Tallan's Technology Blog

Tallan's Top Technologists Share Their Thoughts on Today's Technology Challenges

Category Archive for "Data & Analytics"

The Top 5 Reasons to Upgrade to SQL Server 2016

Tallan Partner

Upgrading your software can be daunting, Microsoft knows. The fast pace of business makes it easy to tell yourself, “I’ll do it later when I have time.” Microsoft gets it! But here are five key reasons to make time to upgrade to SQL Server 2016, which was named DBMS of the Year in 2016 by DBengines.com.

Seamless step-up without rewriting apps. Thanks to November’s SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 1 (SP1), SQL Server now has one programming surface across all editions. If you switch from Express to Standard, or Standard to Enterprise, you don’t have to rework code to take advantage of additional features. Time saved! In addition, the change brings access to innovative features across performance, security, and analytics not previously available in Express or Standard—a great reason to upgrade applications that run on those editions. The Enterprise edition of…

Automatic Deployment and Extraction from CRM Using PowerShell Scripts

Hayden Lee

Recently I was tasked with the task of creating an automatic extraction and importing solution using PowerShell Scripts. To do this I created two files one for export and extracting with the other in charge of pack and importing the solution. I was using the Visual Studio template of CRM Package that comes with the sdk.
Export and Extracting The Solution
First thing I did was implement the export and extraction of the CRM solution. The PowerShell script first exports the solution from the web using a module called Microsoft.Xrm.Data.PowerShell. Then it extracts the downloaded zip into a folder for the correct file structure. A nice thing about using the Microsoft.Xrm.Data.PowerShell dll is the fact it gives you additional CRM commands you can do. For example before downloading the solution it allows you to change the version number of the solution before downloading.

 
As…

Quick Measures Preview

Tallan Partner

Quick measures, a new feature Microsoft released in their April Power BI Desktop update, lets you quickly create new measures based on measures and numerical columns in your table. These new measures become part of your model and can be used in any of your charts, just like manually created DAX calculations. You can also see the underlying DAX, and edit it if you need to tweak the results.
You can create measures based on 19 different calculations across five different categories. Let’s take a look at those five different categories.
Aggregate within category
These calculations let you apply different aggregates at different levels in your data. For example, you can sum revenue up to the month level, and then take an average of that total to display at the year level.

The result would look something like this:

The calculations included in the Aggregate…

Part 2 – Analysis Services Multidimensional: “A duplicate attribute key has been found when processing”

Mark Frawley

Introduction – Part 2

Part 1 of this post focused on the first category of how the Analysis Services Multidimensional (MD) duplicate attribute key error can arise. It reflects the perspective of an atomic attribute – an attribute having no attribute relationships other than with the dimension key attribute.
This post focuses on the second category of this error, which can arise when an attribute does have attribute relationships besides the (required) one with the dimension key attribute.
As is well known, creating attribute relationships is a best practice in Analysis Services MD for improving query performance. The most common reason attribute relationships are created is to support a natural hierarchy – so your data model has to have one for this to arise. The next most common reason is to support attribute properties, such as a sort order – i.e. when the…

Design-Time Properties for Custom SSIS Objects – Part 1 – Intro & Tasks

Matthew Gajdosik

Managing the editable properties of your custom objects in SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) is a great way to improve their usability, but how can you? By properties, I mean the common fields exposed on the Properties tool window in Visual Studio, any time you’re working with a visual designer, and which you’ve probably used any time you wanted to make a precise change, or a quick change.
In SSIS, you can create your own class to handle all of the following types:

Data Flow / Pipeline Components
Control Flow Tasks
Connection Managers
Log Providers
For Each Enumerators (for the for each loop task)

For the most part, these custom classes can be directly modified when editing SSIS packages in Visual Studio, and so anything properties you expose on the class can be edited right from Visual Studio without opening up any new UIs. For simple objects especially, these can…

How Microsoft Treasury uses Power BI

Tallan Partner

 
The Microsoft Treasury group manages $158 billion in assets, including cash and investments, account receivable, equity, and other investments. They act as an in-house bank for operations in over 190 countries, monitor thousands of bank accounts, and provide just-in-time cash management on a global basis. With a preview this large, Microsoft Treasury relies on vast amount of data in order to make fast, accurate, and actionable decisions to keep their operations running smoothly.
In the past, Treasury used a combination of Excel, PowerPoint, and third-party services to analyze and present their data, but Corporate VP, Treasurer George Zinn saw the future in the integration of a different product: Microsoft Power BI.
Power BI is a cloud-based suite of business analytics tools that make it easy to combine data from multiple sources, analyze and visualize information, and share insights. It features easy drag-and-drop…

Microsoft’s SQL Platform Continues to Lead the Market with Advanced Data Security

Tallan Partner

Securing customer data while maintaining the highest levels of privacy have always been top priorities for Microsoft and the SQL organization. As a result, SQL Server, which also powers Azure SQL Database and Azure SQL Data Warehouse, continues to be one of the most secure Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS) on the market.[1]
At the RSA Conference last year, Microsoft talked about their commitment to security and privacy. Microsoft wants to share a few examples of industry-leading security features they shipped since then and update you on their plans to deliver the highest levels of security across the SQL Database product lineup.
Announcing the April general availability of Azure SQL Database Threat Detection for proactive monitoring and alerting of suspicious database activities and potential vulnerabilities.
Using machine learning, SQL Database Threat Detection continuously monitors and profiles application behavior, and detects suspicious database activities…

Analysis Services Tabular: Displaying History and Slowly Changing Dimensions

Matthew Gajdosik

Historical reporting is common enough, but what are some ways to slice through your historical data in SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) Tabular? Tracking and including historical data or Slowly Changing Dimensions (SCDs) is common enough in data warehousing, and Business Intelligence as a whole, but putting it into an easily-digested form is always a new set of issues.
In this post, I will walk through some strategies we’ve used for integrating historical data into reporting and analytics solutions with SSAS Tabular, as well as some ways you can restrict this information to give your users a cleaner experience.

Driving Power BI Adoption in your Organization – Learn how Microsoft does this at Scale

Tallan Partner

At Microsoft leaders across the company have committed to fostering a data culture and are often asked how to drive this type of change. An internal program designed to drive adoption of Power BI internally has been at the center of this cultural shift.
Through a combination of training, a comprehensive communication strategy, and user-centric features and design, BI@Microsoft drives adoption of Microsoft data culture with Power BI. This program enables Microsoft employees to use data visualization, business intelligence and statistical analysis in their day-today jobs. Employees were previously limited by a mindset that they didn’t have the technical skills or time necessary to model data. Or they thought the data was not available or accessible. The BI@Microsoft program has proven that data driven decisions are possible at every level of the organization, while also creating loyal fans that influence their…

Analysis Services Tabular: Many-To-Many Relationships, Bridge Tables, and Blank Members

Matthew Gajdosik

With bidirectional filtering in SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) Tabular 2016, it’s easier than ever to build many-to-many relationships into your model. But what are some ways to avoid trouble when building them? This post covers two topics: (1) a scenario that can cause Tabular to match completely unrelated groups across a many-to-many relationship, and (2) some strategies for automating your bridge tables (including where they might need some brains!). If you’re already comfortable with this topic, and just want to see some DAX, feel free to skip right to the calculated bridge tables.
Otherwise, let’s say you’ve built up your many-to-many relationship based on a bridge or relationship table someone generated in the database, and have measures based on one or both of the tables connected by the bridge. When looking at the results, you see that a number of the results…

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