Recap of my Data&BI Summit session for Flemish Power BI Usergroup

Next week I am presenting remotely for the Flemish Power BI User Group. Giving a recap of one of my sessions from the Data & BI Summit (Dublin , April 2018), I will talk about Hybrid Power BI – What is possible? What do you need?


The link for this meetup.

— Agenda —
• 18:00 – 18:30 – Arrivals, food & drinks (sponsored by Ordina)
• 18:30 – 19:25 – Extending Power BI With Your Own Custom Visuals
• 19:25 – 19:30 – Short break
• 19:30 – 20:30 – (remote) Various International Speakers


Data & BI Summit Recap:
19:30 – Mary Fealty – The Evolution of Power BI
19:45 – Andrea Martorana – Power BI Behind the Scenes – Security and User Management
20:00 – Leila Etaati – Machine Learning with Power BI and R
20:15 – James Dales – Power BI Maps – Out of the Box and Way Beyond
20:30 – Wolfgang Strasser – Hybrid Power BI – What Is Possible? What Do You Need?


Thank you @JanMulkens for organizing!

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Business Application Spring ’18 Release Notes

During the Business Applications Spring 18 Release Launch event many enhancements to the Power* ( *= BI & Apps) Universe have been announced.

In addition to the announcements made during the event, the Spring ’18 Release Notes Guide ( contains a much more detailed listing and description of the coming features. The PDF itself has 267 pages and contains the announcements around

  • GDPR and Accessibility (page 16)
  • Dynamics 365 (pages 17 – 138)
  • Busines Application Platform (PowerApps, Common Data Service for Apps, Microsoft Flow) [pages 139 – 188]
  • Business Intelligence Platform (Power BI, Common Data Service for Analytics, Power BI Insights apps, Power BI Embedded) [pages 189 – 234]
  • Data Integration (focusing around Common Data Model, Data Connectors in Power BI, Power Apps, Flow & Logic Apps, ..) [pages 235 – 261]
  • Media Platform (Microsoft Stream) [pages 262 – 265]


I do not want to dive deeper into the Power BI related announcements – just have a look at Chris Webb’s great summary post.

What really got my attention was the announcement of the Common Data Service for Analytics  (“CDS for Analytics”) [Power BI blog], which is ..

  • a common data schema for Power BI Analytics…
  • can be filled from multiple sources using Power Query Online..
  • and serves as a source for Power BI insights Apps..

Stay tuned for some more detailed posts around this really interesting topic..

In the meantime, you can re-watch the Business Applications Spring ’18 Release Launch event here.

Happy Data Servicing,


Posted in Business Applications, Business Intelligence, Cloud, PowerBI | Leave a comment

MS Build 2018 – Day 1 Announcements

Yesterday was BUILD 2018 Day 1. Fully-packed keynotes with many demos and alike announcements. In this post I would like to summarize some of them (the more data platform related ones):

Data is and will be one of the main pillars of computing in the future. I think this tweet by @Microsoft gives you some ideas how the amounts of data will increase in the next 2!! years.


Power BI & Excel

For me as a Power BI fan this announcement is my personal favorite – Power BI custom visuals will find their way into EXCEL! yes – your read it right… Excel gets Power BI custom visuals. As of today only announced but according to the blog posts soon available in the Developer previews of Office 365.

The Azure Mobile App is now GA

A very handy way to control your Azure resources on your smart phone is the Azure Mobile App. During Build the app got its GA status.

AI – Artificial Intelligence

One of the main trends in the data platform field and in many organizations – bring AI into your business and processes!

Joseph Sirosh shares the vision and announcements about the Azure AI Platform – New innovations for developers. The Azure AI Platform consists of three main pillars – AI Services, AI Tools & Frameworks and AI Infrastructure.


Source: Azure blog (b)

New services and enhancements were announced – please read the blog post for details:

Frank Shaw summarizes the Future of society with AI and the intelligent cloud

By the way – If you want to learn more about AI in the Microsoft universe – two good starting points were mentioned in Josephs blog:

Cognitive Services

Although a part of the Azure AI services, I would like to dedicate a chapter here to Cognitive Services. New services were announced and existing services got updates..

In addition: If you want to test some future, early versions of new Cognitive services – the Cognitive Services Labs is your starting point!

Microsoft Data Platform

Rohan Kumar summarizes the current state and announcements about the Microsoft Data Platform


  • Cosmos DB announcements
  • Azure SQL Data Warehouse
    • Azure blog some days earlier than build, but very interesting
  • Azure Data Bricks
  • The Azure Database Migration Service got GA status
  • Azure database services for MySQL and PostgreSQL – GA


If you have time today, Day 2 keynotes plus some session content will be live-streamed! ->

Have fun reading through all the announcement post! Great Data Days ahead…




Posted in Azure, Cloud, Conference, DataNews, PowerBI | Leave a comment

How to activate your Power BI Pro (MSDN benefit)

o you have an MSDN subscription? Do you know that there are several benefits included in those subscriptions like one Power BI Pro license? And the best is – it’s for free (at least for some of the subscription levels)! For an overview about which benefits are included please visit:

Where do you find your additional benefits?

