3 Must-Have External Tools for Power BI Desktop

Attention rookie AND expert Power BI users: if you are only using the functionality in the Desktop, you are behind the eight ball. A handful of third-party tools exist that should be on your ribbon, without question. Just like a food processor for chopping or a power drill for building, these tools improve your efficiency by eliminating time spent on monotonous aspects of report building and modeling. They also let you do things you can’t do with Desktop alone.  

In fact, these tools are so legitimate that Microsoft will be integrating their functionality into the core product by the end of the year.  Even If your company blocks third-party tools today, you’ll be able to access them soon! 

In this on demand webinar we discuss DAX Studio, Tabular Editor and Bravo, our top three must-have community tools. You will   

  • Get an overview of what each tool does 
  • See short demos of each tool 
  • Learn the best way to leverage each to boost your productivity 
  • Discover what functionality will be appearing in Desktop by the end of the year

Make sure you’re not wasting time instead of obtaining real value. Learn why working with these tools is essential!

Presenter

Steve Nahrup 
Sr. Microsoft Solutions Architect
Senturus, Inc.

Steve has more than a decade of experience in business intelligence and data architecture and a passion for AI applications. A subject matter expert in Power BI and the Microsoft analytics suite, he has been instrumental in designing and implementing innovative, high value enterprise reporting solutions. His approach to technology and data integration showcases his understanding of the Power BI suite and the value of modern data platforms.

Machine transcript

0:11
Hello everyone and welcome to today’s Senturus webinar on three Must have external tools for Power BI Desktop.

0:19
Thanks for joining us today.

0:21
Great to have everybody here.

0:24
Just the general agenda for today.

0:25
We’ll do some quick introductions, talk about the three must have external tools and why you would want to use external tools anyway.

0:33
And we’ll go into a little more detail about each of the tools.

0:36
And those tools are Bravo Tabular Editor and Dax Studio.

0:40
Talk a little bit about key takeaways and some future features that are in external tools that are actually going to be coming to Power BI Desktop as native features in the future.

0:55
We’ll talk a little bit about some additional resources about centuries in general and we will wrap it up with Q&A.

1:02
As I said before so introductions, today’s presenter is Steve Narip.

1:07
Steve leads up our Microsoft Fabric practice here at Senturus.

1:12
Steve is incredibly fluent in the Microsoft stack.

1:16
He has more than a decade of experience overseeing architecture and design, data warehouse, BI reporting and dashboard solutions.

1:25
Steve is infinitely curious and just loves digging into technology.

1:30
So we’re very happy to have him here to be our presenter today.

1:34
As for me, I’m Steve Reed Pittman, Director of Enterprise Architecture and Engineering here at Senturus.

1:40
I’m here to mostly do the intros and outros.

1:42
Steven, I might chit chat a little bit back and forth here during the presentation, but for the most part, Steve will be delivering today’s content.

1:51
And before we launch into the meat of the presentation, just want to do a quick poll here.

1:56
Let me get this started up.

1:59
The question is what external tools do you use now, if any?

2:03
I suppose we should have had none on here, I don’t think of that.

2:05
But some of you may not use any external tools, but that we put several relatively common tools up here.

2:13
I’m just kind of curious to know who uses what today so I can see some of the answers coming in.

2:19
It looks like a lot of you are Dax Studio users far and away beyond the other tools and a lot of Tabular editor coming in here also.

2:32
So I’m just going to leave this open for a little bit longer to give everybody some time to answer.

2:38
But it looks like the winners so far are Dax Studio in the 1st place.

2:45
Tabular Editor is coming in second, and it looks like a Power BI Helper actually is coming in pretty good too.

2:55
So all right, I’m going to go ahead and end the poll here.

2:59
This is, this is probably the, this is probably the best, like, set of responses that we could get for this discussion we’re about to have.

3:09
In my opinion.

3:12
Yeah.

3:12
It’s a great way to see, Yeah, where everybody is.

3:15
And I think some of this also reflects some of the comments you’ve made to me, Steve, about, you know, which tools are sort of the most useful or the easiest to kind of get your hands around.

3:27
Yeah.

3:27
Bravo being the one that stuck out the most to me.

3:31
And I don’t know, you know, a lot of the times it’s just lack of familiarity, but we’ll get into it in a little bit.

3:37
This is going to be great.

3:38
So I’m going to stop sharing the poll results here.

3:41
Let me get that out of the way.

3:44
And with that, I’m going to let Steve go ahead and take it over here and give us a little overview of the three external tools that we’re going to be talking about today.

3:56
Good afternoon.

3:56
Good morning.

3:57
Depending on your coast.

3:59
Again, my name is Steve Nerve not to be confused with Steve Reed Pittman SRP.

4:05
He is definitely the wiser of the two.

4:09
I’m just more of the, you know, the technical, the technical talker.

4:15
Well, I’ll just say you’re all very lucky that I’m not doing this presentation because Steve is the wiser of the two with this material, the.

4:25
So really at a very high level, everybody has some familiarity more or less with these three tools evident by the polls.

4:33
But what I wanted to draw attention to not, you know, digging in so much that we’re getting bogged down in all the features of all these tools.

