Webinar Recap: Introduction to the Power BI Suite

Please find below a transcription of the audio portion of Ben Howard’s session, Power BI for Business Users and Project Managers – Part 1: Introduction to the Power BI Suite, being provided by MPUG for the convenience of our members. You may wish to use this transcript for the purposes of self-paced learning, searching for specific information, and/or performing a quick review of webinar content. There may be exclusions, such as those steps included in product demonstrations. You may watch the live recording of this webinar at your convenience.

Kyle: Hello everyone And welcome to part one of MPUG’s course: Power BI for Business Users and Project Managers. This session will be part one: Introduction to the Power BI Suite. This session is eligible for 1 PMI PDU in the strategic category, and the MPUG activity code for claiming the session is on the screen now.

Kyle: Like all MPUG sessions, a recording will be posted to mpug.com shortly after the live presentation ends, and all input members can watch the recordings at any time and still be eligible to earn the PDU credit. All the sessions you watch on demand can be submitted to your webinar history and the live sessions you attend are automatically submitted within your history. You can print or download your transcripts and certificates of completion, including the one for today.

Kyle: You can access that by logging into mpug.com. Click the “My Account” button and then click on the transcript link. If you have any questions during today’s presentation, please send those over at any time using the chat question box on the go to webinar control panel. We do plan to answer those questions for you throughout the session today. All right, we’ll go ahead and get started. We’re very happy to welcome back Ben Howard today. Ben is an awarded community leader for his very popular and comprehensive UK web training series and has over 30 years of experience implementing enterprise solutions for customers worldwide. During that time, he’s worked for IBM, Dell and Microsoft, as well as several smaller organizations.

Kyle: Ben now runs his own consultancy called Applepark, providing project Project Online and Power BI implementation and training services. He has been awarded the MVP Award from Microsoft for Project for the last 13 years. He blogs at applepark.co.uk, and produces video training for multiple platforms. And finally, he was responsible for producing P2O, an application that exports tasks from project into Outlook. So with that said, I’d like to welcome you back, Ben. And at this time I’ll go ahead and pass it your way to get us started.

Ben Howard: Hey. Thanks, [Carl 00:02:21]. Thanks very much. Let me share a screen, which I think is probably going to be that one. Can you just confirm you can see a nice PowerPoint presentation, yellow, which says “Power BI for Business Users and Project Managers – Part 1?”

Kyle: Yeah, that looks good, Ben.

Ben Howard: Brilliant. Thank you very much. Well, thanks, Carl, for the introduction. It makes me sound old, but I guess I probably am, and with age comes a little bit of experience and a few gray hairs. And hopefully, we can share some of that experience and get you guys started with Power BI. Let me give you a little bit of my own journey here. Once we’ve learned how age obviously isn’t a pre… Getting old doesn’t mean you can use PowerPoint plainly. But here’s a bit of my own journey. Microsoft MVP for 12, 13 years. I’m not sure Carl introduced me as 13. I’ve got 12 here on the slides. But a long time always in project, and that’s great because I get some of the insight track and the early track on what’s happening with Microsoft Project and that whole suite of applications with planning applications from Microsoft. I also get access to a lot of a new Power BI and Power apps, application stack as well, which is always exciting.

Ben Howard: As was mentioned by Carl, I also run and have produced a lot of online training courses for Project and Power BI. I actually an Excel and data and some other things as well for Pluralsight. So that’s always worth having a look at. I very occasionally tweet ben@projects, but if you want to get hold of me, please grab me probably either via email. I’m pretty responsive on email. Or just connect on LinkedIn there. And then finally, like most people, the blogging has slowed down and instead I tend to do more around YouTube. So if I’ve got a quick idea, I’ll shove that on YouTube because that’s the way people tend to learn these days.

Ben Howard: So that’s me. a lot of my work. A lot of my consultancy is on Power BI. It has been for the last two, three years. Power BI is only five years old at the moment and that part of the business continues to grow. So that’s why I thought it’d be a great idea to begin to say how we can marry the Power BI reporting with Project. Or at least because that’s how I got into it in truth. So that’s a little bit about me, please do reach out to and connect to me on those socials.

Ben Howard: So Power BI for Business Users and Project Managers, we’ve got three one-hour sessions that covers off this topic. And today is very much an introduction to this Power BI suite of applications that are produced by Microsoft. It’s not going to be a complete introduction. This suite is growing all of the times and there’s actually applications within other applications that I’m not going to demo today but we’ll get onto perhaps next week. So today’s very much about helping you understand what the scope of Power BI is, why it’s useful, what applications you might come across as you start to utilize Power BI and you start your journey with Power BI. Or even maybe you’re already partway through your journey and you’re thinking, “Right, well, what else can I do with Power BI? Or how can I get hold of that particular data?” So today is very much a show and a towel and an education about what Power BI is.

Ben Howard: Next week, so next Wednesday, at the same time, we’re going to take a deep dive into shaping and using a tool called Power Query. Power Query is part of the Power BI Desktop, but it’s also available just as their web browser as well using something called dataflows, which we’ll get onto next week. So we’ll have a look at a deep dive into how do we take existing data that might not quite be in the format we want it to be in, and how do we shape that data so that it does match the format that we want it to be in?

