Gartner Report – Power BI is Magic Quadrant Leader

Gartner Report - BI Magic Quadrant
Gartner Report – BI Magic Quadrant

I recently read this Gartner report which identifies Power BI as the Business Intelligence leader above Tableau, Qlik, Domo and ThoughtSpot based on:

  • Agile, centralized BI provisioning
  • Decentralized analytics
  • Governed data discovery
  • Embedded analytics
  • Extranet deployment

I found their deeper focus on various data source connectivity options, data storage and loading, augmented data discovery, natural language query, mobile and sharing to be spot on with what I find in the field.

What surprised me is iDashboards didn’t make the study and Domo is classified as a niche player.

Finally, the Identified strengths of Power BI:

  • Low price with positive sales experience
  • Ease of use for complex types of analysis
  • Comprehensive product vision

CEO Exec Forum – Office 365 and Power BI

Recently I gave 2 presentations to the CEO Executive Forum at their semi-annual meeting; this time located in Detroit. The first was on Connectivity and Collaboration, the 2nd on Metrics, Reports and Dashboards. These focus on Office 365 and Power BI, including SharePoint and middleware.

Connectivity and Collaboration

For Connectivity and Collaboration, we focused on how as humans we need to make connections between things, and between things and people. I then described some ways this is possible with Office 365, SharePoint, OneNote and Teams and middleware.

We worked on answering questions like:

Can we automate our business processes in Office 365?
What is the best way to manage documents?
How do I reduce data entry?

Metrics, Reports and Dashboards

During Metrics, Reports and Dashboards I took time to focus on the difference types of numbers to pay attention to, compared metrics to KPI’s and talked about what a dashboard should contain. There was some demonstrations including Power BI.

We worked on these questions:

What business metrics do I care about?
What numbers should I pay attention to?

I want to make the PowerPoint presentations available to the attendees of the conference and anyone else that finds the topics interesting.

Below are the 2 PowerPoint presentations you can download:

Connectivity and Collaboration

Metrics, Reports and Dashboards

Feel free to email or comment with questions or feedback.

Use App Step to Elevate Permissions in SharePoint Designer Workflows

Use App Step to Elevate Permissions in SharePoint Designer Workflows

Reason: Workflow is producing an error, access denied, ‘you do not have permission to’… This error can be seen when looking at the workflow online.

How to get past ‘Access denied’

Next the user should login to the SharePoint Site where the workflow was created.

Click on the gear then site settings.

Under Site Actions select Manage Site Features

Locate ‘Workflows can use app permissions’

If it is not activated, Click ‘Activate’

Permissions – Grant full control permissions to the workflow

Note: the workflow must already be created and published before full control permissions can be granted.

Click on the gear again, site settings

Under Users and Permissions select ‘Site App Permissions.

Copy the client section, located between the | and the @

Here’s a larger picture…

Navigate to the Grant Permission to an app page by browsing to the appinv.aspx page of the site.


http://hostname/the Site Collection/_layouts/15/appinv.aspx

Enter the client section, previously copied, into the App ID, select Lookup

You will be enabling all the workflows in this Site collection.

Paste the following code into the Permission Request XML field:

<AppPermissionRequests AllowAppOnlyPolicy=”true”>

<AppPermissionRequest Scope=”http://sharepoint/content/sitecollection/web” Right=”FullControl” />


Workflow  – Adding the App Step

Open SharePoint Designer

Locate the workflow

The App Step is now available in the workflow

Ribbon with App Step

The App Step can now be added as a step into the workflow:

Below is an example of how the App Step was set up.  This is our example, yours will be different.

It was created as a step within a stage.

This resolved the issue!

Nice article by Microsoft:

Custom Forms SharePoint Modern Experience

Custom Forms SharePoint Modern Experience

Finally! Form customization has made its way into SharePoint!

You have been tasked with creating a nice-looking form, let’s see how that’s done…

We will be working with a SharePoint List.

Go ahead and create your list, you already know how to do that.

Let me know when you’re done……

Ok let’s get started.

Note: you must be in SharePoint Modern Experience.

The option to create a custom form is located in the list settings. Navigate to the list settings and click on Form Settings.

Select ‘Use a custom form created in PowerApps’ or click on the link (Customize in PowerApps), click ok.

