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A Look At Microsoft Power BI - Jim Hudson


Video Transcript: 

Hi, Jim Hudson - oaktreestaffing.com. Today, we're going to look at an amazing tool from Microsoft called Power BI. Power BI has been around for several years and just gets better every month. It seems like they're constantly releasing new visualizations and new data sources and just updates to the tool. But, essentially what we're going to look at really briefly here is we're going walk through and just create a simple report. Power BI is a cloud-based software that will allow you to create and publish reports to people in your organization and make them available in a variety of different ways.

So, the tool I have loaded here is the free Power BI Desktop and I have some data available. So, essentially I'm going to go down to my data -- or to my tab -- and I'm going to say, "Alright, I want data." So, I'm going to click get data. Now, I have just so many different places and so many different ways that I can get data from, but for the moment, I'm just going to go down to txt.csv and I'm going to browse to a folder where I have some data stored and I'm going to grab a couple of CSV files. So, I have a CSV file that has some books in it. I'm going to click Load and it's going to load this -- again, I'm using the desktop design tool. Later on, we will take this and publish it to the cloud.

One of the amazing things about Power BI is that you can do your development either in the cloud or on the desktop. Personally, as far as developing my different ports, I prefer to use the desktop tool. With one click, I can publish my report to the cloud, but you really do have a choice. So, I've grabbed one table, but I have another table that I want to use also. So, again, I'm going to choose Get Data, txt.csv, and go drop my publisher's file. Now, one of the great things about this is I absolutely could click load or I can choose -- and it would load my data -- or I can choose Edit. And Edit just gives me this ability to go in and modify my data. And there are so many different things I could do, but at the moment, all I'm going to do is decide that I don't want a particular column. If you've worked with Excel and are familiar with the Power Query tool, then you will be right at home in the Query editor for Power BI.

So, I'm going to choose Close and Apply and one of the amazing things that happens with Power BI is, even though this data came from txt.csv files -- which has absolutely no concept of a primary key for key relationship, the Power BI editor was still able to infer that relationship and realize that there is a parent-child or a primary key - foreign key relationship between the two txt.csv files that I've imported. So. now that I have my data, I can go look at it here in the data section and I can choose to visualize either of my tables. I can use the DAX language to add measures or calculated columns, but at the moment, I think I have what I need. So, I'm going to go to the visualization section and I'm going to begin to just build reports based on all these amazing visualizations. So, one of the first things I'm going to do is I'm just going to go grab my data and I'm going to grab year-to-date sales, and it's going to pull the number in and it just automatically goes to a bar chart. Then I want to look at my data -- not only year-to-date sales, but I want to look at by publisher. So, I'm going to go grab a publisher name and drag-and-drop it and now I begin to see my data by publisher. And there's just an amazing story here as far as being able to easily visualize my data -- to easily click back and forth between different options. The next thing I want to do is -- I want this same data, but I want it in a textual format. So, I could rebuild it, but I also can take advantage of the copy and paste capability of Power BI. So, I'm going to make sure that I've selected this visualization, control-C control-V, and get a copy of my visualization and I'm going to load it right next to the first visualization. And then I'm going to go over and change it to a table simply by clicking the table visualization. Now, next thing I need to do obviously is change my font a little bit, so I'm going to go over here to the format painter tool and I'm going to make the font a little bit bigger so that it is a little bit easier to read. The next thing I can do is take that same data and display it in some different visualizations.

I have just so many available visualizations. I'm going to cite this and then choose a donut chart. The last thing I think we're going to do is we're going slice this data by type, so I'm going to go over to the Type column and drag-and-drop it to the desktop. I'm going to change its size a little bit and then I'm going to go up and choose my slicer, so now as I begin to visualize my data, I want to see just business books or just modern cooking books, or I can use my Control key and say, "Hey, I want to see Modern Cooking and Psychology books." This just allows me then, just to take a look at so many of my different options here. I'm going to clear my selections so I can see all of my data. And the next thing I want to do is -- I'm going to go ahead and save to my local desktop -- just hit Control-S and put this on my desktop. And click save. Now, the next thing we're going to do is we're going publish this report along with it's datasets to the cloud. And because when I loaded the Power BI Desktop tool, I signed into my cloud account, it's as simple as going up to this button up here and clicking, "Publish." Because I have multiple workspaces, I have an option, but I'm going to select my workspace -- click Select, so it's pushing my report and my data up to Power BI. And at this point, I could go ahead and open it in Power BI here, but I already have an open connection to my workspace, so I'm going to just go to my workspace and hit "View Data Set" and then I can begin to see some of the different work that I'm done recently -- including my test report. Now, once we go to interact with the report, then we have a lot of options. We have the option of filters that we've built into the report. We also have the option of visual filters -- so, for example, if I go over here on my donut chart and click "New Moon Books" -- just click different publishers -- you can see the data changing as we do that. We also then, of course, can go over and say "Hey, I want to look at Business and Modern Cooking books" and just begin to interact with the data.

The next step with this tool would be to make it available to colleagues within or outside of my organization and begin to use this visual tool then to share reporting data with people -- again, both within or outside of my organizations. Jim Hudson -- OakTreeStaffing.com

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