Ben Howard: So it is useful to us, and that might be changing some postcodes or changing some initials or zip codes, or actually deriving some new data. So based upon somebody’s height, I could perhaps classify them into tall, medium or small. We can derive data from existing data. And that’s what we might do or that’s what we would do in that second section there. That typically in a Power BI project, getting good data actually takes a lot of time, more than 50% of the time. So transforming, analyzing and making sure that we have quality data to report on is absolutely key.

Ben Howard: And then in the third session, so two weeks today, we’re going to go and create reports using the Power BI Desktop app. And that’s often where people start, but in truth, this is a bit like a foundation. Stages one and two are a foundation to being really successful in stage three. So let’s not try and run the marathon before we can actually walk the mile. That’s what we’re learning to do in stage one and two. In fact, stage one, really, today we’re just planning the route. So those are the three things. That’s also three things that we’re going to cover off in the next three sessions.

Ben Howard: In terms of today, which of course is now we know part one of three, what are my goals for this? Well, I’ve got three and they’re fairly simple. The first is to introduce you to a Power BI suite of products. And again, I always call it a suite of [inaudible 00:08:39] products. And of course, applications from Microsoft so you know what’s out there. We’ll do some stuff with some mobile phones and some cameras, we’ll read some barcodes, we’ll do some nice stuff which you might never do in terms managing projects, but you might encompass this on a wider Power BI journey.

Ben Howard: At the end of a session, so I’ll introduce you to all of this. At the end of a session, I want you to understand what Power BI is and how it can be used to visualize different types of data from multiple data sources. So Power BI will connect to a whole raft, literally hundreds of different data sources and third party vendors will go and create their own connections into Power BI as well. But basically if there’s an API, an application programming interface to a data source, you can typically get at that data source. So Power BI, really because there’s thousands of REST APIs and other APIs out there for applications, as long as you can determine what that REST API looks like or how the API works, then you can pretty much be assured that you can get at that data and then bring it into Power BI or Direct Query and analyze it on the fly.

Ben Howard: One thing we won’t cover off in this session is real time analytics of data. Again, not too relevant to Projects, but if you’re a telephony company or a streaming company or a utility company where you might get minute by minute fluctuations in terms of data or access to systems that people want, you might want to get that data in real time. So Power BI can not only grab data every hour or every day or however often you want it. It can actually grab it in real time and just get access to real-time data sources.

Ben Howard: And then also, I want to take you through step three here, which is understanding the process of creating and publishing reports, and to understand that whole lot of terminology around the workspaces. So what is a workspace? What’s an app? What’s a dashboard versus a report? What does mobile app do, et cetera? So I want you to have a rounded understanding at the end of today of Power BI. So that’s hopefully what we’re going to cover off as some goals. In terms of who is this course designed for when I was putting it together.

Ben Howard: Well, I always think of personas’ roles, if you like, in organizations, and then what tools those personas might be using, and then what their need is, of course. And I don’t just make this up. I do go and speak to a lot of people. I run a lot of training courses as well and do a lot of consultancies. So this stuff is not hard and fast, but most people I’d expect given that we’re on the Microsoft Project user group, will be project program managers or maybe analysts, they’re doing some reporting around their projects and programs in their organizations.

Ben Howard: The tools that you might be using, of course the list is limitless and endless, but of course, Microsoft Project, which I have to say doesn’t play very well with Power BI at all, Project Online, which does, Project for the Web, which does, Roadmaps, of course, which comes in as part of that project for web newer experience. Planner, Microsoft Planner, if you using that. Excel, SharePoint Lists, but you might also have Jira, I’ve linked up Power BI into Jira before now in several instances actually and got that data out, because of course Jira has an API, so I can go and query that Jira API and get that data and put it into Power BI, as do Smartsheet and all of those sorts of things.

Ben Howard: So, the need for the last column and this copy and paste from Excel is really all about reporting. What do you want to report? Well, I found in my life everybody wants to report something slightly different, but it often involves how much work have we got, or how much have we got left to do? How much have we done? How much have we got left to do? How much have we spent? How much have we got remaining? Those are the basic things. And how much have we done, that can either be tasks. That’s where Jira is very task-centric. “Let’s do a task but we don’t necessarily know how big that task is.” And often this is part of the agile world. We might look at work, how much effort is involved in doing a task. We might have a look at which resources have got that work to do, so how that work is apportioned or split between different resources. Budgets, of course, which we might go and get from another system. So I’ll often get budgetary information from Oracle Financials or some other accounting solution.

Ben Howard: A key requirement, again, for many project managers is just having a reduced time to produce reports. Often they’re looking across, or project managers are looking across three, four, five different data systems, copying and pasting data, massaging it, doing all of the same thing week in, week out, month in, month out, getting data to produce an Excel spreadsheet or a monthly PowerPoint. And reducing the time to produce those of course is key for many people. And so having a standardized report that we can produce, or is produced for us once we’ve set the template out the data just flows into it and we can take a cut of that report, we can export it to a PDF at a certain time if we want so we’ve got a document to record, but then we can share those reports in real time between people, we can make them available on phones and tablet devices, we can put some alerts on there so if we’ve got a new risk, we automatically get an email, those sorts of things.

Ben Howard: Being able to share reports, communicate and collaborate and make the knowledge about how our projects are running, make that knowledge both up to date by not having to wait a week or a month to produce a report, but having it produced automatically for us or the data populates report automatically. And having that standardized across all of our projects and programs in an organization again is key so that we compare apples with apples rather than comparing apples with pears is often we do when we have a subjective view perhaps of what a risk might be or whether something’s red and blue of green. So that’s who the course is designed for.

