New Features in Microsoft Business Intelligence with SQL 2016 and Power BI

Microsoft Power BI recently had its one-year anniversary, and with the release of SQL 2016, the future of Business Intelligence just took a giant leap forward. Microsoft is starting to achieve its goal of putting the power of data in the hands of every business and person on the planet.

In this blog, we’ll preview some of the new features of SQL 2016 Reporting Services and some of the most recent updates in Power BI that you’ll see during the Microsoft BI session at nVerge In the Cloud.  We’ll also look at how you can jump in and get started with these tools and how they work together to provide you access and insights into your data.

SQL 2016 Reporting Services

SQL Reporting Services (SRS) is still the go to on-premise solution for deploying and managing reports. Some of the great new features include the ability to:

  • Develop paginated reports with SQL Server Data Tools or the revamped SQL Server Report builder.
  • Build mobile reports that are responsive, interactive reports optimized for mobile devices using the new Mobile Report Publisher.
  • Run reports in the new updated, modernized reporting services web portal which incorporates KPI’s, Mobile Reports, Paginated Reports, Excel and Power BI Desktop files. The new web portal build on HTML5 replaces the old report manager and runs on any modern browser including IE, Chrome and Firefox

SQL Reporting Services

Report development has been improved with the addition of Visual Studio 2015 support and the updated Report Builder. SQL 2016 boasts a new modern look and feel with streamlined UI elements and updated report chart and gauge styles. Microsoft has even added some new chart types including the Treemap and Sunburst.

SQL 2016 UI

In addition to these new features, you can now customize the report parameters pane. Using the design surface in Report Builder, you can drag a parameter to a specific column and row in the parameters pane.

SQL 2016 Report Builder

Power BI

The Power BI Desktop and Power BI Service continue to evolve as new features are added on a monthly basis.  From bug fixes and minor enhancements to new major features, you can be sure that Power BI will always have new things to offer.

With the new Power BI Publish to Web, you’ll be able to publish any of your reports from Power BI into a web hosted site – whether it’s your company home page, customer portal or a blog. Below is a sample of a Microsoft Earnings report from the Microsoft Investor Relation Site (enter fullscreen for best view):

Power BI Mobile has also added some great new features that make your life easier on the go.  Using the Power BI app on iOS, you can center the map on your geographical location, and filter your reports based on that location, with just one tap.

Power BI Mobile also now features the ability to read bar codes or QR data. Simply select a product in your store, scan the bar code and instantly see reports filtered on that product.

Power BI Mobile QR Reader

In addition to these already great features, BI has added the BI notification center. This feature allows you to consolidates all of your data alerts in one place.

See more great Power BI and SQL features at nVerge In the Cloud

These are just a few of the great features in SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services and Power BI.  While we’ve barely scratched the surface in this blog, you can see more features, and how they all work together, during our free online technology conference – nVerge In the Cloud.  During our session “Unlock the Power of Your Data with Microsoft Business Intelligence” we’ll dive deeper into some of these new features and demonstrate how you can bring business intelligence and insights on your data to everyone, everywhere, on any device. Register here.

Have questions about Power BI or SQL? We'd love to help! Just contact us using the form below.

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