Contidis gets the data it needs to open a superstore chain in Angola.

Connecting Power BI to SAP HANA to make sure a $400M superstore chain in Angola always makes the right decisions.

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The client:

Contidis is an investment group building the Candando superstore chain in Angola. With over US $400 million in investment capital, Candando means not only big business but also thousands of new jobs, the livelihood of local producers and general access to groceries in a struggling economy. Contidis plans on opening 10 Candando superstores by 2021 but its drive is built on the back of a cautious philosophy: open a store, learn what works and what needs to change, adjust and repeat.

The problem:

Before opening its first Candando store, Contidis started building a business intelligence (BI) model with tools in its SAP for Retail solution. However, IT staff was taking too long to build reports and data was so scarce business users weren’t able to make informed decisions. The application was far from matching Contidis’s ambition and holding the entire business back.

The challenge:

Far from pleased with the setbacks caused by their BI model, Contidis asked DevScope to design a Power BI solution that could handle all their data needs: an agile platform that could grow as their users move from one challenge to the next.

Luckily, DevScope’s approach was not that different from Contidis’s:

“We like to start small, listen to users, modify the solution in order to solve their problems and scale it to ensure stability.”

– Rui Romano, BI Team Manager at DevScope

Excel was the tool of choice to connect Power BI with data from Contidis’s SAP application, which ran on Amazon Web Services (AWS). DevScope proceeded to connect Power BI to the SAP HANA warehouse in AWS and, within 1 month, over 100 employees at Contidis – including managers and store personnel – were using the BI solution to include data from store inventory, product pricing, purchases and promotions in their reports.

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There was still plenty of work to do, though: users were experiencing slower response times, file location was making mobile access to reports a hassle and Power BI couldn’t handle data comparison between Excel files and those in the SAP HANA database. In order to increase performance and circumvent these issues, Contidis needed a single source of information for business intelligence. DevScope opted for building a data warehouse with Azure SQL Database and create a custom PowerShell ETL framework to move data to the cloud. This solution also allowed to configure refresh rates for every table in the warehouse so Candando could access sales data by the hour.

In order to control data access, DevScope implemented a dynamic security model with Azure Analysis Services and Azure Active Directory, ensuring customized BI-access privileges for every user. We also introduced standardized reports and dashboards that help optimize operations (such as sales comparisons that help determine how discounts drive revenue) as well as alerts for unusual balances in order to detect fraud.

Competitive pricing can make or break a new player in the retail market and in order to understand how Candando’s value stacked against its competitors, DevScope built a handy Power BI solution that allowed employees to scan a product’s barcode at any retailer and instantly compare its price to Candando’s using their smartphones. In the near future, this feature will also be able to send data to the Azure warehouse and immediately integrate comparative pricing on a sales report.

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These reports allow users to filter views and add the information of their choice such as store location, date, transaction, product, inventory levels, and product orders. Since the solution is so scaleable, Contidis can easily add more users and reports, and save data for the long term, gaining useful insights on trends.

“The first Candando store has been open for less than a year. We already have 14 million records in Azure and adding information about 10.000 sales transactions every day. Even though our data is growing exponentially, we can continue to scale the cloud-based Power BI model to meet long-term requirements.”

– Renato Correia, CTO, Contidis

Automated alerts for IT staff and business users can also be configured with Power BI. For example, if a product isn’t selling, the appropriate people will be alerted in order to act on it as soon as possible. Among the many advantages of using Power BI and Azure Analysis Services is the solutions’ scaleability. Just like Contidis’s expansion plans, DevScope’s solutions started small and scaled up as needed. This allowed Contidis to pay for only what they needed and save money in the process.

“We noticed people weren’t using the service in the middle of the night so we just deployed a script that automatically scales Azure services up and down and turns them on and off depending on traffic and usage. Just by turning our BI service off for 4 hours a night, we’ll save an estimate 3.600€/year. This may seem insignificant to some, but it’s very relevant to us. This change supports our energy-efficient culture and in the long run these savings will be substantial.”

– Renato Correia, CTO, Contidis

The results:

Contidis opened the first Candando superstore in May 2016. Its success has been replicated twice and over 1.000 new jobs were created in Angola in the process. Contidis’s plan is to open an additional 7 stores by 2021.
Thanks to Power BI and Azure, Contidis’s IT staff spends less time creating reports and business users can access all the data they need in order to run their stores and fulfill the company’s ambition.

