Self-Service BI Anyone? Your Excel Models with XLPublish and Power BI Offer You That Today !

XLP 01 Clean

Brutal Editorial Honesty:

This post is intended to convince you to try the XLPublish Add-In for Excel in your work and in your organization. Please read on …

Pre-Apology:

Here we go … a loong posting that is effectively a White Paper, I guess. Sorry ūüė¶ the topic of this post is just too large for small bullet-point minimizations.¬† I believe that this trend for “keeping it simple”, while practical in everyday business, sometimes is just inadequate.¬† This is one of this topics and one of those times.

My BI “Cred” :

I am a¬† database developer of long standing (late 80’s)¬† as well as a spread-sheeter for a living since 1985.¬† Believe me, I personally understand how transactional date really must NOT/can NOT be kept in spreadsheets and have spent decades promoting this idea.

I did my first Excel/OLAP solution for Citibank in New York City in 1994-6. It was internally known as “Citilens” and it queried a Sybase OLAP Server from Excel using an OCX and returned Daaset data to Excel where I created a OPivot-Table like output using VHA macros. Then users could literally “drill-down” by clicking on a cell tuple and the VBA would run a drill-down to the Server and the returned data would then be added to a new Worksheets showing thte drilled data and so on and so on. I gotta admit it was really cool !! ūüôā .

It worked really great for a couple of years!¬† While it was a big success (until the group I worked for disappeared in a merger along with the solution ūüė¶ ), I had already come to the conclusion that true BI (traditional Dr.Codd stuff) was just way too out there for any such thing beyond a centralized IT implementation even with an Excel front-end.

But let’s not forget that companies EVERYWHERE are collecting huge amounts of data into Servers just through the normal activities of running their businesses anyway – it’s available for free ūüôā – to Excel users like you!

Self-Service BI:

Move forward to the early ’10’s and the “party-line” definition of “Self-Service BI”¬†has been “coined”.¬† ¬†All the talk about Self-Service BI for the last few years caught my eye with the release of Denali in 2011 and Power BI for Office 365 in 2013. (Note …While this post is about¬† Power BI¬†I believe that it all probably applies to competitive products currently on the market).

I define “Self-Service BI”¬† as:

“Corporate¬†Power Users and Analysts making¬†“bespoke” Visualizations of Company Data¬† and Results in Power BI while sourcing¬† their data from Data Mart tables assembled and managed by IT (centrally) or from Internet sources. The User then Publishes the results in a “pretty” Browser interface on any device anywhere”.

But my biggest concerns were very simple… namely:

  1. If the vast majority of business knowledge and analysis is in Microsoft Excel files now what kind of disruption would a complete abandonment of spreadsheets to be replaced by Data Marts, Warehouses, Oceans, Pools (or whatever collective storage paradigm you want to use) mean for every company on the planet?
  2. Who would do the planning, the design and the work?
  3. What mechanisms would have to be put in place to support, maintain and evolve this centralized data store?
  4. What completely new skills will your users need to learn and how will you develop a pool of ongoing skills in your organization to sustain all this new tech, data and visuals.
  5. ¬†and so on and so on and so on …

If all of this could be accomplished, it would be all well and good. BUT, as a noted contrarian, or someone who draws their own conclusions from the facts available (same thing today, apparently),¬† I concluded that the REAL definition of “Self_Service BI” is , should and always will run through Microsoft Excel. And there are literally many millions of perfectly responsible Corporate spreadsheets already in place as a starting point.

With the addition of the Data Model, Power Query and DAX measures and KPIs and all the many ways to connect to external corporate data sources, Excel is perfectly placed to become the go-to middleware between your data and your Reports in Power BI.¬† In addition there are millions and millions of people who already know how to use Excel, have faith in it and are looking for the next “story” in the distribution of their spreadsheet results.¬† Hello Power BI !!

Like it or not Excel is where today’s “BI” work is done and will be for a looong time (or maybe forever).¬† So why not make Excel data “work” with Power BI now ? !.

The Lay Of The Land:

I know that 10’s of millions of people in millions of companies Worldwide use Microsoft Excel to do their analysis of their businesses (not all financial as it also includes Operations, Warehousing, Production, HR, etc. etc.).

