If you’re a follower of this blog, or you’ve met me or seen me present in the last year, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of Power BI – the very clever and powerful service that makes Self-Service BI a sudden reality. When I show people Power BI I see their eyes light up, as they imagine the way it could help them unlock information from all of the data held in their organisation. In my experience, schools, TAFEs and universities in Australia have massive amounts of data – and staff are often frustrated because they can’t take advantage of it.
I got started with Power BI by watching a colleague, experimenting with it myself, and then finally taking an online course on edX. And I’ve run workshops to introduce people to Power BI in the same way – sharing some of the ways that I’ve created demos and visualisations of education data. But now, there’s another entirely free way to get started – thanks to Microsoft Press.
Marco Russo and Alberto Ferrari are the founders of sqlbi.com, where they regularly publish articles about Microsoft Power BI, Power Pivot, DAX, and SQL Server Analysis Services. It’s an incredibly useful site, and Marco and Alberto have a fan base who follow their work and their speaker slots at conferences such as Microsoft Ignite and the PASS Summit. And now they’ve written another book – “Introducing Microsoft Power BI” – and it’s free!
This free ebook introduces Microsoft Power BI basics through a practical, scenario-based guided tour of the tool, showing you how to build analytical solutions using Power BI. Read the ebook to get an overview of Power BI, or dig deeper and follow along on your PC using the book’s examples (the book contains links to sample datasets for use in the examples).
Introducing Microsoft Power BI enables you to evaluate when and how to use Power BI:
“We wanted to write an introduction to Power BI that covers the basics of the tool and, at the same time, shows you what the main capabilities of Power BI are. Thus, it is fair to say that the content of the book is somewhat unbalanced. At the beginning, we go for an easy introduction of the concepts along with an educational approach that lets you follow on your PC the same steps we show in the book. However, if we continued with that same mindset for the entire book, its size would quickly become intimidating. Thus, after the first chapters, we begin to run a bit faster, knowing that we are no longer guiding you step by step. Instead, we show you available features; if you want to learn the details, you will need to read and study more.
This book is targeted to a variety of readers. There are information workers and people who are totally new to the BI world. For those readers, the book acts as a simple introduction to the concepts that are the foundation of BI. Yet, another category of we wanted to target is that of IT professionals and database administrators who might need to drive the decisions of the company in adopting Power BI, because their users are asking for it. If this is you, this book acts as both a simple introduction to the basic concepts, to help you understand why users are so interested in Power BI, and as an overview of the capabilities and tools available in Power BI, so that you can make educated choices in adopting it.”
If you want to get started with Power BI, then this is the book to read – and to share with colleagues