Microsoft has made available in public preview form a bunch of new Power BI features, as well as a preview of a new mobile Power BI app for iPad.
Power BI is Microsoft's collection of business-intelligence tools for managing, visualizing and interacting with data.
The Power BI app for iPad preview , which Microsoft officials said is available in the Apple App Store for download (but which I haven't been able to find myself) allows users to access their Power BI dashboards, get alerts about key changes to their data and to share and collaborate with colleagues, according to Microsoft execs.
Update: A Microsoft spokesperson said the iPad Power BI app should be in the Apple App Store later today, December 19. It also will be available for download from this Microsoft Power BI site.
Microsoft execs said in a December 18 blog post that Microsoft is working on "a wave of native mobile apps for Power BI" that will work on iPad, iPhone and Windows tablets. The iPad app is the first of those mobile apps.
On the public preview list, according to Microsoft:
- Dashboards: Power BI customers can now see all their data through a single pane of glass. Live Power BI dashboards show visualizations and key performance indicators (KPIs) from data that reside both on-premises and in the cloud.
- New visualizations: Combo charts, fill maps, gauges, tree maps and funnel charts give customers more ways to view their data in Power BI.
- Out-of-the-box connectors for SaaS services: These connectors help customers get started with Power BI more quickly. Supported services include Dynamics CRM Online and Dynamics Marketing, GitHub, Marketo, Salesforce, SendGrid and Zendesk.
- Live connectivity to SQL Server Analysis Services: With the new Power BI connector for SQL Server Analysis Services, users can create a secure connection to Analysis Services on-premises from Power BI in the cloud.
- Power BI Designer: For Power BI customers who don't have access to Excel 2013, the new Power BI Designer provides a solution designed for Power BI content creation. It can be used to import and model data, then author and publish Power BI reports to the Power BI service.
In other data platform news, Microsoft recently made available a new preview version of its Azure SQL database-as-a-service. The updated preview added near-complete SQL Server engine compatibility, including support for larger databases with online indexing and parallel queries, among other features.