Tallan Blog

Tallan’s Experts Share Their Knowledge on Technology, Trends and Solutions to Business Challenges

Category Archive for "Data & Analytics"

Leonard Lobel | Pluralsight Author

Principal Tallan Consultant Leonard Lobel Shares Insight on Azure Cosmos DB Change Feed

Azure Cosmos DB is rapidly becoming a household name in data management among developers, though its change feed is still considered somewhat of an unsung facet to its operational capability. In this Microsoft Blog post, Tallan Principal Consultant Leonard Lobel discusses multiple scenarios that call upon the need for a change feed as they relate to varying documents in a container. These scenarios include:

Replicating containers for multiple partition keys
Denormalizing a document data model across containers
Triggering API calls for an event-driven architecture
Real time stream processing and materialized view patterns
Moving or archiving data to secondary data stores

Click here to read the full post, or learn more about Leonard’s Plurasight course offerings here.

Leonard Lobel (Microsoft MVP, SQL Server) is the chief technology officer and co-founderof Sleek Technologies, Inc., a New York-based development shop with an early adopter philosophy toward new technologies. He is also a principal consultant at Tallan, Inc., one…

Defining and Understanding the Power BI Administrator Role

The first step to becoming a Power BI Administrator is understanding the roles, as well as the different types. Generally, an administrator is someone who empowers their organization.  A Power BI administrator should play a role where they support the business users while enforcing rules.
Before jumping into explicit admin functions and types, it’s good to take a step back and understand the type of admin you want to be. This is most commonly shaped by your organization’s adoption of Power BI. In a self-service adoption, an admin may monitor Power BI usage and performance, establish polices and guidelines to help users take the correct action, and ultimately facilitate a culture within an organization that views data as a competitive asset. For Enterprise adoption, administrators are responsible for safe and efficient operation of a Power BI environment. They limit what users…

Power BI Users, Guest Accounts and Licensing (Establishing a Power BI Environment)

A Power BI environment is established through the Office 365 admin center. The environment consists of Office 365, Azure Active Directory, and of course, Power BI. Azure AD is the backbone of the environment setup, as user creation, and license assignment all leverage AD functionality.

When setting up your Power BI environment, it is important to understand what data store in Azure the environment will exist. This is not done within Power BI directly, but based on your Office 365 country or Azure AD data center. Note, it is important to think about other Azure resources Power BI may utilize. To prevent things like latency and Azure Egress charges, your environment should reside in the same or nearby Azure region as the related services. You can check your Power BI data store from the Power BI Service at any time.
Power BI…

Accessing SQL Server with Managed Identities

Every developer knows that keeping credentials in code is a terrible idea, however, they some still have that moment of weakness, typically followed by, “It’ll just be temporary.” The simple fact is that storing credentials in a inconspicuous configuration file during development is just the easy way out. This is why Microsoft developed Managed Identities for Azure resource. Managed Identities used to securely gain access to an Azure KeyVault is a easy and safe way to store and access secrets for your application.
A common tactic then is to migrate all the sensitive connection strings into the KeyVault and simply pulling those down for the application to use to connect to a SQL server. However, authenticating to an Azure resource to retrieve the credentials to connect and authenticate with another Azure resource seems a bit redundent. Why not just skip the…

Power BI Updates and Streamed Sessions from Microsoft Business Applications Summit 2020

When Gartner named Microsoft’s Power BI as the leader in their 2020 Magic Quadrant for Analytics and BI Platforms again this February, we knew that we had to refresh our focus on the tool. All lines of business can benefit from its features, from software developers to business analysts, to executives. We typically host educational events focused on Power BI in-person, and when COVID-19 struck, we had to figure out how to continue that education virtually. Throughout April and May, we’ve delivered five weeks of workshops to continue teaching about this platform, and engagement hasn’t dropped since our events had to go virtual. That alone speaks to the reputation Power BI has built.
Microsoft does a tremendous job of promoting Power BI as well. Not only do they release new features and updates every month, but they’re promoted in thorough blog posts in addition…

Microsoft Power BI Report Builder

Introducing the Power BI Paginated Report Builder

In this post, I’ll discuss the concept of paginated reports, how they typically differ from the dashboard reporting delivered by Power BI, and how Microsoft anticipates and answers the need for generating paginated reports with the Power BI Paginated Report Builder. Moreover, I’ll discuss prerequisites for using the Paginated Report Builder, as well as explore some general considerations for using it to design reports.
So, What are Paginated Reports, Anyway?
Power BI, consisting of cloud-based BI services (“Power BI Services”), together with a desktop-based “studio” interface (“Power BI Desktop”), was released to the general public on July 24, 2015, and has evolved at an accelerated rate ever since.   Power BI offers capabilities that enable straightforward data preparation and data discovery, as well as the assembly of interactive reports and dashboards for collaboration.  Because of its dashboard orientation, Power BI is designed primarily…

2019’s Top 5: Most Viewed Blog Posts

Now that COVID-19 has completely derailed any strategy and subsequent plan to achieve Q1 goals and we are all continuing to adjust to the ‘new normal,’ we’re thrilled to present our curated list of Tallan’s top viewed blog posts of 2019.
It’s no surprise that the top two posts are both about developing in an Azure environment. Microsoft Azure was awarded a highly sought after contract from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) in October of last year. You can read the statement published by the DOD here.
Importantly noted in the statement, is that the DOD has not aligned with any one vendor or provider for their cloud strategy efforts, “Today the Department of Defense has taken another step forward in the implementation of our Cloud Strategy with the award of an enterprise general-purpose cloud contract to Microsoft.  This continues our…

Parsing Delimited Strings in a SQL Database

I often receive requests from colleagues needing to solve particularly thorny problems from within a SQL database. This article is intended for those who might find themselves needing to parse a delimited string inside a SQL database, those who find themselves in a position to provide solutions to this particular issue and those liking SQL challenges.
Recently a colleague posed a problem where the value in one column was a list of user property metadata. Each user property was a list of the information required to extract values from a second column in the same table, a list within a list with a common delimiter throughout. A key-value pairs table is a suitable design for this application; the designer chose a different path. The data and the metadata about that data were denormalized into separate columns. Our goal is to determine a solution…

How Automated Reporting Saved 96 Days Per Year for a Non-Emergency Medical Transport Broker

One of the most common goals in business is improving efficiency while maintaining high-quality work. As a consulting company, Tallan has worked with hundreds of clients on thousands of projects all across the US, so we are no stranger to the common expectation that our services will increase the quality of technology, and improve operations.  
Recently, we engaged with a local non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) broker on a Data & Analytics project. NEMT brokers serve as a liaison between health plan providers, patients, and transportation vendors. Their mission is to coordinate transportation services for disadvantaged patients who are unable to make it to health care appointments. Providing this service both improves wellness and reduces costs for insurers. 
Problem 
NEMT Brokers are responsible for, among other things, tracking interactions and reporting data to the insurers with whom they hold contracts. These contracted relationships now…

Power BI Embedded: Take your Power BI Content to the Next Level

Power BI is a self-service business analytics solution that continues to progress the data and analytics space. Allowing different user types the ability to create and collaborate on reports through visualizations, Power BI offers a quality enterprise reporting solution for your organization.
Power BI Embedded allows you to add Power BI visualizations and reports to custom applications and websites. In doing so, customers can access the data they need through fully interactive reports. With the Power BI Embedded API, embedding analytics is a breeze and can be done within an existing application. Once your application contains embedded visualizations, the API also includes endpoints allowing communication between Power BI content, and the data within your custom application. This opens an exciting approach to business intelligence in the form of actionable insights. Imagine being able to view reports and act on them all…

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