4:45
The primary purpose of this webinar is to really show you that if you are not, regardless of whether you’re just starting out or you know you’ve been using Power BI for the last decade and if you have, you’ve seen an awful lot of change.

5:05
But the end of the day, these three tools should be used by everybody in the organization and the development team and at the very least you know, something like Bravo even for business users that are in desktop and we’ll get into it in a second.

5:22
But just highlighting, you know two to three very simple, very, you know, very easy features that I think if you’re not using really these tools for everyday development and Power BI, you are doing essentially A disservice to not only the team, your client depending on kind of the organization and your overall organization because these when done and when used properly together in conjunction, they will always decrease development time and increase efficiency and that is really the underlying theme throughout this.

6:10
So why external tools?

6:14
I touched on it a little bit in terms of saving time, you know, reducing development time and increasing productivity.

6:21
But with, you know, Fabric being kind of at the forefront of everything and it becoming more evident than ever that they are really trying to get business intelligence practices to make the silos within the practice, like the analytics practice, I guess not less siloed but less department.

6:53
And you don’t have to copy data constantly from one place to another, leading to a number of problems.

7:02
And so at the end of the day, implementing best practices has got to be one of the foundational, like cores of your practice.

7:13
Whether you’re just launching a practice or you’ve, you know, been running one for a while.

7:18
If you know you haven’t stressed best practice implementation in terms of things that previously were thought of as an afterthought for developers because the dynamic was, you know, 1 developer worked on one report.

7:39
Now it is set up so that you are not the only one developing the report.

7:46
Business users are able to view the models in the ServiceNow, you’re able to, you know, collaborate via get integrations, and they’re really trying to push.

7:58
Like at the end of the day, you don’t want to create messy decks, messy models, and have somebody else try to clean it up.

8:07
Because like I was, you know, mentioning before, that just leads to a ton of wasted time and you want to decrease the friction in that respect.

8:17
So yeah, and Steve, I know when we were talking the other day, you mentioned how using these external tools really helps with that kind of best practice implementation, right.

8:28
Because it, it ensures that everyone on your team is implementing the best practice in the same way.

8:35
And I know you’re going to demo some of the kind of best practice features here in a little bit, but just wanted to yeah, it really just kind of everyone’s probably had an experience of where they’ve been handed a report, whether the person has left the organization or they’ve switched accounts or some instance where they get a second hand report.

8:55
And you look at the model and you look at the DAX and you want to either cry or just start over.

9:05
And that’s what we want to avoid at all costs.

9:08
So what I really try to do is that best practice approach and nothing else should be the foundation in terms of like the first thing that you push when you hire new members of the team.

9:24
And if you’re looking to relaunch your vision for the practice, I think that should be a very consistent and underlying thing.

9:36
So jumping in, there was one thing you had there.

9:38
Steve, sorry to interrupt you, but just on that previous slide, just one piece of great news about external tools that I think you know the audience probably is interested in is most of the tools are free and maybe you could talk a little bit about bearing that piece of it and why we want them.

9:55
You know, the fact that there are things that you can’t do in Power BI, Desktop Learner can’t easily do, yes, the tools help.

10:03
So a very common theme with these external tools are just like everything else in Power BI, they’re very community based.

10:12
You know.

10:12
There are maybe a handful of tools that you can pay for that are subscription based, similar to custom visuals.

10:25
But I would venture to say around 95 if not more percent of all external tools are free.

10:34
And the reason for this is because they really do help you not do anything you can’t do in Power BI.

10:44
They just allow you to speed up the same things you’re able to do in Power BI.

10:49
Because just that one very quick example, if you’re creating a measure in Power BI, you have to wait for it to load, you have to wait for it to save.

11:00
You then have to update the formatting, which we’ll go into.

11:03
But you get the idea and then that really compounds and makes the whole process very labor intensive.

11:12
So getting into what tools will actually resolve every problem I just identified and get you pretty excited hopefully because I saw very few of you actually selected Bravo, which why it is why I got excited.

11:29
This is a very new tool but it comes from a very reputable if not the most reputable names in the Power BI space.

11:40
The gentleman over at Sequel BI and what it does is it really puts a skin over the top of features that you can do in Dax Studio and Tabular Editor, but in a way that it’s really made for more of the business user.

11:59
You don’t have to know a ton of you know in-depth facts and it’s just it’s very user friendly.

12:06
So I will know help you walk through.

12:10
This is the very simple interface that’s theme of this one, Simplicity.

12:17
And it’s not as feature rich as the other ones that we’ll be talking about, But that by itself highlights just how important these four components are to implementing that best practice that we were talking about.

12:35
So just quickly you’re going to analyse the model formatting the DAX because by definition, if your DAX is not formatted, it is not considered DAX.

12:48
If you have a very complex DAX statement on one line it some people will say that this is not by definition DAX.

12:59
I wouldn’t really go that far, but you know it’s not fun to read Managing dates probably the most time consuming and frustrating part for the vast majority of people specifically because you create total sales as your base measure and then requests come in, you want to see what’s referred to as time intelligence measures.

