Office 365 Partner Community: Delve Analytics and Power BI

Welcome to part 3 of our series for the Office 365 Partner Community about the new Office 365 E5 suite. Read part 1, and read part 2.


by Michael Panciroli

US Partner Technology Strategist for Office 365


With the release of Office 365 E5 suite on December 1, Microsoft is bringing deeper enterprise value to the Office 365 suite with enhancements in real time collaboration, personalized insight, security, and compliance. In this post, I’ll continue with the discussion about the value that E5 brings to Office 365 and share details about personalized insights, including Power BI and Delve  Analytics.

Delve Analytics

Delve Analytics helps team leaders discover how their organizations actually work. There is a rich, interactive dashboard that provides insights into metrics like reach, influence, and work-life balance. You can also see an individual’s or team’s engagement with both internal and external teams, letting you gauge whether those interactions are in line with priorities and identify where engagements that should be occurring are not. Perhaps most interesting are the individual analytics that offer insights about your work life like email reach and meeting focus.

On our Office 365 Partner Community call in October, Product Manager Andrew Cook gave a demo of Delve Analytics that highlights the power of machine learning and the Office Graph. The partner opportunity is still evolving in this area, but watch for activity feeds coming that you can take advantage of in your own IP or experiences.

Power BI

It’s hard to overstate the opportunity with Power BI when you consider the “data dividend” that’s associated with it: a worldwide opportunity of $1.6 trillion (Source: Microsoft and IDC, April 2014). For those companies that invest in the technologies, data, people, and practices there is the potential for a 60% improvement on the return on investment in their data assets. As software is increasingly inside of everything in this Internet of Things world, data is coming from everywhere.

Organizations that are able to harness their data and make sense of it to better understand their customers, their markets, and the use of their products will be better positioned to deliver value to those customers. Power BI is the front end of a very large, very rich, interconnected platform that allows customers to be able to take advantage of this opportunity, and they are looking for help.

Power BI focuses on taking intelligence from data and getting it into the hands of someone who can draw an insight, take action, and make better choices. Power BI is a SaaS solution, a business analytics service. One of the mantras of the Power BI engineering team was “five seconds to sign up, five minutes to wow.” All you need is an email address to get started. A design goal of the team is to connect non-technical business people to their data very quickly. Power BI is a single pane of glass, a sort of a cockpit to which all of that data comes together and gets converted into value.


Power BI Preview has been tried by 45,000 organizations, a half million unique users in 185 countries. Microsoft equates this to the equivalent of a decade's worth of BI growth in six months because of how quickly you can get to business value. No longer do you have to order servers, get software, and get analysts and other interested employees involved before you can see value.

You can pull from a multitude of data sources including on-premises, SaaS services from third-party cloud providers, and of course Microsoft Azure data services, Office 365, and Microsoft Dynamics. All of this is leveraged through the wealth of the integrated data platform which includes stream analytics, machine learning, predictive analytics, and data processing technologies and services. Power BI is just part of the equation. In typical solutions partners use Data Warehouse, the IoT stream analytics, and big data connected through Spark. All of these technologies come through and surface as our visualization layer.

When you take all of those interested people and connect them with a portion of their data, you build an audience of people that is hungry for additional data. Once you deliver that initial value, customers want to then be able to connect that data and mash it up with their on-premises data, other SasS solutions, or industry data. That’s where the partner opportunity comes in.

Partner opportunity


Here are three partner opportunities to explore:

  • Systems Integrators can make money deploying high value projects, taking a customer’s data and turning it into value. Power BI provides customers with just a taste of what's possible. It’s just one piece of a much larger project. Power BI is a lead generation tool all on its own as it provides a source for additional opportunities. Consider the need for back-end cloud data services, the need for on-premises data technologies, and consider all of the analytics products and services we provide, Power BI is the foot in the door but it’s the body of work that follows that is the real opportunity. The beauty of PowerBI is that it not only connects lots of people with data, it pulls through pretty much everything else we have as an organization to bear against a customer's data to solve their business problems.
  • If your company is an ISV, in the business of building software and selling services, you can use a  content pack to onboard your service to Power BI. Package up a set of dashboards and reports and connect them to your particular source of data for your software system or service. The assets are packaged up and made available in the gallery, making it available to users in the service when they click "Get Data.” There are content pack examples from Acumatica, Google Analytics, Salesforce, and others, offering prepackaged models and reports to immediately see value. It’s an opportunity to deliver amazing value to customers without requiring them to be experts in analytics. The Power BI team is working with other services to add new content packs regularly.
  • There is an opportunity to customize Power BI visuals and integrate them back into the service. We have open-sourced the entirety of the visualization stack in Power BI, and it’s available on GitHub. At its core it uses D3, a JavaScript library for manipulating documents based on data. If your company’s developers know how to utilize JavaScript, you can customize the PowerBI visuals, including base charts, paving the way for completely custom visuals in Power BI.

How to get started

If you have not yet signed up for Power BI, that’s your first step. You can experiment with sample data provided in the service when you click “Get Data.” You can also try out the content packs for SaaS services that you subscribe to.

If your company is interested in building a practice around Power BI and becoming a Power BI Partner, sign in to the Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Partner Resources website with your MPN credentials for details.

Power BI Pro is part of your Microsoft Partner Network internal use rights if you have a competency. Learn more about accessing and activating your benefit

Office 365 Partner Community call series

If you missed our November 5 call, “New enterprise value and partner opportunities with E5 plan,” you can watch it on demand on our US Partner Community YouTube playlist. And, I hope you’ll register for our next Office 365 Partner Community call on Thursday, December 3.

Comments about this blog post, or questions about the topic? Let us know in the Office 365 Partners Yammer group.

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