Ben Howard: We know what we’re going to do over the three days, we know what we’re going to do today, we know who perhaps you are. Let’s get in and have a look and introduce a Power BI suite. So what is Power BI? Well, I borrowed this slide from Microsoft’s website several years ago now, actually. I went and looked for it, and there still is a URL, as you can see at the bottom, called what is Power BI, but it doesn’t come up with that screen anymore. But I do quite like this one. So let me just highlight a couple of things here.

Ben Howard: Power BI is a business analytics solution. So it’s not an application. It’s multiple applications that lets you, and here’s the key, visualize your data. We’ll see over here on the screen here we’ve got lots of visualizations, lots of information, and share those insights across your organization, or a little further along you can embed stuff into apps or websites, team sites. You can even make that data public if you wanted to. So this is all about analyzing how projects or how data behaves, taking that data, turning it into information typically by visualizing it, and then sharing that data within, maybe it’s just for you, maybe it’s in your team, maybe it’s in your business unit, maybe it’s across the organization, maybe it’s worldwide. We can have a look at that.

Ben Howard: Down here it does say, “Let’s connect to hundreds of different data sources and bring your data to life with dashboards and reports.” And there’s a difference between a dashboard and a report. Let’s just have a look at this. Let’s [inaudible 00:17:54]. Let’s have a look at this screen over on the right-hand side here. So this is a dashboard, and you can see across the top, I’ve got a couple of… It’s the wrong way. I’ve got a couple of [inaudible 00:18:13] along the top. Let’s get that one right. Yeah, that’s a card, that’s a card, that’s a card. These cards are just showing numbers, so they’re typically big numbers of something. If we can read this, this says the number of campaigns.

Ben Howard: Visualizations are interesting. This is red. Now, to me, red means typically bad and green means something that’s typically good. Apologies for those of you who are red-green or red-blue colorblind. Sometimes you can’t see these particularly well, and that’s something that we, again, we ought to be aware of as we design slides and screens and visualizations, but already because of the color coding, they mean something to me. So below those pure numbers, which might change color based upon whether the number’s good or bad, some sort of metric, we’ve got some other visualizations here. So this is a waterfall chart. This is a chord chart. This is a heat map.

Ben Howard: Again, we could just be looking at relationships between data or where projects are happening or where are overspenders or our spend in this one. This could be spend month to month, and whether our spend is above or below budget. How many data items make up this data? I don’t know. There could be five million rows that make this data up. The point is when you visualize something, you’re able to see it at a glance and make some decisions based upon that data fairly quickly. So that’s what Power BI is, and that’s an example of a dashboard. Let me just quickly go through some of the applications in this suite so that you know what we’re talking about.

Ben Howard: The first is the Power BI Desktop application. That’s installed on a Windows machine and that allows you to create Power BI reports. We also have the Power BI Service. That sits in the web app.powerbi.com. And you see there’s different licenses for the Power BI service. Power BI Premium per user at the moment is in release. Power BI gets… Or not release but trial, if you like. Power BI gets refreshed every month so it has a high cadence. I’d expect to see premium per user coming into being used very, very quickly. We have the Power BI Gateway. The Power BI Gateway sits between the Power BI Service, which is at app.powerbi.com, and any on-premise data sources you have. So perhaps you have a SQL server and you want to get data out of that. The Power BI Gateway allows the Power BI service to talk to the SQL server, and therefore the Power BI Gateway, if you like is a gateway for that data it’s a conduit for that data to flow from your SQL server securely to the Power BI Service.

Ben Howard: We have Power BI Embedded, so you can create reports and embed them in other applications should you choose to do so. We have the Power BI Report Server, which effectively allows you to host Power BI reports, but instead of putting them on app.powerbi.com, this public website, which is secure, of course, you have to log in there, you’re going to have your own reports server sitting in your organization and people can go to that report server and access for reports that you’ve built. And you can build for that server paginated reports as well. A bit like SQL server reporting services in some respects. Paginated reports, of course, go over multiple pages.

Ben Howard: There’s an ability to open up and integrate a Power BI file, a .pbix that’s stored on the service in Excel so you can further analyze your data in Excel if you wished. And there’s the Power BI Mobile App, which we’ll demo, which allows you to access reports and optimize reports for mobile devices, and actually use some of the mobile features such as the camera. So that’s the Power BI suite of apps.

Ben Howard: So let’s talk a little bit about Power BI Desktop application that I call report designer because this is where you spend a lot of your time. It sits on a Windows desktop, and we consume, We bring into their data. We might just connect up to a SQL database, we could have Excel files, CSV files. We might connect there an API to our Jira application, et cetera, et cetera. So that’s what you… It could be SharePoint Task List, it could be data and folders, it’s that sort of thing. That’s what you do. You consume that data. You also have the opportunity to go and consume data from the web. So we might have third party services in there. I might be interested in information. Maybe I’ve got 10 GitHub repositories and I want to see what’s happening on them. Then we can consume the data from GitHub. There’s already a third party service produces that for us, or we can go and get data out of static web pages.