13:28
So month over month, total sales year to date, annual growth year over year.

13:36
So you’re looking at sometimes 30 plus versions of one single measure and that’s what the I feel like some of you will honestly believe that this is magic, which is what I’m really excited to get into.

13:56
I need to speed it up but formatting your measures in quite literally 2 clicks of the button is magic to me.

14:07
And then bulk creation of these time intelligence measures are I already said magic.

14:13
So I’ll just say wizardry, this is Power BI.

14:15
Hey Steve, quick question before you go into the demo.

14:18
So, so like how much of A time difference is that between using these tools?

14:23
You know, you talked about being able to format all your measures with a couple of clicks and do this bulk creation.

14:28
Like how much time savings is that?

14:31
I mean, I assume that’s pretty huge because you might have to do it one by one in the native desktop, Yes, you are not able to bulk update anything except for maybe some formatting within the model view tab within desktop.

14:51
And even that’s very restrictive.

14:56
And it’s just, I don’t know the way the time intelligence measures are created.

15:03
You really have to build on top of it.

15:05
So when this thing you’ll see in a second, when this thing generates a time intelligence measures, it creates between 34 to 38 time intelligent measures per base measure in your model.

15:23
And so from a timing standpoint, you’re talking about sitting down and writing 30, I’ll say 35 measures per original measure that you have in your model.

15:34
So 35 times the number of measures you have in your existing model that easily can go, that can go just that alone could take somebody weeks if you know they’re just going one by one.

15:51
And then on top of that formatting all those measures you weighing and validating it to make sure that they’re doing it properly.

15:59
And then you know, organizing all of them in a way that it’s very easy to understand for the end user.

16:06
So that’s why I really, I don’t say it lightly when I express how big of like big of an improvement or a significant improvement this will make in your day today, development of Power BI.

16:27
So I’m going, yeah, let’s take a look at the demo.

16:33
So I have a very basic model right here.

16:42
Sales as my tails as my fact table, Products as my dimension table.

16:49
It is joined on product key and based on best practice you just want to make sure you’re hiding the keys that you’re joining on.

16:58
But what I’m going to do is I’m going to quickly run through analyze.

17:06
You can do this in a number of tools, but this just easily plans you on a page that you don’t necessarily have to do anything from.

17:13
But it brings awareness to just how expensive you know these columns are if you really at the end of the day, you need to get rid of them.

17:23
But that’s kind of more for a little more advanced people to actually make those updates.

17:29
So that brings awareness, not necessarily a plan to fix it.

17:36
Formatting.

17:37
When I say easy, I mean it literally highlights which measures are not formatted.

17:43
You can click on it, you can see how it’s currently formatted, and then what it will look like when it’s properly formatted and one click of a button, it will filter all the measures in your model that require being updated properly.

18:00
Click, boom.

18:04
And now you have all very well formatted measures and it’s not labor intensive.

18:12
It’s not this post production thing that developers have to go back and do retroactively like many times that I’ve seen before.

18:24
It’s just part of that part of that standard.

18:27
And So what I’m going to do now is it gives you the ability to generate a custom date calendar directly from this tool in real time.

18:42
You can select the intervals, you can select the start and end times.

18:45
And what is even better about this is a lot of the times you don’t know when like you don’t want it to be hard coded so that it’s only showing you know let’s say 2021 to 2017 because then you have to manually do update the end date.

19:04
So what it will do is you can set it to full and what it will do is scan your entire model, identify the dates and then out of all your date dimensions it will identify the minimum date and the maximum date.

19:20
So it will generate A calculated table so that it’s generating the right time frames for everything that you need.

19:30
And obviously, if you need to do some in the future forecast, you can update that in the DAX, but this jump starts you faster than any other tool I’ve ever seen when it comes to this.

19:41
Can even include holidays.

19:45
And here’s where the time intelligence wizardry really comes in.

19:51
You don’t have to do it to all your measures, you can probably just do it to some or if you want, it’s more of a.

20:02
Preference if you just want to test it out, we’ll just do total sales and actually I think 2 would probably be either.

20:10
So what it’s going to do now, I check total sales as my base measure.

20:15
This is going to utilize the creation of these date tables and then generate these three tables as well as within the measures a sub directory or subfolder or display folder called time intelligence and all the measures will be grouped in this.

20:38
And this also goes back to the best practice that we keep talking about consistency, consistency, consistency.

20:46
And so if people know that their measures will always be in this, this order and you know, when I go to growth, I’ll see all my measures.

20:59
I mean it’s mind blowing to me and maybe some of you are your jaws are on the desk because mine would be if I saw this right now, the idea of not having to scour the web, trying to figure out which version or which way to do this properly.

21:23
And some of these are not, you know, as straight forward as people would think.

21:27
So it’s pretty impressive.

21:29
So how do I get this in there?

21:34
Just like that.

21:35
I just click apply, done and let me switch back.

21:40
Just to prove to you how amazing this is.

21:45
This, these tables are created.

21:51
This is your primary date table.

21:53
It automatically hides supporting tables and as you can see here are all the measures that this created.

22:03
And keep in mind, I only I only selected one measure.

