Friday, December 31, 2021

Closing Out On 2021

Well, this has certainly been an interesting year, to say the least.. 
I thought I'd write up my findings of 2021, and have a little look into the future as well.
And of course also for you all to keep me accountable for the goals I set in this post.


Let's start with the best topic.. 😁 I managed to write a whopping 6 (six!) blog posts this year, of which 4 are from this month.. That is actually the lowest for one year since I've started blogging in 2011.
My goal for next year is definitely to blog more, and more consistent! I think I already made a great start this month.


While I had some great speaking engagements online in 2021, with 7 presentations in total the number is not that high. But the winner is definitely Power BI Next Step in Copenhagen, the first (and for me only) in-person event in 2021! It was great to be back and physically meet and see friends again. Also, the road trip with Marc (@MarcLelijveld | b) & his girlfriend was quite fun.
I also have some plans for new presentations, and even have an in-person (new) presentation planned at DataGrillen!


This was certainly the highlight of 2020 and 2021, because on July 1st 2021, I received the great e-mail that I was (re-)awarded Microsoft Most Valuable Professional in the Data Platform category for the 2nd consecutive year.
I've already learned so much from all the conversations and e-mails with other MVP's. And of course the direct links to the (Power BI) product teams are amazing!
Thanks again to Jan Mulkens, Marc Lelijveld and Rishi Sapra for supporting me on this track.


While I do read a lot of blog posts to keep up with all the news in the Power BI and Power Platform world, I think I didn't actually finish any books this year. I do have 3 books still in progress at the moment which I started recently. I want to read a bit more and also more regularly next year.
I also managed to do 2 exams in the first week of 2021: I passed both DA-100 and PL-900 in one day! 🥳


Just over 2 years ago I started as a member of the local athletics club, with training on a running track once a week. That helped me a lot in getting more regular in running. In 2020 I ran 1250 km, which was way more than I ever did. However, my goal for 2021 is set to 1800 km! And I managed to beat that 1800th km on this final day of the year! 🎉

I also wanted to get a half marathon under 90 minutes, but that didn't go as planned. I got stuck at just over 92 minutes. That's a nice goal to finish next year!

The motivation of my fellow runners on Twitter (#runhappy) helped me a lot, so THANK you!

So, What's Next?

2022 will also bring about another big change. As you already may have noticed, next month will be my last month at Van Lanschot Kempen.
On February 1st I will join Powerdobs as their Unit Lead Power BI! It's a small consultancy company, located in Den Bosch, focused on the (Azure) Data Platform and Power BI.
So out of my comfort zone, back into consultancy. More focus on Power BI, but also the connecting parts on the Azure data platform, so I wouldn't be surprised if there are going to be some posts and/or certifications around that.

I wish everyone the best, a happy new year, and good health for you and your loved ones in 2022!


Friday, December 24, 2021

Power Query Trick: Remove (Only) Leading/Trailing Zeroes From Text

Just before the holidays start, I'd like to share this little trick I came across in Power Query.

I recently had the need to remove zeroes (but it can be any character) from the beginning of a column.
Turns out there's a perfect function for that :-)

The documentation isn't totally clear about this, but for the 2nd parameter (trim) you can add a character you want to have trimmed. The description only mentions whitespace, but you can enter any character in that parameter.

On a side note, I got this nice documentation page inside Power Query by using the #shared function, which I blogged about here.


And in case you might need it, there's also a Text.Trim and Text.TrimEnd function:

Now onto an example, I created a text column with some values via Enter Data:

I have some combinations of text, numbers, leading and/or trailing zeroes and spaces.
For my 1st example I used Text.TrimStart to remove (only) leading zeroes.
I added a custom column and used the UI to add it like this:

This gives me this nice result:

Only zeroes at the start are trimmed, no spaces or zeroes at other places. Great, exactly what I needed!

I also had a look at the other functions and their workings I mentioned:

In case you want to test it yourself, I put the M code I used in my GitHub.


