SQL PASS started off with a bang following the Keynote. There was new type of session introduced this year called the “Foundation Sessions”. The first of these session types presented was for BI and was led by James Phillips, Microsoft’s CVP of BI (and now more). In the session we were told at the very beginning that a clear BI story was going to be outlined in the next hour. He did not exaggerate. The following hour outlined the Microsoft vision for supporting the different reporting types. Interactive – Power BI, Paginated – SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services), Analytical reports and charts – Excel, Mobile – Datazen/PowerBI.
Power BI (2.0) is the newest and most updated tool in the BI quiver, and they used the occasion of an audience to throw down another laundry list of features that were scheduled to be released before the end of the year. A few major one’s being support for Multidimensional as a live datasource, 3D maps, and R integration.
SSRS is getting a face-lift and will begin to add new features to work alongside and with Power BI. Such as, the ability to pin reporting services reports to a Power BI dashboard, which you can read about here. As you can imagine, this was one of the most exciting bits of news in the week. The entire BI roadmap was also released alongside the PASS Summit, so be sure to check it out here
Mobile will continue to support both Power BI and Datazen, and it will be interesting to see how tightly coupled the offering may become to simplify the end user experience with the entire BI stack.
Analytical reports and charts as a group seems to crossover a bit with the other tools, but it’s a pretty clear statement to the massive number of Excel users that it is considered a stand-alone part of the reporting story.
SQL 2016 Analysis Services should most definitely be mentioned here as well. There were some great improvements to Direct Query and optimization in Tabular models. New DAX formula editor, and BI directional cross filtering are a few of my favorites. You can read about all of them here
The above announcements this week had all the PASS BI attendees buzzing. With a clear direction, and the new features and tools coming down the road, it has invigorated its user base. I would encourage anyone that works with these tools to start subscribing to the Microsoft blogs to keep up to date on the latest. Microsoft is kicking it into high gear across the stack, and the release cadence on all the products is going to be accelerated. This is the perfect time to get on the bus, you most certainly don’t want to be left behind.