The Enterprise BI Portal just got even better. V3 is here.

V3 of the Enterprise Business Intelligence Portal continues to flex its capabilities as the Microsoft BI suite grows, now providing seamless integration with Datazen and Power BI.

The Portal features a unique publishing framework to ensure reports are created, collaborated on, published and discoverable in a governed manner. Pivoting around a global report catalogue, V3 also introduces a unique and secure audience targeting capability to ensure that the right information is available to the relevant audience every time.

So, let’s take a look at the new features available:

Datazen Integration

The key focus of the Enterprise BI Portal is to provide a central and governed Business Intelligence framework, removing the complexity of trying to make sense of your data when spread across multiple applications. True to its purpose, one of the latest features in V3 is Datazen integration.

An option you can choose to enable, this feature ensures that your existing Datazen dashboards can be registered, rendered and consumed directly from the Portal.

A new Datazen library allows you to register your Datazen dashboards in the central catalogue using the same metadata that you have across your entire portal. This means Datazen dashboards are now treated like any other artefact within the portal. What does this mean? It means that Datazen dashboards can be searched for, published and viewed in the same governed manner as your existing reports.

All you need to do is enter the dashboard name, dashboard group and dashboard hub and it will be available to users without having to ever leave the BI Portal. Datazen dashboards can be optionally displayed in full screen mode to hide the portal navigation also.
DatazenViewer

Power BI Integration

BI Portal customers can also optionally choose to enable Power BI integration.

Similar to the Datazen integration feature, a unique Power BI library allows you to enter the URL of your Dashboard, Report or Dataset and categorise it by type.

These will then appear in the report catalogue and automatically navigate to the particular page in Power BI when selected.

Audience Awareness

Customer feedback plays a significant role in the continuous development and growth of the Enterprise BI Portal, and a big part of customer feedback has been to further enhance targeting content to different audiences. Ensuring every user’s experience is as relevant as possible, V3 introduces a number of enhancements in the following areas:

Commentary Targeting

Every commentary thread now can be filtered by an author for particular users or groups of users. That means that sensitive discussions on reports can be secured.

audiencetargetting

 

Item Level Security by Meta-Data tag and Audience

In V2 we allowed you to control which audience could see particular items in the global navigation menu based on settings set on the metadata associated with each artefact.

Now in V3, we’ve extended this to control permissions for individual items that have been tagged with a particular business area and also sensitivity level. This means you can ensure only those users which specific permissions will be able to view highly sensitive reports. Other users can still navigate to a particular business area (as part of the global navigation) but will not be able to see, search for, or find these secure items.

 

Tile Audience Targeting by AD Group

In line with our focus on ensuring the right information is delivered to the right audience each time, we’ve added further support for tiles to allow an AD group to be targeted also. 

O-Data Service

We’ve had lots of requests to make it easier to extract commentary and integrate into reports or other documents. To make this easy, we’ve created an O-Data Service that you can connect to via Power Query or SSIS to integrate into other reporting such as SSRS or Power View Dashboards.

The O-Data Service isn’t just limited to Commentary Threads, report catalogue meta-data can be also queried from the BI Portal, to allow you to build custom auditing solutions to suit your individual business needs.

Custom Metadata

Certain functionality built into the Portal depends on pre-configured metadata. But what about metadata specific to your business? V3 now allows you to configure custom metadata and assign to any artefact registered in the portal. You can add custom fields to the ‘Assign Metadata’ dialogue box and also select input type from a range of options including taxonomy, date, text and more.

What does this mean for your users? It means that they can now also refine search results by the new metadata you’ve created, making discoverability even easier, and relevant to your business.

And there you have it, V3 is a bumper release, and focused on integration and enhanced audience targeting, security and usability.

configure metadata

 

More Information

New Customers:

Please contact us at info@perspectiveilm.com.au if you are looking at implementing a new BI Platform and Licensing the Enterprise BI Portal Framework.

