Microsoft's Cortana Assists in Unearthing Power BI Insights
In a new beta of Power BI integration with Cortana, the virtual assistant turns into a data explorer.Power BI, Microsoft's cloud-powered business intelligence (BI) and analytics tool, is taking a step beyond typed, natural-language searches. Now, as part of a public preview, users can explore Power BI data with the help of Cortana, the virtual assistant technology bundled with Windows 10. The new Cortana-Power BI integration "enables anyone to get answers directly from their key business data in a more helpful, proactive, and natural way," Marcus Ash, group program manager for Microsoft Cortana, announced on Dec. 1 in a company blog post. "By utilizing Power BI's data visualization capabilities, Cortana can provide you with answers, ranging from simple numerical values ('revenue for the last quarter'), charts ('number of opportunities by team'), maps ('average customer spending in California by city'), or even complete reports from Power BI." Enabling Cortana support is a fairly simple process; users need only select the "Enable Cortana to access this dataset" in Power BI, according to a separate blog from the Microsoft Power BI group. "After that, any user who has access to the dataset in Power BI, via regular Power BI sharing, groups and content pack features will be able to get answers from the data set in Cortana in Windows 10." To help Cortana rein in the scope of Power BI searches and find more relevant answers, Power BI Desktop app offers new tools that help users customize their data and results.
"In Power BI Desktop, you'll find new options to set the size of a sheet to match Cortana and to provide both primary and alternate names for sheets. This allows you to create custom Cortana answers using the full capabilities of Power BI Desktop," added the company's bloggers.