back to article Power BI: Office 365 just got more intelligent

If a picture tells 1,000 words, then an interactive bubble chart indexed by year based on a data model with a hierarchy of sub-categories ought to speak volumes. Microsoft’s business intelligence product Power BI is the latest addition to Office 365, its online office suite designed to integrate with desktop versions of Office …

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  1. Cipher
    WTF?

    Wikipedia? Really?

    There are good reasons why academics and professionals don't use Wikipedia, http://library.williams.edu/citing/wikipedia.php has a few of them. http://www.findingdulcinea.com/news/education/2010/march/The-Top-10-Reasons-Students-Cannot-Cite-or-Rely-on-Wikipedia.html goes into this as well.

    Why would Microsoft pull data from that source and feed into this product?

    1. Ian Easson

      Re: Wikipedia? Really?

      Microsoft doesn't pull data from Wikipedia and feed it into this product. It allows you to pull data from various online sources, and at your option, analyze it.

      1. Cipher
        FAIL

        Re: Wikipedia? Really?

        Easson:

        Then why does this sound an awful like it pulls data from WP?

        "You can also enter a web URL directly, or even search for data sets online. This seems to scrape data from different places, even Wikipedia tables."

        No indication that the data scrapped was user directed in that sentence. A generic query, Microsoft scrapes and presents. They clearly choose to sample WP, even heavily so..

        "Most of it seems to come from Wikipedia pages."

        Does that sound like a user decision to you?

    2. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: Wikipedia? Really?

      "There are good reasons why academics and professionals don't use Wikipedia"

      I think you are confusing 'use' and 'cite'. Citing Wikipedia as a reference is almost as stupid as ignoring it entirely. By all means, treat it with scepticism - but you should everything with scepticism. I have even had to deal with people quoting papers as having authority because "they are proper scientific papers in Arxiv" without seeming to realise that they are preprints (and therefore have had possibly less peer review than if they'd been in Wikipedia).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wikipedia? Really?

      These are all good reasons why hardly any enterprises uses Libre Office or Google Apps...

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Wikipedia? Really?

        "These are all good reasons why hardly any enterprises uses Libre Office or Google Apps..."

        To what are you referring by "these"?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Wikipedia? Really?

          "To what are you referring by "these"?"

          The long list of enteprise features that don't exist / have an equivalent on Libre Office and Google Apps.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wikipedia? Really?

        "These are all good reasons why hardly any enterprises uses Libre Office or Google Apps.."

        Itemise the reasons you refer to and cite your non-existent sources. Assuming you're not actually the slow and dim-witted Scandinavian variety of troll. Which you are.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Re: Wikipedia? Really?

      "Windows NT and its successors .. were not initially designed with Internet security"

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Windows#Security

  2. RedneckMother

    disturbing

    I find this disturbing, especially after reading the latest BOFH episode.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: disturbing

      Just like that BOFH episode, it's what happens if all you use is a spreadsheet.

  3. Charles Manning

    A word processor is a tool

    I don't want intelligence or an emotional bond with a hammer.

    Why do I want it in a word processor?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When M$ inevitably pulls the standard non-recurring licence desktop version of Office ...

    ... then Open Office will have a field day with the mass migration.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When M$ inevitably pulls the standard non-recurring licence desktop version of Office ...

      "then Open Office will have a field day with the mass migration."

      Assuming that there is a version of Open Office by then that actually works and handles add-ins and macros - or even displays a document the same as in genuine Office...

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: When M$ inevitably pulls the standard non-recurring licence desktop version of Office ...

        Odd that you should mention macros - and I suppose what you mean by "genuine" Office is MS Office.

        Once upon a time I had - probably still have a copy somewhere - a MS Word document prepared by a macro maven. It was an interactive form to gather survey information. It would work after a fashion in the version of Word used to write it. Attempting to open it with any other version of "genuine" Word would hang the whole system. And by hang I mean Big Red Switch time.

        Even without macros there were incompatibilities between versions so that, maybe accidentally, MS Office users were on an upgrade treadmill is they needed to open a file from a more recent version.

        Why do you think Munich wanted to migrate? But never mind, keep astroturfing.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: When M$ inevitably pulls the standard non-recurring licence desktop version of Office ...

        "Assuming that there is a version of Open Office by then that actually works and handles add-ins and macros - or even displays a document the same as in genuine Office..."

        Always a pleasure to laugh at you TheVogon. Sorry, I meant 'hear your viewpoint." obviously. Why would it handle Add-ins and Macros, being as it is, not Microsoft Office?

        "or even displays a document the same as in genuine Office"

        As opposed to... what kind of Office?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: When M$ inevitably pulls the standard non-recurring licence desktop version of Office ...

          "Why do you think Munich wanted to migrate?

          "Presumably because they didn't realise they would end up running both old and new platforms for ever more, and having to provide users with genuine Office via VDI whenever they needed to get real work done. Not really surprising as public sector IT often tends to scape the bottom of the barrel due to the low rates of pay.

          "Why would it handle Add-ins and Macros"

          Because the reference is to a migration to Open Office. Businesses generally rely on large numbers of Addins and Macros. Which Open Office largely can't deal with. Therefore a 'migration' becomes a complete rewrite of most of the business platform.

          1. hplasm Silver badge
            Windows

            Re: When M$ inevitably pulls the standard non-recurring licence desktop version of Office ...

            Idiots generally rely on large numbers of Addins and Macros.

            FTFY

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: When M$ inevitably pulls the standard non-recurring licence desktop version of Office ...

