Thursday, December 10, 2015

Power BI adds Cortana integration

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One of the regular Power BI demos that i do involves using the natural language query engine at the top of the dashboard. The above example is from a spreadsheet I uploaded to my Power BI environment that contains information about all the Olympic medal winners.

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So if I now type total medals by country into the query Power BI automatically provides me with the visualisation as you see above.

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But if I wake Cortana up by saying “hey cortana” and then asking “total gold medals australia by sport” you’ll see from above that it comes back with some Power BI suggestions.

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If I now select one of these you’ll see that it pulls the information from that same spreadsheet I was just using in Power BI.

That now means Cortana is integrated with Power BI! Pretty cool eh? So how do you configure that?

The first step in the process is to integrate Office 365 and Cortana. I have detailed that previously at:

Connecting Cortana to Office 365

Next, you’ll need to go into the Power BI Dashboard for the data set you wish to integrate with Cortana.

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Select the COG in the top right corner of the dashboard for the dataset and then the Settings option from the menu that appears.

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Ensure you have the desired dataset selected on the left. Then on the right ensure option Enable Cortana to access this dataset is checked.

Now users who have access to that Power BI dataset and have Cortana enabled and linked to their Office 365 account can query data by voice or simply by typing into the search box.

Another REALLY impressive new features is Quick Insights. Here I’ll use the Chicago Crime Statistics spreadsheet that I’ve also uploaded into my Power BI environment.

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Select the ellipse (three dots) to the right of the data source under the Datasets heading in the lower left of the Power BI screen.

From the menu that appears (shown above) select View Insights.

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You’ll now see a list of discovered “insights” displayed as shown above. But how are these “insights’ generated?

Power BI’s new Quick Insights feature allows you to run a variety of analytical algorithms on your data to search for potential insights with the click of a mouse. Through a partnership with Microsoft Research, we’re honing a growing list of algorithms to discover and visualize correlations, outliers, trends, seasonality, change points in trends, and major factors within your data, automatically, within seconds.

It gets even more impressive than that as detailed here:

Announcing Power BI integration with Cortana and new ways to quickly find insights in your data

Aside from all the new cool Power BI stuff the integration with Cortana illustrates another benefit of the Microsoft platform and how services like Cortana are being integrated across everything!

This stuff just keeps getting better!