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“Since we implemented our Power BI solution in Azure, we’ve noticed a big improvement in business insight and efficiency. Our IT staff spends less time creating reports and our business users have a lot of autonomy, accessing and creating BI whenever they need to, be it from our portal or using mobile devices, including phones and tablets. Our continued growth is due to many factors – and Power BI is one of them.”

– Renato Correia, CTO, Contidis

Products used:

Main team:

  • Rui Romano – Architect
  • Joana Barbosa – Senior Developer & Team Lead
  • Fabio Batista – Developer
  • Andreia Graça – Developer
  • Bruno Ferreira – Developer & Trainer
  • Luis Tiago – Intern/Junior

Other collaborators:

  • Ruben Cunha – Developer
  • João Pires – Developer

References:

 

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SmartDocumentor highlighted on the MSDN Blog Logic App Team

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We are proud to announce that our article about Processing Feedback Evaluations (paper) with SmartDocumentor (OCR), Logic Apps, Azure Functions & Power BI written by our own Sandro Pereira was published by the influent blog: blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/logicapps from the MSDN Blog Logic Apps Team. See the article here:

In this article Sandro explain how he was able to use SmartDocumentor (OCR) and easily extend it using Microsoft cloud serverless technologies like: Azure Logic Apps, Azure Functions and Power BI, to process Events Feedback Evaluations forms that he recently organized to be able, in real time, to produce interactive dashboards on Power BI, in other words, how he was able to easily converted paper into data in order to generate additional value and gain insights over it.

If you want to know more about our product SmartDocumentor have a look here: http://www.smartdocumentor.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free Power BI Tiles Pro NFR license for Microsoft MVPs

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Congratulations to this year’s MVPs who have recently received their new designations!

And to recognize your valuable work in local and worldwide communities, DevScope is very pleased to provide a free Power BI Tiles Pro not-for-resale (NFR) license (for 1 year) to all Microsoft Most Value Professional (MVP).

This NFR license will give you unlimited access to:

  • Power BI Tiles Pro Desktop for Office: These are Office Add-ins that allows you to embed your, or your team’s Power BI Visuals into your PowerPoint presentations, Word documents and Outlook Messages quickly and directly without leaving office in seconds.
  • Power BI Tiles Online: This is an online version of Power BI Tiles that will allow you to embed Power BI visualizations into office documents (Access Online, Excel 2013 Service Pack 1 (or higher), Excel Online, PowerPoint 2013 Service Pack 1 (or higher), PowerPoint Online).

To access this offer, you only have to submit this form. We will review your information and contact you to set up your account.

If you have any questions regarding Power BI Tiles Pro or this offer, just send us an email to support@devscope.net.

*By submitting your contact information, you authorize DevScope to contact you via email about its products, services and special offers. However, we respect your privacy and we will never sell your contact information and you are free to unsubscribe our newsletters at any time.

 

Power BI Tiles has a new desktop version with much cooler features

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We just released a new version of Power BI Tiles Pro  with some amazing new features:

  • Report Filters Now you can create variations of your PBI Reports by applying filters directly to the data. In all reports, the filters tab will be displayed by default.

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  • Microsoft PBI SDK update Microsoft released updates to its SDK and we are now using the latest versions. Enhanced functionalities enabled us to support filtering APIs.
  • Better and faster rendering We improved the rendering mechanisms and we are now experiencing much faster (+30%) refresh cycles.
  • Bug Fixing and overall improvements We fixed all reported bugs and refactored code to make it more stable and robust.

To enjoy all these newest additions, make sure you update your version of Power BI Tiles Pro or, if you are not a Power BI Tiles Pro user, do not miss the chance to install it.

Stop wasting time taking snapshots from your dashboards

Now you can:

  • Add Power BI visuals (dashboard tiles & reports) into your slide deck, Word document or Outlook message using high definition static images.
  • Maintain cropping or formatting, even while refreshing the underlining dashboards.
  • Navigate and preview your Power BI catalog without leaving your documents.
  • Automate the refresh process to ensure all images regenerate using the latest data in powerbi.com

For more information about our online and desktop version, please visit our website: http://www.powerbitiles.com

Embed your PowerBI visuals into PowerPoint easily

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We’ve just released PowerPoint SmartShapes for PowerBI, a Microsoft Office add-in that allows you to integrate Power BI dashboards and reports into your Office PowerPoint 2013 & 2015 presentations.

Now you’ll be able to embed Power BI visuals into a PowerPoint presentation and update/refresh them without losing all applied formatting. How awesome is that?

Download it now and try it for free with a 30-day trial.

