Microsoft Power BI Q&A Can Now Quiz On-Premises Data
Power BI, Microsoft's cloud-based business intelligence (BI) software offering, is finally allowing users to derive business insights from their on-premises data sources by simply asking. The product's Q&A feature, which enables users to conduct natural-language queries, is now available for on-premises data sources linked by Power BI Enterprise Gateway, starting with SQL Server 2016 Analysis Services.
Q&A has been one of Power BI's hallmark features since the product first debuted in 2013. "Using Q&A with on-premise data sources has been a top community ask from the very first time we introduced the Q&A feature," wrote Patrick Baumgartner, Microsoft principal program manager, in a blog post.
Microsoft plans to extend the functionality, currently in beta, to additional data sources in the coming weeks, added Baumgartner. "Power BI's goal is to provide the best experiences for getting insight from any data. Extending our natural language query experience from the cloud directly to your on-premise data is another great step to achieving this."
Enabling the Q&A experience for data held in local systems requires that administrators turn on the feature in the gateway's Q&A and Cortana settings. Once it is up and running—it requires the creation of an index based on the affected on-premises data—users can ask questions, and Power BI will reply with appropriate visual or report sheet.
The company's natural-language toolset for unearthing insights now works with on-premises data sources.
The Power BI Q&A feature itself has been enhanced in a handful of new ways, Baumgartner revealed.