Customising Power BI

There are a number of good custom visualisations that can be incorporated in to Power BI on the  page



Selecting the toolset

power-bi-logo-con-nomeThe tool set selection is an easy one.  I need to use Microsoft technology for the presentation so immediately I am looking at the following technologies:

  • SQL Server 2012 ( what I have available to me)
  • SSIS
  • PowerBI
  • R

I have  downloaded the Power BI Desktop Application from and  signed up for a free account using my own domain name. Note that personal e-mail addresses don’t work with the sign up page, so I was unable to use my usual Microsoft account.

The power BI account is essential as with the desktop application you are limited in what can be shared and presented.  Power BI online allows the creation of “dashboards” that select use components of reports  that can be created using the desktop application.  It is from here that you can share the information and publish it to the WWW.

There are a number of other downloads:

  • Microsoft on-premises data gateway that allows you to refresh your data by connecting to your on-premises data sources without the need to move the data.
  • Microsoft Power BI Mobile for iOS, android and Windows
  • Microsoft Power BI publisher for Excel that allows snapshots of  PivotTables, Charts, cell ranges, from Excel spreadsheets to be saved a Power BI web dashboard.

So after configuring the developer edition of SQL Server and my Power BI downloads I am ready to go.



Visualising MP’s Expenses in Power BI

I hparliament-logoave been set the task of visualising the data behind all UK MPs expenses to demonstrate my capabilities in business intelligence.

So a fairly straight forward challenge on the surface.  I need to  look at the data  from IPSA provided at: The presentation needs to be visually engaging and help provide clarity around the MP expenses data set.  I need to answer questions such as:

  • which party claims the most
  • what are they claiming for etc.

Swhere to start?  I need to consider the following

  • What tool set will i use and what do I have available to me?
  • Do I need additional data to answer the basic questions?
  • What else can I demonstrate to add to the ‘wow’ factor of the presentation?