I also know that many of those spreadsheets are not the greatest designs in the World … have many serious issues some of which are actually risks to their own companies.¬† But believe me … building a data-warehouse based BI alternative is NEVER going to be the panacea it is sold as either.¬† In the end it will just be DATA .. then it has to all be AGGREGATED AND ANALYZED like in Excel (for example) … there are no simple answers to this issue.

First I refer to the disruption referred to earlier.¬† That disruption is because all anyone wants to talk about are BIG all-encompassing BI solutions.¬† Big commitments in time, money, human resources, business focus and general disruption … all for the HOPE of a successful result that preferably ends up better than all those spreadsheets they use now .. but with NO guarantee and a history of failures over many decades now.

BUT at the same time the existing models are built by people who work in their companies and understand not just the tech but also the business.¬† I cannot explain how important that is. Frankly, to convert EVERY company away from spreadsheets to data warehousing would require an army of capable database/BI/Analysts worldwide that just cannot be grown in any future I can envision.¬† Furthermore isn’t it ironic that despite all of this I know many, many so-called BI experts who are not exactly overwhelmed by REAL job offers at anything like an acceptable salary or rate.

I have spoken at Modeloff Global Training Camps in Toronto and New York (and hopefully in London this spring) where the attendees all fit this “spec” of serious, responsible spreadsheet “managers” (not just devs and users).¬† There are millions of people out there in my estimate who, at least in their own minds, think they are building responsible, reliable models for their bosses.¬† And good on them !

Excel’s Native Power BI Weaknesses:

I also know that Microsoft is out there promoting their “Native” Power BI capabilities.¬† This is good at one level as it is actually introducing many to Power BI for the first time

But sadly, after extensive research on the capabilities of Power BI to “Pull” Excel data and Excel’s capability to “Push” data to Power BI it is my conclusion that neither of these offerings was what I would call “Industrial Strength” and are in fact going to lead users into a wall of pain … What I see indicates that these features are just built to show “some” effort has been made but these capabilities are designed to actually discourage Excel as a source of any serious business intelligence in the medium to short-term. It needs to be better…

My Conclusion:

So in the end I believe everyone should accept that spreadsheet-based analytics and most prominently EXCEL MANAGEMENT REPORTING are simply not going away any time soon Рif ever.  I know that this is anathema to sooooo many in the IT industry, and even, if I might be so  bold, in Microsoft itself (which has always been hard for me to accept).  Time for them to get over it.

But I personally see the potential of Microsoft’s Power BI (both in the tech as well as the cost and the sizeable potential market). I therefore decided that there had to be a way to help business users get value from Power BI using their existing Excel models as quickly as possible, with incremental progress rather than a “big-bang”, producing not just a short-term intermediate solution but truly reliable “Production” solutions for long-term use.

So¬† we built the¬†XLPublish¬†Add-In for YOU … With it you simply select the Table, Range, Chart or Pivot Table that you wish to Publish to Power BI as the source for a Visual there and “Publish” it ! You data will be instantly refreshed in your Power BI Dashboards.

Then after making data changes in your spreadsheet (daily, weekly, monthly or whenever) you simply “Re-Publish” in XLPublish and your Power BI Dashboards will immediately reflect that change.¬† No Data Gateways, No DBA’s, just YOUR data for YOUR Dashboard for YOUR Data Consumers !

I have¬† Partnered with David Hoppe in the Netherlands (the king of Excel Add-Ins in my estimation) to create this product … which is now fully available for download for 30 days of free testing, followed by 5 US$ per month thereafter for only those who DEVELOP SOLUTIONS using XLPublish.

You can download it RIGHT NOW from our Website XLPublish.com  where Registering in our secure licensing process will get you using XLPublish in a couple of minutes.

We have poured all of our years of experience as Excel and database developers into this product. We are certain that you’ll get value out of it IMMEDIATELY !¬† ¬† ¬†In fact we promise that…

While the saying is “Excel and Power BI “Better” Together”¬†… We say “Excel and XLPublish and Power BI “Best” Together”¬†¬†ūüôā

But the big story is “XLPublish Gives You True “Self-Service BI” Right Now !!