I hope you found this one useful, let me know if you already use this or are going to in the future!

This (hopefully) might not be my last post of the year 😀, but just to be sure:

Merry Christmas 🎄🎅, a great new year 🎆 and happy holidays to you all!

Friday, December 3, 2021

My Favorite Power BI Desktop November Updates

It's already 2 weeks ago that it came out, but I'd like to highlight a few of my top additions to Power BI Desktop in November, being:

  • The New Format Pane
  • Page and Bookmark Navigators
  • The Scorecard Visual
  • The new Google Sheets Connector

New Format Pane

The first one being the introduction of the New Format Pane.
Because it is still in preview, you have to explicitly enable this feature in the options: File > Options and settings > Options > Preview Features > New format pane.
I especially like the merged font settings, but there's a ton of new features there, so be sure to check out the blog post (Introduction of the New Format Pane (Preview)) for all the updates. Also be aware there's a few known issues mentioned at the bottom of that blog post.

Page and Bookmark Navigators

O. My. God. Page and Bookmark navigators is going to save everyone so, much, time!
For example, creating page navigation is now just a click (ok, actually 3 clicks) away. This not only creates a bookmark and button for every page, it also keeps them in sync, it matches the order of your pages, deleting a page will update the bookmarks.
Next to that, there's also a ton of formatting and padding options. Just awesome!
The only thing I'd love to see added, is the fact that the page navigator would replicate to all your pages and also keeping it in sync after that. Alright, I guess I'll head over to 😀

Scorecard Visual

This month's update also brings the new Scorecard visual in Power BI Desktop.
This will let you create a Scorecard and goals right inside Desktop.

Picture taken from the Power BI blog post

Just be aware that as of now, the visual might not behave as expected in Power BI Desktop yet. Creating a scorecard from Desktop isn't working yet, but the Power BI team is working on a fix (to the service) and it should be deployed very soon.
This is of course tied to all the updates in Power BI Goals this month, which was also covered more extensively in this blog post last month: More easily integrate goals into all your business processes.
Updates include (a.o.):
  • Goal level permissions
  • Power Automate integration
  • Moving goals in your scorecard (drag & drop)
  • Adjusting columns in the scorecard view

New Connector: Google Sheets

Starting this month you can now easily connect to a Google Sheet with this new connector. You only need the Google sheet URL, authenticate through OAuth and you're done! And the Power BI team listened to you, because it was the most upvoted connector-related idea on the ideas site.

Wrap Up

And if you really, like really, want to keep those pie charts in your reports, you might wanna check out the update to the Pie and donut chart rotation. 😆 If you're not sure why I'm saying this, go read this paper by Stepen Few: Save the pies for dessert

That's all for now. Go download the November update of Power BI Desktop and play with all the good stuff! Let me know what you think are the best added features.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Finding (and Keeping) Motivation Is Hard - You Are Not Alone

Hello, and welcome to my new blog.
All jokes aside, it's really been a while since I last wrote published a blog post..
I just didn't have the power or motivation to finish any post.
I'm even wondering if I do have it now.
I did start quite a few posts, but they very soon became a bit too long, or I lost attention.
And after one or 2 writing sessions I just stopped and moved on, to the next post I wouldn't finish.
That's been going off and on for about a year I guess.
I wrote published 2 posts in 2021 so far, that says it all.

After finishing the actual Power BI post and this prelude, I decided to split them up into 2 separate posts.
This post has become more of a motivation/#pbifamily post, the second part is about the November 2021 Power BI Desktop update.
This does mean you'll have to wait a bit longer for an in-depth Power BI post. But that actually gives me the chance to create another post in a very short time frame. 😀

But... We're all in this together

Going to Power BI Next Step in September, and all the fun and learnings I had, really did get my attention and created some sparks for new energy on writing and speaking, even on new topics. But as you have guessed, that also didn't quite come through all the way.