Existing Customers:

If you are looking to add Datazen to an existing BI Environment, implementing a new Power BI Tenant, or interested in our Platform Support Agreement please feel free to contact your Account Manager to find out the details, or email us at info@perspectiveilm.com.au

For more information please email us at info@perspectiveilm.com.au.

 

 

 

 

Datazen – First Impressions

April 14th saw Microsoft announce their latest acquisition – Datazen Software.  Excited with the possibilities this meant for our Enterprise BI Portal, and Microsoft’s BI suite in general I immediately downloaded Datazen and decided to lift the lid.  Here are my findings.

What  Datazen brings to Microsoft

There’s a lot that can be mentioned here, so i’m just going to break it down to the key points I’ve noticed.

Rich authoring experience:

There are multitude of dashboard creation options that dashboard authors can select from and build.  By a simple drag and resize, you can stand up an executive dashboard in minutes, with a good variety of visualisations available.  Snap to grid is nifty, and lets you align KPIs with ease.

Cross device compatible:

Out of the box compatibility with Windows, Android and Apple.  Pretty straight forward and a welcome addition to Microsoft’s BI offering.  As a designer you also have the choice to design dashboards for tablet and / or phone use.

kpi-repository

Visually Appealing and interactive:

The front end of Datazen is pretty impressive.  Nice clean design and attractive use of colours.  Dashboards are highly interactive with drill throughs, filters and time sliders.  Touch enabled, immediate insight to key metrics are possible directly from your tablet / phone.

drill

Separation of Roles:

The role of the business user and the developer are clearly separated in Datazen. Developers can author data views via the management interface, handling the complexities of query writing and authentication settings, which allows the business user to focus on building dashboards that best represent what they want to convey to the business via the friendly authoring application.

Speed to setup:

Easy to install, the speed and simplicity in standing up a new environment is assisted with well defined documentation provided by Datazen

Integration

Published dashboards are pretty easily integrated to sharepoint via wiki pages with embedded code provided by Datazen

Potential Points of Improvement

  • Unfortunately User Management demands considerable administrative overhead at the moment.  Thankfully this is something Microsoft excel in so bringing their expertise in User Management via Active Directory groups to reduce the overhead of user management will be a welcome improvement.
  • Future security integration with SharePoint to provide a seamless user experience will also be welcome

Technical Requirements

  • Windows Server, IIS (Internet Information Services) and optional integration with Active Directory for User Management
  • Consumption across all mobile devices including Microsoft, Android and Apple
  • In browser consumption requires HTML5 (sorry IE8 users it may be time to upgrade!)
  • Authoring dashboards requires a Windows 8 App which you can download from the store
  • System Management is performed in browser, along with authoring of data views and KPI’s

Licencing Requirements

Current SQL Server Enterprise License Holders with Software Assurance can use Datazen for no additional cost, while those who don’t meet these requirements can licence Datazen through existing sales channels via the Datazen website.

Sourcing Data

Data can be sourced from a number of locations, including;

  • SQL Server Analysis Services
  • SQL Server Database Engine
  • SharePoint Lists
  • Azure
  • ODBC and OLE DB providers such as Oracle
  • OData and XML web services

Datazen and the Enterprise BI Portal

We are busy integrating Datazen into the Enterprise BI Portal Architecture and look forward to providing integrated management capabilities Datazen dashboarding in the next release.  What is also means is Enterprise BI Portal customers will experience the same discoverability functions with Datazen dashboards as they currently do with reports and artefacts on the Portal today.

All in all a wonderful product providing extensive, feature rich visualisations across all devices.  An indication of Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to improve and expand its Business Intelligence capabilities and both on premise and in the cloud.

Perspective Data Governor 4.0 is Released!

2015 is proving to be the year of major releases, and Data Governor 4.0 is no exception. An exciting new release that introduces automated deployment through development, test and production environments. The new features include:

Automated deployment for Jobs and Processes

Data Governor facilitates the deployment of Jobs and Processes through the development lifecycle, between Development, Test and Production Environments. It ensures environments are easily kept consistent and dramatically simplifies the effort involved in migrating through the environments.

