Resources for Data-Driven Organizations

Get the most value from your CRM and ERP software with tips, tricks and strategies from the experts in business intelligence, reporting, and analytics. Explore our latest resources here.

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                    [post_title] => An Inside Look at How IGI Wax Envisions Their Future with QuickLaunch
                    [post_excerpt] => In this on-demand recording, you’ll hear an update on the IGI Wax data-driven journey, learn about their next steps, uncover lessons learned, and get an inside look at their continued success with data-driven initiatives.
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                    [post_title] => Trends in ERP Adoption in Construction
                    [post_excerpt] => Ben Harrison, vice president of product management at Preferred Strategies, discusses trends in the adoption of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) in the construction industry and how QuickLaunch can help contractors better utilize ERP data to its full potential.

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                    [post_title] => How to Build Interactive JDE Reports with QuickLaunch and Power BI
                    [post_excerpt] => Learn how to build interactive JD Edwards reports using modern BI tools. For illustrative purposes, we will use Preferred Strategies QuickLaunch and the free, cloud-based version of Microsoft Power BI as the BI tools.
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                    [post_title] => Show Me the Money: Visualizing Your Cash Flow
                    [post_excerpt] => Watch this session to learn some visualization options for both macro and micro cash flow analysis at your company.
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                    [post_content] => Power BI was named a leader in the Gartner magic quadrant again this year. (Be sure to check out our interactive analysis of the Magic quadrant here.) A major factor of Power BI's success has been the dedication by Microsoft to continuously improve the Power BI product suite with updates that are demand-driven and consistent.

We were planning on releasing future installments of this blog series on a monthly cadence, however, updates started off a little slow this year with no monthly update to the Power BI Desktop product in January and just a few updates in February, so we decided to include all updates from Q1 of 2021 in this post.

 

Power-BI-Consumers

Power BI Consumers

 

New Power BI Icons

The latest version of Power BI icons has been released so keep your eyes peeled for these new, more stylized images.  

Supported Browsers

Users that are still using the legacy version of the Microsoft Edge browser need to update their browser by March 9th, 2021 and users using Internet Explorer 11 need to upgrade by August 17, 2021 as Power BI will no longer support these. You should plan on keeping your browsers up to date anyways to ensure maximum performance while interacting with content in the Power BI Service.  

Updated Subscription Attachments (Premium Feature)

Currently for Pro licensed users, you can only subscribe to one page of a report per subscription. This is a limitation if you have multiple pages in your report and you or a recipient want all the pages in the report included. However, with this latest update, subscriptions to reports in an Upgraded V2 Premium or Premium Per User workspace can be configured to include a full version of the report as a PDF or PowerPoint attachment. In addition, you can also subscribe other users in your organization, but the data sent to others will be based on your permissions so if you have row-level security in place, be cautious of this. Read More        

Power BI Designers

 

Datasets Hub in PBI Service (Preview Feature)

Easily explore all the Datasets you have access to in the new Dataset Hub in the Power BI Service and in the Power BI App for Teams. With this new dataset details portal in Power BI, you can quickly get important metadata such as the last refreshed date, endorsement information (i.e. promoted vs certified), lineage information to show data sources (i.e. SQL or Analysis Services servers), and view which reports are built from the datasets as well as usage metrics per report. Read More  

New Release of Power BI Report Builder

Do not get too excited here. It is still the same Report Builder from the early 2000s with a new name and a few new shiny buttons. The latest version of the PBI Report Builder application includes a similar publishing experience to publishing reports in PBI Desktop. There is now a Publish button on the home ribbon that allows you to quickly make changes to reports and save them back to a workspace in the PBI Service. Read More  

Search in Power BI Desktop

While the number of new features and properties that have been added to the Power BI Desktop over the past 6 years has been incredible, it also makes it harder for new users (and veterans) to find what they are looking for. The new search feature in PBI desktop is very useful for navigating the increasingly complex UI.    

Change Log for Power BI Desktop

Over the past few years, many people have asked why there is an update notification in the PBI desktop even though they have downloaded the last monthly release. The answer to this is the PBI team releases different versions outside of the monthly cadence to fix bugs and other issues. There is now a Change Log for all the known fixes that you can use to track specifics of different versions. Note: If you download installation files from Microsoft to install PBI Desktop, you will have to manually keep downloading the latest version. The preferred method is to install PBI Desktop from the Microsoft Store so that new releases are automatically downloaded and installed for you. You can see an archive of all the past PBI updates here.    

