Power BI

A Success Story Using Auto ML in Power BI Premium

Azure Machine Learning and Power BI are two of the most influential tools out there. I’d like to share a story about how a colleague and I recently completed a project for a public school district in Georgia using these powerful tools.

The purpose of this project was to integrate machine learning and predictive analytics to be able to feed inputs that existed in their data about students such as classes they’d taken, attendance, grades, etc. and use this information to predict the likelihood of high school graduation. The district could then use this to proactively guide students and give them the help they needed.

We used the Auto ML feature in Power BI Premium. My colleague, Brian Custer, oversaw the machine learning model design. Auto ML is a straightforward process in Power BI. All that was needed was to create data using the information we wanted to look at that may have an impact on graduation and then we put this through a wizard in Auto ML. Once we did that, out came a model that was trained and ready to go for prediction.

Machine learning models exist in several different forms and leverage the capabilities that are built into Azure – we have Azure Machine Learning, Python and R, integrations with SQL Server, as well as Auto ML and other features within Power BI.

So, what exactly is Auto ML in Power BI? It’s a wizard driven machine learning interface that works off dataflows. You start off with a dataflow and you must have your training and prediction entities in your dataflow. This is passed to an Auto ML model that you choose and then it automatically trains the model for you and delivers predictions.

This is a very simple pipeline to set up. In our case we simply hooked up to the data that was in Azure Data Lake Gen2 storage and brought it into some SQL tables.

The school district we created this for couldn’t have been happier with the results and they are currently using this machine learning model to help predict the probability of high school graduation and ensure that students in the path of not graduating get the help they need to succeed.

Need further help? Our expert team and solution offerings can help your business with any Azure product or service, including Managed Services offerings. Contact us at 888-8AZURE or  [email protected].

Paul TurleyA Success Story Using Auto ML in Power BI Premium
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A Look at Azure Synapse Studio (in Preview)

Azure Synapse, formerly SQL DW, is an analytics service that gives you the ability to query data on your terms and at scale. It brings together enterprise data warehousing and big data analytics. Azure Synapse brings together serverless on-demand or provisioned resources with a unified experience so you can ingest, prepare, manage, and serve data for immediate business intelligence and machine learning needs.

In this post I’ll show you a new Azure Synapse feature in preview called Azure Synapse Studio that I’m excited about. The Studio is a one-stop shop for working with data of any size, but particularly big data. You can ingest data, you can explore and analyze data that you already have in the workspace, as well as visualize data using Power BI.

In my video demo included in this post, I’ll walk you through the Azure Synapse Studio and show you what you can do with it. On the Home Page, you can click on the “New” button and see all you can do such as, create a new SQL script which can be executed against your SQL on-demand or another SQL Database that you have connected to your Studio’s workspace or create a Jupiter notebook which you can run in either a SQL or Spark context, along with creating dataflows, pipelines and Power BI reports.

In my demo I’ll dig into the Studio and show you how to:

  • create a notebook, ingest data, explore your data by either working in a notebook or a pipeline.
  • connect to external data like an Azure Cosmos DB or Azure Data Lake Storage Gen 2 instance.
  • create a new database with the Manage feature in which you can create a new SQL pool or an Apache Spark pool.
  • create Linked Services to connect to your Data Factory pipelines and instances to work within your databases

There are so many great things you can do with the Azure Synapse Studio and I think it will be very helpful to many people from data engineers to data scientists and business analysts, allowing them to work together in a single workspace without having to flip back and forth between various tools. I highly suggest you sign up for this preview feature and give it a try.


Need further help? Our expert team and solution offerings can help your business with any Azure product or service, including Managed Services offerings. Contact us at 888-8AZURE or  [email protected].

Brian CusterA Look at Azure Synapse Studio (in Preview)
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Understanding Pandemic Related Trends with COVID-19 Statistics and Power BI

Do you want to learn how to pandemic proof your business not only for the rest of the pandemic but for future disasters? If so, check out this recent webinar presented by Senior Consultant, Robin Abramson.

In this presentation, she’ll connect Power BI to COVID-19 statistics from Johns Hopkins and tie it into a generated dataset. She will also review how the two datasets can be combined to better see how the trends affect – or don’t affect – each other.

In this demo-heavy presentation, you’ll learn how to get the COVID data and the files, plus get links to access the data used in the presentation. Robin also shares how she, and fellow consultant, Paul Turley created their COVID-19 Power BI report after a client asked them to create reports to help them understand the impact of COVID to their business in the early days of the pandemic. Best practices for security and performance will be discussed.

The demo provides information and files to use as a starting point and are meant to display the techniques of how to use this report to pandemic proof your business. The goal here is to use this starting point to discuss the questions your business is looking to answer with your corporate business analysts and managers.

If you’d like to learn about using this Power BI report and up to date COVID-19 data to discover ways to pandemic proof your business now and for future disasters, this webinar is for you. You can watch the complete webinar below.

 

Need further help? Our expert team and solution offerings can help your business with any Azure product or service, including Managed Services offerings. Contact us at 888-8AZURE or  [email protected].

