Power BI and Predixion Software

Here’s the deck from my talk on this topic at VSLive in Redmond this week.

While there I demo’d Predixion Software’s next release (which is in private beta at this time).  This release includes many new features, the most interesting of which to me are the new visualization dashboard and enhancements to the Insight Workbench around Data Visualization.  I snipped a couple of screens from these feature sets and am adding them below.

First  – Data Exploration in Insight Workbench

Predixion Data Exploration

Next  – New Visualization Dashboard for the browser

Predixion Browser Visualizer

happy programming!

Azure, Cloud, Microsoft, SQL Server 2014

First Look – SQL Server 2014 RTM on Windows Azure

It’s a SQL Server kind of day.  First, congratulations to the team at Microsoft for releasing SQL Server 2014.  Also, thanks again to Microsoft to awarding me their MVP award for my SQL Server community education activities for the second year in a row.

As promised, the Azure team made a set of Azure Virtual Machine images with SQL Server 2014 RTM available today as well.
SQL Server 2014 RTM images on Windows Azure

I took the standard edition out for a spin and recorded the results in a short screencast (embedded below) – enjoy!


Big Data, Data Science, Microsoft

Looking at Slideshare data with Excel PowerBI

I’ll admit it, I am really hooked on PowerBI in Excel 2013 – in particular, I find many uses for PowerQuery (shown below).


To that end, I was playing around with my Slideshare analytics data in PowerBI and I learned a thing or two.  Below is a screen of my data as I was filtering and shaping it in PowerQuery.  You may note some of the transformation steps to the right of the screen below.

Using PowerQuery to filter and shape Slideshare data


If you are a scripting kind of person, here’s a look at part of the transformation script generated by PowerQuery.

PowerQuery transformation script

I also made a short screencast, showing the process I used in more detail.

In case you don’t want to watch the video, here’s what I found – database people tweet!

Database people love to tweet!


Cloud, Data Science, Microsoft, SQL Server 2012

Using D&B Company Cleanse Match with PowerBI and SSIS

I’ve been doing some work with the Dun & Bradstreet Company Cleanse & Match offer in the Windows Azure Marketplace.  A common data quality scenario I encounter is the business need to create more complete customer (company) records for various business reasons (marketing, collection, etc…).

Shown below is a sample of how this offer works.  You can see that three records with different types and amounts of information have been combined into one completed record.  You may also note that the D&B D-U-N-S number has been associated with the identified company.

D&B Cleanse&Match
D&B Cleanse&Match

This D&B offer brings three important concepts to this table:

1) The D&B business database is global, comprehensive and verified.
2) D&B uses a proprietary, powerful and configurable cleanse/match algorithm to correct, complete and de-duplicate records.
3) D&B offers flexibility in terms of integration with Microsoft APIs and Tools.

I’ve already blogged (and screencasted) about the integration between D&B Cleanse & Match and SQL Server 2012 Data Quality Services.  In today’s blog, I’ll include information about working with SQL Server 2012 SSIS and about integration with PowerBI.

Note: In addition to the D&B Cleanse & Match offer, D&B has several other offers in the Windows Azure Marketplace and also in the Windows Azure Store.  For example, here is a screenshot of the integration of their ‘Business Insight’ offer from within the Windows Azure Store (in the Windows Azure portal).

D&B Business Insight
D&B Business Insight

If you are at the SQL Pass Summit this week, be sure to stop by the D&B booth to get access to the preview SSIS component and to learn more about their many offers on the Windows Azure Marketplace.  They are also running some fun contests (for cash!) at the show.

Below are a series of screencasts which show the integration between D&B Cleanse & Match and Microsoft products in greater detail.  First is the SSIS component demo.

Next is a series of 3 demos, which provide a detailed use case (creating a rich customer contact list for a growing business in a particular industry) using public data, PowerBI and D&B data and algorithms to produce a complete, validated, useful prospect list.

In part one, I use PowerQuery to shape public (US Census) data

In part two, I use PowerQuery and D&B data to create a targeted company contact list, with the attributes I value for this scenario (such as ‘green-certified’) and those that I’ve identified based on my earlier data research (such as which US States I was to focus on).

In part three, I again use PowerQuery and D&B data to further enrich the prospect list, by adding actual contact information (names, email addresses and phone numbers) to produce an actionable prospect list for my marketing team. I also show the new Data Gateway (Eldorado) from Office 365.

Are you interested in learning more?  Check out this information page.

Cloud, Microsoft

First Look Office 365 Power BI

Like everyone else, I got the updated beta invite for Power BI today in my inbox.  I’ve been using PowerQuery in Excel 2013 for awhile already and am really liking it, so I thought I’d record my experiences setting up Power BI in Office 365.

There were a couple of tricky parts, such as making sure to assign the proper amount and types of licenses to the Office 365 users and in activating the gateway, but I did manage to get through the set up.

Unfortunately, although I was able to set up a Gateway and SQL Server Data source, I was not able to connect to my data source via Power Query.  This could be my own error as I ran through the steps quickly.  I’ll re-visit this over the next week or so.  Below are some screens showing parts of the process of setting up the connection to a data source via the gateway.

First setting the credentials.

Credentials in the Data Source

Next setting up which parts of the data (in this case which tables and/or views) are part of the data source.

Data Source in Power BI

After updating my Power Query bits, I was able to create a query, share it to the organization and then to ‘see’ the query via the search capability in Power Query, when the query was scoped to the ‘Organization’.


Also, I didn’t have time to try out the natural language query capabilities and the query logging (overhead and usage) on the portal. I did quickly try out searching on some of the terms in my shared query and found that I did get a result when I searched on a column name in the query.

There are also a set of PowerBI features available on SharePoint 365, that I’ll be looking into over the next few weeks or so.

So far, I really like what I see and am looking forward to working more with this release.

Below is a short screencast of my experience trying out the bits today.

Big Data, Cloud, Data Science, Microsoft, SQL Server 2012

Working with DnB Company Cleanse Match Data

DnB Cleanse Match

I’ve been working on some data cleansing projects lately and to that end I’ve tried out working with the DnB Company Cleanse Match Dataset in the Windows Azure Marketplace.  This dataset allows you get more complete information about companies and to combine duplicate records.  Shown below is a screenshot which illustrates what you can do with this service.

DnB Company Cleanse Match

To try it out, you can email DnB for a promo code (send mail to ‘‘).  You can use this service in a couple of different ways, these include using it with Excel (PowerQuery or any other service that supports consuming OData feeds), SQL Server 2012 Data Quality Services or programmatically by downloading the proxy class for C# from the Azure Data market (available after you subscribe to the service) and coding against the API.

I’ve made two screencasts to show how this works.  First, here’s the screencast on Power Query / API.

Second, here’s the screencast using the dataset with SQL Server 2012 DQS.

Also here’s the stub code for the API:

string USER_ID = "<windows live id user id>";
string ACCT_KEY = "<your key>";
var ROOT_URI = "";
var serviceClient = new DnB.DnBContainer(new Uri(ROOT_URI));
 serviceClient.Credentials = new NetworkCredential(USER_ID,ACCT_KEY);
var l =
(from d in serviceClient.SuggestCompanyDetails
 ("Dell", null, null, null, "TX", null, "US", null, 3, 0)
 select d);

foreach (var a in l)
    Console.WriteLine("Result " + a.DunsNumber);