Power BI Admins & Content Managers

 

Power BI Premium Per User Licensing (PPU) (Preview Feature) (Premium Feature)

We covered this update back in December but now we have more clarity on pricing and availability. One of the biggest complaints about Power BI Premium for the past several years has been the cost barrier to entry for small to medium sized companies, however, this has been resolved with the announcement that PPU will cost $20 per user with existing Power BI Pro users only having to pay an additional $10 per user. Read More        

Read/Write XMLA Endpoints are Generally Available (Premium Feature)

With XMLA endpoints, developers can connect to the Analysis Services engine powering datasets in the Power BI Service. This allows users to connect enterprise BI tools such as Visual Studio (SSDT), SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), Tabular Editor, DAX Studio, and many others directly to Power BI datasets in the Service enabling application lifecycle management, governance, debugging, and monitoring all within the Power BI ecosystem. Read More     [post_title] => Power BI Updates for QuickLaunch Customers: Q1 2021 [post_excerpt] => Power BI was named a leader in the Gartner magic quadrant again this year. (Be sure to check out our interactive analysis of the Magic quadrant here.) A major factor of Power BI’s success has been the dedication by Microsoft to continuously improve the Power BI product suite with updates that are demand-driven and consistent. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => power-bi-updates-q1-2021 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-06-18 22:37:49 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-06-18 22:37:49 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://preferredstrategies.com/?p=7127 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 7086 [post_author] => 6 [post_date] => 2021-03-08 13:00:44 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-03-08 21:00:44 [post_content] => In this article we showcase an interactive version of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence (ABI) built using Microsoft’s Power BI platform. Using this interactive view of the data, you can see how vendors have trended over the past 11 years.      

What is the Magic Quadrant?

Every year, Gartner, an independent technology research firm, publishes a graphical representation of the ABI market in the form of a “Magic Quadrant” (MQ) report. The purpose of this analysis is to summarize a company’s ability to deliver their solution based on their current vision compared to market standards and other competing technologies. Simply put, a quadrant is four areas made when a plane is divided by an X and Y axis. In this case, the X axis measures the Completeness of Vision or the company’s recent history of innovation and direction of their product. The Y axis measures the vendor’s Ability to Execute on their vision. Gartner uses a defined set of criteria across 12 critical capability areas to score where a company is positioned on each axis and a point is plotted at the intersection of these values to give the vendor’s position within the MQ. The four sections or quadrants a vendor can fall into include:

1. Leaders

These companies have separated themselves from the competition by demonstrating their ability to execute today’s standards and have proven themselves with past success along with a clear product roadmap that includes the technological standards of the future.

2. Visionaries

Vendors in this category recognize the future direction of the data analytics market and have a vision for implementing these new standards but do not yet execute this vision well.

3. Challengers

This group of vendors are performing well by today’s standards but lack the vision of what the future of the data analytics market will demand or have no clear plan on how to get there.

4. Niche Players

These players usually specialize in a small sector of the overall data analytics marketplace and do not have a plan for expanding their vision. Or they do not specialize but lack the ability to out-innovate and outperform other competitors.

 

Where does Microsoft fit in?

In 2016, Preferred Strategies, shifted from a primarily SAP focused firm to a Microsoft shop after noticing the momentum that Power BI and related SQL Server and Azure technologies had in the data analytics marketplace. At this time, the scene was really dominated by three vendors: Microsoft, Tableau, and Qlik. In the image below, you can see how Microsoft has separated themselves from the pack over the past 3 years to become the dominate leader in the data analytics space.     Microsoft has been in the Leaders quadrant for the past 14 years. During the past 5 years, their dominance has stemmed from the success of Power BI, which has been adopted by over 250,000 organizations including 97% of Fortune 500 companies.  Microsoft attributes this success to three main points including:

1. Industry leading BI capabilities

Cutting edge visualization functionality with the familiarity of Microsoft Office tools. Microsoft is committed to infusing AI technologies throughout the entire platform to create a revolutionary augmented analytics experience.

