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Sifiso W. Ndlovu
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Using Power BI Free License to Embed Power BI into Dynamics 365

May 24, 2019 by

Whilst Power BI continues to be the leading data visualisation tool in Gartner’s BI quadrant, Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement (formerly Dynamics CRM) remains one of popular business platforms for driving sales and facilitating customer communications. Thus, an integration of Power BI into Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement ensures that you get to explore your Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement data via a powerful and rich data visualisation tool. However, as indicated in Figure 1, Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement plans often come with a Power BI free license thereby limiting the type of Power BI features available to you. In this article, we look at how you can get the best out of your Power BI free license for the purposes of embedding Power BI artefacts into Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement. Going forward, any references to Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement plan in this article will be shortened to Dynamics 365.

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Rajendra Gupta
Selecting the Pie Charts Tree in thhe Power BI application marketplace

Power BI Desktop Pie Chart Tree

February 27, 2019 by

Power BI Desktop amplifies the value of data. We can connect to multiple data sources and visualize the data interactively. One of the best parts of Power BI Desktop is the custom visual feature. It allows developers to create custom visuals and users can then download these visuals from the marketplace and use it as per the data set requirements. We can prepare reports using Power BI Desktop and share the reports using the Power BI service.

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Sifiso W. Ndlovu

An MDS Driven Approach to a Turnaround Time Calculation in SQL Server

November 30, 2018 by

One calculation that you are almost guaranteed to have to produce in your career as a T-SQL developer relates to the calculation of a turnaround time. This is often a key KPI for measuring the performance of both individuals and teams, particularly when the business operates within a service-oriented sector i.e. customer support, transportation, healthcare etc. Turnaround time calculation does not only refer to business metrics rather any activity (i.e. ordering a pizza) with a recorded start and an end time can have its own turnaround time calculated. In this article we evaluate different options for calculating a turnaround time including using DATEDIFF function, creating your own user-defined function (UDF) as well as an integration with SQL Server Master Data Services.

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Esat Erkec

Text Analytics with Microsoft Flow

September 19, 2018 by

Twitter is a very popular social media platform which generates millions of tweets a day. These tweets include very valuable data for marketers or social media analyzers because they can analyze these tweets with specific algorithms and find out the sense of social media users.

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Esat Erkec

How to create a Mobile Dashboard with SQL Server Microsoft Mobile Publisher?

September 10, 2018 by

Over the past three years, I read some interesting news about Microsoft which was “Microsoft acquires mobile business intelligence leader Datazen”. This news made me excited because showing Reporting Service reports in mobile devices can be painful and often not effective for end users. After this acquisition, Microsoft developers worked quickly to adapt the Datazen application to SQL Server Reporting Services and this effort culminated in Microsoft SQL Server Mobile Report Publisher.

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Timothy Smith

SQL Server – development practices with referenced views

July 24, 2018 by

We’ve recently had production failures because our developers changed an important reference. In this case, we had a view which several procedures and views referenced. A developer made a change to the referenced view by removing columns, which caused several procedures and a view that referenced it to fail. We’re considering whether we should stop this practice, or if there are other ways we can prevent changes to an object that’s being referenced by other objects (in our case, a view).

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Bojan Petrovic

4K resolution and high DPI: What you need to know about it to have great visuals

April 26, 2018 by

4K resolution, AKA Ultra HD, refers to a horizontal screen display resolution in the order of approximately 3,840 pixels. On two-dimensional display devices such as computer monitors, it represents display resolution of 3840×2160 pixels which is four times as many pixels as regular Full High Definition (1920×1080). What this means for users is the more pixels per inch (PPI) the higher resolution on the monitor. In other words, you can be closer to the monitor and still enjoy a crisp, clear picture.

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Minette Steynberg

The end is nigh! (For SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2)

April 4, 2018 by

Introduction

As with everything else, all good things must come to an end. After hanging around for a good decade SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 has started the countdown to its End of Life.

D-day for SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 is set to the 19th of July 2019. Which is approximately a year from now, give or take a couple of months.