Create a presentation and insert PowerBI Visuals

Just log in to your PowerBI account and select the visuals you want to insert.

Create a presentation and Insert PowerBI Visuals

Refresh and update visuals with just one click, keeping all formatting

Click the refresh button and update any previously inserted PowerBI visuals without losing any applied formatting.

Click the Refresh button and update any visual previously inserted with up to date data

 

 

 

Stay tuned for some updates over the next following days and feel free to contact us at support@devscope.net if you have any questions.

Power BI Workshop

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Aprenda a utilizar o Microsoft Power BI a partir do zero, abordando as três fases de um projeto em Power BI:

  • Extração e importação dos dados
  • Criação do modelo analítico
  • Design e publicação de Reports e Dashboards

O Microsoft Power BI é uma oferta SaaS (Software as a Service) da Microsoft que permite a qualquer pessoa facilmente criar valor a partir dos seus dados pessoais ou empresariais. Pensado e criado para ajudar as organizações a tirar o máximo partido dos seus dados independentemente da sua localização – on premise ou na cloud.

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Com o Power BI as organizações podem fornecer aos seus utilizadores um local centralizado e seguro para consumo de Dashboards e Relatórios. Com um clique, os utilizadores podem explorar os dados usando ferramentas intuitivas que facilitam a análise pretendida, sendo possível aceder a relatórios em qualquer lugar com as aplicações moveis Power BI que se atualizam em tempo real com qualquer alteração da informação.

No final do workshop terá a capacidade de dar vida e interatividade aos seus dados utilizando toda a stack do Microsoft Power BI.

Programa de formação

Dia 1
  • Introdução
  • Introdução PBI Desktop
    • Extração & Transformação de dados
    • Modelação
    • Reporting
  • Publicação p/ PowerBI.com
    • DataSets + Reports + Dashboards
  • PowerBI + Mobile
  • PowerBI + Excel
Dia 2
  • PBI Desktop Avançado
    • Extração & Transformação avançada
    • Modelação avançada
    • Reporting avançado
  • Colaboração e Partilha
Dia 3
  • Atualização de dados (gateways)
  • Segurança
  • PowerBI + R
  • PowerBI “Hacks”
  • Q&A
  • “Bring your own data”

Custos e outras informações

Custo: 350€ por pessoa (c/ mínimo de 5 pessoas)

Formação sob pedido, nas instalações próprias ou da DevScope.

Centros de formação interessados em oferecer este workshop como um curso público podem contactar-nos para mais informações.

Nota: Os valores não incluem taxas em vigor.

Global Azure Bootcamp returns to Portugal on April, 16

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The story about GlobalAzure Bootcamp is quite unique because it’s not just a Microsoft owned event but rather a cluster event with more than one hundred individual and independent community events that occur simultaneously on the same day each year, performing a one-day deep dive class to help thousands of people get up to speed on developing Cloud Computing Applications for Windows Azure. In addition to this great learning opportunity the hands-on labs will feature pooling a huge global compute farm to perform research for charity!

This year on April 16, once again and for the third consecutive year, this event will be held in Portugal and DevScope is proud that once again got invited to lead some sessions. Our two speakers are: Rui Quintino [Data Platform MVP] and Sandro Pereira [Azure MVP].

Azure Embedded Analytics with new Power BI Embedded Preview

In this session Quintino will talk about the new Azure Power BI Embedded Preview – Do you need  advanced analytics and state of art data visualization module for your apps? Seamless app integration including custom security/authentication? Easy to use dashboard authoring tool?  No upfront development costs? You can now leverage the Power of Power BI in your applications with Power BI Embedded Azure offering. In this session we’ll briefly review the amazing Power BI cloud platform, ISV & extensibility opportunities, and drill down on how to configure, use and operate Power BI Embedded.

The “Apps” World: Logic, API & Power

In this session Sandro will address what’s new in Azure App Services? And what is PowerApps? This session will show you new integration features available on Logic Apps and API Apps (for example the new Logic App Designer, Azure Functions and many more). How can we start using these new features that are still in preview, how you can use Azure Logic Apps to automate business processes without using code. And finally an introduction to PowerApps (still in private preview), what are they? And where we can use them?

Go for it and get one of the free seats for Global Azure Bootcamp 2016 – Lisboa! They are limited! The event will take place next April 16 at Microsoft Portugal (Rua do Fogo de Santelmo Lote 2.07.02) between 9.00 AM and 6.00 PM.

See you in Lisbon.