Ben Howard: What we then do is we create our report in Power BI. We take the data, we create a report. We publish that up to app.powerbi.com securely in what’s called a workspace. And not only does the report get published, but the dataset that is building report, or the datasets that are building report get published as well. And we can then set up an automatic refresh or a scheduled refresh for the data off of a report from app.powerbi.com so it just gets updated all the time. So, that’s our premise. Now, once we produced that report and it’s published to the service, so it sits up there, then we can go and consume that report on different devices, in mainly a browser. But if we’re talking mobile, then we can install the Power BI Mobile App as well.

Ben Howard: What’s the point of this? Well, the point of this is I can then do these three things. I can set some alerts up. I can say, “Hey, I want to be alerted if for each project my budget is approaching 10% of the actual spend. Of the actual spend is approaching 10% of a budget, send me an email. Or send me an email when I’ve got a new risk,” those sorts of things. Or when my non mitigated risks go from zero to one. I can collaborate with other users. So I can take a screenshot, we can app message. We can do all of the nice collaboration, but that’s built into the tool. And we can subscribe so I can get a daily email saying, “Hey, this is what this report looks like given that it’s been updated and automatically refreshed overnight.” Maybe you just want an email every day or every week. So let’s just have that popping into our box. That’s what we can do.

Ben Howard: Now, in terms of the mobile apps, I thought I’d just list this one for you. Obviously, if you’ve got an iPhone or an iPad, if we’ve got time we’ll demo that, then we can utilize that mobile layer on an iPhone. We can get alerts on iWatches as well. So obviously, the Apple set of applications or the Apple hardware supports all of that. Android phones and tablets are very well supported. We’ll do a demo on Android phone as well. Believe it or not, some people still have Windows 10 devices, but you can see there’s a little caveat there. So later this year Power BI Mobile will support… the support the Power BI Mobile on Windows 10 mobile will be discontinued, but you could still install the Power BI Mobile App for any Windows 10 device. So you could run the mobile app on desktop. Not quite sure why you’d want to, but there you go.

Ben Howard: Now, this is an important bit. You should plan when you create reports so that they’re visible, they’re available to as many people, as wide an audience as possible. So when we view reports using the mobile app, and here’s an iPad, the report might look in landscape mode. We might have two icons or two visualizations together. If we flip it into portrait mode, then we can have a different view in portrait mode. And the same goes for a smaller format device such as my iPhone here. So there we can see that in portrait mode the views are optimized. We can optimize specific views for the mobile app.

Ben Howard: If however, the mobile device is so small that we can’t fit the report into portrait mode, then of course, we get a little bit of an error. Or not an error, but it tells us that we can’t do that. So again, think about how your users might view these reports you’re creating whilst we’re on the road. Not many of us are on the road these days but we will be in future, and of course, certain people might be out anyway if you’re out building infrastructure and you’ve got a project plan, then you’ve got to go wherever the infrastructure is, whatever that might be.

Ben Howard: So just an awareness of using mobile apps. So let’s clear up some terminology; workspaces, data sets, reports, dashboards, apps, all of those sorts of things. A workspace exists in the Power BI app service, and the workspace by default, you get one called My Workspace. And from there, you can share reports with other people in your organization. But you can also create a whole host of other workspaces which you can then add access to. So you’re not necessarily sharing reports. You’re saying, “Hey, everybody in this group can view all the reports in this workspace and everybody of these other people in this other group can publish reports to this workspace.” So if a workspace is a unit of security, or a boundary of security. That’s what a workspace is, is you publish to a workspace.

Ben Howard: A workspace can contain multiple datasets. That’s the actual data. And next week we’ll also talk about something called data flows. A dataset can support, we can have multiple reports coming off a single dataset if we choose to do so. Now, a report is a set of visualizations that show data from a dataset. So a report’s really what we create in the Power BI Desktop application. Reports can contain multiple pages that like an Excel workbook can contain multiple sheets.

Ben Howard: Now, a dashboard which often gets confused or used ambiguously with the term report, a dashboard as far as Power BI is concerned is a collection of one or more visualizations from one or more different reports. You might be looking at five reports, you say, “Hey, I like that visualization. I like that visualization. They might be from different reports. I want to see them together as a first thing I do want to wake up in the morning. So let’s pin them on a dashboard and put that dashboard on my favorites.” That’s what a dashboard is.

Ben Howard: Now, an app. And it’s called an app, not an application. An app is a pre-packaged collection of optionally, a dashboard, some reports, one or more reports, and the datasets that drive that report. What are apps used for? Well, it’s very easy to create an app and then just share it and make it available within the whole organization and for somebody to go and install that app. There are also other third parties or there are third party apps out there. So I mentioned the GitHub one projects online, Google Analytics. We’ll go and have a look as we demonstrate all of this [inaudible 00:30:59]. You’ll be glad to know, and I should have mentioned it, not all of this is [inaudible 00:31:04].

Ben Howard: Hopefully that gives you some terminology, which you might want to come back to because I know I’m throwing a lot of information out there. So the point is we create a report in our desktop designer, AKA the Power BI Report Designer. We publish that to a workspace. That workspace will have some missions on it. We should ideally think about how that report is going to be updated and refreshed. And then users can create their own dashboards saying, “Hey, I like that visualization and I like that one.” Or we can preempt that. We can create arrow. We can package up what we think our users should be looking at in an app and publish that app so that people can then self-consume that.