Please download and enjoy XLPublish.  Also PLEASE reach out to us any time with any questions.

Dick

dick@xlpublish.com

 

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Posted in Analysis Services, Business Intelligence, Cloud, Excel, Office Automation, OLAP, Power BI, Power BI Desktop, Power Query, PowerPivot, Process Automation, Self-Service BI, Spreadsheets, the Cloud, XLPublish, XLPublish.com | Tagged | Leave a comment

New Feature In XLPublish – Multi Workspace Publish

While XLPublish is already a complete and mature piece of tech at this point, we have added one new feature that you might find useful,  Multi-Workspace Publishing

With the introduction of App Workspaces in Power BI (a great way to organize your various “audiences” for power BI Dashboards/Reports) we have decided to add the ability to Publish XLPublish Datasets to multiple Workspaces at once.

This means that every App Workspace that uses a particular Dataset published using  XLPublish will have its own synchronized version of the Single Latest Dataset published from that single Excel Source file.

All you need to do is string a list of your Workspace targets separated by commas in the Workspaces dialog :

 

Thanks to App Workspaces and XLPublish you can provide consistent, timely, reliable data to multiple audiences easily and reliably.

Bye for now …

Dick

 

Posted in Business Intelligence, Excel, Office Automation, Power BI, Power BI Desktop, Power Query, PowerPivot, Spreadsheets, XLPublish, XLPublish.com | Leave a comment

Modeloff GTC in New York City – Dec 4-5, 2017

Just a note that I will be in New York on Monday and Tuesday Dec 4 & 5 exhibiting and presenting at:

Modeloff GTC New York

I will be showing the latest iteration of the XLPublish add-in on exhibit with several new and exciting capabilities (including our new CUBE feature). I will also be discussing the entire issue of getting Excel data into Power BI (which will of course include using XLPublish) in an Hour+ presentation on Tuesday afternoon.

Hopefully you are signed up for it and will drop by and say hi but if you are in the area and want to get the latest on Excel Financial Modelling this is the place to be …

Dick

Posted in Business Intelligence, Excel, Excel 2013, Office Automation, OLAP, Power BI, Power BI Desktop, Power Query, PowerPivot, Spreadsheets, VBA, XLPublish, XLPublish.com | Leave a comment

XLPublish Is Here !!!

Today Personal Logic Associates Inc. is proud to ship XLPublish – our new Add-in for Excel that makes publishing your Excel data in Power BI Easy, Reliable and Repeatable.

With XLPublish you can make your current Excel Ranges, Tables, Pivot Tables and Charts on-going sources of Power BI Datasets. Without installing a data gateway! So you can start taking advantage of all the cool features of Power BI right away ūüôā XLPublish comes with native unpivot, append and consolidate functions, easily integrates with Get & Transform and Power Pivot and supports multiple sources feeding a single Power BI dataset.

Optionally, you can push your data directly to a Microsoft SQL Server or a Microsoft Azure database.

Installing XLPublish is easy. Download a 30-day free trial at:  

https://lnkd.in/gHiZGKX 

and see for yourself. 

If you like it, please tell us what you think/like this/share this..

http://XLPublish.com

Posted in Business Intelligence, Excel, Excel 2013, Microsoft Excel 2013, Office 2013, Office Automation, OLAP, Power BI, Power BI Desktop, Power Query, PowerPivot, Spreadsheets, XLPublish, XLPublish.com | 1 Comment

XLPublish Is Almost Here !

 

 

This is a heads-up about the imminent release of the new XLPublish add-in written by myself and David Hoppe.

If you go to our Website ( xlpublish.com )  there is an explanation of what this is.

We will be having an official launch on June 28.  Please watch for it.

Dick

Posted in Business Intelligence, Cloud, Excel, Excel 2013, Power BI, Power BI Desktop, Power Query, PowerPivot, Process Automation, Spreadsheets, the Cloud, XLPublish, XLPublish.com | 3 Comments

How To Really Publish Excel Data To Power BI … Part Deux (amended again)

It has been brought to my attention that  the formatting I chose for my Blog post on this makes for a difficult to copy and paste the code I listed into an Excel module without significant effort (like fixing doub;t-quotes, single quotes and unrequested spaces, etc.)

