Getting Started with Power BI

Microsoft Power BI for Office 365 is the upcoming release of Microsoft’s new BI toolset.  Built on the existing Excel, SharePoint, Power View and Power Pivot tools, it provides some new features that enable more interesting data visualization, improve governance of models and integrate a new data market place that can be used to combine your internal data with external data sources.

Power BI for Office 365

You can preview Power BI today – simply go to the Microsoft Power BI web site and register for a preview account.  NOTE: this site is still in Beta…in the near future these features will simply be available in your existing Office 365 account.

You will also need Excel 2013, the Power Query Addin and the Power Map Addin

Creating Your First Power BI Enabled Team Site

The SharePoint preview environment that is created has a single Team Site and a Public Site.  You can enable the existing Team Site or create a new site specifically for Power BI.  Let’s create a brand new site enable the Power BI functionality.

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Click on “new site” and give your site a name.  I called mine, “PowerBIDemo”. 

Once the site is created, we can add in the Power BI features by going to Site Contents and clicking on “Power BI”.

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You can add some sample data provided by Microsoft or you can use your own data.  Let’s add the samples and as they are loading you are provided a video showing you the exciting world of Power BI! 

Once the samples are loaded, you will have two key things added to your site: 1) a document library containing Excel files with Power Pivot models and 2) the Power BI App which is used for visualization of your data. 

There is also a “My Power BI” feature now available that provides you a view of your “favorite reports”.  However, this feature appears to be a mock-up at the moment.

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Trying Out Power BI

Click on the “Power BI” navigation on your enabled team site to try out Power BI for the first time!  The Power BI app provides featured reports, questions and documents that you can click on to access the visualization of the data provided in the samples.  Clicking on any of them will bring you to the Excel web client that displays the interactive reports provided by Power View.  Enjoy!

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