Happy birthday, Power BI!

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Happy birthday, Power BI!

Happy first birthday, Power BI!

Exactly one year ago, Power BI was released in public. But this wasn’t the only release: one month after the public release of Power BI my daughter Sanne was born.

You both have grown, but I dare say you, Power BI, are more mature than she is by now: counting is not yet in sight for her, neither is sharing or drawing nice visuals. But here’s a thing: she laughs a lot. And although I can send you a smile, that’s about it in emotional conversation. That’s okay, though – don’t be too hard on yourself. As much as it’s okay for human beings to not being mature within a year – they can take more than a decade for that. Besides, I don’t feel like cuddling with you. Sorry.

Without having to cuddle, there are quite a lot of things I like about Power BI. So in order to celebrate the first anniversary of Power BI, here’s four things that stand out for me:

The Gateways

Gateways are really powerful concept that works well within my company, and a must-have when considering a cloud BI tool. Although the setup sometimes needed some extra configuration, I was definitely impressed by the ease of use. Especially the fact that data stays in the customers’ data center, and is transported to the cloud only at query time was lowering the barrier for more than one of my customers.

Custom Visuals

Custom Visuals has been a third large enabler: it turned out quite easy to develop your own custom visuals, resulting in an ever more filled gallery of custom visuals. Eating their own dogfood, this also allowed the MS devs to release beta versions of newly developed visuals via a supported channel.

Overall release cycle and development pace

Lastly, the release cycle is really fast. One of my customers’ the IT department installed the Power BI Desktop app on Citrix. That version outdated pretty fast – and so does every version you install. Every frickin’ two weeks new functionality is released. Often functionality which you didn’t always miss earlier on, but quickly becomes a “must-have”! So kudos for the development team here for setting the right priorities.

Power BI is for EVERYONE

With all of the strengths I mentioned above here’s the most important one IMHO: the ability to be cutting-edge on all sides. Developers, administrators and business users, they all benefit from Power BI. My customers (business users) do create their own dashboards, sharing them with each other via links & workgroups. They really do like working with Power BI for presentation and analysis, and continue to impress each other (and me sometimes too) with the dashboards they deliver. Developers release supported or sample dashboards via content packs. Development is easy, and it’s easy to develop on local SSAS cubes, then upload it to Power BI and – hey, it works! Live via the gateway! That’s awesome! Administrators are happy too: AD integrated security, tools that just keep working (although the gateway sometimes takes some pain to setup). Great job!

Conclusion

During the past 1.5 year one of my major customers has moved from zero BI to a full-stack enterprise BI solution – just in time to be carried by the wave of Power BI: early 2015 we started building a Data Warehouse PoC with some SSRS reports; by the time all was up & running Power BI became available including awesomeness like Data Management Gateways Power BI Gateways On-premises data gateways. We’ve really, REALLY, benefited from the level of integration with the Microsoft stack, the development pace, the ease of use and the growing functionalities of the product last year. Thanks!

So, happy birthday Power BI! What a tremendous year it’s been!

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