I am very sorry about that.

I have fixed that issue with an alternative format on the original posting here:

https://dmoffat.wordpress.com/2016/09/29/how-to-really-publish-excel-data-to-power-bi-part-deux/

But here is is again ..

Dim PT As PivotTable
   Dim Target As Workbook
   Dim intSheet As Long
   Dim c As Range
   Dim LO As ListObject
   Dim LO2 As ListObject
   Dim conn As Variant

'Created by DMoffat dick@plogic.ca 09/29/2016

Sub PBILocal()

'<< Local code required to prep for Publish to PBI >>

End Sub

Sub PowerBI()

 On Error GoTo PBIErr

 PBIInstantiate

 Application.ScreenUpdating = False

PBILocal

Set Target = Workbooks.Add
   intSheet = 1
   ThisWorkbook.Activate

 Set LO = Worksheets("PBI_Main").ListObjects("tblPBIWorksheets")

 For Each c In LO.DataBodyRange.Columns(1).Cells
    If Not IsEmpty(c) Then PBIExcelCode
   Next c

 PBIInfo

 Application.ScreenUpdating = True

 Target.SaveAs Range("'" & ThisWorkbook.Name & "'!PBIExcelTarget").Value & Left(ThisWorkbook.Name, Len(ThisWorkbook.Name) - 5) & ".xlsx", FileFormat:=xlOpenXMLWorkbook
   Target.Close False

 Range("PBILastPublished").Value = Now()

 ThisWorkbook.Save

 MsgBox "PBI Update Complete", vbInformation + vbOKOnly, "PBI Update"
   Exit Sub

PBIErr:
   MsgBox Err.Description & " - Please report this error to your Adminstrator immediately.", vbCritical, "PBI Update Error"
   Application.ScreenUpdating = True
   Exit Sub

End Sub

Sub PBIInstantiate()

Dim WS As Worksheet
   Dim boolFound As Boolean

 boolFound = False
   For Each WS In Worksheets
   If WS.Name = "PBI_Main" Then
   boolFound = True
   Exit For
   End If
   Next WS

If boolFound = True Then
   Exit Sub
   Else
   ThisWorkbook.Sheets.Add , Worksheets(ThisWorkbook.Worksheets.Count)
   With ActiveSheet
   .Name = "PBI_Main"

 With .Cells(3, 1)
   .Value = "PBIExcelTarget"
   With .Offset(0, 1)
   .Name = "PBIExcelTarget"
   .Interior.ColorIndex = 20
   .Value = "<<URL to OneDrive or SharePoint Folder>>"
   End With
   End With

 With .Cells(4, 1)
   .Value = "PBITargetFile"
   With .Offset(0, 1)
   .Name = "PBITargetFile"
   .Interior.ColorIndex = 20
   .FormulaR1C1 = "=PBIExcelTarget&PBIGetFileName()"
   End With
   End With

 With .Cells(5, 1)
   .Value = "PBILastPublished"
   With .Offset(0, 1)
   .Name = "PBILastPublished"
   .Interior.ColorIndex = 20
   End With
   End With

 With .Cells(6, 1)
   .Value = "PBIPassword"
   With .Offset(0, 1)
   .Interior.ColorIndex = 20
   .Name = "PBIPassword"
   End With
   End With

 .Cells(8, 2).Value = "WorksheetName"
   .ListObjects.Add(xlSrcRange, .Cells(8, 2), , xlYes).Name = "tblPBIWorksheets"
   .Cells(8, 1).Value = "tblPBIWorksheets"
   .Columns(1).AutoFit
   End With

 End If

 ActiveSheet.Buttons.Add(20.25, 0.75, 85, 20).Select
   Selection.OnAction = "PowerBI"
   Selection.Characters.Text = "Publish To PBI"
   Cells(1, 1).Select
   End

End Sub

Sub PBIExcelCode()

 Dim TSheet As Worksheet

 If intSheet = 1 Then
   Set TSheet = Target.Worksheets(1)
   intSheet = 2
   Else
   Set TSheet = Target.Worksheets.Add
   End If

