Seeing signs of Power BI everywhere

by | Aug 23, 2018

There is no doubting the growing recognition of the importance data is playing in the growth of modern businesses, or more accurately the intelligent collection, management and use of relevant business data.

As a business Circyl works with clients to help them get at the right data, understand it, share it and exploit it, typically using the Microsoft Office app, Power BI.

It’s easy to claim we never stop thinking about Power BI and data, but it’s different when it’s shown to have invaded your subconscious, ready to appear at a moment’s notice; even when you’re away from the office on a family holiday in France and meant to have left work far behind.

And so it proved, as I drove through the picturesque south west of France. Heading south on the A63, we came into the lovely small town of Saint-Geours-de-Maremne (well worth a visit if you’re down that way), when we came across this signpost with directions to surrounding towns.

Turn left for DAX

My wife remarked we should head to Bayonne, the jewel of France’s Basque Country, famed for its narrow medieval streets, but my attention was drawn immediately to the signpost for DAX.

For the tourists and Francophiles, it is an ancient spa town renowned for its hot springs, with a stunning fountain in the town centre pumping out thousands of gallons of hot water every day.

All of which is lovely and don’t get me wrong, turning left for DAX was a good choice. But to me DAX means ‘Data Analysis Expressions’ and is the reporting language that underpins Power BI.

I know it now sounds a bit nerdy, but at the time it was my first thought, not let’s drive to DAX and enjoy the town’s ancient past, which appears in ancient walls in parks or in a subterranean museum with a monument found in only a couple of places in the Roman world.

A functional language

Fortunately, I kept the personal meaning of DAX to myself and prevented the day being ruined. I’m safe at work discussing how as DAX is a functional language, the full executed code is contained inside a function.

And that functions can contain other, nested functions, conditional statements and value references. I even have colleagues who are as impressed by the execution in DAX starting from the innermost function or parameter and working outward – I’m confident my family would be less impressed.

Luckily, I was able to keep DAX my own guilty secret and enjoy the sunshine, without another thought for how DAX allows you to pass entire tables between expressions, rather than being limited to a single value – oops, there I go again.

Remember, if you share my love of data, DAX and Power BI, please get in touch, so we can discuss what you want to achieve in your business.

If however, you love the sound of the ancient French town of DAX and hope to visit there on holiday, also get in touch, I know a fabulous restaurant that does the most amazing ‘filet mignon de porc’.