Turn data into action: Microsoft Data Insights conference

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The Microsoft Data Insights conference held in Seattle this year delivered great sessions on the Microsoft analytical stack including showcasing solutions and case studies using Azure services. Adrian Simpson, a Theta Analytics practice lead, attended the conference. Here are some of his highlights.

Power BI with PowerApps and Flow allows businesses to translate analysis into action by measuring, acting and automating business processes.


PowerApps is a platform to help build business apps quickly. The objective is to drop the cost of development and encourage the proliferation of apps. PowerApps allows users to develop without writing code and publish apps quickly, which are instantly available - no app store required.


With 130+ connectors, it will be possible to use Flow to trigger and automate business processes, integrating with line of business systems from PowerApps to turn insights into action.

Power BI announcements

Here are a few of the exciting announcements from the summit:

Write back

This feature provides the ability to have a PowerApp tile on a dashboard that can in turn kick off a Flow workflow. Power BI will effectively have write back capability so insights can be acted on immediately.

Write back in Power BI


A key to delivering useful insights is being able to tell a story that is relevant to the business. Bookmarks in Power BI now provide this functionality,  by allowing developers to build up dashboards and reports that tell a story.


With parameters, users can perform what-if analyses that will dynamically update dashboard visuals with different scenarios.

what if analyses in Power BI

Power BI Desktop data insights

New and improved data insights capability provides richer and more descriptive insights into your data that can be added to reports.

Power BI desktop data insights

Azure Analysis Services

Microsoft BI is rapidly closing the gap between personal and corporate BI. Previously, with business users developing their own personal analytics solutions, it has been difficult to extract and share these solutions with the wider organisation. Now that Power BI Desktop can be uploaded to Azure Analysis Services, Power BI solutions can be made available to the masses and becomes scalable and maintainable under the governance of IT.


Power BI is a powerful analytical tool. It allows users to visualise data, generate insights, tell stories and act on insights – covering the whole journey from data to information, insights and action!

It’s becoming easier to build solutions and interpret information, making analytics accessible to the whole organisation. With the Microsoft tools and services now available, organisations should take the opportunity to rethink their BI solution architectures. With Power BI and Azure it’s possible to build more useful, productive and cost effective BI solutions.