TSheet.Name = c.Value

 If ThisWorkbook.Worksheets(c.Value).PivotTables.Count = 1 Then
   Set PT = ThisWorkbook.Worksheets(c.Value).PivotTables(1)
   PT.RowRange.EntireRow.Copy
   ElseIf ThisWorkbook.Worksheets(c.Value).ListObjects.Count = 1 Then
   Set LO2 = ThisWorkbook.Worksheets(c.Value).ListObjects(1)
   LO2.Range.Copy
   Else
   MsgBox "Worksheet " & c.Value & " does not have the single Pivot Table nor Table that is required to Publish. Publish Cancelled.", vbExclamation + vbOKOnly, "Publish Failed"
   End
   End If
   With TSheet
  .Cells(1, 1).PasteSpecial Paste:=xlPasteValuesAndNumberFormats
   .ListObjects.Add(xlSrcRange, TSheet.Cells(1, 1).CurrentRegion, , xlYes).Name = "tbl" & c.Value
   .Cells(1, 1).CurrentRegion.Columns.EntireColumn.AutoFit
   .Protect Password:=Range("PBIPassword").Value
   End With

End Sub
  Function PBIGetFileName()

If Right(Range("PBIExcelTarget").Value, 1) = "/" Then
   txtSlash = ""
   Else
   txtSlash = "/"
   End If

 PBIGetFileName = txtSlash & Left(ThisWorkbook.Name, InStr(1, ThisWorkbook.Name, ".xls")) & "xlsx"

End Function

Sub PBIInfo()

Set TSheet = Target.Worksheets.Add
   TSheet.Name = "Info"
   With TSheet
   .Cells(1, 1).Value = "Created"
   .Cells(2, 1).Value = Now()
   .Cells(1, 2).Value = "CreatedBy"
   .Cells(2, 2).Value = Environ("username")
   .Cells(1, 3).Value = "Source"
   .Cells(2, 3).Value = ThisWorkbook.FullName
   .ListObjects.Add(xlSrcRange, TSheet.Cells(1, 1).CurrentRegion, , xlYes).Name = "tblInfo"
   .Cells(1, 1).CurrentRegion.Columns.EntireColumn.AutoFit
   .Protect Password:=Range("PBIPassword").Value
   End With

End Sub

This code should copy and paste directly into your module.

Then run the “PowerBI” procedure in that code to configure you model. ¬†Then copy and paste the target SharePoint folder that you will be Publishing to in the PBIExcelTarget Cell in the format:

https://yourconame.sharepoint.com/Shared Documents/PowerBIFolderName

Excuse this please.. and enjoy ..

Dick

Posted in Business Intelligence, Cloud, Excel, Office 2013, Power BI, Power BI Desktop, PowerPivot, Spreadsheets, the Cloud, Uncategorized, VBA | 8 Comments

How To Really Publish Excel Data To Power BI … Part III

OK .. Let’s¬†go … Part III … !!

In this post I will try to explain how (and especially how not) to get your Excel data into Power BI Desktop in a way that will allow you to schedule refreshes like a normal person … so that all you have to do is run a little Excel VBA code to export your data to Sharepoint (note I said Sharepoint not OneDrive … I’ll explain) and then at an acceptable scheduled time of day it will automagically refresh your data up in PowerBI.com and your consumers of your Dashboards will see the latest and greatest data …

The fact is that if you use the obvious available menus to connect to your Excel data IT WILL NOT WORK … and for reasons like I will explain (but not justify).

How NOT To Connect Excel Data Into Power BI

I considered only showing the positive here and only showing what DOES work … but in the end I think there is enough confusion in this topic that I have to show the bad and the good.

Using OneDrive

In all the literature on Power BI OneDrive for Business is constantly referred to as THE place to store Excel data for use in Power BI. ¬†There is no doubt that OneDrive for Business does work for PBI and PBID BUT the fact is that OneDrive for business is actually a subset of SharePoint in the first place. ¬†If you want to use OneDrive for Business as the “staging” area for your PBID Excel files you have to make sure the connection is to the ACTUAL URL in Sharepoint that gets you to the file… i.e.

https://<<Company name>>-my.sharepoint.com/personal/YourLogin_onmicrosoft_com/Documents/Folder1/USElection2016 Direct OneDrive.xlsx

Notice that this is in fact a Sharepoint site that exists under YourLogin name … ¬†This means that if you quit, get promoted, fired, retire or die this site will go away with you … oops.