If you are still running SQL Server 2008 or SQL Server 2008 R2, now is definitely the time to upgrade. In this article; I am going to tell you why you would want to upgrade to a newer version of SQL Server (2016 or 2017) or Azure SQL Database. I will also discuss some of the tools that you might use to make the upgrade as painless as possible.

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Steve Simon

SQL Server and BI – How to document your Tabular model with Reporting Services 2016

July 20, 2016 by

Introduction

A few weeks back I had been working on an interesting proof of concept for a client within the food/grocery industry. The objectives were to be able to provide the client with information on sales patterns, seasonal trends and location profitability. In our previous “get-together” we discussed how to create a tabular model project and how to create efficient and effective reports utilizing Excel.

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Steve Simon

SQL Server and BI – How to document your Tabular model with Excel

July 12, 2016 by

Introduction

A few weeks back I had been working on an interesting proof of concept for a client within the food / grocery industry. The objectives were to be able to provide the client with information on sales patterns, seasonal trends and location profitability. The client was an accountant and was therefore comfortable utilizing spreadsheets. This said, I felt that this was a super opportunity to build our proof of concept utilizing a SQL Server Tabular Solution and by exploiting the capabilities of Excel and Power Reporting for the front end.

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Sifiso W. Ndlovu

Multiple options to transposing rows into columns

January 4, 2016 by

Introduction

One of the primary functions of a Business Intelligence team is to enable business users with an understanding of data created and stored by business systems. Understanding the data should give business users an insight into how the business is performing. A typical understanding of data within an insurance industry could relate to measuring the number of claims received vs successfully processed claims. Such data could be stored in source system as per the layout in Table 1:

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Steve Simon

SQL Server data mining – How to turn the data into valuable information

June 10, 2015 by

Introduction

In a past chat back in January 2015, we started looking at the fantastic suite of data mining tools that Microsoft has to offer. At that time, we discussed the concept of a data mining model, creating the model, testing the data and running an ad-hoc DMX query. For those folks that may have missed this article, the link may be found immediately below;

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Steve Simon

SQL Server and BI – Creating a query for the revenue projection

June 5, 2015 by

A few days ago I received an interesting challenge from one of our clients. The lady was attempting to estimate her potential monthly revenue recognition for the fiscal year beginning January 1, 2015, through December 31, 2015. The lady named Linda sells goods and services (each class yielding differing sales margins).

In the first portion of this two-part discussion, we shall be looking at the revenue projections for goods.

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Steve Simon

Using the “Row_Number” function and a WHILE loop to create the rolling average report

May 27, 2015 by

Introduction

A few days ago I received an email from a gentleman in the healthcare industry. He had read an article that I had previously published a few years back on a well known SQL Server website. Based on the original article, he requested a few ideas on how to expand the sample code to do a rolling three-month revenue summary, in addition to a rolling three-month revenue average.

In today’s get together, we shall be looking at doing just this!

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Steve Simon

Creating dynamically generated CSV files containing SQL Server data

February 12, 2015 by

Introduction

A few months back, I presented a paper at SQL Saturday 327 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Late last month I received an email from one of the attendees. His issue was quite interesting and I decided to share it with you. The gentleman wanted a SSIS script that would permit him to extract data from a SQL Server database table and place it in a CSV file with a dynamically allocated name. Being a strong advocate of using the SSIS toolbox, I experimented with an alternative solution. We are going to construct THIS SOLUTION in today’s get together.

Let’s get started.

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Steve Simon

Getting started with data mining in SQL Server

January 19, 2015 by

Introduction

In past chats, we have had a look at a myriad of different Business Intelligence techniques that one can utilize to turn data into information. In today’s get together we are going to have a look at a technique dear to my heart and often overlooked. We are going to be looking at data mining with SQL Server, from soup to nuts.

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Steve Simon

How to utilize DAX queries against a Tabular Database

January 12, 2015 by

In an earlier “get together”, we had a quick look at the DAX language and how to construct useful queries. In today’s conversation we shall be concentrating on utilizing the knowledge that we obtained from the earlier article and seeing how these queries may be utilized for “multiple value” query selection criteria (against a tabular database).
Enough said, let us get started!