22:09
So multiply this by, you know if you have 50 measures, 50 * 35 is a lot more than people would want to do.

22:23
And not only that it formats it properly, etc.

22:27
So all right, I need to, I need to move along a little faster.

22:30
But that’s how important I think this tool is in terms of utilizing it for especially for new people but also for veterans.

22:45
It just should be part of your tool belt.

22:48
It creates the measures but you must tie the date dimension of the date table to your the date that it was generated from in order to get these measures.

23:02
That is something that you just need to be aware of because let’s if I were to take that away and do very quickly here.

23:23
So if I were to remove this relationship, these are zeroed out.

23:32
So if I wouldn’t have, if I just would have left it the way that it generated it from the tool, you would think that there’s a problem.

23:39
So that really highlights the significance of, you know, ensuring that that’s done correctly.

23:46
So now you’re all set and it standardizes the naming conventions.

23:53
Brilliant.

23:53
Moving on.

23:59
Yeah, I mean, I’m still just kind of blown away that they did this so well.

24:06
But I’m so I know, Steve, you have a couple of caveats about Bravo, right, that you want or one of which you just talked about, I think the date and time or the time, the date table and the fact table.

24:18
Yeah, maybe these are the caveats.

24:21
I just wanted to, I thought it was a, you know, maybe a little bit more powerful to see what the consequences are if you forget to do one step.

24:34
So a lot of people, a lot of the times, will have existing date tables, which is completely fine if you have an existing calendar date table.

24:44
What you can easily do is a way to make this work.

24:50
Let’s say hypothetically speaking that you are you have a table in here called Calendar that is in your database that is utilized for everything in an existing model.

25:02
All you have to do is create a one to one relationship, a bidirectional 1 to one relationship between your existing database Calendar table and the Bravo created date table.

25:21
So that is a workaround.

25:23
It’s you can either replace your existing date table with this or you can do it so that it just works with it.

25:31
So it’s not meant to be a huge burden.

25:37
Hey Steve, a quick thing before we move on to Tabular editor.

25:41
A number of people have been asking the questions panel here about how you connect Bravo to Power BI.

25:48
And I assume there’s probably a kind of similar mechanism for all the tools.

25:51
But I it’s probably would be useful for me to know like how do you add this into the desktop so all three all three of these tools are able to.

26:03
I mean this just like everything else is they make it as easy as possible.

26:09
So you can these are the open reports in desktop.

26:13
You can then connect via XMLA endpoints directly to data sets in your workspaces.

26:24
But yeah, you can do it that way.

26:26
Or you can just click the Bravo icon in the External Tools ribbon at the top of your screen here.

26:34
So you click that.

26:37
It will open it up immediately.

26:40
And what’s even better is they have the most amazing team in terms of how to do things that if you don’t know, you can immediately just click the question mark and it will tell you.

27:04
Here’s how you no it’ll walk through all the steps.

27:10
Documentation, every?

27:12
In the top right corner walks you through any possible questions you could have in much more detail.

27:18
And so they just they’ve thought of pretty much everything.

27:23
And not least, sometimes you just need to export an entire table from your model.

27:31
That’s very easy to do here.

27:35
You select which table you want to export, you select CSV or Excel and then export to file and Bing, boom.

27:47
And you have raw table in excel with a summary of what the worksheet name is in the file.

28:00
The name, total number of rows and the status of the generation.

28:04
So very, very little to complain about with this tool.

28:10
And I know I’m spending a lot of time on this, but that’s because I think this tool is so important because you are setting the stage with this tool in order to do what we’re about to walk through quickly in DAC Studio and Tabular Editor.

28:28
If you don’t use this tool the way it should be in order to format and generate all of these measures properly, you’re going to be kind of shredding water, going back and forth, questioning yourself, etcetera.

28:45
So I just wanted to that really quick or once again, sorry.

28:51
Well, and Steve, you mentioned Bravo is a relatively new tool.

28:54
Is that right?

28:57
It is.

28:57
It is very commonly known.

29:01
Cool.

29:01
I’ll let you go on into the tabular editor details here.

29:04
Yeah, so Tabular editor obviously according to the those polls, because the vast majority of you are familiar this a lot of the times is, is really seen as a more advanced tool for not the everyday developer.

29:24
And I think those kind of views of both that studio and Tabular editor need to be addressed so that even you know first day developers of power BI aren’t in intimidated.

29:39
And that’s what we’re going to kind of touch on here.

29:43
Not the extremely advanced ways to utilize it, which it can, it can be used to do so, but this is meant to really highlight like I’ve been saying, but just the daily use.

29:57
So we’re talking measures, calculated columns, display folders, perspectives and translations.

30:04
The final two really underscoring and highlighting what I was talking about in terms of advanced features that probably your first day developer will not be doing, but these are.

30:20
These are possible to create and manage within Power BI desktop itself, but not at the scale and speed that really you should be doing it.

30:36
Desktop is made for one by one creation.

30:41
You know deletions and it just if you take a certain amount of time to create each of these measures one by one, you lose a certain amount of steam.

30:54
You lose a certain amount of creativity when you’re kind of just in that in that zone.

