We know the product release notes from the vendors can be very detailed and overwhelming. So, we have outlined the major product updates you need to know about for Q4 2023, how these updates can impact you, how they can be applied, and other major news for key technologies within the data and analytics space.Snowflake ↵Databricks ↵dbt ↵BigQuery ↵Looker ↵Qlik ↵Tableau ↵Power BI ↵Sigma ↵SnowflakeQ4 2023 Product Release UpdatesSnowflake has introduced two significant updates this quarter: Snowpark Container Services and a revamp of Budgets and Cost Management. These enhancements are designed to streamline processes and provide better management capabilities within the Snowflake platform.Snowpark Container Services: This update introduces a fully managed service for managing and deploying containerized applications directly within Snowflake. It enables applications to utilize Snowflake’s compute and security features while ensuring data remains within the platform. This development is particularly beneficial for customers interested in integrating applications like ML models or lightweight apps within Snowflake. It represents a strategic extension of Snowflake’s capabilities beyond data storage, allowing for more efficient application management and development. Customers will experience reduced time spent on infrastructure management and more focus on development and testing, while also benefiting from streamlined data management without worrying about data ingress/egress. Budgets and Cost Management: The revamped Admin panel in Snowflake now offers better visibility into credit consumption, especially for large organizations with multiple accounts. This feature allows admins to set credit consumption limits and receive notifications as those limits approach. This improvement is a significant advancement for administrators, enabling them to proactively manage credit usage and prevent unexpected expenditures. Customers will find it easier to track and control cloud costs, identifying and addressing areas of high credit consumption. Q4 2023 Other NewsSnowflake Roadshow Events: Snowflake continues to foray into AI/ML. They boast their partnership with NVIDIA, and they continue to seek other avenues for customers to use their compute. While they started off as the data cloud, they’re starting to pivot to be a platform for data warehousing, data science, and data-driven apps. See Q3 2023 Updates for SnowflakeQ3 2023 Product Release UpdatesHere are a few highlights of new and updated features in Snowflake (either generally available or in preview) that we think are impactful to our customers. Budgets and Snowflake Alerts: Surprises on your Snowflake bills are a thing of the past. Budgets allow for account-level monitoring and credit usage notifications for groups of specific Snowflake objects. Credit usage notifications not only notify on exceeded budgets, but also when credit usage tracks to overspend — allowing for customers to react sooner and prevent overspending. Other types of alerts beyond budgets are available as well, both for notification and for performing actions. Table and Database Level Support for Tag-based Masking Policies: Leverage tag-based masking policies on databases and schemas in Snowflake when a data type of a column matches a data type of the policy set on a tag. This promotes data security and data governance because it allows for setting tag-based policies once compared to masking policies on every column in a database or schema. Dynamic Tables: In preview as of June 2023, Dynamic Tables are the building blocks of declarative data transformation pipelines. They significantly simplify data engineering in Snowflake and provide a reliable, cost-effective, and automated way to transform your data for consumption. Instead of defining data transformation steps as a series of tasks and having to monitor dependencies and scheduling, you can simply define the end state of the transformation using dynamic tables and leave the complex pipeline management to Snowflake. They could be especially useful as a datasource for applications that require near real-time data. Access Billing Usage Statements in Snowsight: Billing usage statements are available in Snowsight. In general, we want our customers to develop a habit of checking out the Snowflake Usage tab in Snowsight to monitor consumption, drill into specific organization, account, warehouse, and query levels to troubleshoot unexpected consumption patterns that appear on billing usage statements. If you need help with this, talk to us. Extensibility Updates for User-Defined Functions (UDFs) in Python: Extend Snowflake to perform operations that are not available from built-in system defined functions. Lots of feature enhancements happened around Snowpark Python, Python UDFs, Python UDTFs, and Python Stored Procedures this quarter to increase support for extensibility. If Snowflake can’t do it out of the box, you have increased options for how to extend support for customization. Network Rules: Snowflake now allows admins to create far more granular security controls with Network Rules. Previously, the only way to restrict access was through Network Policies, which are account-level objects that can allow or block IP addresses or CIDR blocks. Now, you can also specify cloud VPC endpoints. You can also specify if these are ingress or egress, which provides even more control over how Snowflake interacts with your VPC and users. Cross Platform Snowpipe Auto-Ingest Availability: Auto ingest is now available for event messages for AWS, GCP and Azure with Snowflake instances hosted in any of the supported