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Microsoft makes data mining self-service with BI for Office 365

Thor Olavsrud | July 9, 2013
Microsoft is attempting to break down the barriers to business intelligence with Power BI for Office 365, which is designed to let companies gain new insights by tapping both structured and unstructured and internal and external data.

"What's really cool about the Power BI service is that IT will also be able to create a private data catalog that will allow it to publish data sets for end users to search and discover," Kelly adds.

At the same time, Microsoft is also focusing its efforts on collaboration with BI Sites, which Kelly likens to a SharePoint collection for BI projects. They are dedicated workspaces optimized for BI projects that provide real-time access through HTML5 browsers as well as touch-optimized mobile applications for Windows 8, Windows RT, Surface and iPad devices.

Kelly notes Microsoft has also added Q&A, a natural language query that's designed to let you ask questions of your data in natural language and receive an interactive table, chart or graph in response. This, Kelly says, means even non-power users who don't know how to structure SQL queries can use the tool to get relevant results. For instance, a user could ask "How much revenue did product X generate last year?" and receive a graph showing the data.

Kelly says the public preview of Power BI for Office 365 will be available this summer. You can sign up to be notified when the preview is available.

 

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