31:00
And it leaves much more time to focus on the analysis of the data rather than getting it to the point so that others feel like they should analyze the data if that’s your cup of tea.

31:14
But I think that’s just one of the benefits allows you to focus on what’s really important in terms of extracting those insights and really those advanced deductions that people have come to expect.

31:27
It’s not, it’s not an extra, it’s the bare minimum now.

31:33
So the last part is if you go to look up Tabular editor, you’ll see version 2 versus version 3.

31:44
Version 3 is a paid version with a few additional paid features.

31:49
It may look a little bit more familiar in terms of the UIUX because it has the same look and feel and organization of SSMS intentionally because they they’re trying to just not make it feel like another external tool.

32:12
They want to, you know, make you feel a little bit more at home with that.

32:16
But tether editors, 2.0 is free, 3.0 costs a little bit of money, and I recommend starting with two.

32:26
And if you find that you do need those additional features, step it up to three.

32:36
So I mean we’re talking very simple tasks that people don’t even take into consideration when they are kind of time boxing the development of these models.

32:51
And when I say development of the models, I mean developing them well where they are developing them from the point of view of the end user and not just the visuals, but the model itself.

33:06
You want to create these models so that it is very clear from the names of the columns to how the tables are organized in what order, making sure that the measures are very easy to find in a single table at the top.

33:24
Previously, everything was kind of done by the developer as quickly as possible.

33:29
They named them.

33:31
I’ve seen the most absurd names you can think of, but they could do it because it was kind of behind the curtain.

33:39
And that dynamic has changed entirely with the ability for people to view and create models directly within the service.

33:51
That curtain is no more, and it’s extremely exciting, but it’s also extremely important to realize what it means for the development process.

34:03
Because if a client or you’re handing off a client, basically the keys to a car when you hand them a data model and a report, and if they’re a client’s team or a partner’s team, it’s a hold of it.

34:18
They will judge you and they will really look at the model and they will judge you just as not harshly.

34:27
But they will put just as much credence in how the front end report visuals look as they do the data model.

34:37
And I just think it’s extremely important to highlight that internally at your organizations and within your teams.

34:48
So I’m just going to quickly jump into some very simple tabular editor tasks in terms of how you can update and do some of that management and upkeep that I’m talking about.

35:03
And it pulled in all of the sub, you know, just display folders that weren’t in here before.

35:12
If you want to actually, Steve, as you’re getting started on the tabular editor demo here, maybe just make it full screen so we can see the details are there.

35:23
No problem.

35:23
I’m also just a little public service announcement for everybody in the chat window.

35:29
Our own Scott Felton posted a link there.

35:31
If you do have more questions about the external tools that we don’t answer in the webinar, you can always reach out and connect with Scott and then we can make some time post webinar to go and go through any questions you have.

35:44
So sorry to interrupt you there Steve.

35:46
I’ll let you do your vocabular editor demo.

35:49
That’s what you’re here for you’re my Co captain here and you can’t be monitoring that all the time.

35:58
So thank you for the questions.

35:59
So keep them running, like keep them coming, we will definitely get to them.

36:05
So building off of the measures that we created within Bravo, you can now you know if you don’t need, let’s say you don’t need growth.

36:18
Don’t keep around measures that you know you don’t need.

36:21
That just will simply confuse the end users and it just bloats the size of your Power BI under PBIX file.

36:31
So in tabular editor, this is where you would do bulk deletion.

36:37
Both, you know, updates of models.

36:39
So if you hold down shift click the top and the bottom right click, you can hide it or you can delete it.

36:53
Boom, it gets rid of it entirely.

36:56
And so yes, it’s great that it generates all of these time intelligence measures, but also keep in mind what the scope of the project is, what the business requirements are.

37:09
And sometimes you do just as much harm like over complicating the number of measures and confusing the end user as you know you would if you were to give them half of what they asked for.

37:25
So just make sure you’re keeping that in mind.

37:31
And then the other thing that you can do, you can see that some of these have, they have percent signs in there.

37:37
That’s very intentional because formatting is also one of those tasks that you would have to go 1 by 1 and do within desktop to update them one at a time.

37:53
Click it, update it, hit enter, wait for it to load and yeah, just multiply the amount of time it took me to say that by all of these measures a lot.

38:08
So what you’re able to do is let’s say I wanted to apply this format for just general currency the same way I held down shift.

38:24
Or you can do control to, you know, click others not directly in a row you can copy paste.

38:40
Control S pushes those these changes directly to your model.

38:45
And just like Bravo, you can actually connect directly to data sets within the Power BI service, which is fantastic.

39:01
One small caveat to note though, If you make an update to a data model via an XMLA endpoint, and I’m not trying to get you know, too far out there, but this is very important.

39:14
When you make that update, it has to be enabled by your administrator, and then if you make an update, you lose the ability to go into the service and download the PBIX file directly from the service.

39:29
And nine times out of 10 that freaks people out.

39:34
And it’s completely understandable because it does take a lot of work to really get it back if you don’t know what you’re doing.

39:43
So that be very careful if you’re able to make updates with these tools directly to the service, keep that in mind.