Addition of Operating System Command process type

Data Governor can now execute and manage Operating System Commands allowing processing functionality beyond the data manipulation and transformation of SSIS packages and stored procedures.  Data Governor can now execute batch files that may manipulate files, execute external application processes, run PowerShell commands, and more.

Addition of XMLA process type

Processing SSAS cubes is now supported in Data Governor.  Both Tabular and MDX cubes are supported and allows the processing of cubes to be executed, managed and logged by Data Governor.  To process a cube (Tabular or MDX) simply add a Process (of type XMLA), define a connection as an XMLA connection to the Job and the cube will be processed.

Data Migration import and export to flat files

Import/Export to Flat File has now been improved and does not require the ACE driver (Microsoft Office – Access) to be installed.  Multi character delimiters can now be defined to allow import/export of verbose text columns (where single delimiters may be found within the text). There is also a swag of enhancements ranging from IE11 compatibility, additional logging information, enhanced usability and more.  Make sure you check out the website for more details, and download a fact sheet  to see how Data Governor help your BI initiatives.

Perspective Enterprise BI Portal V2 is Released!

Perspective Enterprise BI Portal V2 is here!

We are proud to announce the much anticipated new release of the Perspective Enterprise BI Portal.

The Enterprise BI Portal streamlines the creation and publication of reports across multiple platforms. Built on a central report catalogue enabling unmatched ease of discovery for business users, the portal solution provides business users the ability to create and find dashboards and reports from a single location.

After an overwhelming response in 2014 to V1 Enterprise BI Portal, we have spent the last 6 months in development to include brilliant new features in version 2.

From a brand new report visualisation layout, to tile based data alerts, commentary and more, the Enterprise BI Portal V2 promises to deliver a more interactive, easier to customise and personalise, audience targeted portal solution than before.

V2 introduces the following new features:

New Report list visualisation:

A stunning tile based layout of subject specific reports, V2 provides report type based visual categorisation, allowing you to quickly and easily identify the type of report saved.  From each tile you can open the report, and view all the related information associated to the report in a single click, eliminating the need to use the traditional ellipse.

tiles

Report Information Page:

A custom feature that provides a central location from the navigation to view a report, view information about the report and perform actions on the report from one location.

report_information

Commentary capture against reports:

Commenting on documents has always been possible, why not on reporting objects? The Enterprise BI Portal provides the ability to create commentary on reports, whilst also allowing other users to ask questions provide feedback on the commentary.

commentary

Tile Based Scorecards and Data Alerts:

Data driven tile visualisations means that the Enterprise BI Portal allows you to view data alerts and scorecards directly from the homepage. Know if and when action needs to be taken immediately on key data updates presented in a device friendly tile layout.

User Defined Tiles including Audience Targeting:

Tile based navigation is integral to the useability and success of adoption of the Enterprise BI Portal. Focused on key functions, the tiles allow a “one-click” approach to navigating quickly around the site. Being data driven, the function and appearance of the tiles can be configured by administrators as required, and can also be targeted to specific audiences ensuring the right teams are presented with the right tiles based on permissions.

There we have it, a host of brand new features you asked for, we are excited to offer V2 and look forward to kicking starting your BI initiative in 2015.

For more information go to www.perspectiveilm.com or simply contact us for a demonstration.

 

 

 

 

 

Data Governor v3.5 has been released

Data Governor 3.5 is an exciting new release that has introduced seamless integration with SharePoint, MDS, direct input of SQL Command Execution and Role Based Security.  These new features include:

  •  The ability to import and export data directly to and from SharePoint lists and / or Master Data Services removing the need to export data to  disparate intermediate repositories, prior to processing.
  • SQL Command Execution, allows you to enter SQL statements directly into Data Governor as a executable process.  This development has now removed the reliance on SSIS / Stored procedures for simple SQL Commands.
  • The introduction of Role Based Security  means that business users can be given role specific, limited access to run specific jobs independent of IT.
  • Stay tuned for Version 4.0 which will include the automated capability to migrate your processes from development to production removing the need to manually re-create processes for each environment.

