At our Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston we unveiled Power BI for Office 365, a self-service business intelligence (BI) solution delivered through Excel and Office 365 which provides information workers with data analysis and visualization capabilities to identify deeper business insights from their on-premises and cloud data. One of the most exciting new features of Power BI is Q&A, a natural language based experience for interacting with data. Since the announcement we’ve received many requests for more information about Q&A, so here’s a bit about this feature of Power BI.Q&A builds upon our first in class BI platform and allows the use of natural language to find, understand, and report over your data. Here are a few examples:
“Show London clients”
In this example, an Excel workbook with data about customers and their locations has been saved to Office 365. Q&A is interpreting the search query and displaying corresponding information from the workbook to create a list of customers that are based in London.
“Show number of products”
Similarly, “show number of products” is being interpreted to count the number of products found in the data source.
“Number of songs per year”
Further, Q&A automatically chooses a suitable visualization based on what is requested.
“Total number of employees for finance, HR, marketing in Europe by employee country”
In this example, Q&A automatically chose to display three maps, one for each division. It opted to display maps because the country column is marked as a geography data column.
“Show our sales pipeline with opportunity size greater than $20,000”
So what will you need to get Power BI Q&A to work with your organization’s dataset? An Excel spreadsheet with a Power Pivot model saved to a Power BI site in Office 365. So, if you are using Excel and Power Pivot today, you are on the right track to use Q&A over your own data once it is available.I’ll be posting more about the features included in Power BI so stay tuned here for more updates. In the meantime head over to http://www.powerbi.com and register for the preview.
Software Architect - Power BI Q&A
This is great, thank you. I have a question about your first example where you query for "Show London clients" and it returns data for the "Show London customers".
Clearly there is some sort of intelligence somewhere defining "clients" as a synonym for "customers". Is that synonym defined in the Power Pivot model or is this simply part of the QnA "secret sauce"?
Q&A has several ways of dealing with "synonyms" of model and instance values. They can be manually defined as part of the Power Pivot modeling process, but we have other automatic and end-user derived mechanisms we'll talk more about as we get closer to GA for the Q&A capability.