This past week was T-SQL Tuesday #75, with the topic of Power BI. There were some interesting posts, and we’ve included a few in this week’s newsletter. This was also the week where the winners of the Power BI report contest were announced, and it was a good entry. This was the one I actually thought was the best one. If you haven’t seen it, take a few minutes and go look at the entry and play with the data. It’s interactive, so be sure to see how well the Denver Nuggets have competed against Mr. Curry.
I first looked at Power BI last summer, watching a presentation and being intrigued at the ability of the tool to easily get data from web pages. I then talked with a friend that works with Power BI regularly, and they showed me how to loop and gather information from many pages, easily assembling the data into a dashboard that was interactive. I was very impressed, and I’m looking forward to doing a bit more work on the platform myself.
Quite a few people have been concerned that the development of tools like Power BI mean that there is less of a need for IT staff. I find myself thinking quite the opposite. There will always be data quality issues with something like Power BI, and there is a certain level of programming to build more complex reports. Not to mention the refresh and update process is slow, which can make the tool feel cumbersome.
However users will find some reports are more useful, or more important, and need some help from technology professionals. Whether that’s developing more DAX formulas and measures to enrich displays or just providing stable, clean data sources that consolidate data from various places, there will be plenty of work for IT staff that support companies using Power BI.
To me, Power BI is the type of tool that empowers users and lets them experiment a bit on their own. Once they determine what they really want, then they can engage me to build a more robust, reliable, and useful tool that helps the business.