2. Fully governed & trusted

Power BI is built on the mature and rapidly evolving Azure cloud infrastructure which has Microsoft Information Protection and Microsoft Cloud App security included.

3. Best economics

At $10 per user per month for Pro and with Power BI Pro included in Office E5 licenses, the cost of owning Power BI is between a quarter to a third of the price of other platforms. This means organizations can deliver insights to everyone without worrying about the bottom line.   

Overview of PBI Report

The report below gives you the ability to track how the different vendors have performed over the past 11 years within the dynamic scatter chart with a play axis on the bottom. If you select a data point (or CTRL click multiple data points), you can see a traced trend path for the selected vendor(s). In addition, you can observe the variances for each axis value in the bar chart. You can narrow the report down to specific years and vendors using the slicers in the top of the page. Click on the help icon in the top of the report to see helpful information about using the report.     Note: Click the expanding arrows in the bottom right of the report, to view in Full Screen.  

About the Dataset

To create the dataset for the report, we took images of the past 11 years of Magic Quadrants and loaded them into a web tool called the Web Plot Digitizer. Once the image is in the web tool, we assigned numerical values to the axes. In this case we chose a scale of 0 – 20 but a different scale could be used such as 0 – 100. Although this is not necessarily the scale that Gartner uses, it still works great for our primary purpose which was to show a year over year trend of the different vendor positions.   Step 1: Load images in the web tool, calibrate the axes, and set the scale.     Step 2: Plot a coordinate on the digitized quadrant in the middle of each vendor data point.     Step 3: Export coordinates data to CSV file and then create a column for vendor and year. Load data into Power BI.    

Getting started with these tools and Preferred Strategies

If you are interested in getting started with Power BI, you can download Power BI Desktop for free and begin creating reports like this today. At Preferred Strategies, we specialize in helping organizations connect their Enterprise Resource Planning systems and other common data sources to Power BI. With our QuickLaunch solutions, you can quickly get up and running analyzing your corporate data in a matter of weeks. [post_title] => Interactive Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics Trend Analysis [post_excerpt] => In this article we showcase an interactive version of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence (ABI) built using Microsoft’s Power BI platform. Using this interactive view of the data, you can see how vendors have trended over the past 11 years. 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[post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => how-power-bi-changed-analytics-at-igi-wax [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-06-23 18:18:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-06-23 18:18:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://preferredstrategies.com/?post_type=resource&p=7071 [menu_order] => 3 [post_type] => resource [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 7035 [post_author] => 4 [post_date] => 2021-02-02 14:47:52 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-02-02 22:47:52 [post_content] => Deciding to pull the plug on an Analytics Solution can be a difficult decision that many companies unduly postpone. When the technology solution can no longer support your business strategy, you must take action. For instance, your business may decide that becoming Data Driven is imperative to grow your revenues. Becoming data driven requires more people doing more analysis with more data in order to gain insights into the business that were previously unobtainable. If your current solution can’t support this business strategy, it is time to pull the plug on it. Since IT investments are invariably expensive, all IT investments should be tied to a business strategy. Companies should fully understand the benefit to be gained and the costs to be incurred in the new solution. In the example of becoming data driven, if your IT infrastructure and users still rely heavily on exporting data to spreadsheets, your efforts to transform will fail.  It’s simply impossible to achieve the future state by continuing to do more of what you have done in the past. Change is always difficult, so at least two groups need to be consulted (or informed) before making the change. First, the analytics solution needs to have senior executive support. In the case of becoming data driven, that often is the result of an executive initiative anyway. The second group is the employees who use the old technology and who will be more resistant to the change. This group will need to know three things; why the new technology is important to the company, that they will be trained in the new solution (aka everything will be OK in the end), and that senior management is committed to the change. Analytics solutions need to have a complete project plan which includes budgets, schedules, training, and someone to manage the process (a project manager). Usually, a phased transition will be more successful than a ‘big bang’ cutover. Preferred Strategies specializes in helping customers advance in their Data Driven journey.  Please contact us if you want to discuss how we can help you. [post_title] => When to Pull the Plug on an Analytics Solution [post_excerpt] => Deciding to pull the plug on an Analytics Solution can be a difficult decision that many companies unduly postpone. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => pull-plug-analytics-solution [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-06-18 22:39:59 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-06-18 22:39:59 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://preferredstrategies.com/?p=7035 [menu_order] => 3 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 6921 [post_author] => 6 [post_date] => 2021-01-15 10:13:21 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-01-15 18:13:21 [post_content] => When Power BI was released 6 years ago, one of the biggest criticisms was that the platform lacked enterprise scale features for governance and administration, however, over the past couple years the Power BI team has made strides in addressing this concern. In Part 3 of our 2020 in Review series, we will cover new features and enhancements to the product designed to help users who are responsible for administering the usage, deployment, and adoption of Power BI within their organizations. If you missed them, be sure to check out the Part 1 for Consumers and Part 2 for report Designers as well. Read Part One | Read Part Two    