Leveraging the SQL Server platform, Perspective enables faster time to value for Business Intelligence projects.   Perspective also provides the governance and stewardship you need ensuring the information you use to make critical decisions is timely and reliable.

Come and check out the new website to learn more about our solutions or Contact Us  to arrange a demonstration.

Microsoft SQL Server 2014 released – What does it mean for BI?

Microsoft SQL Server 2014 was released for General Availability on April the 1st and brought with it a host of new features including integration with Azure, in-memory OLTP, security enhancements and improvements to AlwaysOn. (you can go here for more details)

The most compelling change for Business Intelligence workloads from SQL Server 2012 is the introduction of Updatable Columnstore indexes.

Columnstore indexes introduced in SQL Server 2012 increased throughput and improved common data warehouse query execution times significantly.    However, the read-only nature of the indexes proved to be a limitation.  This meant they had to be dropped and recreated when updating the underlying table causing additional processing overhead which proved difficult to accommodate near real-time BI.  Another drawback encountered was the extra space the columnstore index required as the indexes had to be stored in addition to the existing row-based tables as they were built on top of the unpinning tables.

In comes SQL Server 2014 with its updateable Columnstore indexes.  This development will change the way in which traditional SQL Server data warehouses have been implemented.  Immediate improvements include:

  • Columnstore indexes are created without reliance on row based storage which reduces space and processing requirements
  • As they are now updateable, there is no need to drop indexes and rebuild hence supporting near real-time data provisioning

In short, this is a key improvement to SQL Server 2012, which will change the way in which we think about data warehousing in the future.

You can download the Evaluation for SQL Server 2014:

On Premise

Cloud

 

 

SQL Server 2012 released

​It’s out, and its delivering more reliable data, faster than ever before!

We at BizData like how SQL Server 2012 is making the business of delivering business intelligence much faster, whilst providing a strong data governance foundation.

N.B. The editions have changed, so make sure you have software assurance in place before April 1st!
Contact your licensing partner or get in contact with us to find out more.

A snapshot of what’s new:

Data Quality Services – a whole new suite that will allow you to manage a knowledge base of data cleansing rules, as well as connect to third party data cleansing services through Windows Azure

Master Data Services – an improved set of features to manage a reference data hub and provide platform for data stewardship. Including performance improvements (we’ve looked under the hood to make sure), and a new ad-in for excel which is available for download.

Column Store Index – the ability to create indexes on an existing data warehouse to improve query performance by 10 – 100 times.

In-Memory, Compressed, Column-based Storage – quite simply: instant retrieval and aggregation of data for large data sets. The underlying technology that will provide a user experience of “train-of-thought” data analysis.

Tabular Projects – a design environment that makes building a semantic model for reporting and analysis easier and accessible to a wider audience.
This will appeal to advanced analytics/data mining practitioners as a much faster data preparation workbench alternative.

Power View – self-service, ad-hoc data discovery and visualisation that anyone can drive. And yes, it can be interactive in a PowerPoint slide deck using live data. Expect a lot more mouse clicking in executive leadership meetings!

PowerPivot – available for download now, a new version of the desktop data mashup environment for Excel. Ideal for quick analytical and reporting prototypes by power users.

Also Microsoft continues with its compelling alternative to expensive data warehouse appliance renewals.

Fast Track for SQL Server 2012 – a reference architecture that will reduce the costs of performance tuning and deliver massive throughput for your data warehouse queries for up to about 20Tb.

SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse Appliance Update 3 (AU3) – The Tier 1 large scale data warehouse appliance provides scalability to 100’s of terabytes at a fraction of the cost of the usual suspects, which is expected to deliver 10x performance improvements with this release.

infographic_sqlServer2012_print