Thursday, August 20, 2015

Power BI achievement unlocked


I find that the best way to learn ‘stuff’ is to have an end goal in mind. Design a specific project, with specific outcomes rather than trying to ‘learn’ generically. Solving a problem using technology, I find, generally produces faster and better results because it provide focus.

Case in point. One of my ‘learning’ projects has been to get a report on the storage utilisation from a machine and then be able to display that in a dashboard tool that allows ad hoc querying and reporting on that information.

Luckily, Power BI has come to the rescue at the presentation end, the issue I had been struggling with was developing something to collect all the data. I had written a PowerShell script and imported the results it into Excel but hadn’t got much further.

Recently I came across the new:

Office IT Pro Deployment Script project

in there was a Check-DiskSpace project that basically used the new Excel 2016 graph types like TreeMap and Sunburst to graphically display data collected from the hard disk.

Inside the project was everything i needed, a PowerShell script to collect the raw data, an Excel spreadsheet to automatically pull the raw data into an Excel pivot table. All I needed to do now was save that data to a new clean spreadsheet and upload into Power BI.

Once the upload into Power BI was complete I was then able to not only view my data graphically but also use nature language querying to analyse it, all thanks Power BI.

The result is what you see in the screen show above. Sure it is simple but it has progressed me a long way along the path of turning this into an impressive integrated demonstration that I can show prospects. That is going to give them a much better idea of what Power BI can do for their business and potentially win me more consulting opportunities.

Sure there are easier ways to display hard usage BUT the aim of this was to firstly improve my knowledge of Power BI by solving a problem (CHECK) and at the same time come up with an end to end demonstration of how Power BI can produce valuable information from raw data (CHECK).

Thus, achievement unlocked and now I’m onto the next level.