Rapid Delivery Of Business Intelligence Using Power BI - Episode 154

Summary

Business intelligence efforts are only as useful as the outcomes that they inform. Power BI aims to reduce the time and effort required to go from information to action by providing an interface that encourages rapid iteration. In this episode Rob Collie shares his enthusiasm for the Power BI platform and how it stands out from other options. He explains how he helped to build the platform during his time at Microsoft, and how he continues to support users through his work at Power Pivot Pro. Rob shares some useful insights gained through his consulting work, and why he considers Power BI to be the best option on the market today for business analytics.

Your data platform needs to be scalable, fault tolerant, and performant, which means that you need the same from your cloud provider. Linode has been powering production systems for over 17 years, and now they’ve launched a fully managed Kubernetes platform. With the combined power of the Kubernetes engine for flexible and scalable deployments, and features like dedicated CPU instances, GPU instances, and object storage you’ve got everything you need to build a bulletproof data pipeline. If you go to dataengineeringpodcast.com/linode today you’ll even get a $60 credit to use on building your own cluster, or object storage, or reliable backups, or… And while you’re there don’t forget to thank them for being a long-time supporter of the Data Engineering Podcast!


Immuta LogoBusinesses are increasingly faced with the challenge of satisfying several, often conflicting, demands regarding sensitive data. From sharing and using sensitive data to complying with regulations and navigating new cloud-based platforms, Immuta helps solve these needs and more.

With automated, scalable data access and privacy controls, and enhanced collaboration between data and compliance teams, Immuta empowers data teams to easily access the data they need, when they need it – all while protecting sensitive data and ensuring their customers’ privacy. Immuta integrates with leading technology and solutions providers so you can govern your data on your desired analytic system.

Start a free trial of Immuta​ to see the power of automated data governance for yourself.


Equalum LogoEqualum’s end to end data ingestion platform is relied upon by enterprises across industries to seamlessly stream data to operational, real-time analytics and machine learning environments. Equalum combines streaming Change Data Capture, bulk replication of large, complex data sets, full management, monitoring, and alerting with validation, synchronization between sources and targets as well as modern data transformation capabilities all using the platform’s no-code UI. While real-time ingestion and integration are a core strength of the platform, Equalum also supports high scale batch processing.

Equalum also supports both structured and semi-structured data formats, and can run on-premises, in public clouds or in hybrid environments. Equalum’s library of optimized and developed CDC connectors is one of the largest in the world, and more are developed and rolled out on a continuous basis, largely based on customer demand. Equalum’s multi-modal approach to data ingestion can power a multitude of use cases including CDC Data Replication, CDC ETL ingestion, batch ingestion and more.

Equalum also leverages open source data frameworks by orchestrating Apache Spark, Kafka and others under the hood. The platform’s easy to use, drag and drop UI eliminates IT productivity bottlenecks with rapid deployment and simple data pipeline setup. The platform’s comprehensive data monitoring eliminates the need for endless DIY patch fixes to broken pipelines and challenging open source frameworks management, empowering the user with immediate system diagnostics, solution options and visibility into data integrity.

Develop and operationalize your batch and streaming pipelines with infinite scalability and speed without the legacy platform price tag. Go to dataengineeringpodcast.com/equalum today to start a free 2 week test run of their platform, and don’t forget to tell them that we sent you.


Announcements

  • Hello and welcome to the Data Engineering Podcast, the show about modern data management
  • What are the pieces of advice that you wish you had received early in your career of data engineering? If you hand a book to a new data engineer, what wisdom would you add to it? I’m working with O’Reilly on a project to collect the 97 things that every data engineer should know, and I need your help. Go to dataengineeringpodcast.com/97things to add your voice and share your hard-earned expertise.
  • When you’re ready to build your next pipeline, or want to test out the projects you hear about on the show, you’ll need somewhere to deploy it, so check out our friends at Linode. With their managed Kubernetes platform it’s now even easier to deploy and scale your workflows, or try out the latest Helm charts from tools like Pulsar and Pachyderm. With simple pricing, fast networking, object storage, and worldwide data centers, you’ve got everything you need to run a bulletproof data platform. Go to dataengineeringpodcast.com/linode today and get a $60 credit to try out a Kubernetes cluster of your own. And don’t forget to thank them for their continued support of this show!
  • Are you bogged down by having to manually manage data access controls, repeatedly move and copy data, and create audit reports to prove compliance? How much time could you save if those tasks were automated across your cloud platforms? Immuta is an automated data governance solution that enables safe and easy data analytics in the cloud. Our comprehensive data-level security, auditing and de-identification features eliminate the need for time-consuming manual processes and our focus on data and compliance team collaboration empowers you to deliver quick and valuable data analytics on the most sensitive data to unlock the full potential of your cloud data platforms. Learn how we streamline and accelerate manual processes to help you derive real results from your data at dataengineeringpodcast.com/immuta.
  • Equalum’s end to end data ingestion platform is relied upon by enterprises across industries to seamlessly stream data to operational, real-time analytics and machine learning environments. Equalum combines streaming Change Data Capture, replication, complex transformations, batch processing and full data management using a no-code UI. Equalum also leverages open source data frameworks by orchestrating Apache Spark, Kafka and others under the hood. Tool consolidation and linear scalability without the legacy platform price tag. Go to dataengineeringpodcast.com/equalum today to start a free 2 week test run of their platform, and don’t forget to tell them that we sent you.
  • You listen to this show to learn and stay up to date with what’s happening in databases, streaming platforms, big data, and everything else you need to know about modern data platforms. For more opportunities to stay up to date, gain new skills, and learn from your peers there are a growing number of virtual events that you can attend from the comfort and safety of your home. Go to dataengineeringpodcast.com/conferences to check out the upcoming events being offered by our partners and get registered today!
  • Your host is Tobias Macey and today I’m interviewing Rob Collie about Microsoft’s Power BI platform and his work at Power Pivot Pro to help users employ it effectively.

Interview

  • Introduction
  • How did you get involved in the area of data management?
  • Can you start by giving an overview of what Power BI is?
  • The business intelligence market is fairly crowded. What are the features of Power BI that make it stand out?
  • Who are the target users of Power BI?
    • How does the design of the platform reflect those priorities?
  • Can you talk through the workflow for someone to build a report or dashboard in Power BI?
  • What is the broader ecosystem of data tools and platforms that Power BI sits within?
    • What are the available integration and extension points for Power BI?
  • In addition to your work at Microsoft building Power BI you now run a consulting company dedicated to helping people adopt that platform. What are some of the common challenges that users face in employing Power BI effectively?
  • In your experience working with clients, what are some of the core principles of data processing and visualization that apply across industries?
    • What are some of the modeling or presentation methods that are specific to a given industry?
  • One of the perennial challenges of business intelligence is to make reports discoverable. What facilities does Power BI have to aid in surfacing useful information to end users?
  • What capabilities does Power BI have for exposing elements of data quality?
  • What are some of the most challenging aspects of building and maintaining a business intelligence effort in an organization?
  • What are some of the most interesting, unexpected, or innovative uses of Power BI that you have seen, or projects that you have worked on?
  • What are some of the most interesting, unexpected, or challenging lessons that you have learned in your work building Power BI and building a business to support its users?
  • When is Power BI the wrong choice?
  • What trends in business intelligence are you most excited by?

Contact Info

Parting Question

  • From your perspective, what is the biggest gap in the tooling or technology for data management today?

Links

The intro and outro music is from The Hug by The Freak Fandango Orchestra / CC BY-SA

Liked it? Take a second to support the Data Engineering Podcast on Patreon!