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Data Savvy

Meagan Longoria is a business intelligence consultant with BlueGranite in Denver, CO where she shares her expertise in Microsoft BI and data warehousing through solution envisioning, architecture design, solution development, training, and blogging. She is a speaker at user groups and conferences across the country.

Violin Plots in Power BI

In case you aren’t familiar, I would like to introduce you to the violin plot.

A violin plot is a nifty chart that shows both distribution and density of data. It’s essentially a box plot with a density plot on each side. Box plots are a common way to show… Read more

6 comments, 787 reads

Posted in Data Savvy on 14 February 2019

How Many Data Gateways Does My Azure BI Architecture Need?

It’s not always obvious when you need a data gateway in Azure, and not all gateways are labeled as such. So I thought I would walk through various applications that act as a data gateway and discuss when, where, and how many are needed.

Note: I’m ignoring VPN gateways and… Read more

3 comments, 796 reads

Posted in Data Savvy on 7 February 2019

Join me for the PASS Data Expert Series Feb 7

I’m honored to have one of my PASS Summit sessions chosen to be part of the PASS Data Expert Series on February 7. PASS has curated the top-rated, most impactful sessions from PASS Summit 2018 for a day of solutions and best practices to help keep you at the top… Read more

0 comments, 108 reads

Posted in Data Savvy on 6 February 2019

The Necessary Extras That Aren’t Shown in Your Azure BI Architecture Diagram

When we talk about Azure architectures for data warehousing or analytics, we usually show a diagram that looks like the below.

Modern DW Architecture https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/solutions/architecture/modern-data-warehouse/

This diagram is a great start to explain what services will be used in Azure to build out a solution or platform. But many times,… Read more

5 comments, 2,042 reads

Posted in Data Savvy on 11 January 2019

Tab Order Enhances Power BI Report Accessibility

Like a diamond in the sky.
How I wonder what you are!
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
Up above the world so high,
How I wonder what you are!

Confused?

You were probably expecting a different order. Order is an important element when singing a song or… Read more

1 comments, 137 reads

Posted in Data Savvy on 26 December 2018

Power BI Visual Usability Checklist

At PASS Summit, I presented a session called “Do Your Data Visualizations Need a Makeover?”. In my session I explained how we often set ourselves up for failure when conducting explanatory data visualization before we ever place a visual on the page by not preparing appropriately, and I provided tips… Read more

3 comments, 2,455 reads

Posted in Data Savvy on 15 November 2018

Learning Better Presentation Skills (T-SQL Tuesday #108)

This month’s T-SQL Tuesday is hosted by Malathi Mahadevan (@SqlMal). The topic is to pick one thing I would like to learn that is not SQL Server.

I’m going to go a different direction than I think most people will. I spend a lot of time learning… Read more

1 comments, 2,029 reads

Posted in Data Savvy on 13 November 2018

Data Factory V2 Activity Dependencies are a Logical AND

Azure Data Factory V2 allows developers to branch and chain activities together in a pipeline. We define dependencies between activities as well as their their dependency conditions. Dependency conditions can be succeeded, failed, skipped, or completed.

This sounds similar to SSIS precedence constraints, but there are a couple of… Read more

4 comments, 1,700 reads

Posted in Data Savvy on 3 October 2018

Join Me At PASS Summit 2018

The PASS Summit 2018 schedule has been published, and I’m on it twice! On Monday, November 5, I am giving a full-day pre-con with Melissa Coates on Designing Modern Data and Analytics Solutions in Azure.  We’ll have presentations, hand-on labs, and open discussions about architecture options in Azure… Read more

0 comments, 246 reads

Posted in Data Savvy on 6 September 2018

Considerations for Using Layout Images in Power BI

Using layout images in Power BI has become a popular design trend. When I say layout images, I’m referring to background images with shapes around areas where visuals are placed. This is different from the new wallpaper feature that became available in the July release, which can be used to… Read more

2 comments, 1,904 reads

Posted in Data Savvy on 28 July 2018

Power BI Report Accessibility Checklist

In many cases, some small changes can go a long way in making your Power BI reports more accessible for users with different abilities. The checklist below lists considerations you should make in your report design to create more inclusive reports. I’ll update this post as new features are released. Read more

5 comments, 1,030 reads

Posted in Data Savvy on 7 June 2018

Choosing a Color Palette For Your Power BI Report

Color is a powerful attribute in data visualization. In a good visualization, it can focus attention and enhance meaning and clarity. When color is used poorly, it creates clutter and confusion. Power BI has a default color palette, but it isn’t always optimal or even appropriate for many reports. Luckily,… Read more

4 comments, 2,038 reads

Posted in Data Savvy on 27 May 2018

Thoughts and Lessons Learned From A Power BI Embedded POC

I worked on a Power BI embedded POC where a report with an in-memory Power BI model as the dataset was embedded into an application in an “app owns data” scenario. This means that the application handles all authentication and access, and users do not need to be… Read more

8 comments, 2,590 reads

Posted in Data Savvy on 25 April 2018

Please join me for my PASS Summit Pre-Con with Melissa Coates

I’m excited to announce that I’m joining forces with Melissa Coates (aka SQL Chick) to do a full-day PASS Summit Pre-Conference Session this year!

We’ll be talking about Designing Modern Data and Analytics Solutions in Azure.

Many traditional data warehousing professionals as well as other data engineers are… Read more

0 comments, 634 reads

Posted in Data Savvy on 12 April 2018

Four Easy Things You Can Do Now To Make Your Power BI Reports More Accessible

Accessibility is often overlooked or ignored when it comes to reporting and data visualization. I think there are two reasons why:

  • We often don’t consider user scenarios with which we aren’t familiar. If we don’t know someone with color blindness/low vision/dyslexia/repetitive strain injuries, we don’t understand the difficulties they might…

Read more

4 comments, 999 reads

Posted in Data Savvy on 9 March 2018

Power BI Screen Reader Accessibility

I recently wrote a post on the BlueGranite blog called Improving Screen Reader Accessibility in Power BI Reports. It contains some good reasons why accessibility should be considered when it comes to usability features of any web property or data viz. And it shares several tips to make your… Read more

5 comments, 1,859 reads

Posted in Data Savvy on 6 February 2018

Ten Ways To Help Your BI Consultant Be Successful

I’ve been working in the field of business intelligence for over ten years, as a consultant for over five years. One thing I’ve learned from that time is that consultants need the client’s help to complete a project on time and on budget. Even if the consultants are doing the… Read more

2 comments, 2,715 reads

Posted in Data Savvy on 30 January 2018

Design Concepts For Better Power BI Reports Part 5: Affordances

Affordances are a general design concept that comes from physical product design but can be applied to visual design. I first learned about affordances from the book The Design of Everyday Things. The book describes affordances as the following.

“Affordances provide strong clues as to the operations of things…… Read more

2 comments, 461 reads

Posted in Data Savvy on 28 December 2017

Design Concepts For Better Power BI Reports Part 4: The Squint Test

Data visualization should be iterative. You should get a good initial draft put together and then check to make sure it meets your success criteria. Then check the design to ensure it it effectively conveys information in a manner that is easy for your audience to consume. You can then… Read more

6 comments, 694 reads

Posted in Data Savvy on 22 December 2017

Design Concepts for Better Power BI Reports Part 3: Gestalt Principles

The Gestalt principles of visual perception describe how humans tend to organize visual elements into groups or unified wholes to help us make sense of visual stimuli. Basically, we perceive the visual world as complete objects rather than a bunch of independent elements.

For instance, you probably see a triangle… Read more

2 comments, 549 reads

Posted in Data Savvy on 18 December 2017

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