39:54
And across all of these, always make a backup of your file before you do any updates with these tools.

40:01
Meant to say that as a disclaimer at the beginning, but do not forget that.

40:08
And the final, the final part of the metadata management that I think is extremely important and probably one of the most overlooked tasks of a developer is making sure that as you go, you are in fact.

40:24
Filling in the descriptions that maybe don’t seem important at the time or you’re on, You’re in time crunch, but previous year cumulative sales.

40:43
Chat GPT.

40:44
You can have chat GPT generate descriptions for all of these in no time and we will actually, I’ll probably host the lunch and learn our webinar specifically to some advanced scripts to do some really cool stuff in this.

41:02
So I think that that would be exciting.

41:04
So what I’m getting at is it may not seem important here or it’s always seen as okay.

41:14
If we have time at the end of our build, we will go back and add documentation manually once again.

41:23
9 times out of 10 that never happens and if it does, it sits in a static PDF file and as soon as the data model changes that PDF file is completely irrelevant and out of date.

41:39
So why this is so important is because if you are able to keep these descriptions updated for all columns and measures and even tables descriptions are in the tables, it’s going to be very sales table.

42:01
I’ll just say it’s the fact table.

42:04
But we’re going to push these changes and once again in future, in a future watch and learn, I would love to get into some of the really cool additional external tools like documentary to automate some of the some of those tasks.

42:28
But you are able to, with one click, generate documentation for a report as a Power BI report.

42:38
And this is what it gives you.

42:43
It gives you a very, very good looking report that’s interactive, that can be posted to the service utilized by your team.

42:53
It’s connected to the reports model so that when that’s updated, all you have to do is refresh this model.

43:01
And this is what I was referencing in terms of why it’s important.

43:07
If you have these measures, you know as many as you are going to create and all of these descriptions are filled, that is worthwhile documentation that you know internally, externally, I don’t care.

43:22
They will love you for it.

43:25
And I think it just, it’s becoming just another expectation and that bar is being set a lot higher.

43:36
Yeah.

43:36
Well, I think we’ve all been on projects where everybody wishes there was some good documentation and that seems like a tool like this really can help make that easier on the whole team.

43:48
Yeah.

43:48
And I I’m not exaggerating.

43:50
Like you do what I was doing in title or editor by typing in those descriptions, you click one button and this pops up and you click relationships and it has this interactive, you know, this interactive visual of all the relationships and tables and it’s just it’s unbelievable.

44:11
So it as we’ve been going through these tools, the objective has really been to show each of these builds on one another and why it’s so important to not think about this development from that retroactive.

44:28
Oh, we’ll do it later kind of mentality.

44:33
Yep.

44:34
So Steve, you know what?

44:34
We’re getting close to the top of the hour, so I’m going to have you skip some of the slides.

44:39
It’s just a reminder for everybody that you can download the slide deck from our website.

44:42
So we’re going to skip over a few slides here just to make sure we get things wrapped up on schedule.

44:48
But do make sure to download the deck complete deck from Senturus.com/resources.

44:55
And Steve, yeah, let you launch into the deck Studio details and feel free to reach out to Scott to set up time if you would like to hear me really go into these, just as excited as I am now in further detail.

45:11
So I get a little amped about these.

45:18
So DAX Studio, based on the poll, it is the second or even close to the first most utilized tool.

45:28
Whenever I on board somebody new or I see that somebody doesn’t even have an external tool ribbon at the top of their Power BI desktop, well one, I’m concerned and two, they always seem to tell me that I well I downloaded Deck Studio but it was a little overwhelming.

45:51
So what I tend to do is right away lead off with here’s you know a feature called Query Builder.

46:03
You’re able to drag and drop dimensions, measures, add filters and really query your data set so that you’re not seemingly doing a lot of stuff blind within desktop and you’re able to build some complex queries and the some of the more advanced features that we can touch on another time.

46:29
But I would, I think it’s extremely important to be able to really understand how Power BI is constructing these very complex queries behind these visuals that are being generated, especially with the continual addition of new functions.

46:54
And these, the way that they’re being written are actually changing because more efficient functions are coming out.

47:03
And So what it does is not only does it build the query for you, but you’re able to see like make sure that it’s actually returning the exact table that you expect it to.

47:19
And you’re able to pull this and add it as a calculated table directly to your model and look like an absolute expert because some of these, you know keep filters, treat as these are not your run-of-the-mill every day you know baseline functions.

47:38
So if you see somebody creating that kind of a complex DAX query, you’re going to kind of double take and not think that they’re a beginner.

47:50
So jumping in really quickly to back Studio it.

47:59
The reason why I say that Query builder is important for really beginners is because you know, I’m even intimidated just starting to say like, OK, evaluate and you start to type it out because sometimes you don’t know where to start.

48:14
And So what this does is it gives you just a very, very easy way to once again save a ton of time and also just properly do these calculations and these calculated tables.

48:33
And so you just need to show sales for all products that are only you know the colour.

48:43
Well, just as an example, I want to see all of the specific unique colours that are in this model, preview this data by right clicking it and it shows you right here, just like SQL Server or any other querying language.

