Power BI Update

Loved the monthly blog Manuel and Devin posted on Power BI updates, so I wanted to share. 🙂

I also thought this resource was super helpful as a summary of all the Power BI changes in 2018.

First Half of 2018
Second Half of 2018

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
Benjamin Franklin

Intro to Data Storytelling with Power BI

Hot beverage, Inspiration, Power BI…. Time to create! 🙂

Oh, the joy of creation! 😀

I just wrapped up designing a Lab for our new Data Storytelling with Power BI course at Pragmatic Works, and it was SO FUN to create an interactive, end-to-end digital narrative. I’m truly fortunate that my boss trusts me and gives me opportunities to lead projects!

As a former journalist, I always feel the data gathering, organizing and disseminating – the Digital Discovery phase, if you will – is critical to an honest, thought-provoking story.

Follow the facts, as my dad told me when I was fresh out of college. That’s your only job: Report the facts.

And so, I relished the opportunity to dig into an area of great interest: The State of the Technology Workforce.

My questions needed answers: What does the tech workforce look like today, especially in terms of future demand? Income? Gender engagement?

I stood on the shoulders of giants who forged through the primary research, the gathering of valid data from original sources. And then I took that data, mashed it up in Power BI and looked at it from new angles.

Snapshot of my Data Storytelling report

Click here to interact with the entire report:


If you’re interested in a FREE webinar called Intro to Storytelling with Power BI, sign up here. I’ll be delivering that training February 26th!


Click on the link above to sign up! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Hope to see you there!

Intro to PowerApps

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”
―  Albert Einstein

We’ve created some really helpful, easy-to-digest content that covers how to start using Power Apps to your advantage.

Here are some of my favorite clips, but it should be noted that the entire free, yes FREE, series is on YouTube on the Pragmatic Works channel.

Hope you love these as much as I do! 🙂

#1 – Your Basic CRUD App

Brian is as fun as he is smart…. which is saying ALOT! 😀

#2 Shoutout App Design

This is the beginning of a COOL Power Apps app that we actually use for our company!

#3 Power BI Integration

Very, very useful!

I think the content speaks for itself. Personally, I enjoyed learning from this Power Apps series… it gave me a basis for not only creating Power Apps apps on my own, but also built a foundation for creating more training content for Pragmatic Works so others can benefit, too. #Score

Again, the entire series is FREE on our YouTube channel. 🙂


Alright, now let’s make it happen! 😀

Free Power BI Dashboard in a Day Class ONLINE – First Time Ever!

You can be as happy as this guy.

I’m super excited to share an amazing FREE training opportunity Pragmatic Works is sharing with the world!

Typically, we deliver live training for Dashboard in a Day content at Microsoft offices around the country, but we’ve recorded the content and it’s now available for the masses… no need to take time off work! 🙂

Ask not what Power BI can do for you, but what YOU CAN DO with Power BI!

Check it out! using this link: blog.pragmaticworks.com/introducing-our-dashboard-in-a-day-class

“For many, it can be difficult to take an entire day out of work to attend these classes in order to learn this technology. That’s why Pragmatic Works has brought all the elements of this class in a virtual package, making it easy to explore all the info and labs that are involved in Microsoft’s Dashboard in a Day.

Manuel Quintana, Pragmatic Works Trainer

To register, visit https://pragmaticworkstraining.com/diad-trial-registration.

Growth – Deloitte’s 2019 Tech Industry Overview

Interview with Paul Sallomi, global technology, media, and telecommunications industry leader and US and global technology sector leader

As we enter 2019, innovation and agility have become essential competitive ingredients for any organization, regardless of industry.

According to Paul Sallomi, companies need to take even greater advantage of cloud platforms that make powerful artificial intelligence (AI) tools and services available to broad ranges of users.

These tools are helping accelerate experimentation, “democratize” innovation, boost agility, and power organizations’ digital transformation journeys.