I guess doing a major home improvement project also doesn't help, right?
Eventually, it turned out really great, I'm writing this blog post out of my new office! The office is not quite finished all the way yet, and there's still a lot of work to do before everything is finished, but a major step up already!


I also get a lot of help from and inspiration for running in these times, from all my buddies at #runhappy:

Thank you for that, Erin, Bradley, Thomas, Wolfgang, Ben, Jim, Michael, Kasper, Craig, Magnus, Leslie, Lynn, Koen, Monica, Taiob, Mohammad, and others that occasionally join!

It's important to get new energy, in whatever way you do that. I love to go running 150k+ per month and have regular stand-up or lunch walks, but do whatever suits you. Just make sure you go away from your screens once in a while every day. Go play with your kids/dog/cat/spouse for a few minutes 😉

You are not alone

Luckily I know I'm not alone in this, .
This tweet from yesterday actually sparked my interest in writing a new blog post:

That's why I do think that December can be a turnaround. Let's at least try, right? 😃

The End

I wrote this post almost in one go (alright, I was distracted a few times when searching for the tweets I wanted to embed 😀).
It's nowhere close to anything I've ever posted.
Way out of my comfort zone.
But if it helps only one person, I'm happy.
And if not, it actually helped me already.

If you need motivation/help/anything: reach out.
Leave a comment here, on Twitter, on LinkedIn, in real life, whatever suits you.

Have a great day! 💛

Friday, September 24, 2021

Back In Business: Power BI Next Step

So, I did a presentation last Friday on Query Folding in Power BI.
It was at the Power BI Next Step conference.
You might think it was another online, like the 2.463.345th, webinar via Teams. But...


Meeting people again, having a chat and drink with other speakers, attendees and #pbifamily friends I haven't seen other then online... It was A-MA-ZING to be back at it! 

Because a few months ago there was still some uncertainty about all the rules, Marc, his girlfriend and me decided to take a road trip and go by car, which was pretty doable and actually quite fun.

I also went for a little run just after the conference!

We also had a lovely speaker dinner in the oldest restaurant in Copenhagen: Det Lille Apotek:

And on Saturday we finished it off with a little boat trip:


Slides and more...

The conference will send out all the slides, but if you can't wait for mine, you can find them at my GitHub page, or directly download the slides as PDF here.

During the conference, several people asked if the information from my session was also available on my blog somewhere, which actually is not (yet 😀).

So with renewed energy from the conference, I'm announcing my next topic here:

A blog series on Query Folding!

Keep an eye out for the first part in the next weeks!

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Power Platform 2021 Release Wave 1 Plan

The Power Platform 2021 Release Wave 1 Plan has just been released!

You can go to the plan in the documentation (here) or download the detailed PDF (here).

I'd like to give you a quick summary of what I think are the most exciting features coming up in this wave. Remember though that this plan focusses on the period from April to September 2021, so features releasing before that will not be taken into account here. For example: Object-level security is a feature planned for Public preview in February 2021. For a complete overview have a look at the 2020 release wave 2 plan.

My primary job focus is with Power BI and Power Platform governance, so as you may understand, the majority of features will be in that direction.

I also display the Public Preview (PP) and General Availability (GA) dates here, just to have a complete overview. Please be aware that this is a post on my blog that is accurate at the time of writing. For the most recent status of features please go to the 2021 Release Wave 1 Plan.

A little disclaimer before we start: Because this post lists features that may not have released yet, delivery timelines may change, and projected functionality may not be released. For more information, go to Microsoft policy.

Power BI

For an overview of all Power BI related new and planned features, go here. These are my favorites:

OLS permissions for dataflow entities (PP - | GA May 2021)
This will allow you to give permissions to specific entities inside a dataflow, so you don't have to share the whole dataflow anymore.

View permissions for dataflows (PP May 2021 | GA - )
This allows owners of a dataflow to give view permissions, so users can browse entities in a dataflow. Combined with the previous feature, you can now share a specific entity with view access.

