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Power BI Blog

  • Power Map April update for Office 365 now available and Preview expiration removed in Office 2013

    The Power Map team is excited and proud to bring you the April update of Microsoft Power Map for Excel. This update brings new functionality to Power Map and improves some existing features. Power Map users with an active Office 365 subscription will receive this update through Office 365 Click-To-Run if they have automatic updates enabled.

    Before we detail the updates, the team is also happy to announce a change for customers who have not yet moved to Office 365 but still want to continue using Power Map for geospatial data analysis in Excel:

    Power Map Preview Expiration Removed

    Based on feedback from our customers and community, the Power Map Preview add-in will no longer expire on 5/31/2014. We will make this add-in available for all versions of Office 2013 and Excel 2013 standalone. Please note preview features are not supported and we do not encourage the preview version be used in production. A supported version of Power Map is available as part of the Office 365 subscription today and only supported versions of Power Map will receive feature updates moving forward. Power Map will also be added to Excel in the next version of Office for customers purchasing Office under a perpetual licensing agreement.   

    The extended Power Map Preview add-in will be available on the Download Center in May and we will announce availability on the Power BI Blog, Office.com and TechNet. We thank you for your feedback and usage of the Power Map preview.

    Here’s some detail on what the April update has in store for subscription customers:

    Add Sound to Power Map Videos 

    While Power Map recently added the ability to export your tours in the form of a video, there was no easy way to add a soundtrack to the video. Usually, you’d need to download some other software and add it yourself, which wasn’t much fun. We noticed many of our users were sharing their videos online, but like silent films, they had no accompanying soundtrack. While we love The Artist as much as the next person, we think adding sound to your video makes it more powerful as a story-telling tool and should be something you can do from right inside Power Map.

    In the April update, we launched a new feature that allows you to add audio to any tours you export as video from Power Map. Simply choose an audio file from your computer and we’ll add it to your Power Map video.

    We also offer some convenient features to make your audio file a perfect fit with your Power Map tour. For example, you can easily see how long your soundtracks are and choose one that matches the length of your video. Don’t have a soundtrack that fits perfectly? No problem, as you can let Power Map loop the soundtrack for you. Power Map can also fade the soundtrack in and out for you to provide for a gentler introduction and closing.

    That’s all you need to do to add sound to your Power Map tours! It’s that simple and, best of all, you can do it all from within Power Map.

    Geocoding Improvements

    We worked with the Bing team to provide a more accurate geocoding of major cities worldwide when there are no other geo-fields in your data. The improvements will be apparent if you have ever tried to geocode a city like 'Paris' without 'France' in the same row. This type of geocoding is now orders of magnitude better than what it was before thanks to some very interesting work in complex disambiguation and ranking algorithms done by the Bing team. 

    In addition to these two features, the April update to Power Map also features a collection of bug fixes and performance improvements.  We’re always working hard to improve Power Map, and you can help us by providing your feedback. If you have a feature suggestion, comment, or question, let us know on the Power Map forums, or through the comments section below. We’d also love to see any videos you’ve created (with and without sound), so share them using the comments section!


    Tushar Dhoot
    Program Manager Intern, Power Map Team
    Applications Services Group

    #update#Power BI#Power Map#Excel

    Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:00:00 GMT byPower BI Team3 Comments

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  • UK Hospital Sees Cloud-Based BI Service as a Tool to Boost Clinical Outcomes and Efficiency

    Professor Philip Dean is Head of the Department of Pharmacy and Quality Control Laboratory Services at the North Tees and Hartlepool National Health Services Trust in the United Kingdom, which provides hospital-based and community-based healthcare services and screenings to a population of about 400,000.  He needed to make sense of an ever-increasing amount of information: The clinical use of drugs had to be tracked, of course, as did the costs associated with them. But Prof. Dean also sought data on the efficacy of treatment and shared this information with clinical and financial staff at North Tees.

    The information that Prof. Dean used was an on-premises clinical intelligence system, maintained by Ascribe, a Microsoft partner with gold competency in business intelligence. The analyses of that data were created with Crystal Reports software, which Prof. Dean had been using for years and was happy with.  As he now says, he didn’t know what he was missing. For example, it hadn’t occurred to him that he should have been able to include external data sets in his analyses. Such data sets would have been useful to complement and help explain internal trends, as well as to provide benchmarks for comparison with those trends. Nor did Prof. Dean realize he might have been able to explore his data in highly flexible ways in real time and to use visualization tools that made insights more intuitive and persuasive.

    Ascribe proposed a new BI system for its solution, the discussion quickly came to touch on these possibilities. Developers took an extract of North Tees data and imported it into a Power Pivot model hosted in the Office 365 cloud. They built the model in a day, compared to the five days it would have taken without Power BI.  Using Power Query, they identified other data sets of interest to Prof. Dean and his colleagues, such as publicly available data on the activity of general practitioners, and integrated that data into the Power Pivot model. In production, Prof. Dean and his colleagues would likely use Power Query directly to identify and access third-party data of interest to them.

    Prof. Dean used Power BI through an Ascribe application for Windows 8, running on a Microsoft Surface Pro tablet, which made it possible for him to work with the data without having to be at his desktop PC. He correlated independent weather data with his institution’s own data to identify the impact of inclement weather on the frequency of respiratory disease, and further integrated treatment data to understand which drugs were being prescribed and how prescription patterns varied by locality.  With Power View, he created several graphs and clustered them on a single screen for simultaneous viewing, compared to the single graph per screen that he often found difficult to create previously. With Power Map, he visualized data on district maps and zoomed in and around the data to gain various levels of insight.

    Prof. Dean now knows what he was missing with his previous analysis software. He sees Power BI and Ascribe making it possible for North Tees and its Department of Pharmacy to undertake virtually unlimited analyses with great visual impact, immediacy, and low cost. As Prof. Dean says, “Power BI is far more visual than the tools we’ve been using and has more impact.”

    You can read the full case study here.

    Check out the website to learn more about Power BI for Office 365 and start a free trial today.  

    #power query#Power BI#Customer Story#Power BI for Office 365

    Wed, 16 Apr 2014 16:00:00 GMT byPower BI Team0 Comment

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