Tallan Blog

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

Picture1

Cloud Development with Microservices in Azure

Cloud development sometimes winds up looking a lot like traditional application development and hosting. Developers can create large, monolithic, web applications and deploy them to a virtual machine or app service. In that sense, transitioning to Azure can be simple for most developers. However, to make best use of Azure, developers need to start thinking differently. Developers need to start thinking about their software architecture in terms of microservices.
What are microservices?
Microservices are a software architecture style in which applications are composed of small, independent modules that communicate with each other using well-defined API contracts. These service modules are highly decoupled building blocks that serve a small single purpose function. The benefit of microservices architecture is that it makes development and scaling of applications easier. A microservices architecture also makes collaboration between autonomous teams easier and can enable them to bring…

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…

Classify Your Wardrobe Using Azure Custom Vision

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a technology that is used in our daily lives, but understanding how machine learning works is a completely different story. Typically, machine learning has been developed by people who are experts in the AI field and have access to high computing power. Microsoft has removed these barriers by providing Azure Cognitive Services. These services are available to anyone with an Azure cloud subscription and make it easy for developers to add AI features into their own applications. Today, I will be discussing Microsoft’s easy-to-use image classifier service Custom Vision.
I first came across Custom Vision while developing an application to generate fashionable outfits. The idea was to be able to upload an image of an outfit, (found on Pinterest or a fashion blog) and then have the application find similar items at a handful of websites…

State Management with Angular & Redux

Before the chaos of 2020, I was dealing with chaos in the form of application state.  I was working on an Angular reporting project and we were using dynamic components powered by ChartJS and dealt with data managed in ag-grid.  Very quickly I realized that state was going to be a huge issue, since a single dashboard of the application would be littered with charts that would all be filtered via slicers. Ultimately a user could click then through a chart to a grid of the underlying data; shades of a from-scratch PowerBI report or visual. I had heard of the Redux pattern and how it was a game changer for Facebook’s application state (technically FB’s pattern is FLUX, but Redux is inspired by it), so I decided to do some digging, and found that it would work great for…

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…

Microsoft Healthcare Bot Service for COVID-19 Webinar Series

Last year, our AI team was invited to learn about Microsoft’s new Healthcare Bot. The ability to quickly develop and modify this technology was incredible. The cloud-based service was built specifically using AI to empower and scale the healthcare industry with compliance top of mind, and healthcare-centric language built-in to start.
Our team was already familiar with the Microsoft Bot Framework so we signed on very quickly to become a Certified Bot Partner. We saw the opportunity to help both hospitals and out-patient clinics and offices, we even have a pre-COVID webinar, titled Enabling and Enhancing Patient Engagement in Healthcare published on our Youtube channel that highlights the basic features and benefits of this technology.
At the time, the market was a bit behind the technology. Things like concern about elderly patients interacting with a Chatbot, and fear of change.
Look at us…

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…

\\\