I.Predictus we choose Power BI as our data visualization platform about 8 months ago and one frustrating point was not being able to give our clients a seamless interaction between our platform and our data visualizations.  They would click to view the visualizations and be brought to a separate login and a completely different looking platform.   While the visualizations themselves were insightful and received constant praise, we always heard the comment that they wish they didn’t have to login twice, and as a technology owner myself it left a bad taste in my mouth.   I even did a POC on using the Power BI API’s to render reports, however it didn’t give me the full experience that I was looking for.

If you have not had a chance to review the Power BI embedded architecture it is rather simple and is fully hosted with Azure ARM and clients do not need a Power BI login anymore.  The pricing changes from a flat monthly fee to a per 1000 render pricing model, which depending on your usage may or may not end up costing a little bit more, but worth the cost of basically white labeling Power BI.  One additional note is that the this is currently in preview and as of now the data sources are slightly limited, Direct Query only works for SQL Azure, SQL Azure DW and HD Insight Spark and cached datasets can not be refreshed.  That shouldn’t stop you though from testing out this new feature and looking to integrate into your products.

Next week I will post a step by step blog on how to integrate an existing we application with Power BI embedded.

Power BI and Google Analytics

One of the more underused features of Power BI is the Google Analytics data source.  Working closely with marketers and agencies I continue to see them struggle with getting and reporting on their data from Google Analytics and it should not be that difficult.   With Power BI or even with Power Query in Excel you can easily get, model and visualize this data with only a few clicks.

Let’s walk through how easy this is, first step is to get the data from Google Analytics which is done by selecting get data and choosing Google Analytics and logging in with your account.

image

Once logged in you will see a list of sites that are being managed under your account and from here you drill down into your site and select the data you need.  For this example lets say I want look at the number of hits on my site and be able to separate new users from existing users.  For this I will need to get hits from session, User Type from User and Date under time.

imageimageimage

 

Now that we have our data elements click load and the data will be loaded into Power BI.  To add a little depth to my report I did two things.  First I imported a date table, and if you don’t already have one here is a great blog to create one in power BI.  Next I created a custom column in my date table to specify records in three categories, “Last 30 days”, “Greater than 30 days” and “Future.

DAX : Last 30 Days = if(Now()>=[Date], if(DATEDIFF([Date],NOW(),DAY) <=30,”Last 30″, “Greater than 30″),”Future”)

Last I created a measure to show goal of hits by using hits from the previous year with 20% increase.

DAX: Hits Goal = CALCULATE(SUMX(‘I Predictus (2)’,[Hits]),SAMEPERIODLASTYEAR(‘G_Calendar'[Date]),all(G_Calendar)) * 1.2

Now I can create a couple simple visuals one showing overall hits in the last 30 days to goal and the other daily hits by user type against overall goal.

image

This is just a small example of the data available via the Google Analytics data source.  If you are using Google Analytics then I suggest you start using this data source and start developing your reports and dashboards.  Oh and how could I forget to mention that once you have these developed you can schedule the refreshes to be automatically done.

Power BI Export Data

If you missed it last week, Microsoft released a Service Update for Power BI , and a long awaited feature is now here.  You can now export the data that is behind a visual and this will close a huge gap for Power BI when compared to many of it’s competitors.  For myself this is beyond huge as all I have been hearing from clients for the past 5 months is, “When are exports going to be available?”. The answer is finally here and it is very simplistic to use.

For any visual all you have to do is select the menu in the top right and choose export data.

image

It is that easy and you will get a download the data in excel for that visual.  One note is that it does not drill down into the data.  The export will have at the same level the visualization is at.  For example in the above visual the following are the results.

image

However if you choose a visual with more detailed data such as a table the below would be the visual and result pair.

image   image

Or in a column chart

image image

Happy exporting everyone!