On the other hand, if your company uses Office 365 they automatically receive the ability to easily create and manage (including security of all types) the ability to create “Company” departmental SP sites at will that are maintained by an Admin(s) who can change and be managed easily any time. ¬†Yes OneDrive can do all this but why not just sue SharePoint? ¬†I don’t get this and would really like someone to tell me why the obsession with OneDrive and not Sharepoint (must be political inside MS I guess).

So in my future ALL my solutions are going to migrated to SharePoint from OneDrive for Business … unless someone convinces me of the advantages of using OneDrive .. and switching back would be fairly easy too.

Using the Get Data … Excel Menu-pick in PBID

This is a really weird one … This menu item simply does not work, never has and I assume never will.

Oh sure you can use Get Data РExcel to link to internal files inside you firewall.  But if you do so, you will be forced to ALWAYS open the PBID file on a network PC with access to the sources in their original network location every time the Excel data changes and then you have to republish the PBID file to PowerBI.com.

That is unless you just distribute the PBIX file (which I know many do) which is frankly ludicrous and pretty much defeats the whole advantage of Power BI to deliver to any device anywhere and to refresh data automatically simply by changes to the data source itself. ¬†Oh sure there will be those who argue for this for security reasons, but that is bogus IMHO, and probably reflects the fact that they can’t figure out how to do what I’m gonna show you.

So why not use this menu item to connect to an Excel file in SP or OneDrive for Business? NOT

OK … say you path your Get Data – Excel to the actual URL out in :”the Cloud”? ¬†Like

https://<<Your Company Name>>.sharepoint.com/Shared Documents/PowerBI

and then you pick the file from there? ¬†Well …. Hmmm … ¬†If you do that PBID picks up the path to your file in this format:


excelimport

You will be forced to edit out any extraneous references in there so you end up with a Source reference like this:

= Excel.Workbook(File.Contents(“\\Your Company Name.sharepoint.com\Shared Documents\PowerBI\ImportSales.xlsx”), null, true)

If you publish THIS link to PowerBI.COM it fails because it will be looking for a Windows account for access and there is none for SharePoint or OneDrive for Business.  It simply will not refresh unless you do it manually.

Do not ask me why it does this, but the fact is that the path here is useless except to import your data ONE TIME ONLY!  It will not refresh under any circumstances.  Oh sure you could let it fail and then edit the path by copying in the full URL at that time and it MIGHT work (after you edit the security in PBI).  But that is a lot of work and it actually imports very slowly to boot.

So do NOT use the Get Data … Excel menu pick

Use the Get Data … Web dialog instead !!

Choose Get Data … Web and paste the fully qualified URL path to your SP file in THIS¬†dialog

excelimport

then you will be able to schedule auto-refresh when this PBID file gets published to PowerBI.com … This is the reason why in the code in my previous post(s) on this topice I have added a cell where you can put the fully-qualified reference to your sP site and also a formula which shows (therefore you can copy it into the clipboard) the actual target Excel file that will be created when you run the code. ¬†You simply have to leave this file open and copy and paste the reference to the source Excel file in PBID when this dialog appears … simple eh?

(Interesting weird fact … recently this process failed for me as PBID insisted on adding extra characters to the end of my URL after the file name (?) ¬†I have no idea what that was about but it appeared to have something to do with having the actual site that the file was in open in the browser in SharePoint. ¬†This was new but I resolved it by closing the browser completely while I was working in PBID…. This was disconcerting but I believe that it is not an ongoing problem .. Today while I am writing this I have everything open and it all works fine … Hmmmm. ¬†Problem is that I have no idea who I would reach out to about this if it becomes an ongoing issue… It does not please me even though I can work around it …)

And these refreshes will happen automatically to bring in any changes made to the source EXCEL file … NOT to the PBIX file that is saved in PBID … the Excel file. ¬†This means you users do not need to know anything about the plumbing of Power BI .. they just need to open and refresh or manually change the data in the file and either run the VBA to Publish the data to SP OR you could even include that code into the OnSave property of the Workbook. ¬†Automatic Refreshing all the way through ….