Should I use Logic Apps or Microsoft Flow for automation?

A colleague showed me an incredible enterprise-level Logic app that he recently created for a client in the construction industry.

He knew I was working on Flow, so he made an effort to show me the ropes from a different angle.

And this made me think, how do you choose between Microsoft’s Flow and Azure Logic Apps? Which is the better solution?

The correct answer depends entirely on your goals and requirements, and it may involve using both solutions.

As one blogger put it, Flow and Logic Apps should be regarded as siblings, not twins.

Flow is built on a Logic Apps foundation and uses the same workflow designer and the same connectors. Many people begin with Flow for prototyping and switch to Logic Apps for scaling and delivering automation across the organization.

The right solution largely depends on the level of complexity required, so here are a few diagnostic questions to point you in the right direction.

  1. Who’s the User?
    Is the solution mostly being used by office workers, business users or SharePoint administrators? If so, Flow is the way to go.
    Are IT pros, integrators and developers running the show? Cue Logic Apps.

2. Is this more of a self-service, simple integration or an advanced integration?
Sensibly, the simpler solutions are great for Flow, but more complex scenarios work better for Logic Apps.

3. Which Design tools do you need?
Flow offers in-browser and mobile app UI only.
Logic Apps offers in-browser in addition to Visual Studio and Code views.

4. What kind of Application Lifecycle Management do you need?
Flow is designed and tested in non-production enviroments and promoted to production upon readiness.
With Logic Apps, the ALM is more extensive using Azure Resource Management for DevOps, source control, testing, support, automation and management.

5. What kind of administration experience and security do you want/need?
Flow’s environments, tracking and Data Loss Prevention policies are managed in Flow. Flow uses Office 365 Security and Compliance audit logs and allows for encryption.

For Logic Apps, security is managed through Azure Security, Security center, via audit logs and other measures within the Azure Portal.
Resource groups, connections, access management and logging for Logic Apps are all managed through Azure’s Portal.

This is a quick a dirty way to assess which solution is right for you!

overFlow-ing with Templates

An intro to Microsoft Flow’s prefabricated automation solutions

One of the coolest ways to learn about Microsoft Flow’s functionality is by exploring templates. It’s fantastic for ideation and for flushing out how solutions really work.

Here’s an introduction to Flow Templates. Have fun! 🙂 Sign in to Flow at Flow.Microsoft.Com

Click on Templates in the left-side navigation panel.

Explore Templates using the Search templates bar at the top of the page to see all the templates by function and by Connector.

Take some time to explore! This is the fun part!

You can search by key words, connector names, etc.

After digging around, type Calendar in the search bar.

I chose to highlight the Office 365 Calendar to Google Calendar, because I have both kinds of account and would like to have my activities on one calendar between my work and personal life.

Choose what’s best for you!

Next, you will be prompted to sign into those accounts and give Flow permission to access your accounts.

Once you’re inside the flow, make sure to set your Calendar IDs in both spots.

You may want to rename your flow in the top left bar where the name is located.

Then, save your flow. 🙂

On the left side of the page, use the same navigation page that brought you to the Templates. This time, however, click on My Flows.

Hover over your new flow and an ellipsis will appear with important administrative functions.

You can edit, share, turn on/off, delete and more.

Congrats! You just made your first flow from a template!

Microsoft Flow: Top 5 Templates for Team Communication

The notion of converting routine tasks across Microsoft (MS) and non-MS systems into a fully automated and synergized workflows with just a few clicks seems like a promise that’s too good to be true. But that’s exactly what Microsoft Flow says and does.

With over 220+ connectors and more assured to arrive, the workflow automation wave is in full effect and growing.

Flow builds on the Azure Logic Apps framework and caters to business users, rather than IT pros. And between the smorgasbord of templates and its easy-to-navigate blank canvas, building workflows across services, teams and devices is a matter of creativity, exploration some basic know-how.