Ben Howard: I just wanted to put this slide up which talked a little bit around data sources, datasets, reports, and dashboards, and gives you a flow. We’ll have a look at these later, but if we just have a look at this link here, then we’ve got a data source, and this is an OData feed, as you can see, and it’s coming from, this is Project Online and [inaudible 00:32:25], so it’s the OData feed from Project Online. So I’m picking that source, I’m putting that into a dataset called Project Online. From there, I produce a report called Project Online, and some of the visualizations from that report are placed on a dashboard called Portfolio Dashboard. So that’s how it works. You can see, for this report here, World Pop. I’m actually using two data sources, one from the CIA over in the U.S. and one from Wikipedia. Again, we’ll have a look at that. That produces this report here called a World Pop.

Ben Howard: And the last one down at the bottom, we can see that I’ve mentioned hundreds of data sources. This one for a project for whoever is getting data from the common data service or the CDS. So let’s go and check out a few real-world examples. Let’s go and have a look at World Population. Now, before we do this, Carl, any questions coming along the line at the moment?

Kyle: No questions in the queue just yet. But just a reminder. Anyone, if you have questions, feel free to chat those over and we’ll answer them live during the session.

Ben Howard: Brilliant. Thanks. And what that tells me is that obviously I’m answering everybody’s questions really effectively. That’s just good. Either that, or you’re all shy obviously. So let’s go and have a look at this World Population. So the data is taken from Wikipedia. Let’s just nip over to here. Here’s the Wikipedia page that I access. This is just what I consider as a fairly dull table of a list of countries. And for each country, they’re ranked largest population to smallest. At the top we’ve got China then India, and we’ve got a UN continental region, a UN statistical subregion, a population estimated, obviously at 2018, and one of 2019. This hasn’t been updated for 2020 yet.

Ben Howard: So I could read this and it’s all quite nice, but it doesn’t give me… it gives me a lot of data, it gives me some information, but let’s try and visualize that. So I’ve created a report for that already and I’m going to go to app.powerbi.com. Let’s just hit return on that. Now, what happens is, of course, because… Let’s go to the home page. Because I’ve logged in before, app.powerbi.com knows who I am. I’m logged in with this user, ben@mvpapplepark.onmicrosoft.com, and I’ve got a pro account and I can try premium per user for free. No, thanks.

Ben Howard: This is my home page. So again, we just in the web here. I’m not going to spend too long on the homepage, but you see, I’ve got a key visuals dashboard, I’ve got a sales dashboard. I’ve got some favorites and frequents, and then I’ve got recent reports I’ve looked at and some recommended apps. For that ease of this demo, most things that I want to work with I’ve already favorited so I can get access to them pretty quickly. And the one that I wanted to look at was this one called World Pop. And you can see that it’s a report as opposed to a dashboard. So you see they have different icons. Dashboards have this gage icon. Report has a nice histogram icon.

Ben Howard: And you can see it’s owned by MPUG. Actually, what that means is that’s the workspace that I’ve put it in. So you can see here that I’ve got a few different workspaces. In fact, I’ve got many, but Applepark Ben Howard is my workspace. One called Pluralsight, one called MPUG. Let’s just click on World Pop. We’ll just let this build, and a couple of things here, just so we get all of the real statements that’s possible. I just collapsed that to show the navigation [inaudible 00:36:42]. I’ve actually got four pages here. We’ve got main population page.

Ben Howard: On that page, let me explain what we’ve got. I’ve got a bit of a title. We’ve got the link to wherever we built this from. And then we’ve got the total population of whichever countries are selected. I’ve visualized those countries on a map. The size of the bubble of course indicates the size of the populations. So the bigger the bubble, the bigger the population. China is ranked one of 233 in the world. And if we go and have a look at Greenland, that is ranked 208 out 233 with approximately 57,000 residents.

Ben Howard: And you can see the same data here or that data in the table is mapped as a tree map. Then I’ve got some buttons on here which will take me effectively to different pages. And then in here I’ve got an ability to search. So I know many of you guys will be from a United States. So let’s just type in the United States. Live demos, of course, and then select the United States. And this is a key thing about visualizations is that they will interact with each other on the screen. So this visualization that allows me to select the United States, once that’s selected, it’s also selected the map and then it’s selected by the item on the tree map, but it’s also done this.

Ben Howard: So we’ve got approximately 329 million people in the United States, and the population change between 2018 and 2019 was two million. I can also multi-select in here. So if I look at the United Kingdom, and we’ll just control click on here, then I can get both countries listed together. So that’s how that works. We’ll get rid of this filter in there and then just select all and go back to everything. I can look at this, and I’ve got some quick buttons here, so I could just display, let’s just say the top 10, what are the top 10 fastest growing or the top 10 countries. So the biggest countries in the world, and in this case we’re looking at that data by percent, et cetera, et cetera.

Ben Howard: I realize I’m running out of time quickly here, but we could have a look at the top 10 fastest growing as well rather than the largest. So that gives you an example, hopefully, of building up or using Power BI. Here’s another one. COVID-19 in the UK. Now, I put this one up just because I wanted to show you where you can get data from. This is from data.gov.uk or gov.uk., and is there in API and it’s auto refreshed every day. So if I go back to my favorites here, then I’ve got COVID-19, new. So just a different set of visualizations. Again, some information on the side here, some clickable icons for the flags. So I could just go and have a look at what was happening in Wales or Scotland, or Wales and Scotland, if I wanted to. And again, some summary information here.

