Highlights from the Microsoft Data Insights Summit 2017

Category: Power BI

You may or may not have heard of the Microsoft Data Insights Summit in Seattle. It has only been going on for a couple of years and I recently just learned about it myself. Although I mostly work with SharePoint, Office 365 is starting to blur the lines between many applications and the need to learn almost all of them is becoming an accepted reality. If you are someone dabbling in the Office 365 suite or a data scientist working with visualizations, this conference was right up your alley. I was lucky enough to attend this year. There was so much to share from the event, it’s a bit hard to narrow it down, but here are some of my favorite highlights from the conference.

New Announcements from the Microsoft Data Insights Summit

Drill Through Pages

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Image property of Microsoft

 

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Image property of Microsoft

Embedded App Controls

I suspected long ago, the real end goal of Office 365 was to create a purely integrated suite of software applications to create connected, interactive systems. The first few signs of this I saw at the conference. With Embedded Controls, they demonstrated embedding live a PowerApp and Visio business process diagram that changed along with the data as you interacted with the dashboard. Talk about a mashup, I thought this was pretty amazing.

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Image property of Microsoft

Other hot “commingling of data” topics included sessions on Power BI, Excel, PowerApps & Flow.

Custom Visuals

A few new custom visuals appeared at the conference including user community built visuals such as the “word cloud” and some explanations around the ease of building your own custom visualizations.

WordCloud

Image property of Microsoft

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An awesome custom visual made by Reza Rad

What Interested People at the Conference Most?

One of the most popular sessions from the Data Insights Summit was the BI Power Hour, demonstrating the mashup possibilities of using all of these technologies together.

Power BI security — especially for places such as D.C. or Europe where data privacy concerns are paramount. Since Power BI is part of the Microsoft cloud, it runs on Azure AD. There was a lot of information on conditional access, auditing, encryption keys and row level security. Although there are still some areas that are a bit in-progress regarding this at the moment, there are a lot of options to secure your data.

Mostly, the really important things were the games, free food and conference “swag”… (hey, I can’t leave a conference without 5 t-shirts!)

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Kudos to the event planners who chose to use an augmented reality app called AR Conference Scavenger Hunt.  Everyone went around scanning photos to earn points for free swag using their mobile phones, but you could only see the augmented images via the app which was pretty cool. A nod to HoloLens I am sure.

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Summary

Power BI has come a long way, and admittedly it still has room to grow in the security area and competing with other tools that have been on the market for years such as Tableau. However, Power BI is starting to morph into its own unique data visualization tool that will have features and capabilities nothing else out on the market has. Add the fact that it will interact with the other family of products in the Office 365 suite, many on or off premises data sources and databases, SQL Server and Excel, and this is definitely one piece of software to keep your eye on.

In case you missed the conference, most of the videos can be found here on the Power BI YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/mspowerbi

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