Workspace level refresh for datasets and dataflows (PP May 2021 | GA - )
This is HUGE! This feature will take care of refreshing all artifacts inside a workspace, also taking care of dependencies and orchestration of those refreshes.

Deployment pipelines - dataflows support (PP May 2021 | GA - )
This feature describes itself, although there are 3 sub features mentioned:

  • A way to visually compare the code between 2 versions of a dataflow
  • Deploy dataflows through the stages
  • (!)Maintain the relationship between dataflows and datasets through the pipeline

Background validation for dataflows (PP - | GA April 2021)
When saving a dataflow, the validation will no longer be blocking for the UI and be performed in the background.

Data lineage, impact, and API enhancements (PP April 2021| GA - )
While there are a few capabilities already available (lineage view in the workspace, dataset impact analysis), the below will also be added:

  • Composite models in lineage view
  • Admin API's to scan artifacts and lineage cross tenant
  • An API that returns the list of workspaces that changed since the last API call
  • Extending Service Principal authentication for Power BI read-only API's

Power Automate

For an overview of all Power Automate related new and planned features, go here. These are my favorites:

Improved onboarding experiences for new users (PP March 2021 | GA April 2021)

Improved licensing and usage visibility for Power Automate environments and tenants (PP March 2021 | April 2021)
This visibility will be provided in the Power Platform Admin Center (PPAC) and the flow analytics page.

Admin reports to show API usage for users and flows (PP April 2021 | GA - )
There will be license reports in the PPAC to view the API usage of flows and users, giving admins the capability to determine when flows or users are approaching usage limits.

Governance capabilities to prevent data loss (PP April 2021 | GA - )
There will be more governance capabilities in the PPAC including:

  • Connector restrictions
  • Connector action restrictions
  • Endpoint filtering
  • Restrictions for sharing connections

Governance and administration

For an overview of all governance and administration related new and planned features, go here. These are my favorites:

Power Platform tenant isolation support (PP April 2021 | GA - )
Enable/Disable tenant isolation using self-serve capability through the PPAC. Previously, we had to create a support ticket to enable tenant isolation.

User security configuration experiences in PPAC (PP April 2021 | GA - )
Managability of users and security will be better and centralized in PPAC, with a modern and intuitive UI for environments with a Dataverse database. Also AAD-groups will be included in the security role assignments

Tenant scope admin report for Power Apps usage (PP April 2021 | GA - )
Power Platform service admins will be able to understand usage with metrics like Monthly Active Users (MAU), the kind of engagement with new and return users, and also the list of apps in use and not in use at the tenant.

Tenant-level admin reports for flow usage (PP April 2021 | GA - )
Similar to the previous feature, but now for Power Automate. This will also provide useful insights, primarily in the field over number of (successful and failed) runs, number of makers and also total flows, number of flows created in the last 30 days, etc.

Data Integration

For an overview of all data integration related new and planned features, go here. These are my favorites:

Data source management enhancements (PP - | GA September 2021)
This is a LOOOONG awaited feature, at least from my side! :-) While the PPAC now already shows Power BI gateway data sources in read-only mode, centralizing the management will be enhanced further, a.o. by:

  • visibility of the username and service principals of a data source,
  • a new field called Data source description,
  • Installed date, and Last used date for the gateway,
  • and support to use groups instead of users. 

Email Alerts (PP - | GA September 2021)
For me, the best enhancement here is to set up email alerts to notify for updating to a newer version of the gateway.

Reuse and share queries across Power Query clients with Power Query templates (PP September 2021 | GA - )
While not immediately helpful for me (because I don't work that much with PQ), I do see the great potential for this feature!


All-in all a great set of features to be working on. I can't wait to get my hands on them!

Next to all this Power Platform goodness, there's also a lot going on in Dynamics 365, if you're interested have a look here.

Let me know what your favorite feature is or if you think I missed anything important!

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