Ben Howard: This data ultimately is refreshed two or three times a day so I don’t have to do anything. I just go out to data.gov.uk and then this information is auto refreshed for me. So the latest information that UK government published was yesterday, 2nd of February. And then when miss refreshes at seven o’clock tonight, I’d expect to see that it will say a 3rd of February. And of course, we’ll get another day’s worth of data on the end of everything. The actual data for that comes from here. This is what it looks like here. This is the coronavirus.data.gov.uk website, but you can access that programmatically, and that’s what this this does. So that was that one.

Ben Howard: Bicycle theft Northwest of England. I live, for those of you support Manchester United or Man City, if you’re interested in football, I live about 60 miles west of Manchester. For those of you who support Liverpool or Everton, I live about 60 miles east of Liverpool. And so I was interested in bicycle theft data because lo and behold, I got one of my bikes stolen once. This is bike theft in Warrington. What this data… Well, this data is just downloaded on a monthly basis from data.police.uk. And I then split that up into postcodes and I can see where the bike thefts are for each year across which postcodes in the Warrington area. So the mighty Liverpool over here, and the mighty Manchester teams over here. So you can see what’s happening.

Ben Howard: If I then click on an area, WA4, which happens to be approximately where I live, and I wanted to then say, “Okay, let’s have a look at the bike thefts in WA4 in 2020,” we could do that. So again, this whole idea of being able to drill into the data and really get the information is key. So that’s bike thefts. That’s a manual update. Projects Online data, you can get this from your Project Online tenants if you’re using projects online. Hopefully some of you are doing that. That’s auto refreshed each day. We can go and have a look at that.

Ben Howard: This is my project, one of my Project Online sites and instances and we can see that I can get a list of all of the projects and the project by type and some sort of table here listing individual projects. We can do other things such as just put up links to SharePoint sites that support the actual project. So anybody that’s familiar with Project Online, you know you can do this. And again, this is not quite the standard one from Microsoft. You’ll find this one on GitHub from me, but it is available for free use if you’re using Project Online, including risk and probability impact. So I’ve added a few additional things in there. So if you’re using SharePoint, you’re using the risks and issues in SharePoint with Project online, then you can go and have a look at those, and let’s just go and select the red risks.

Ben Howard: We can quickly see where those are the probability impact, and we can see the relative values of those. So there’s some great things that the Power BI gives me that we can just build in. Not only do we have Project Online data, but of course, we’ve also got Project for the Web. That one as well in my case is refreshed every day. This one is just the pure Microsoft one. It looks a little similar to a previous one, but this is just bringing data from the common data service. So if you’re using Project from the Web and Roadmaps and all of those sorts of things, then you can utilize and view those projects. So we could have a lot of project progress of the project manager, which is always going to be me. And we could just go and have a look at CCC strategic project and highlight that, et cetera, et cetera.

Ben Howard: And then what else did we have? We’ve got Microsoft Planner data. So Planner, of course you might be using. Planner is Microsoft’s Kanban Tool, if you like. And the nice thing about Planner is that you can export that data into Excel files, and then you can put all of those Excel files in a folder. And then again, on GitHub, I’ve produced this Power BI report which reads the data into this folder, or reads the data from whatever’s in the folder. So it allows me to now report across multiple Planner files. And that’s something that you can’t do out of a box with Microsoft’s tool so you need Power BI. So if I had look at my extension plan, then this is it.

Ben Howard: All my Oscar marketing tasks, or of course, we could control click a couple of days and just have a look. We can also look at one thing I haven’t shown you is the ability to drill in. So if I take Connor McAfee here, I can right click and I can drill through and I can have a look at Connor’s remaining tasks. So these are the tasks that Connor is partly assigned to, might be assigned with some other people as well. So you can really drill in the detail and navigate around these reports to get out the data.

Ben Howard: Of course, what you can do is you can export these to PowerPoint PDF, or [inaudible 00:46:08] analyzing Excel button as well. So that’s a bit on Planner, and then I thought I’d show you a couple of things on sales data. This is actually demo data but it’s quite nice because lots people analyze sales data regularly and they get that data in a CSB file dumped out off some sales solution. So again, it’s a CSB format, but we can at least go and look at that. So let’s just pick that one up. So we’ve got one here called Optimized Power BI, which I’ll show why that’s called that. So again, this is just the CSB file.

Ben Howard: Now, the nice thing about this, this beautiful report here, once that builds, is it is actually built from, as I say, an Excel sheet. The Excel sheet is here. In this case, the Excel sheet is just stored in Teams and therefore it’s stored in SharePoint and therefore I can edit it through the browser. And if I edit it through the browser, so you might be exposed. This as a CSB. You might be manually modifying things in a table in Excel, which of course you can do. You can changed the units sold to me 999, next time that report is refreshed, and because it’s stored in SharePoint Online, I can refresh automatically every day. Then this data gets refreshed as well.

Ben Howard: So a couple of things that I wanted to show you here. There’s obviously we can go on use some different filters. So you could just go and have a look at what’s all the sales in 2020, and everything else changes as you would expect. We could have a look at that for Spain. So we can click on the different filter option there and just bring that data for Spain and now see Spain’s sales for 2020. So that’s all well and good. There’s some great features in Power BI. If I wanted to look at the profit so I can see I’ve made 16 million pounds worth of profit, let’s just drill into that and let’s have a look at, well, I could have a look at that by segment or country or product, or I could just have a look at the highest value out of each of those.