  • Your starting point to all your MSDN subscription benefits is
  • Please log in with your work or personal account (I assume you already activated your MSDN subscription beforehand)

The welcome screen should look similar like the following screenshot. There are some point I would like to highlight:


  1. If your account is bound to multiple MSDN subscriptions please check this part of the screen (and the drop down box) to select the right subscription.
  2. The list of available benefits for your subscription are available after selecting the Benefits menu item
  3. The direct way to the Download section
  4. If you need a list of already requested and/or available Product Keys, this menu item is the right one!
  5. The list of assigned MSDN subscriptions is available behind this menu item. In my case, I’ve got two different MSDN subscription levels assigned to my user.


  6. The “missing” Power BI benefit is available in the Tools section. Just use the greater-than link to scroll to the rest of the benefits – et voila – Power BI Pro is here.


To request your Power BI Pro license you’ll need to start the process by clicking on the Activate. The following wizard guides you through the Power BI signup process!

Have fun and enjoy your Power BI Pro experience,


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Show Dataset Parameter Values in Power BI Reports

Dataset Parameters are a way to bring some sort of dynamic into your Power Query datamodelling in Power BI. For my blog post about  Modifying Parameter values in  I was looking for a way to display the value of a parameter inside a Power BI report.

In this blog post I would like to show you the steps that are required to bring your parameters to your field list  – and as a consequence – into your Power BI report.

Within Power BI Desktop, open the Power Query Editor and add a new parameter to your data model.

pbi_datasetparam_report_02     pbi_datasetparam_report_03

In my demo, I add a new parameter called paramStartDate.


The data model contains one data table (Sales) plus the parameter. Close the Power Query Editor.


The field list only contains the data table but no parameter!


Open the Power Query Editor again and right-click on the parameter. If you activate the option Enable load for the parameter and hit Close&Apply the parameter magically appears in your field list.


The field list contains a table named paramStartDate with one column (also named paramStartDate).


You can now use this column in your report to represent the current value of your parameter!


Posted in Power BI Tip, PowerBI | 1 Comment

Modify Parameters for Datasets published to

Parameters are a very nice example of getting more dynamic into your Power Query for building your Power BI datasets. Until recently, the configuration of parameters published to was a “little” bit annoying. To change a parameter value, you had to change the value in Power BI Desktop and re-publish the dataset. And again – the Power BI team released a small but great feature to simplify this process.

Let’s introduce: Manage your dataset parameter values directly in

In the following example I would like to guide you through a small sample exemplifying this new feature. I start with my data table – sales information that happened in December 2017 and January 2018. The data is stored in an Azure SQL Database.


The data modeling steps are very simple. Connect to the Azure SQL Database and select the source table.


Edit your data preparation steps by selecting “Edit” to open the Power Query Editor (by the way – this name was changed in a recent Power BI Desktop Update.. 😊)

In the next step, a parameter named paramStartDate is created and used in a subsequent step to filter the entries.


The filtering step is added by using a Date Filter on the SalesDate column and choosing the After.. option.


Define the filter options as shown in the following screenshot.


That’s it for data preparation. Please close the Power Query editor and start building a sample report.

Sample report (paramStartDate set to 1.1.2017)


Let’s change the parameter value (Edit Query – Edit Parameters) and hit “Apply changes” (plus Refresh in the report pane). Et voila – only sales info in 2018 is shown.



Publish the data set to and test the parameter configuration

As a next step, the created dataset (plus sample report page) is published to a workspace. The report contains the filtered data as shown above. In order to change the parameter value in you’ll have to open the dataset settings. There are two ways to open these – either by getting there through the settings option in the main menu or by using the “Schedule refresh” option.

Enter the new value for the parameter and hit apply. What you need to do next is to refresh your dataset (i.e. the parameter filtering is applied in this step).


In the case that your report was already open before you started the refresh, you’ll need to manually hit refresh in your report to display the new data.


Happy parametrization,





Posted in Power BI Tip, PowerBI | 4 Comments

Power BI Report Server March 2018 is available

Waking up and getting the info that there is a new version of Power BI Report Server available.. I like those days.. 🙂

The announcement post lists the improvements that are added to this new version:


Some of my highlights I was really waiting to get them into the on-premises PBIRS:

  • Bookmarks are now available!
  • Sync slicers across multiple report pages
  • Cross-Highlighting across multiple charts
  • Quick measures
  • Performance improvements (mainly when working with Direct Query sources)

The list of features indicates that those features that got GA before the new PBIRS version is released made it to the March 2018 release.

Important note: Do not forget to download and install the according Power BI Desktop Version (Optimized for Report Server)! Only this version gives you access to the full set of new features!

Where do you get the new version from?

Next on my list: upgrade my test server and afterwards – get the March 2018 release into production!

Happy reporting,



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