platforms. This allows for multi-platform collaboration and integration of data sources. This update also includes the Amazon EventBridge general availability within Snowpipe Auto-Ingest. Streamlit Native Integration: Snowflake announced its acquisition of Streamlit in 2022, but up to this point apps had to be developed outside of Snowflake, tapping into the warehouse via a Snowpark connection. Now, Streamlit is a built-in option in the selection pane in Snowsight, and apps are saved within the Snowflake instance. With a few lines of Python, a developer can immediately spin up nice visualizations without the need to use a separate BI tool. See Q2 2023 Updates for SnowflakeQ2 2023 Product Release UpdatesAI Advancements in Snowflake with NVIDIA Partnership: Snowflake has introduced two promising AI features to their product roadmap: Snowflake Copilot and Document AI.Snowflake Copilot – a “comment to SQL” feature that will automatically generate a SQL statement based on user input (ie –show me daily revenue over the last 30 days) and Snowflake’s knowledge of user data.Document AI – Will allow users to ask questions about documents stored in Snowflake and automatically pull information from those documents. Could be ideal for document scraping and converting data from pdfs into something usable.These planned features, aimed to counter competitive advances from Databricks, Microsoft, and Google, are anticipated to enhance AI workloads run by customers on Snowflake.Streamlit Integration and Containerization: Certain third-party SaaS applications can be run within a container hosted in Snowflake, enhancing data security. This positions Snowflake ahead in the data management sector, particularly with increased industry focus on data privacy and security. For customers, this translates to a better integrated, secure environment for app development, thus potentially consolidating the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).Managed Iceberg Tables: With this feature, Snowflake users can now manage Iceberg table data using Snowflake’s compute resources. This allows Write operations and offers similar performance to Snowflake tables, providing a superior option to other read-only external table formats.Dynamic Tables: These offer advantages over traditional materialized views, including support for SQL syntax, incremental loading, enhanced UI support for table metrics, and dependency visualization.Snowpipe Streaming API: This API aids in supporting workloads requiring lower latency, allowing data to be loaded into Snowflake from Apache Kafka or custom Java applications.Snowflake Alerts: This feature, already being utilized by customers, allows alerts to be set up based on trigger conditions and frequencies, enabling proactive responses to data changes.A notable example of how Snowflake Alerts are being utilized: One of our clients had to monitor changes to their product setups constantly, as unanticipated modifications could impact their sales tracking and comparison capabilities. We set up Snowflake Alerts that notified them via email of any data quality issues on a daily basis, enabling them to review the changes and make any necessary corrections swiftly. This level of proactive management helps maintain data integrity and supports their business continuity efforts.Q2 2023 Other NewsSnowflake Roadshow Events: Snowflake is set to host local roadshow events this fall, offering a great opportunity for customers to explore the latest features and network with industry peers. We’ll be attending those to our closest locales like Chicago – more info to come once we see the final dates and locations announced.DatabricksQ4 2023 Product Release UpdatesDatabricks has introduced a few updates this quarter, focusing on enhancing workflow management and AI assistance, which are set to have a notable impact on how customers interact with the platform.New Control Flow Features in Databricks Workflows: The introduction of conditional task execution with if/then/else conditions and ‘run if’ dependencies marks a significant enhancement in Databricks’ workflow management capabilities. These features enable dynamic setting of values at runtime to determine subsequent task execution, providing a new level of flexibility and control. The addition of job parameters, available to all tasks at runtime, further enriches this functionality. This advancement positions Databricks as a more comprehensive solution for end-to-end pipeline development, reducing the need for external tools like Power Automate, Azure Data Factory, or GCP Workflows. For customers, this translates to a lowered barrier to entry for customizable workflows, simplifying what previously required the use of the Databricks Workflows API and custom code. Now, even complex conditional task executions can be managed directly within the Databricks Workflows UI, making the platform more accessible and user-friendly.Enabled Databricks AI Assistant Features in Workspaces: With AI assistant features now active by default in workspaces, Databricks is enhancing the user experience and developer efficiency. The AI-generated comments for Unity Catalog managed tables provide automated descriptions, aiding in understanding table structure and schema. The embedded Help Chatbot in the Databricks UI, linked to documentation and knowledge bases, offers an interactive way to access information. The Databricks Assistant in notebooks assists with programming tips and error message interpretation, streamlining the debugging process. These features are designed to boost productivity and ease the learning curve for new users, making Databricks’ platform more approachable and efficient. For many customers, this will be their first interaction with such AI-driven assistance, potentially revolutionizing their workflow with automated insights and streamlined access to information. See Q3 2023 Updates for DatabricksQ3 2023 Product Release UpdatesHere are some of the standout new and enhanced features in Databricks (either generally available or in preview), particularly those we have identified as being of significant value to our customers.Databricks Assistant – AI-based programming copilot (public preview): The Databricks Assistant works as an AI-based companion pair-programmer to make you more efficient as you create notebooks, queries, and files. It can help you rapidly answer questions by generating, optimizing, completing, explaining, and fixing code and queries. This is an important advancement for how your developers can securely use AI in their day-to-day jobs to be more efficient and create better work products.Unity Catalog Updates: Unity Catalog provides feature discovery and governance. Many important updates occurred to Unity Catalog over the quarter to continue to bolster Databrick’s enterprise feature demands from customers. For example, you can now apply tags to your securable objects in Unity Catalog. Tags help you organize securable objects and simplify search and discovery of your data assets. Tags are an important way for organizations to enforce data governance principles in a practical way within data platforms generally – Databricks supporting it in Unity Catalog is a great way to standardize tagging as best-practice.Delta Lake 3.0: Delta Lake 3.0 introduces significant enhancements. The standout feature is UniForm (short for Universal Format), which addresses limitations with Delta Lake in certain ecosystems. Previously, Delta Lake had some compatibility constraints, such as with BigQuery, which exclusively supported the Apache Iceberg data lakehouse format. Now, with Delta Lake 3.0, you can set a configuration option during table creation to incorporate Apache Iceberg or Apache Hudi metadata formats into your Delta Table. This enables compatibility with sources that exclusively support these formats, like BigQuery. UniForm ensures seamless integration with any ecosystem our clients employ, allowing Databricks and Delta Lake to adapt to diverse toolsets. Delta Lake 3.0 also now includes support for Apache Spark 3.5. See Q2 2023 Updates for DatabricksQ2 2023 Product Release UpdatesDelta Sharing & Marketplace: Databricks’ enhancement to Delta Sharing, launching the “Databricks Marketplace”, serves as a notable step in data monetization and sharing. Users can now share and/or monetize datasets, notebooks, and UDF(s) with consumers outside their organizations and across Workspaces. This innovation paves the way for businesses to monetize their data assets and streamline workflows across various teams and organizations. Customers looking to capitalize on their data assets or acquire new datasets for their projects will significantly benefit from this feature.UI Overhaul: The new UI overhaul from Databricks unifies platform offerings, enabling users to access the SQL warehouse, ML Models, and orchestration workflows from a single side pane. The update improves the user experience by reducing the fragmentation of resources, streamlining navigation and accessibility. Customers using Databricks for their Data Engineering and Machine Learning workflows will experience enhanced productivity and usability, saving time and simplifying tasks.Unity Catalog (US) Updates: Databricks has empowered users with the expansion of the Unity Catalog (UC), offering new capabilities such as ‘Volumes’, enhanced data lineage, and a UI space dedicated to Data Governance tools. These updates provide users greater control and visibility of their data assets within the UC’s three-tier namespace, making it easier to manage and monitor data. Customers can better manage their data assets, improve their data governance, and streamline their Machine Learning workflows, significantly enhancing efficiency and control.dbtQ4 2023 Product Release Updatesdbt has introduced a few updates to both dbt-core and dbt Cloud, aimed at enhancing data transformation and management capabilities. These updates reflect dbt’s commitment to leading in data transformation as code and strengthening their cloud product for enterprise use.dbt-core Version 1.7 (Questlove): The release of dbt-core 1.7 brings technical features that improve performance, such as enhanced source freshness calculation, new ways to produce dbt docs, and expanded functionalities for storing test failures and seed configurations. This release is part of dbt Labs’ strategy to reduce the frequency of minor releases, focusing more on in-depth testing and integrating more features into each release. This approach is responsive to customer usage patterns, as many are found to be behind by at least two versions. The implications for customers are clear: with more substantial updates in each release, organizations can expect more robust and feature-rich upgrades, encouraging timely adoption and maximizing the benefits of new versions.dbt Cloud Enhancements: dbt Cloud has seen several significant enhancements. The introduction of a generally available adapter for Microsoft Fabric is particularly noteworthy for Azure customers, offering improved integration capabilities. The dbt Cloud semantic layer, powered by MetricFlow, entering general availability, marks a major step forward in expanding dbt’s footprint in the modern data stack ecosystem. Another critical feature is the