November 5, 2014

SQL Pass Demos Power BI and Power Query – looking good!

First day coming to an end here in Seattle at SQL Pass Summit. One more session today. Lots of demos of Power Query and Power BI, and these tools continue to mature. It is hard to tell what is “about to be released” and what is actually out, but the demos are fun to watch. Power Query has really come a long way. It now can connect to quite a few things – web pages, Salesforce.com, Business Objects, documents, Power Pivot models, databases – and you can do basic transformations like splitting columns. It looks cool for good Excel users who then want to make a Power View in Excel. Downside, well, it is in that one Excel sheet, not published yet.

Power BI has also come quite a ways. Released in February, it shows great with Power Maps but these are again simple demos, not necessarily useful demos. Overall the dashboards can be set up at a relatively lower cost for licensing. Entry level cost is $40/user/month if someone doesn’t have Office 365, plus the cost of consulting to set it up (or do it yourself). However, some big things are missing – like connecting to on-premise cubes, providing ad hoc access to people who don’t know how to set up dynamic time frames, and working with anyone who doesn’t have Office 365.

More reviews to come as we power through SQL Pass.