What’s New with Microsoft’s BI Stack

Microsoft has made a large investment in BI in 2015, both on-premises and in the cloud.  BI offerings across Datazen, R, Excel, Power BI and coming to SQL Server 2016 are huge.  Microsoft released a public BI roadmap on where they are headed with their BI stack.  Microsoft’s simple goal is to put the power of data in the hands of every business user.  This simple goal is inline with the #1 top ranked IT priority according to Gartner.

Here is what’s new with some of Microsoft’s BI Stack and where to get more information.

SQL Server 2016

SQL 2016 benefits include:

·      Enhanced in-memory performance.

·      New, always-encrypted technology.

·      Stretch database technology.

·      Built-in advanced analytics.

·      Business insights through rich visualizations on mobile devices with native apps for Windows, iOS and Android.

You can read more about these and other benefits at:

·      https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb500435.aspx

·      http://www.databasejournal.com/features/mssql/10-new-features-worth-exploring-in-sql-server-2016.html


SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) 2016 

SSRS is a unified report experience with standardization of reporting content across on-premises, cloud and hybrid systems with transformation of SSRS reports available through Power BI and on mobile devices, interactive reports via Power BI, mobile reports based on Datazen’s technology and R capabilities within SQL 2016 and its visualization within Power BI. 

Parameter or interactive are some of the most powerful features in SSRS and Power BI, and the key to creating dynamic, flexible reports. You’ve always had somewhat limited control over the visual layout of parameters though, and this is bound to change use of HTML 5 with SSRS.

Mobile reports are optimized for mobile devices and form factors, and provide an optimal experience for users accessing BI reports on mobile devices. With SQL Server 2016 CTP 3.2, you can author and manage mobile reports for easy consumption by users across your organization online and on mobile devices.

Power BI

The Microsoft Power BI team was fast and furious with changes in 2015, and there are no indications they are slowing down in 2016. If you haven’t checked out Power BI since it was first released last summer, you might want to take another look. Many features have been added and updated since then. Based upon the release schedules since July, it seems there are 3 separate release cycles for Power BI:

·      The Power BI Service (PowerBI.com) gets weekly updates.

·      The Power BI Desktop tool gets monthly updates.

·      The Power BI mobile apps get monthly updates. 

Get the Latest Information on New Features

If you have been using the new version of Power BI, you might have noticed a new feature and wondered how long it’s been there, or what other features have been added. You can likely find the answers to those questions on the Power BI documentation site. It has a “What’s New” section for Power BI Service, Power BI Desktop, and Power BI Mobile Apps that lists the changes and the related blog posts that contain detailed explanations, or download a custom visuals in the gallery Power BI custom visuals gallery.

If you follow the Power BI Blog, you’ll see the feature update blog posts as they are published, in addition to posts about new content packs, custom visuals, and successful use cases.  Additionally, you can see and vote for Power BI added feature suggestions at Ideas.PowerBI.com.


Cortana Analytics Suite

Cortana Analytics Suite will include Information Management, Big Data Stores, Machine Learning and Dashboard & Visualizations, with easy-to-setup preconfigured solutions.  See what it is all about and how it can help your business. https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/cortana-analytics-suite/Overview.aspx 


I hope this helps with what’s new with Microsoft’s BI Stack, and where to go for more information.  If you need additional help kick starting your organization into becoming a data driven organization by exploring your Business Intelligence, BI360, Power BI, Microsoft Dynamics GP and CRM needs, please contact KTL Solutions at [email url=”info@ktlsolutions.com” class=””]info@ktlsolutions.com[/email].

BARRY CROWELL, MBA |BI/EDW Solution Architect

Barry uses his expertise to lead and teach a team of GP consultants to assure our solution scoping, architecting, and delivery meet and exceed the customer’s expectations. He helps clients analyze their current business processes and provides them with process improvements. He has performed implementations as the lead consultant and end-user project manager. Barry has over 20 years of experience working in accounting and the Microsoft Dynamics GP industry. He also possesses a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business administration from Black Hills State University and a master’s in business administration from La Salle University.


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