Microsoft interns leverage their creativity to develop new Power BI dashboard tool

Last month we reported on Microsoft’s Power BI coming out preview. Microsoft’s visualization framework tool became available to the general public on July 24th as well as Power BI business analytics service. Alongside the news of general availability, Microsoft also highlighted its contributions of Power BI visualization framework and its complete library of visuals to the open source community under an MIT license.

With Power BI available to the general public, a four-member team of Microsoft interns are showing what Power BI can accomplish with a little bit of time and creativity. Allison Fisher, a Microsoft intern and member of the project helped develop a real-time health dashboard that correlates SQL Azure deployments with essential performance metrics.

What Allison and her team did is considered a bit of a hack, but she does offer some insight into the process.

In order to be actionable, our dashboard needed frequent refresh (every 5 minutes), and we also needed to be able to include data from different sources in the same report. We really wanted to be able to leverage the interactive slicing capabilities of Power BI in our report, which meant that we needed relationship detection to inform Power BI how to slice every element of the report together, regardless of the source.

We knew that the Power BI Designer Preview provided auto-relationship detection among datasets, and we knew the Power BI REST API allowed us to push the data as frequently as we wanted. However, there was no way to marry these two capabilities with the existing Power BI product.

Our tool, Post to Power BI, is a solution that allows users to join data from multiple sources and push it to PowerBI in a low-latency refresh loop.

Allison continues with more detailed steps in the process. Their efforts help enhance Power BI hot-path data reporting tool by effectively joining data from multiple sources in a low-latency refresh loop.

Not bad for a summer project done by interns.

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