Category Archives: Azure

Power BI FAQ Chat Bot 9000 lives!

So I’ve been working on a fun little project over the past couple weeks. A lot of my customers have questions related to Power BI and I spend a lot of my time answering those questions. So I said to myself, “Self, why don’t you build a chat bot that can help field some of those basic questions?” Thus was gloriously born the Power BI FAQ Chat Bot 9000!

The Power BI FAQ Chat Bot 9000 uses Azure Bot Service leveraging a knowledge base created using QnA Maker. Later I’m going to do a write-up on how exactly I created the Power BI FAQ Chat Bot 9000 (it only took me about 10 minutes), but for now I just want to share the bot with you. Start with “Hello” and then try asking a few questions like:

What is Power BI?
How is Power BI Pro different than Power BI Premium?
Does Power BI support mobile devices?

Try the bot here. Don’t make him angry!

Or if you’d like, chat with Power BI FAQ Chat Bot 9000 via Skype.


Now there’s a couple things to keep in mind. First, the Power BI FAQ Chat Bot is only as smart as his knowledge base, so if you get a funky response back from the bot, its probably because there’s something weird in the knowledge base that I need to sharpen up. The knowledge base is still under construction so let me know if you find oddities. Also, if performance of the bot seems to struggle, keep in mind that I’m using free or low cost service tiers for the technology in Azure running the bot. And whatever you do, do not ask him about the robot overlords.

But totally feel free to ask Power BI FAQ Chat Bot 9000 any questions related to Power BI! The knowledge base I’ve provided is based on the documentation and frequently asked questions sections of

If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment down below! I’d love to hear your thoughts about the Power BI FAQ Chat Bot 9000.

How to Automate Processing of Azure Analysis Services Models

I’ve been working on a proof of concept for a customer that involved using Azure Analysis Services as a cache for some data in an Azure Data Warehouse instance. One of the things I’ve been working on is scheduling the automatic processing of the Azure AS database. I did find the following documentation on the process, but the screenshots of the Azure portal are out of date and I did find some errors in the instructions. I also found this very extensive project for partition management in Azure AS, but this was a little overkill for my purposes and I was just interested in the very basics.

Read my recap for MS Data Summit here

These previously mentioned resources led me to write this blog post. In this post I’m going to leverage the previously mentioned article and walk through creating an Azure Function App to automatically refresh my Azure Analysis Services model, while correcting a few errors and updating the screenshots.

If you’re new to Azure Analysis Services, take a look at this documentation. For the purposes of this post, I’m going to assume you have a basic understanding of Analysis Services.

Continue reading How to Automate Processing of Azure Analysis Services Models

Setting up Cross Database Queries in Azure SQL Database

A question that I answer what seems like all the time is how to run cross-database queries against Azure SQL Database. So rather than answering those questions repeatedly I figured I should blog my response up so from here on out I can just forward the link to this blog on to my customers and others interested.

Most people I talk to still think that cross-database queries in Azure SQL DB aren’t possible. But thanks to a new feature called “Elastic Query”, we can issue cross database queries. There’s actually a few different types of cross database queries that Continue reading Setting up Cross Database Queries in Azure SQL Database

Getting Started with R Visuals in Power BI

Thanks to the December 2015 update released for Power BI, we can now use R to visualize our data in Power BI! Make no mistake, this is huge news and in this blog post I want to walk you through how to use the new R Script Visualization in Power BI and get you started with using R to create your first visualizations.

Read These Top 5 Power BI Tips

Not only can we create and download custom visuals from to extend the capabilities of Power BI, we can use R to create a ridiculous amount of powerful visualizations. If you can get the data into Power BI, you can use R to perform interesting statistical analysis and create some pretty cool, interactive visuals.

Getting Started

If you’re new to R, like myself, R is a programming language for statistical data analysis. The R programming language is Continue reading Getting Started with R Visuals in Power BI

Sentiment Analysis & Key Phrase Detection w/ Power Query & Power BI

Recently I worked on a neat little POC with Patrick Leblanc for a customer in Education who wished to perform sentiment analysis and key phrase extraction on surveys completed by students regarding classes and instructors, which brings me to this blog post.

Using Azure ML and a free subscription to the Text Analytics API, I’m going to show you how to perform sentiment analysis and key phrase extraction on Continue reading Sentiment Analysis & Key Phrase Detection w/ Power Query & Power BI

Power BI and Big Data

If you’re worked in the wide and diverse field of information technology for almost any amount of time, it probably hasn’t taken you long to discover that the one thing constant about IT is that the technologies and strategies involved change faster than you can learn them. And if you work in business intelligence like I do, you don’t have to look very far at all to see change. The Microsoft Power BI team rolls out a software update every month! If I want to stay learned up on the technology, I have to really be on top of things.

New to Power BI? Start here!

About ten years ago when Hadoop was first being developed at Yahoo, Continue reading Power BI and Big Data