Ben Howard: So let’s have a look at the high value. The government was the highest in terms of segment. And then if, so selling a lot to the government, then we might just say, in terms of country or product, what’s next biggest thing? Well, it’s products we [inaudible 00:48:55] product, and then we could go and have a look at that by country. So you can really begin to drill through this kind of data, which is 700 odd lines of data, and really just begin to visualize that and make some decisions about what’s happening here. Let’s just have a look at that one and do that. We can right click and drill through onto there to the country details. So we can have a look at what’s happening just in Ireland, et cetera.

Ben Howard: That’s all well and good. Now, I wanted to, and let’s hope this works, show you what this looks like on a iPad. So I’ve got an iPad here, which I’m just opening up. Obviously, you can’t see it. Let me just log in. And if I just run EasyCast on my iPad, let’s just broadcast that screen. Start the broadcast. Let’s see what happens. Yay. Okay, great. So you should be able to see now this is my iPad. That’s just going back to the main page on here. I’ve got a Power BI icon. That’s my Power BI Mobile App. Let’s just open that.

Ben Howard: Across the bottom, you can see I’ve got some buttons; home, favorites, apps, workspaces, et cetera. Let’s just have a quick look on favorites so I’ll click the favorites piece at the bottom. You can see that if I go to the top left, bike theft Warrington has a little mobile icon next to it. Whereas COVID-19 new, you’ve a want to be right doesn’t. That’s because some of those views have been optimized to be viewed on a Power BI report. Let me just begin to show you that. If I choose Optimized Power BI, I’m taken into report that we’ve just looked at. And at the top, you can see it says sales by country and product four of seven.

Ben Howard: Now, if I turn this around, let me do that. I’ll just turn this into portrait mode, you can see quite happily that because this is an iPad and it’s a big one, that that report fits in portrait mode. And of course, I’ve got all of the interaction that you would expect. So if I click on the Spain button there to get rid of Spain, we can see everything. So I’ll turn that back into landscape mode. Now I’m going to drop down at the top the actual page, and you can see the summary in the sales general have again, got little icons next to them. So what that means is we’ve… What that means is my EasyCast has just died. Let’s just see if we can get back to there, start that broadcast. It’s a free application, so what do you expect, right? Let’s go here. Let’s go back to here. Let’s go on Power BI.

Ben Howard: Again, if I then turn this round, this one has an optimized view for a mobile. So that’s what the view looks like on a mobile. So I’ve just really honed in on a couple of different visualizations because this mobile would… [inaudible 00:52:18] versus an iPad, this would work the same on a phone. So let’s just go and do that on a phone actually. So let’s just get rid of EasyCast and let’s come out of there. How come things don’t break when you want them to. Let me just close that. And I’ll do a similar thing. I want to show you this on a mobile phone. So I’ve got a mobile phone here and I can connect to my mobile phone using Smart View.

Ben Howard: So conscious of time, but I don’t see anything in the chat. Let’s just see if we can maximize this. Yes, we can. So this is my mobile phone. Bottom right-ish, I’ve got a Power BI icon. Let’s click on there. Again, we go back to actually where I last looked on my mobile phone. What I want to do now is look at this one, I just put it at the bottom called products. Again, it’s just a report, but on this report, in this view, it says, “Hey, scan a barcode.” So I can use Power BI and I can use some of the features that are built into my mobile device. I’m going to go and scan a barcode. So if I click on the ellipses, then towards the bottom, right at bottom, I’ve got a barcode scanner. This will open up my phone, and this is where I am. That’s what I’m reporting on there.

Ben Howard: Over on this side, you can see I’ve got some products, each two weeks products straight from my store cupboard. A while back has a barcode on. So if I take my favorite crunchy peanut butter, now, this happens really fast. As soon as it sees this barcode, what it’s going to do is it’s going to read it and then it’s going to filter the report based upon the barcode. [inaudible 00:54:21] so if I turn this round very quickly, where a barcode? It’s just there, just grabbed. It and said, “Hey, there’s your peanut butter.” So what it’s done is it’s filtered by a report using the scanner. Let’s do the same thing again, but this time we’ll go and grab the Italian chopped tomatoes. So here we go. Here’s my Italian chopped tomatoes. Let’s just turned that round. There’s the barcode, grabbed it, and that’s great.

Ben Howard: Again, this report is out on the web. It’s published on app.powerbi.com, pretty useful. The other one that’s worth looking at is this one called Optimized Power BI. Here’s a view that is not optimized, so I have to spin this round into landscape mode. But, again, if I click on the ellipses at the bottom, then I get the ability to filter. So there is a geo filter. I’m based in the UK. I’ve already told you where I live, so I can use the…

Kyle: Hey, Ben, did we lose you there? I’m not sure if you can-

Ben Howard: Yes. [crosstalk 00:55:55]

Kyle: Can you [crosstalk 00:55:55]?

Ben Howard: Hello?

Kyle: It sounds like you’re back.

Ben Howard: Yeah. Brilliant. I’m very aware of time. So I’m just going to do this quick demo. So the moment it says, “Hey, Ben, your device is telling us you’re in the United Kingdom and that’s what you’ve tagged as a geographic item here,” but we could go [inaudible 00:56:19]. If I just click “only United Kingdom,” then again, the report is filtered based upon my location. And you’ll see, as I scroll up here or down, I can’t really get this on my… This is why we need to create fields, but I’m only now looking at data from the United Kingdom. So that gives you a view of the geographic features and the other features available within Power BI app.