Power BI Admins & Content Managers Updates

Updated Workspaces

The Power BI team made the new workspace experience generally available back in April of 2019 and we are now finally getting to the end of life for the original classic workspaces. We are expecting the classic workspaces to be deprecated by the middle of 2021. You may have noticed that when you create a new Team in the Teams application (or any Office 365 group), a new Power BI classic Workspace is also created with the same name. This is because the classic Workspaces are tied to Office 365 groups which is automatically configured when you create a new team. Because of this, there is now a Power BI tenant setting to address this issue that can block the creation of classic workspaces and hide any classic workspaces that have not been used. The new Workspaces provide many advantages including not being tied to an Office 365 group, more granular workspace permissions, ability to use security groups to manage users, contact lists, better usage metrics, and the ability to use shared datasets across workspaces. As of today, you must manually update workspaces in the workspace settings dialog, but the Power BI team has announced that they will release a way for Admins to bulk upgrade workspaces in 2021. Eventually all classic workspaces will be automatically upgraded. Read More     (click to view larger)

 

Shared and Certified Datasets

In May 2020, the ability to use the same dataset for many different reports across multiple workspaces was made generally available. Shared datasets allows Power BI admins and designers to build their reports connected to one single Dataset in the Power BI Service instead of having to manage many duplicated datasets. In addition, with Dataset Endorsements, datasets can now be promoted and certified as the trusted and authoritative dataset so that users are confident in the data. Read More     (click to view larger)

 

Data Source and Dataset Impact Analysis

You may have already seen the dataset impact analysis feature in Power BI that allows you to determine which reports and dashboards are connected to it across different workspaces. This is helpful for understanding which pieces of content will be affected by updates to a dataset. Now there is a similar feature called Data Source impact analysis that always you to click on a data source in the Lineage view of a workspace and see what datasets across the entire tenant use that data source. If you are thinking about modifying a data source than this is a critical feature that will allow you to see the impacts of those changes and alert on stakeholders beforehand. In addition, this feature gives Admins the ability to see what datasets, other than the certified datasets, are using the same data source so that you can reduce dataset redundancy and create a single version of the truth. Dataset Info | Data Source Info     (click to view larger)

 

Certified Reports and Apps (Preview)

Similar to the ability to endorse datasets, you can now label reports as either Certified, Promoted, or No endorsement. This gives users the assurance that they are making decisions based on information that has been validated and marked as trusted. In addition, content managers and PBI admins have the ability to tightly control and document who has the ability to endorse content to ensure the certification process is selective and governed. This is a great enterprise scale improvement that will help your organization distinguish between the growing number of reports within your company. Read More     (click to view larger)

 

Power BI App in Teams

This essentially allows users to have the full Power BI experience right within Teams so they no longer need to use a browser to reach the PBI service. See Part 1 for more information. Read More     (click to view larger)

 

Power BI Premium Gen 2 and Premium Per User (Premium) (Preview)

The next generation of Premium has a lot of updates including new licensing for individuals. There is now a Premium Per User license which is aimed at making PBI Premium more accessible to smaller organizations from a cost standpoint. You can give it a try for free while it is Preview. Read More For existing Premium SKUs, Gen 2 brings performance enhancements to all of the capacities, better monitoring metrics and reporting, and the ability to auto-scale when capacity limits are reached. Read More     (click to view larger)

 

Deployment Pipelines (Premium)

