Microsoft deliver on their promises, handsomely!

At the SQL PASS Summit in October, James Phillips made a promise that everything he talked about or demonstrated in his keynotewould be available by the end of the year.  Well they have delivered, handsomely!

Today SQL Server 2016 CTP3.2 has been made available which delivers mobile reporting to SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS).  SSRS has been ignored by Microsoft for years as James Phillips acknowledges in his keynote, but today SSRS gets a complete makeover and lots of new features including the integration of the Datazen mobile technology (screenshot below).  About time on-premise reporting got a makeover!


Report Manager’s new web portal also provides support for Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), which starts taking Report Manager into the realms of the dashboard arena.


The December update to Power BI desktop includes the ability to include R visualisations into your dashboards (screenshot below).  R is an exciting development for BI professionals as it allows them to deliver practical tools to data scientists who are a demanding and extremely well educated community of end-users, very familiar with the tools and techniques required to big data analysis.  SQL Server 2016 includes R services, so Microsoft are only a small step away from delivering an end-to-end R solution with both the massively parallel data querying to the visualisations.  If you missed it, it is well worth watching Jason Wilcox PASS Summit presentation on The Future of Analytics.


Power BI’s SSAS multidimensional support just got better to, with the introduction of support for hierarchies.  Power BI is really galvanising renewed interest in SSAS multidimensional as it is one of the best ways of implementing a user specific dashboard where different users use the same dashboard, but see their own data. I am working on this scenario at the moment for one client where different manages in the firm get to see their own team’s sales data and statistics.  The infrastructure to support this scenario is the newly announced Power BI Enterprise Gateway and the existing Azure Active Directory which provides single sign-on (SSO) access to thousands of cloud SaaS Applications like Office365, Salesforce, DropBox and Google Apps.

Power BI desktop also gets tighter control of formatting and many enhancements to various visualisations.  I love the new Format Painter! Take a look at the release video here.

Microsoft also announced the Data Insights Summit will take place in Bellevue, WA in March.  Maybe worth a trip!

Right, time to install CTP3.2 and get cracking on that mobile BI demo

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