To start, I want to share my top Five Microsoft Flow templates for internal team communication. In my next blog, I will give an overview of how quick and easy it is to access these Templates.

#5 Template: “Get Slack notifications when a new file is uploaded to Dropbox”

I love this template, because in my past life as a business journalist, my entire department utilized Slack and Dropbox as part of our main team communication and production management systems. Typically, I’d  inform my editor when I uploaded items he needed by manually sending a confirmation message or by simply telling him verbally. This would have been a fantastic peace- and ease-of-mind automation, as our production loads were heavy, and time was always short. In media and many (many!) other fields, people ran fast and dynamic schedules.

Flow makes it easy to customize templates, so the potential to specify what kind of notifications for whom and for what quickly becomes a reality. This MS Flow template creates one less follow-up detail to remember, which makes a big impact for hectic teams. 

#4 Template: “Notify Co-workers about running late to a meeting”

Running to a from meetings, interviews, events, etc. can make for unfortunate, but quite normal conditions where you might be late to a meeting. Maybe there was an accident on the highway. Maybe a prior meeting ran longer than  expected. Whatever the case, with this MS Flow template, you can setup a button (on your Android or iOS mobile device, computer or by using a physical button) to notify your colleagues that you’re running late.

This template can also be modified quickly, so the potential is fantastic. My co-worker who commutes across town said he setup a notification on his phone to let his wife know his ETA and if he’s running late, so there’s opportunity for personal use, too.

#3 Template: “Approve or reject, auto-reply and track requests from an email” (Outlook and Wunderlist)

YES. Please. I love this template! Wunderlist is a great productivity platform for organizing work and life. And now, I can extend the value by integrating Wunderlist with my work (or even personal) emails to track requests and responses for approvals. So. Obvious. So. Easy.    

MS acquired Wunderlist in 2015, so it makes sense that they would develop extensive automation solutions across the ecosystem. I suspect this is just the beginning, given the options to specialize automation within this already great tool. I’m just glad it’s possible to synch these platforms and monitor all activity seamlessly. One less step – woo hoo!

#2 Template: “Create an event in Outlook on new Planner tasks” AND “Create tasks in planner for new Outlook Tasks”

I picked two side of the same coin for #2 on the list. These MS Flow templates apply to MS users – and that’s a lot of people! Before I saw this template, I remember thinking, “Why can’t those two systems work together and synch all of my to-do’s?”

Now, they can! #WIN

#1 Template: “Trigger a flow with a Power BI data-driven alert”

I’m not actually choosing one template for #1, but the entire category of Power BI notifications (email, push, etc.)

For teams who utilize Power BI’s heavy-hitting analysis and reporting features, this MS Flow provides a phenomenal way to stay on top of data changes and trends. I love this, because it’s a very fluid, real-time way to inform yourself and other people about critical business intelligence information that affects decision-making. It may be used across many, many scenarios where business intelligence is a key element for you and your teams.

Like other templates, it can be easily modified for specific use cases. Perhaps, you want to set the Board of Directors up with notifications about a specific revenue number, when goals are met or unmet. Or perhaps a sales team’s targets and conversions are monitored in real time, and you or that person – or that entire team – receive updates accordingly.

I think this is an amazing MS Flow for people who are already leveraging Power BI, but also for people who want to get started using Power BI and to take their reporting to the next level. It’s a great way to monitor critical data and stay in sync with trends in a very tailored way. This MS Flow minimizes user error, if someone overlooks an important detail or trend.

This MS Flow template is number one because it directly pertains to the business intelligence mission(s) and may be deployed quickly and diversely across teams.

Final Thoughts

Even beyond those great MS Flow templates themselves, I love the ideation they create. Let’s say you have a different service platform but want the same kind of automation: IT’S PROBABLY POSSIBLE. I tried to demonstrate how diverse and applicable MS Flows can be for business users. MS Flow gains new connectors regularly and is a great way to develop workflow automation with a few clicks and a little know-how.