Keep this in mind just in case you decide to return to the default SharePoint form. I can’t imagine going back after you’ve created an amazing custom form!  

Of course, you know as well as I do there is more than one way to do anything in SharePoint.

So, here’s another way…

Simply navigate to the list and click on the down arrow next to PowerApps, then select Customize Forms.


You can skip the Welcome option, or if you prefer click on the links, there’s a lot of good information in there. I’m going to skip that for now…

Ok you’ve landed on the form. Right now it’s just a basic form.

On the left you see the name of the Screen, the form name and all the fields from the list that make up the form. On the right you see the ability to work with properties, rules, and advanced.


Let’s change the theme!

Select the form by clicking on the form name on the left.

After selecting the down arrow next to Theme there are various options to choose from.

Go ahead play around to see what you like…  yes, I’m still here!

You’ve made a selection… You like it but you want more. Let’s try creating a label for the form.

Drag the top part of the form down to make room for a label. Now let’s add the label…


On the top navigation click on Insert / Label.

The label will appear somewhere on the form. Yup there it’s at the top of the form.

With the label still selected let’s change the text, type something in there that will identify the form.

You can center the wording and give it some color, change the fill color, the options are endless.

Go ahead and create your masterpiece!

Now isn’t that nice?   Much better than the OOTB form.

How does the form look when adding an item? Let’s see…

Thanks Microsoft!





Setup Scan to Email

To scan to email from an HP printer there are 2 major steps:

  1. Run the Scan to E-mail Wizard
  2. Configure the printer/scanner

Follow the below detailed instructions; I’m using a HP Officejet Pro 8610 and Office 365 email.

Run the Scan to E-mail Wizard

  1. Run the HP Officejet Pro Software
    1. This can be downloaded from HP if it’s not on the local computer already
  2. Run the Scan to E-mail Wizard
    1. HP Printer Software
  3. Add a new Outgoing Email Profile
    1. Add email address, name and PINScan to Email Setup
    2. Click Next
    3. Configure the SMTP Settings; I’m using Office 365
      1. Server:
      2. Port: 587
      3. SSL/TLS: Checked
      4. Enter O365 User ID and PasswordSMTP Setup
    4. Click Next
    5. Optional include sender checkbox
    6. Click Save and Test
    7. HP Email Profiles

Configure the Printer/Scanner

  1. Tap the printer touch screen
    1. Tap Scan
  2. Tap Scan > Email
    1. Scan to Email
    2. From:
      1. Select the profile configured in section aboveSelect From Profile
    3. To > + (adding a new destination email account)
      1. Type in email addressEnter Email Address
      2. Save with name
    4. Subject:
      1. Optional
  3. Tap Start Scan to test the setup

There you have it. I use this when sending scans to SharePoint or MS Teams, as well as sending scans to other users emails. A nice use for this is scanning invoices and purchase orders directly to an Invoices or Purchase Orders Document Library in SharePoint. This can be done by leveraging Teams. See Laura Rogers great post on Teams and incoming email.

Communication Site

SharePoint Communication Site

Are you after a different kind of SharePoint experience?  Tired of the same old look and feel that the OOTB experience offers?  Well I agree, we need to create something more visually appealing and Microsoft has done just that, The Communication Site.  So how do we create a Communication Site?

Let’s get started…

Log into your Office 365 environment

Navigate to the SharePoint tile

Near the top middle section click on

A window will open, select Communication Site (or play around with the Team site if you want)

Select the design you want to create…

Selecting Topic, Showcase, or Blank from the dropdown will allow you to see the different layouts.

Give it a name, and a description, click Finish

Voila!  You’ve just created a Communication Site.  The Topic design will look like this when first created…

Click on Edit in the blue box on the right to begin editing.  Go ahead and customize your new site as you see fit.  Happy creating!


Dynamic Excel CUBEVALUE and CUBEMEMBER Functions

We recently ran into a situation where a client needed to change the filter in an Excel report that is using the CUBEVALUE and CUBEMEMBER functions. The report was built using a pivot table going against a cube. We then used Convert to Formulas so we could control the report format. This approach worked great for the current data, but lacked a simple way to update the report every month by selecting a new period from a drop down. After some struggles and some seemingly dead ends, we had enough information to solve the problem. Continue reading “Dynamic Excel CUBEVALUE and CUBEMEMBER Functions”