I know this is hard to imagine and grasp. ¬†It is REALLY hard to explain as well which is a great source of frustration for me… ¬†But as I will show you next, this works and the other simply does not.

This all makes my brain hurt.brainhurts

 

 

Set Up The Auto-Refresh In PowerBI.com

If you use the techniques I mention just above, once you have published the PBID’s PBIX file to PowerBI.com you still have a couple more things to do. Remember that PBI.com lives in “the Cloud” and for it to “talk” to your data in SharePoint you have to provide credentials for PBI to use tp reach the data. ¬†This is done only in PBI (not PBID) and is actually quite simple 9if quite hard to find unless you know what and why you’re looking for it).

  1. Open Power BI in the browser (app.powerbi.com) and move down to the DataSets. ¬†Find the Dataset you JUST created and right-click the ellipsis on its right and choose “Schedule Refresh”… ¬†There are 2 things you have to do there…
  2. Open “Data Source Credentials” and choose “Edit Credentials”, click in the middle of the drop-down box of “Authentication Methods” (the pulldown menu simply does not work so you have to click in the middle of the text box (literally) to get the list of protocols and select “oAuth2”. ¬†Why “oAuth2” ? ¬†I assume that this is the protocol to connect to Cloud-based data sources like SharePoint … but to say this is NOT INTUITIVE is quite the understatemtn ..
  3. When you “Sign In” with this it will ask you to confirm your login to SharePoint. ¬†Click your account. ¬†Once you have done that you will be connected to the source file in SharePoint in “the Cloud” !!excelimport
  4. Then click on “Schedule Refresh” and click to “Yes” the “Keep your data up to date”.
  5. If you leave it this way it will refresh daily … but you can now add up to 8 times during the day to refresh the data … (of course you could also use “Refresh Now” to force a refresh). ¬†I hope some day we can sinply say “Every hour or ever half hour but this is more tha adequate for 99% of solutions, I believe. ¬†This is IN THE BROWSER NOT IN THE PBIX FILE btw !!excelimport

Conclusion

So there ya go …

Now you can go back to PBID, open the PBIX file and add whatever Charts, tables, images or any of the cool stuff that you can do in Power BI.  Remember to DO IT ALL IN PBIX file in PBID, save that file locally and then re-publish it to PBI.COM.  Yes you can change things up in PBI.COM but why bother ?  Have a single point of development.

Why this is so insanely complex I have no idea …

Why this is effectively NOT documented anywhere I also don’t know either ūüė¶ …

Why the Excel team isn’t all over this is absolutely beyond my comprehension but frankly nothing surprises me anymore from them… sorry guys and gals… Prove me wrong … please !!

But the fact is that by using these techniques you will be able to publish Excel data (including but not limited to data expressed in a Pivot Table) in Power BI though Power BI Desktop and with auto-refresh happily updating your Dashboards and Reports on a schedule of up to 8 times every day or manually through your browser.

I will next show how to customize your Power BI solution for each individual or group of consumers of your data … again using Excel as the natural platform.

I will also discuss details of how to build a combined Excel/PBID solution using relationships, DAX and KPIs using the best technique in the best environment.

I will also discuss how you can design your PBI implementation bring this data BACK INTO Excel using the Power BI Add-in for Excel in an effective way.

Yes I think that this is exciting stuff and yes I am willing to talk about it to anyone anywhere so feel free to reach out to me for guidance or help.  This is the most exciting thing in Excel since Power Query and before that Power Pivot.

I believe that it’s about time everyone got on board all the effort that the Excel Team has put into their product (including the Excel Team themselves btw) and we must all get started to leverage all this great tech for the benefit of our Companies and/or Clients and also benefit¬†ourselves (frankly).¬†

Dick

 

Posted in Analysis Services, Business Intelligence, Cloud, Excel, Excel 2013, Microsoft Excel 2013, Office 2013, Office Automation, OLAP, Power BI, Power BI Desktop, Power Query, PowerPivot, Spreadsheets, the Cloud, Uncategorized, VBA | Tagged , | 4 Comments