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Steve Simon

SQL Server security mechanism – How to control what data are users able to view within their reports

January 8, 2015 by

Introduction

A few years back, a client asked me to implement a quick and dirty “security mechanism” to control what data the myriad of users were able to view within their reports. There were numerous tables with multiple columns and all departments (within the enterprise) had their data within these tables.

SQLShack Industries has tasked us with creating a similar quick and dirty “security mechanism”. We shall attack this challenge by creating the necessary stored procedures (to extract the required data) and then utilize these stored procedures to render and consume the data within our reports.

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Steve Simon

Getting started with Data Analysis Expressions (DAX) in SQL Server

December 22, 2014 by

Introduction

In our SQLShack discussions over the past few weeks, we have dealt with a few of the more conventional SQL Server data manipulation techniques. Today we are going to be a bit more avant-garde and touch upon a subject dear to my heart.

With Power Bi becoming more and more important on the business side within major industries worldwide, it is not surprising that sooner or later every SQL programmer is going to have to learn and be able to ‘talk’ DAX.

In this article we are going to have a look at the a few of the more important ‘constructs’ and produce production grade queries for data extraction and for reports; enabling the reader to ‘hit the ground running’.

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Steve Simon

SQL Server 2014 Data Access Layers

December 17, 2014 by

Introduction

As a person who has always enjoyed finding new and innovative ways to perform tasks more efficiently and effectively with SQL Server, I have endeavored to document some of the more ‘innovative’ ways and means of doing these things in our SQLShack ‘get-togethers’.

Today, we shall be looking at one of my favourites, the ‘Data Access Layer’, not to be confused with ‘Data Access Layers’ from the Visual Studio world.

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Steve Simon

Automatically load data into a SQL Server database by utilizing the Visual Studio Project

December 12, 2014 by

Introduction

A few months back, I encountered an interesting challenge at a client site. For those of you whom have read my previous article entitled “Excel in loading multiple workbooks into SQL Server“, you will know that the challenge centered around loading the data from multiple spreadsheets into our SQLShack financial database.

Now, one of the enterprises business rules was that the loading of this data was NOT to occur before that last of the daily spreadsheets arrived in the common data repository.

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Steve Simon

How to design a map-based report using Business Intelligence Semantic Model (BISM) and Excel

November 27, 2014 by

Introduction

One of a database designers’ worst nightmares is having to design a database for business analysts and data stewards whom insist upon creating their own reports, using Excel as a GUI. The reason that I mention this is that user created reports often open up “Pandora’s box”; with many of these folks creating their own ‘miss-information’ due to a lack of understanding of the underlying data. A few weeks back I had the ’fortune’ of working on such a project, which prompted an ‘ah-ha’ moment. I decided to design the backend SQL Server database using the Business Intelligence Semantic Model (BISM) and to employ the super set of tools provided by Microsoft Power BI, with Excel as a GUI. The end results were wildly accepted by the user community and once you see how easy this is to apply, you will be ‘chomping on the bit’ to employ the same techniques on your own user driven projects.

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Evan Barke

SQL Server Business Intelligence – Using recursive CTE and persisted computed columns to create a calendar table

June 2, 2014 by

Introduction

Those of you that have worked extensively with dates in SQL Server (or any other relational database management system (RDBMS)) will know how finicky and complicated it can be to use DATE functions, DATEPART, DATENAME, DATEADD, GETDATE(), CURRENT_TIMESTAMP etc. Personally, I find it very useful to have a calendar table that stocks all of the necessary, pre-calculated fields in one place. Whether you’re doing BI or web, it can be very helpful to have a fixed ID for a date in order to really optimize your data analysis and processing. Read more »
Evan Barke

SQL Server Business Intelligence – Expanding fact tables in an established data warehouse

May 30, 2014 by

Introduction

As in often the case in life, things that sound simple are not always the easiest things to do. In computer science this is even more often the case. In fact, one of the most challenging things about information technology work is often the communication with bosses that know little about technology and require justification for time spent on seemingly simple tasks. However, by the same token, tasks that seem impossible to the untrained eye are often fairly straightforward and quick to implement and can earn you easy respect. Read more »