Ben Howard: So very quickly as well, we can make reports public so they can be published to the web. You can add Power BI reports into Teams and SharePoint. So there’s my bike theft report just hosted into Teams so that we can really get that communicate. And the other thing you need to really be aware of is Power BI Admin. There’s a whole section in there. And to access Power BI or to access the Power BI admin, you’ve got to have one of these two roles. You’ve got to either be a Power BI admin, or a Power Platform admin. So worth getting… Or a Microsoft 365 Global admin. So, definitely worth getting friendly with your Power BI admin if you’re not the admin or getting made admin.

Ben Howard: That is a whistle stop tour through to an introduction to Power BI suite, part one of three. This is what we hopefully covered off the session, introduced you to a Power BI suite of applications and from Microsoft. We hopefully understand what Power BI is, how it can be used to visualize different types of data and data from multiple sources. And we understand perhaps the process of creating and publishing reports. We understand what a workspace is, apps, and we’ve got different permissions. And we looked at the mobile app as well. So that pretty much wraps that up. I know in the chat now we’ve got the registration for part two for that, which nicely leads me onto here.

Ben Howard: Part two is happening at the same time next Wednesday, February the 10th, 2021. That’s it from me. Just about on time, I think, Carl. Anything from your side?

Kyle: We did get a few questions that came in. Maybe we can try to run through those before we close out.

Ben Howard: Let’s do that. Let’s do that.

Kyle: Perfect. First one came from Jack. “Do you know if there’s any plans to make a version of the Power BI Desktop that works on a Mac?”

Ben Howard: I don’t know if there’re any plans. They have it… now, most people who run Macs will run parallels or something else. But I’ve not any decision to do anything around that, no.

Kyle: Next one came from Joan, a question about workspace. “Once you’ve built your workspace, can you rename the workspace?”

Ben Howard: Can you renamed the workspace? Great question. Let me answer that first thing next week.

Kyle: Okay, great.

Ben Howard: I mean, I think you can. Yes, you can because I’ve just done it for a client. So yeah, you can rename a workspace. You can rename reports, you can rename datasets, et cetera, et cetera. Yes, you can.

Kyle: Okay, perfect. Next one from JJ. “Do you use the URL to import the data to Power BI Desktop? Or do you have access to a SQL database or OData feed?”

Ben Howard: If it was Project Online, that’s an OData feed, but depending upon your data source, you could use all of those, all or any of those. But if we’re specifically talking about Project Online, it’s the OData feed, which is https: [inaudible 01:00:30]sharepoint.com/sites/sitename/_api/projectdata. There you go. I know that by heart.

Kyle: Okay. Let’s see here. I don’t know if we can get into examples, but Mark mentioned reporting off of Jira. That would be an option as well, right?

Ben Howard: Yeah. I’ve done it for clients before now. The interesting thing about Jira is you have to be a bit smart because you can only query, I think it’s a hundred records at a time. So if you’ve got a thousand issues on there, which is effectively what Jira keeps everything as and then it determines where a task type, you’ve got to make 10 calls to Jira, but and so you don’t swamp the Jira server. They put that limitation in their API, as many people have, but yeah, you can, and I have connected up to various Jira instances for various customers over the last two to three years.

Kyle: Excellent. That does it for the questions. For those of you asking about the learning more, there’s a part two and three as Ben mentioned, and I tried the link to register for part two. So be sure to sign up for that one and we’ll see you next week for that session where we continue on. Ben, anything else before we close out today?

Ben Howard: No, just thank you very much, everybody, for your time. Please do feel free to ping me, find some other info and if you’ve got any questions, I’ll do my best to answer them.

Kyle: Thanks, Ben. We really appreciate it. Thanks for your time today and for answering all the questions that came in. We really appreciate that. The PDU code is back on the screen for anyone that’s claiming this for the strategic PDU credit. And if you missed any other session and would like to go back and review before we continue on next week, a recording will be posted to mpug.com in just a little bit and you’ll receive an email in a couple hours with a link to that.

Kyle: MPUG members have full access to our PDU eligible library of webinars and on-demand courses on mpug.com. And as I mentioned, here are the next two courses, part two and part three for the Power BI course, both eligible for PDU credit. And these will be on the next two consecutive Wednesdays at noon Eastern Time. And that wraps up today’s presentation. So thanks again, Ben, thanks to everyone that joined us live or is watching this on demand. We hope you have a great rest of your day. We’ll see you back next week for part two.


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Written by Ben Howard

Ben Howard – Awarded Community Leader for his very popular and comprehensive UK web training series and has over 30 years of experience of implementing enterprise solutions for customers worldwide.  During that time, he’s worked for IBM, DELL, and Microsoft, as well as several smaller organisations. He now runs his own consultancy (Applepark Ltd), providing Project, Project Online and Power BI implementation and training services. He has been awarded the Microsoft Most Value Professional award for Project for the last 13 years, blogs semi-frequently at www.applepark.co.uk, produces video training for Pluralsight and his own YouTube channel, and finally was responsible for producing P2O, an application that exports tasks from Microsoft Project into Outlook.  You can catch him at ben@applepark.co.uk


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