 

3CloudUnderstanding Pandemic Related Trends with COVID-19 Statistics and Power BI
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Data Mapping in Power BI

Do you want to learn Spatial Data Mapping in Power BI? In a recent webinar, Sr. BI Consultant, Chris Silvernail, looks at the traditional Map, Shape Map and Filled Map Visuals. The second half of the presentation focuses on the new Azure Maps visual including a demonstration leveraging a Custom Tile Layer.

Chris covers the 4 main map types that are built into Power BI; Bing Maps (both Maps and Filled Maps), the Shape Map and the newly introduced Azure Map which are both still in preview. All the maps shown are available in the free version of Power BI.

This demo-heavy webinar will show you how to use each of these maps, as well as what each is best for. Here’s a quick run-down:

  • Bing Map – visuals displayed using Bubble and Heat Maps. Use case: Displaying exact location on a map or displaying two separate measures simultaneously using size and color gradient of bubble.
  • Bing Map (Filled Map) – using color/gradient to display aggregate values within regional boundaries and predefined boundaries. Use case: showing how values differs in proportion to other geographies or regions. Birthrate, Crime Rate, Population, etc.
  • Shape Map – Similar to Filled Map, except there are no Bing Layers (satellite, road, etc.). You can provide your own topoJSON maps, as well as custom region/geographies. Also support no geo maps (venue seating, parking lot, etc.). Use case: Use instead of the Filled Map when you need to specify your own geography regions or non-geo map (venue seating, etc.).
  • Azure Maps – This new release is a collection of geospatial services and SDKs that use fresh mapping data to provide geographic context to web and mobile applications. The Power BI Map Visual leverages Azure Maps. These maps have 5 Layers: bubble layer, 3D bar chart layer, 2 measures (color and height), reference layer, custom tile layer and real-time traffic layer.

So, if you’re interested in learning more about Spatial Data Mapping in Power BI, this webinar is for you! You can watch the complete webinar below.

Need further help with Power BI or any Azure in general? Our expert team and solution offerings can help your business with Azure product or service, including Managed Services offerings. Contact us at 888-8AZURE or  [email protected].

3CloudData Mapping in Power BI
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Testing Row-Level Security in the Power BI Service

In my last post, I showed how to test row-level security in Power BI Desktop. In this follow up, you’ll learn how to test row-level security in the Power BI Service once you’ve published your file there. Also, please check out my demo at the end of this post.

  • After navigating to the workspace where I published my file, I need to find the data set and select Security from the option menu, as row-level security resides at the data set level.
  • On the next screen, you should see the role that was created in Power BI Desktop, along with a field to enter your role membership, in other words, people or groups who belong to this role.
  • You will see the functionality to test row-level security only when you hover the mouse over the role and get the ellipsis. Click on this ellipsis and you’ll get the option that says, ‘test as role’.
  • This will take us to the report page where it appears that row-level security is immediately applied. I know this because I see that Power BI is taking my login credentials and applying it to the report which matches what I saw when I was testing this in Power BI Desktop.
  • If I want to change the user that I’m testing, I can enter a new email by clicking on the menu at the top.
  • One important thing to clarify:
    • Once a PBI file is published to the service, there are other considerations that can impact if row-level security works as expected, such as workspace membership roles, data set permissions and data set security role memberships.
    • For example, if we look at our workspace membership, we see that we have 3 report users with 3 different roles. Row-level security only applies to users in a viewer role, not to members, admins, or contributors.
    • In my example, I am admin of the report, so if I return to the report page and type in my email, I have access everything and the actual result is returned. This also applies to contributors and if I type in their email, they will get the same result with access to all the data, just as I did as an admin.
    • If I type in the email of a viewer, I expect to see his information filtered on the page, but instead a get a bunch of errors. This is because row-level security applies to viewers since they do not have a role membership, so Power BI won’t let them see the data.
    • To give a viewer access, you’ll need to go back to the row-level security page and with the role selected, we can enter the viewer’s email in the Members field, then click add and save.
    • A best practice here is to only use security groups when you’re creating role membership; it’s easier than explicitly entering names and is much easier to maintain.
    • To test if this worked, I simply click on test this role, go back to my report page and enter the name of the viewer whom I just added, and the page should filter to what the view can now see.
  • What happens when role testing doesn’t work correctly? Check out my graphic below which gives 3 examples of errors returned and the reasons why role testing may not work.

I hope this post on testing row-level security in the Power BI Service was helpful. If you have questions or want to know more about row-level security in Power BI, about Power BI in general or any Azure product or service, let us know – our team of experts are here to help.


Need further help? Our expert team and solution offerings can help your business with any Azure product or service, including Managed Services offerings. Contact us at 888-8AZURE or  [email protected].

 

Steve WiseTesting Row-Level Security in the Power BI Service
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3Cloud Helps a School District in Georgia Improve Graduation Rate and Student Success with Power BI and Azure

3Cloud, formerly Pragmatic Works Consulting, was able to help a large school district in Georgia use Power BI to easily and effectively pinpoint struggling students in order to get the help they need to graduate, while saving the district over $300,000 in staff resources and time.

3Cloud3Cloud Helps a School District in Georgia Improve Graduation Rate and Student Success with Power BI and Azure
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