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Advancing Power BI and Tabular

New year, new blog post, lotsa new! In the last year, as seems normal now, most of my writing remained code and conference presentations. We launched Argus PBI. I worked on some very cool data models. Oh, and I started working at Tabular Editor, too!

I have spent my career in BI, focusing primarily on the Microsoft suite of tools. I have seen the launch and meteoric rise of Power BI. I celebrated my decade of DAX last year. I have had the opportunity to work on some truly enormous models and in some very large organizations. I know what is necessary for BI success at scale.

There are two major gaps that I have observed in my career in the Microsoft BI world. But first, an aside.

I was lucky enough to work near Daniel Otykier (creator, founder, and CTO of Tabular Editor) in 2018 and 2019, when Tabular Editor was still young, and learned a lot from him. He was helping to support Tabular Editor 2 at the client, and I was working on some Tabular models. I have had immense respect and appreciation for Daniel and his work ever since then.

The work I was doing at the time was for one of the largest Tabular installations in the world; the user base of my models was larger than 20,000 individuals. This work would have been impossible without Tabular Editor. I was performing whole-model refactorings and optimizations to models with 100+ tables and thousands of measures and columns. Tabular Editor allows you to work with models in different ways than are possible with Power BI or Visual Studio; it goes so far beyond mere efficiency.

Gaps in Microsoft BI

The first is developer tooling.

Tabular Editor is the answer to the gap in developer tools and experience. Even 6 years ago, Tabular Editor 2 was already better for professional developers than anything from Microsoft. This gap has only widened with the launch of Tabular Editor 3. The Tabular model (whether in Power BI or SSAS) is a highly structured environment with two programming languages. Structure is amenable to advanced and powerful manipulations with the right tools. Programming languages require sophisticated environments for best programmer productivity. These innovations are coming from Tabular Editor, and I am so very excited to advance the state of the developer experience.

The second is operational tooling.

Getting things built and into production is only the first step. There is a whole world of operations that is completely opaque in Power BI, especially. Last year, I cofounded and launched Argus PBI to address this opacity. We build the monitoring and integrate the telemetry data necessary to operate Power BI effectively at scale.

My work

My professional goal is to advance the conversation and practice of professional development and operations of BI solutions in the Microsoft world. I will be splitting my time between Tabular Editor and Argus PBI to accomplish this goal. The platform is robust, but we need better practices and better tools.

As always, feel free to get in touch.