Until this year, managing the Power BI content lifecycle was manual and error prone. With the new Deployment Pipelines feature that are part of Power BI Premium, teams can build efficient processes for maintaining development, test, and production environments. Developers can selectively make changes to content in each stage of the life cycle including reconfiguring reports and dashboards to appropriate datasets and then quickly push the updates to the different stages. Read More   (click to view larger)   [post_title] => Power BI Updates for QuickLaunch Customers: 2020 in Review - Part 3 - Admins & Content Managers [post_excerpt] => In the third part of our 2020 in Review series, we cover new features and enhancements to the product designed to help users who are responsible for administering the usage, deployment, and adoption of Power BI within their organizations. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => power-bi-updates-quicklaunch-2020-part3 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-06-18 22:40:29 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-06-18 22:40:29 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://preferredstrategies.com/?p=6921 [menu_order] => 4 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 9 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 8987 [post_author] => 14 [post_date] => 2021-06-25 22:01:32 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-06-25 22:01:32 [post_content] => [post_title] => An Inside Look at How IGI Wax Envisions Their Future with QuickLaunch [post_excerpt] => In this on-demand recording, you’ll hear an update on the IGI Wax data-driven journey, learn about their next steps, uncover lessons learned, and get an inside look at their continued success with data-driven initiatives. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => an-inside-look-at-how-igi-wax-envisions-their-future-with-quicklaunch [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-09-20 07:10:18 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-09-20 07:10:18 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://preferredstrategies.com/?post_type=resource&p=8987 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => resource [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 102 [max_num_pages] => 12 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => [is_tag] => [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => 1 [is_privacy_policy] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => 1 [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_favicon] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => 13dfed34f3880695e2a2cb63c7af72e9 [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )
Educational Session
An Inside Look at How IGI Wax Envisions Their Future with QuickLaunch

In this on-demand recording, you’ll hear an update on the IGI Wax data-driven journey, learn about their next steps, uncover lessons learned, and get an inside look at their continued success with data-driven initiatives.

WATCH NOW >
In the News
Trends in ERP Adoption in Construction

Ben Harrison, vice president of product management at Preferred Strategies, discusses trends in the adoption of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) in the construction industry and how QuickLaunch can help contractors better utilize ERP data to its full potential.

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Educational Session
How to Build Interactive JDE Reports with QuickLaunch and Power BI

Learn how to build interactive JD Edwards reports using modern BI tools. For illustrative purposes, we will use Preferred Strategies QuickLaunch and the free, cloud-based version of Microsoft Power BI as the BI tools.

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Educational Session
Show Me the Money: Visualizing Your Cash Flow

Watch this session to learn some visualization options for both macro and micro cash flow analysis at your company.

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Blog
Power BI Updates for QuickLaunch Customers: Q1 2021
March 23, 2021

Power BI was named a leader in the Gartner magic quadrant again this year. (Be sure to check out our interactive analysis of the Magic quadrant here.) A major factor of Power BI’s success has been the dedication by Microsoft to continuously improve the Power BI product suite with updates that are demand-driven and consistent.

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Blog
Interactive Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics Trend Analysis
March 08, 2021

In this article we showcase an interactive version of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence (ABI) built using Microsoft’s Power BI platform. Using this interactive view of the data, you can see how vendors have trended over the past 11 years.

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Case Study
How Power BI Changed Analytics at IGI Wax

In this Q&A session with Bill Sandblom, MIS Director at International Group, Inc. (IGI Wax), Bill shares IGI’s digital transformation journey and explains how the company experienced a three-year head start with QuickLaunch for Power BI.

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Blog
When to Pull the Plug on an Analytics Solution
February 02, 2021

Deciding to pull the plug on an Analytics Solution can be a difficult decision that many companies unduly postpone.

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Blog
Power BI Updates for QuickLaunch Customers: 2020 in Review – Part 3 – Admins & Content Managers
January 15, 2021

In the third part of our 2020 in Review series, we cover new features and enhancements to the product designed to help users who are responsible for administering the usage, deployment, and adoption of Power BI within their organizations.

READ MORE >

Accelerate Your Data-Driven Journey

We’ve done all the hard work for you and now its time to reap the benefits. Schedule a solution demo to experience the innovative functionality firsthand….no strings attached.