            "Presumably because they didn't realise they would end up running both old and new platforms for ever more, and having to provide users with genuine Office via VDI whenever they needed to get real work done. Not really surprising as public sector IT often tends to scape the bottom of the barrel due to the low rates of pay."

            If you bother to research the matter you'll find they don't need VDI. If they really need some Windows-only application they use Wine, setting up a specific configuration for each application and, from what I read earlier this year, that amounts to just two. It's surprising what nuggets you find at the bottom of the barrel when all the froth has floated away.

            So what were their drivers. As far as I can see, there were two. One was security - Microsoft couldn't or wouldn't assure them that their stuff wouldn't phone home. The other might require you to answer a simple question:

            What's the most valuable and often the longest lived component of any system?

            Software? Nope, especially when it gets updated on a regular basis.

            Hardware? Nope. That also goes out of date.

            Data. Hardware and software come and go but data lives on.

            If you're working in public administration some document may be needed many years after it was written. And if it was in a proprietary format long since obsolete that can be tough. Here's an example of the problems encountered with stuff that was less than 20 years old: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2003/07/11/bbc_domesday_project_saved/

            If you can't open the document you won't be able to use macros & add-ins. If you can't open the document you'll not be worrying about whether the presentation is exactly the same. If you can't open the document you're stuck.

            Relying on MS Office would rely on MS continuing to exist in, say 50 years time and to be providing a version of Office that could read all those old documents. Is it so unthinkable that that might not be the case? If the long term is more important than next quarter's results you need to take that approach. Munich made the call that the best chance of long term access to data is to use open standards for data formats.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: When M$ inevitably pulls the standard non-recurring licence desktop version of Office ...

              "If you bother to research the matter you'll find they don't need VDI. If they really need some Windows-only application they use Wine, setting up a specific configuration for each application and, from what I read earlier this year, that amounts to just two"

              Interesting bending of the facts:

              “We have a very limited Wine installation, because there’s always the need to save the configuration of Wine together with the application. They’re deeply dependent. If you change the version of Wine, you have to do something with the application, and vice-versa. We saw that we’d have to use 10 or 15 different configurations of Wine on the same machine in some cases.”

              "Some software vendors won’t support their programs if they’re running on Wine rather than a native Windows installation, so in the end the LiMux team only deployed two Wine installations."

              http://www.linuxvoice.com/the-big-switch/

  5. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Sounds interesting, but as usual you must marry the rest of Microsoft ecosystem. Which is an unhealthy thing to do.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Spot on

      you start using this then suddenly it stops. MS responds by saying,

      Oh Sorry, our bad. To access your data in future, you must uses SQLServer, BizTalk and .... Products. That will be $500 a month per CAL please.

      What MS giveth with one hand that more than take away with the other.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    excel for data graphing has had its day

    Having to build sql connectors, macros, pivot table. Simply painful.

    SiSense is far easier and more powerful to use.

    Yet again, Microsoft continue to be irrelevant and years behind. They wouldn't know innovation if it bit them in the ass

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: excel for data graphing has had its day

      "SiSense is far easier and more powerful to use......Microsoft continue to be irrelevant and years behind"

      That must be why Microsoft are so far ahead of them in the latest Gartner BI Magic Quadrant:

      http://www.gartner.com/technology/reprints.do?id=1-1QHKSEP&ct=140206&st=sb

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: excel for data graphing has had its day

        Relying on Gartner is about as sensible as relying on Wikipedia.

        I don't know if SiSense is any good or not, but if I was still in the business I'd be doing the evaluation based on features relating to the kind of data we were massaging, not "magic quadrants".

  7. king of foo

    I'm getting cold shivers already...

    "It is an attempt to marry advanced spreadsheet reporting features with back-end collaborative features based on SharePoint."

    This sounds horrendous. It's so far from "B.I." it could be bacon.

    Mmmmm... Bacon...

  8. Scroticus Canis
    Facepalm

    What happens when Office 365 cloud service goes blue-sky*

    Great when there isn't any Office 365 cloud around like the recent 9 hour outage!

    (* blue-sky© - the new 'blue screen of death' for MS cloud services)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What happens when Office 365 cloud service goes blue-sky*

      And the MS 'Terms of Service'/EULA means you can't sue them no matter what happens to your data end even your company.

  9. photobod

    Lovely. Not.

    More pretty but meaningless diagrams, based on arbitrary and unstated datasets extracted as meta-statistics from larger datasets from unknown and/or unchecked sources. If that's 'intelligence' then give me ignorance, please.

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: Lovely. Not.

      "More pretty but meaningless diagrams, based on arbitrary and unstated datasets extracted as meta-statistics from larger datasets from unknown and/or unchecked sources. If that's 'intelligence' then give me ignorance, please."

      Hey! If it's good enough for the NSA...

      1. Tom 35 Silver badge

        Re: Lovely. Not.

        Can you tell it the answer you want and have it find the matching data for you?

        1. photobod

          Re: Lovely. Not.

          Almost certainly.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Lovely. Not.

          Since governments will be major customers, yes. How do you think policy making works?

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Lovely. Not.

      But... graphs!

      Proves that even after Windows 8, MS know who their real customers are.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lovely. Not.

      "More pretty but meaningless diagrams, based on arbitrary and unstated datasets extracted as meta-statistics from larger datasets from unknown and/or unchecked sources. If that's 'intelligence' then give me ignorance, please"

      Is this post about climate change "science" or the new features of Excel?

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