Microsoft acquired Datazen back in April 2015, and I explored it and wrote about it a couple months later. To date, Microsoft has mostly left the product as is, although a new version containing bug fixes and a few enhancements was released in September.
While I was at PASS Summit I learned that there is a bright future for Datazen as a significant part of the MSBI reporting offerings. Microsoft has provided a reporting roadmap that looks very promising. They are working to align cloud and on-premises solutions and to harmonize report types. In the MSBI reporting world, there will be 4 report types:
Paginated reports (SSRS)
Interactive reports (Power BI)
Mobile reports (Datazen)
Analytical reports (Excel)
For on-premises solutions, you will have one unified SSRS Report manager that supports mobile reports and interactive reports as well as paginated reports. And it’s much prettier than the old SSRS report manager!
There will also be a unified mobile app so there is no need to switch between apps to get Datazen reports and Power BI reports.
This new report manager means the current administration of Datazen (hubs and dashboard groups, etc.) will likely change to conform to more of the SSRS or Power BI paradigms. As far as I know, there aren’t yet solid details on exactly how this will work. In the Microsoft-led sessions at PASS Summit, they also mentioned that there will be migration tools for those already using Datazen that want to take advantage of this new platform.
So if you are considering Datazen but were worried about its future, there is no need to worry. If you are implementing Datazen now, you can feel better about enhancement and upgrade opportunities with the promised migration tool.
If you’d like to know more about Datazen, my BlueGranite colleagues and I wrote an ebook about it to help you understand:
Datazen’s place in the Microsoft BI stack
Datazen elements and architecture
Tips for planning your Datazen implementation
A workflow for creating a dashboard in Datazen
Answers to frequently asked questions from Datazen users
You can get the ebook here for free! We plan on updating it as more information comes out on Datazen and SQL Server 2016.
Things are once again exciting in Microsoft BI. SQL Server 2016 CTPs are available, and Microsoft is promising even more goodness to come as 2016 nears GA. In addition, Power BI has expanded over the last year and is constantly releasing new features. The Power BI team does a good job blogging about new updates. But new features are coming out so fast it can be hard to keep up. There are weekly updates to the web service (PowerBI.com) and what appear to be monthly updates to the desktop app and mobile apps. Sometimes we get the surprise of multiple updates to different parts of the Power BI suite in one week, or even oneday. I have frequently found myself trying to remember if a feature is available on the web or desktop app or both. And I have wondered a few times if a feature that was mentioned as coming soon has been made available yet.
Since it’s part of my job to stay on top of the latest Power BI features and capabilities (and because I like lists), I decided to keep a list of the features released for easy reference. It’s much more convenient for me to have a single place to reference when I’m discussing specific capabilities and updates with clients and colleagues. I’m now sharing my list with you.
The list contains the date the feature release was announced with a link to the related Power BI team blog post. It also contains the category I assigned to the update, to help you focus on the types of features that interest you most. And it has a short description of the update. You should be able to sort and filter the list right on the page since it’s an embedded Excel Online document.
I’ll try to keep this list updated at least weekly, but feel free to let me know if I’m missing any updates. If you haven’t checked out Power BI in a while, this list shows how it’s rapidly changing and improving. You might find that Power BI is now worth another look.