On prem hosting of Power BI reports

If you have been using Power BI and think about how you can host your report locally, good news is you will be able to do so very soon. Microsoft released technical preview for on premise hosting of power BI reports inside SSRS. Below link is the official guide from Microsoft on how you can actually do this. I won’t repeat here on the how’s, but I would like to call out a few things that might still confuse you.


1 It’s still beta version and the only supported data source for your Power BI reports at the moment is SQL server analysis service and you have to use direct query. That’s right, live connection to your SSAS cube (either multi dimensional or tabular) instead of loading data from cube to your Power BI data model. Microsoft is planning to add more data source in the future.

2 You may wonder why live connection? Because to make SSRS integrate with Power Query seamlessly is not an easy thing and Microsoft needs time to deliver this. So at the moment, only live connection to your cube.

3 Microsoft is targeting mid 2017 to release the GA and the licensing details won’t be available until close to that time. so sit tight and it’s coming.

Now without further ado, go try out the preview feature on your local server or VM.



Budget VS Sales

A common business case is to compare your sales number with budget. There are many blog posts about this already. See here for Rob Collie’s post on this topic.

Today I want to show you how you can do this easily with the function of adding calculated table in Power BI desktop. With this functionality you can add calculated table to your data model and treat it as normal table, add relationship to it and do your analysis as usual. In our case we will load some sample sales data (at day level), use calculated table to add a Sales by Month table, then compare this with budget data (also at month level). You can find the New Table button in the Data view ribbon under Modeling as shown below:

Calculated Table In Power BI Desktop

The model is very simple. I loaded sales data (at day level) and budget data (at month level). I added Sales by Month table with DAX function

VALUES ( ‘Calendar'[YearMonth] ),
“Sales”, CALCULATE ( SUM ( Orders[Sales] ) )
[Sales] > 0

I added calendar table with new DAX function CALENDARAUTO(). What it does is based on the dates in your data model, it will add one column table with dates from min dates to max dates in your data model. Very cool and handy. When you have new sales data coming in, your calendar table will update too. Neat! You can see the model in the below picture.Budget VS Sales Model

Lastly I created some simple VIZ to compare sales and budget as show below. Power BI desktop is still evolving and Microsoft is releasing new updates on a monthly basis. As time goes by I believe it will offer the same charting power as Tableau.

Budget VS Sales VIZ

You can download my sample file here for closer look what I have done.