Power BI Designer for Windows–Part 2 #analytics #bigdata


Well, continuing on with my quick review of the Microsoft Power BI cloud offering.   Today I’m working with the desktop app Designer.  Why?  Because I just find it way faster to build insights with native Windows apps than via the web browser.  When you start the Power BI Designer, you are presented with some help and video files to get you started.  I really like that.  But who needs a help file…


Diving into the data connections, the designer supports a lot as you would expect from Microsoft.  The part that I really like is that the data connectors all have a very familiar interface.  What I have been using for years in Access, Excel and SQL all have the same interface.  No learning curve.


I really like to do analytics on Social Media so I’m using a third party app called Plus One that allows me to harvest the social conversation into an accessible Microsoft Access database.  I love that!  I just point to the tables I want to bring in and whola!


Alright, Microsoft rocks.  Power Query is the engine behind the scenes.  That makes joining my tables and filtering data WAY easier and again in a familiar interface so I don’t have to relearn everything.  It is not that I don’t like learning things, I just want to get it done quicker.


Maybe it is me, but I think I should be able to design my table relationships in Power Query and not back out on the designer.  I’m sure someone will tell me I’m wrong, but from a data designer standpoint, I want to do it in one place.  At least there is auto-detect.  Smile


Getting the data on a dashboard is pretty darn easy.  But I guess I’m dealing with beta software because there are a lot of fit and finish features that I would expect.  Time Intelligence, Textual Formatting and a lot of things that I would expect because of reporting that you do in Excel today…  I want that flexibility product group managers…


There is no PUBLISH button in the Designer which I find totally strange even for beta.  You are forced to upload the file through the web interface.  I guess that is fine for beta, but I expect that to change in the near future product managers…


Well it looks good.  I know, I know.  It is beta.  I look forward to seeing the updates frequently since this is a cloud based solution.  There are a lot of opportunities here because of the pricing model Microsoft is offering.  I for one am pretty interested in using this for some of my customers.  Part 3 of using Power BI to come.

Stay Tuned, Patrick


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