Microsoft’s Power BI visualization service: a New Era of New Features


Within two weeks Microsoft’s Power BI data visualization and business intelligence service will be generally available in the market. The company is surely adding a new milestone in their journey with the new product.

In the launch, there will not only be various new features but also new chart types, a refreshed desktop application and support for collaborating in groups on shared sets of data. Initially released as a beta, which was earlier this year, the Power BI is designed to provide ordinary business users with powerful tools to visualize information from diverse data sets in live-updating dashboards.

There are main three components of this new tool. Datasets, which contain all of the raw information a user brings into Power BI; Reports, which organize that data into a set of charts and graphs and Dashboards, which are single live-updating pages that provide an at-a-glance look at specific visualizations based on those reports.

The tool has the ability to connect with a variety of sources including Azure SQL Database, Azure SQL Data Warehouse, SQL Server Analysis Services and the newly-released Apache Spark on Azure HDInsight service and can pull in content from a company’s data using these connections. Microsoft has also added some “content packs” from third party vendors like Salesforce, Acumatica, GitHub and Zendesk. The packs will do the same and pull in pre-populated reports and dashboards designed to get users off the ground and quickly display relevant information.

Currently, the users of Power BI can create their own content packs from the tool so that they can share all their works with their co-workers. James Phillips, the Vice President of Microsoft Corporation, has said that there are many more such packs that connect with outside services to come as the product continues to evolve.

“We are releasing a new content pack now—at least one—every week,” he said. “And we have a backlog that could keep us on that pace for a year.” – Phillips

According to him, the moment this new service reaches the general availability, he will not only expect his team to increase its pace of launching new features but he will know that it will surely happen. The company releases a new version of Power BI every week, and there’s still plenty more to be done.

“For the last year, we have been dividing our energy between laying the foundational stuff and the core infrastructure, and building the features on top of that. We’ve gotten to a place now that we’re able to shift a lot more energy back to features once we’re at [general availability].” – Phillip

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