49:04
So I want to drag it into the filters really quick.

49:07
I know we’re getting close, contains and I want to say colour is black update.

49:18
You want to make sure that you’re only showing that when you click run.

49:26
Bingo.

49:28
Now if I want to also make sure that it’s pulling that in it.

49:33
Update again.

49:34
It adds it, run it, and that’s how you validate that it’s working correctly.

49:41
So if you pull everything into desktop you will get errors.

49:49
So you need to do a little bit of research in terms of which of these statements, functions, keywords, evaluate or by which are not meant to be used to query the data set.

50:06
So very, very quickly I’m going to go in here.

50:09
I want to add that black, that black table, and this is, I’m not saying that this makes the most sense as a calculated table.

50:36
It’s just something that a lot of the times you find yourself trying to figure out how to get something the table so that it filters properly, yadda it just it makes sense.

50:46
And then you can tie it in just like any other table you can you know tie it by brand, colour, class etcetera.

50:55
I probably would have added product key which would have been smart, but I believe you guys get the idea.

51:06
And last but not least, the reason why this has really come.

51:15
All of three of these have come to really the front and centre of not only importance, but everyday use And really making sure that people are using these features that I have really touched on during this webinar today is because these are all on the road map of Microsoft’s Power BI team.

51:42
I mean for example, the DAX query view that I just walked through in DAX Studio where you’re able to query your data set, see the result you know and a number of other features, calculation groups, see the queries very easily that go into creating the visuals.

52:02
I mean it’s going to be right here in an upcoming release.

52:09
I believe the public preview is slated for March 2024.

52:14
I hope very much that they do it before then, but you’ll be able to see calculation groups.

52:19
I know I’m going very fast, but time crunch the you know Copilot is going to be right in there so you’ll be able to type show me total sales for only, you know red products and it will generate that measure.

52:36
And last but not least you don’t have to copy and paste that over in here to make the update.

52:45
You’ll see if you look it up the little pop up comes up above and it says save the model.

52:52
So you’ll be able to save it directly to the model right from here.

52:56
So by learning and utilizing these three tools and making a part of your everyday process, of course you’re reducing the amount of development time and increasing productivity, but it you are truly setting yourself up.

53:14
Do not skip a beat when these things are implemented because these external tools are not just for the people that just want to have you know fun and do it just because they think it’s cool to do.

53:32
These are really significant tools with utilizations that go beyond just an individual user and they will become part of the native platform and the sooner you do it, the sooner you will be ahead of the game.

53:54
So thank you all.

53:57
I apologize for going few minutes over.

54:03
Hey Steve I have one quick question for you before I take on the kind of overview stuff here or the wrap up stuff, it just occurred to me just quick question about what is the learning curve on these tools, are these pretty easy to pick up or maybe like which is the easiest to which is the hardest.

54:22
I just think that might be kind of so Bravo is by far the easiest.

54:29
I I pointed out like from a documentation standpoint, a lot of people don’t like to just read tons and tons of text.

54:37
So they made it very easy where you can click the help icon in each of those four sections and one single video comes up that walks you through exactly how to utilize it.

54:49
So Bravo is the easiest to get.

54:52
Oh, by far.

54:54
I started with that because regard again, regardless of whether it’s your first day on the job or you’ve been doing this for 15 years, Bravo should be in your tool belt and probably what you should open probably first on an existing model or a new model in my opinion.

55:15
And obviously people are going to differ in that opinion, but I just, it kind of sets the bar in terms of standards, formatting, generation of measures and really helps you build off of that.

55:33
Yeah.

55:33
So, all right, well, so I’m going to launch into some of the upcoming details here because I know we’re running short on time.

55:40
Thank you everybody for being here today.

55:42
A couple of quick things.

55:44
We have an upcoming workshop on Microsoft Fabric.

55:47
So if you’re interested in Microsoft Fabric, we can help you assess when and where to get started with Fabric and how it will impact your environment.

55:55
So if you’re interested in joining us for a workshop, you can sign up at our website For more information on that.

56:01
That’s in the deck here, and I’ll bet our events team will get it into the chat window here while I’m chitchatting.

56:08
One other thing actually seeing before you go to this slide, in addition to the workshop, we do have a comparison guide of Microsoft Analytics tools.

56:17
We’re currently updating that guide to include new information about Microsoft Fabric and Copilot, but you can go to the website today, download the current version, and you can also request to receive a copy of the updated version as soon as it’s available, so be sure to check that out.

56:35
We also have a bunch of additional resources on our website.

56:39
You can get zoom to the next slide.

56:41
Steve, we’ve been sharing our knowledge of BI and Analytics for 20 plus years now.

56:50
So you can check out our website, find a bunch of additional resources, a couple things that might be specifically of interest to you.

56:56
We do have an on-demand webinar out there called Cool Power BI functionality you may not know about.

57:02
So check that out.

57:03
But we also have a blog on using Tabular Editor with Power BI to build calculation groups and implement object level security.

57:11
Now that’s a mouthful and it is some of the stuff that Steve showed us today.

57:16
But check out the blog, a lot of useful information in there.

