February 2016

Show, Don’t Tell

Created by:

Thomas Kohnstamm, Microsoft News Center Staff



Data is no longer the niche fixation of engineers and statisticians. It has grown beyond a buzzword in fields from entertainment to public policy to education. Data is essential. Data is mainstream. Data might just be on its way to becoming cool.

Microsoft’s Power BI enables those who are data-inexperienced or even data-phobic to transform spreadsheets into rich graphical reports. It also allows data experts to visualize data in a fraction of the time and to experiment with new ways to show and interact with their reports.

Today, Power BI launches its “Publish to Web” feature so organizations as disparate as Bing Predicts, The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and Water 1st International can instantly share their reports online – without any coding requirements.

When the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) was founded in the 1980s, its mission to end pediatric AIDS was guided by the epidemic in the United States. EGPAF began working internationally in 1999 and is currently active in 14 countries around the globe. As the organization has grown, so has its need to report data to stakeholders and use data to evaluate and improve its various programs.

Eric Nawar, who leads EGPAF’s cutting-edge Informatics Unit, says, “Very smart people can still be intimidated by having to pick data out of a spreadsheet. It needs to be summarized in a way that resonates.”

“The Power BI solution allows people from across our organization to customize data in the way the works best for them,” Nawar continues. “And it’s more efficient because someone on-site in Zimbabwe doesn’t have to rely on developers or the data team in Washington, DC to get everything they need.”

The foundation used Power BI to create the new EGPAF Data Dashboard. This interactive visualization tool summarizes EGPAF’s core work in HIV prevention, care and treatment services. It supports EGPAF’s efforts to use data to evaluate the efficiency, reach and effectiveness of its programs and communicate that information clearly to a variety of technical and consumer audiences.

Stephanie Bruno, Data Architecture Manager, explains, “The Power BI experience makes data fun, so it encourages people to get more involved and explore.”

Data visualization and publishing is no longer a game that just a few, specialized people are playing. With Microsoft Power BI “Publish to Web,” everyone can post their work to public-facing blogs and website in minutes or generate a hyperlink for email or social media with one click. And for data professionals, the sky is the limit. It’s never been easier to capture, transform, mash-up, analyze and visualize any data, of any size, at any scale, in its native format.

Now, as people from a broader set of career backgrounds interact with data, it will be used in innovative and colorful ways that were once unimaginable. Microsoft Power BI is excited to help advance this new, data-driven world with its “Publish to Web” sharing capabilities.

Full article: http://news.microsoft.com/features/show-dont-tell/