Welcome to the Data Platform and Analytics blog series for October. This month, we’ll focus on how to accelerate your Microsoft Power BI deployments using solution templates. Join my colleagues and me for the next community call, on October 18, when we’ll discuss this topic in more detail.
Introduction to Power BI solution templates
Solution templates are a quick and easy way to deliver powerful analytics and visualizations on top of popular applications. They typically cover 50 percent to 70 percent of the visualization needs these applications require, and any remaining needs can be fulfilled by customizing and extending the template.
Today, there are four solution templates available:
- Campaign/Brand Management for Twitter
- Sales Management for Dynamics CRM
- Sales Management for Salesforce
- System Center Configuration Manager
Let’s use the Campaign/Brand Management for Twitter solution template as an example for explaining the value of these templates.
If an IT organization is tasked with building reports and visualizations to analyze Twitter data for campaign or brand management, they will need at least one of the following components in place:
- An extract, transform, load (ETL) tier to import the Twitter data and massage the data per business requirements
- A database tier to store the data and manage the data on an ongoing basis
- An analytics tier to create models that represent the data in a multi-dimensional or tabular model to be able to then easily analyze the data
- An intelligence tier that may be used to perform machine learning tasks to understand trends and further intelligence by performing tasks such as sentiment analysis
- A visualization tier to be able to view the data in a rich user friendly format and be able to drill down, filter and customize as per the end user needs.
The above require infrastructure, in terms of being able to install the different components, and application and domain knowledge to build the ETL packages, create the right database schema, build cubes and machine learning models, and then – finally – create compelling visualizations and reports that provide business insights.
Thanks to the Power BI solution template, all of the above can be accomplished in a matter of minutes with a few clicks, as most of what’s needed is already set up and configured in the template. This gets you more than halfway there, and then you can customize and extend any of the components to meet all of the requirements. And, the templates are free to download.
The image below shows the types of reports that are available in the solution templates.
If your partner business has a data and analytics focus, and provides services around business intelligence and data visualization, these templates can be indispensable for getting a customer up and running. Then, you can add value by customizing and extending them to fit your customer’s needs. These templates can also be used to build demos that help you show a customer the possibilities and uncover more information about their business needs so that you can address them.
On the October 18 Data and Analytics Partner Community call, you’ll hear more from the Power BI engineering team about these templates, and we’ll take questions from attendees.
Data Platform and Advanced Analytics Partner Community
- Register for the October 18 community call about solution templates
- Sign up for community calls
- Join the Yammer group
- Blog series
- Training and enablement