57:21
We do have a bunch of upcoming events.

57:23
We hope you’ll join us.

57:24
For one or more of these, we’ve got a chat with Pat featuring our own Pat Powers working with times and dates in Power BI.

57:32
We’ve got Power BI, Report Builder and Paginated reports, Another chat with Pat on Framework Manager modelling if you’re a Cognos person.

57:40
And we also have a jump start on Fabric for Power BI users coming up in October.

57:45
So you can register for any or all of those at Senturus.com/events.

57:52
Quick bit about Senturus, we are modern BI company.

57:56
We’ve been in this business for a very long time and we provide a full spectrum of BI services including training, implementation, mentoring.

58:06
We work with Power Bi, Cognos and Tableau Python and Azure.

58:10
So reach out to us, we really shine and hybrid BI implementations, which of course are more and more common all the time.

58:19
We’ve been in this business for 22 plus years, 1400 plus clients, 3000 plus projects.

58:27
The summary of that is we’ve done a lot and we can certainly help you out and we’re eager to share our expertise.

58:34
So don’t hesitate to connect with us for any of your analytics needs.

58:39
As Scott has been posting in the chat, you can connect to him through his calendar link and get some time with us to get your questions answered.

58:51
And we are hiring, so Steven, you zoomed past that slide.

58:55
But we are looking for a Senior Microsoft BI Consultant and a Managing Consultant.

58:59
So if you’re interested in working with us, visit us at the Careers page on our website or you can e-mail your resume to [email protected].

59:10
And we are over time here, so I apologize, we’re not going to do a live Q&A, but we did manage to answer some of your questions in real time.

59:19
And I know our events team has been sending the link out to those of you who we weren’t able to get to them.

59:26
And you can schedule some time with Scott and Steve to get your questions answered.

59:31
Yep, I would love that.

59:34
I was just saying I really do feel bad for going a little over and not being able to do the Q&A, but that’s sincerely how much, how important I think these things are.

59:47
And if you truly do want to get into some very specific Q&A questions and you know continue the conversation, please do not hesitate to reach out more than happy to set aside as much time as needed to talk through any and all of this.

1:00:07
Great.

1:00:07
And with that, go ahead and take us to the last slide here, Steve, and thank you everybody for attending today.

1:00:15
It’s always great to have you here.

1:00:17
Thank you Steve for presenting and thank you for all the valuable info on the three must Have external tools for Power BI.

1:00:25
It’s great to have you here.

1:00:29
For all of you who are attending, you can reach out to us always Info, It’s Senturus.com.

1:00:33
You can reach us through our website.

1:00:35
You can even give us a phone call if you like to talk on the phone.

1:00:38
We’ve got a number there on the side and again, thank you for joining us today and we hope to see you again on a future Senturus webinar.

1:00:47
Have a great day everybody.

1:00:49
Thank you.

1:00:50
Thanks guys.

Questions log

Q: Which tool has features related to datamarts?
A: Datamarts are set up and configured as standalone SQL-like databases that can be accessed like Power BI datasets. All these tools are built to work specifically with local Desktop files OR directly with Power BI datasets that sit within the Power BI service via Analysis Services.

Q: Does Bravo write time-intelligence using DAX? Would it be preferable to create time-intelligence further upstream using either a Power Query script or data source?
A: Measures can’t be created further upstream in the sense of them being dynamic. If you’d like to set up these pre-calculated measures via SQL and store them in a database, that’s an option, but you lose the flexibility that makes DAX so valuable.

Q: How do I make the connection between Bravo and the Power BI Desktop file?
A: There are two ways to connect the local .PBIX file to Bravo. You can either open it directly from the external tools ribbon in the file itself or you can open Bravo like any other desktop application. On Bravo’s homepage, select “Attach to Power BI Desktop” and it will display a pop-up window with a list of the available Desktop files open on your desktop. You can select the file you’d like to connect to from the list provided.

Q: Can it handle multiple date time intelligence? For example, if I have a create date, approved date and closed date?
A: Yes, this can handle all the dates within a data model. It will automatically generate a dynamic date dimension table based on the MAX and MIN of each DATE. It is extremely important to remember that for this to be set up directly, the report developer must create “inactive” relationships between each of these desired dates and include the USERELATIONSHIP function in the original base measure. This ensures the time-intelligence measures automatically generated will use the corresponding DATE dimension.

Q: How do I get Bravo?
A: After you download and install Bravo, close and reopen Power BI Desktop and it will show up on your external tools bar. From there you can click on Bravo to open it.

Q: What are the additional features offered in v3 of Tabular Editor?
A: Read more about the differences between Tabular Editor v2 and v3.

Q: What is the future of external tools being incorporated into Microsoft? It appears that report creation functionality is moving into Power BI service.
A: It is true that Microsoft is standardizing the Power BI service functionality to be as close to Desktop as possible. The great thing about all three of these external tools is that you can connect directly to Power BI datasets that have either been created or published to the service and perform all the same actions, scripts, formatting and DAX generation from these tools on your desktop via what’s known as an XMLA endpoint. This feature must be enabled by your Administrator by enabling the READ/WRITE option.

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