support for job retries from the point of failure, which is a strategic cost optimization feature. Previously, a job failure necessitated rerunning the entire job, but now, the process can resume from the failure point, saving time and compute resources. For enterprises, this means more efficient and cost-effective data management, especially for those scaling up their use of dbt Cloud.Q4 2023 Other NewsCoalesce Presentation: Take a look at the presentation at Coalesce (delivered by Analytics8 and Roche) on multi-project deployments.Upcoming dbt Meetup: The upcoming dbt Meetup in Chicago offers an excellent opportunity for community engagement and learning more about dbt’s evolving capabilities. See Q3 2023 Updates for dbtQ3 2023 Product Release UpdatesHere, we’ve outlined some of the most crucial new and updated features within dbt (either generally available or in preview), emphasizing those we think are poised to make a meaningful difference for our clients.dbt Mesh: dbt Mesh provides domain-level ownership with data governance seamlessly integrated, establishing a distinctive advantage by allowing organizations to easily adopt a multi-project architecture in contrast to competing solutions. This functionality enables distributed teams to break down extensive models, fostering collaboration across different units or departments and ensuring agility and interoperability.dbt Explorer: The launch of dbt Explorer in public preview presents a comprehensive view of all dbt assets, setting itself apart by prioritizing data discoverability and trust. The feature enhances resource location across multiple dbt projects, ultimately boosting user trust and efficiency in their data-related tasks.dbt Semantic Layer: Tackling an industry-wide challenge, dbt introduces its Semantic Layer to maintain consistent definitions across various analysis tools. This innovation collaborates with major partners like Tableau and Google, emphasizing the goal of uniform metric and query definitions. The outcome? Users experience a consistent, reliable data analysis environment irrespective of the tool in use. Talk to us if you’d like help to enable this feature in your current environment or plan.dbt Cloud CLI: dbt’s unveiling of the Cloud CLI in public preview offers users the flexibility to utilize their preferred development tools without being restricted to the in-browser IDE, making dbt a formidable competitor in the market. This feature enhances adaptability and efficiency for developers, allowing them to harness the power of dbt Cloud through their favored interfaces.Dedicated CI Jobs: By introducing Dedicated CI Jobs, dbt empowers users to select continuous integration for their job types, ensuring production changes won’t disrupt existing pipelines. This strategic move not only upholds best practice configurations but also keeps costs in check, ultimately benefiting organizations that prioritize robust, cost-effective data pipelines.Support for Microsoft Fabric and Azure Synapse Adapters: dbt’s new support in private preview showcases its adaptability and commitment to integrating with evolving platforms like Microsoft Fabric. While this collaboration is in its early stages, its importance is evident, marking a significant step toward comprehensive data solutions. The integration offers promise to users, hinting at a seamless data handling experience across platforms in the future.Q3 2023 Other NewsFor further insights, consider checking out Tyler from Analytics8 and Yannick from Roche’s talk at the dbt Coalesce.Check out last year’s dbt Coalesce discussion on dimensional modeling’s relevance, it continues to resonate with many on their modern data stack journey.Stay tuned for our dbt Meetup in early 2024 at our new office in Chicago, IL. Interested in presenting? We’re eager to connect!Read all the product news from dbt from Coalesce 2023 here. See Q2 2023 Updates for dbtQ2 2023 Product Release Updatesdbt-core v1.5 marks a major milestone with its focus on multi-project deployments. The most significant enhancements relate to model governance, including access controls, model contracts, and model versioning. These advancements lay the foundation for upcoming releases, enabling stateful input from multiple dbt projects. This will facilitate stateful comparisons across projects, bringing more robustness to data operations and catering to the needs of large organizations maintaining multiple dbt projects.The recently released Discovery API is a game-changer for data understanding and pipeline optimization. By providing granular insights into the data generated by jobs and the deployment process, the Discovery API enables faster data discovery, better data quality, and eases pipeline optimization. This is particularly valuable for dbt Cloud customers dealing with complex refresh use cases, as it provides comprehensive insights into the reliability of dbt projects.Q2 2023 Other NewsAnalytics8 continues to host the dbt Chicago Meetup, a forum for data professionals to network and learn advanced dbt concepts through hands-on presentations. The next meetup is scheduled for Thursday, August 10th. Keep an eye on the #local-chicago channel in dbt Slack or LinkedIn for further updates.We are speaking at Coalesce! Make sure to register for a chance to gain valuable insights and connect with fellow dbt users.Analytics8 contributed to the dbt-core open-source project. Learn moreBigQueryQ4 2023 Product Release UpdatesBigQuery has introduced several updates this quarter that enhance its functionality and interoperability with other tools, including Snowflake, Looker Studio, and Azure Blob Storage. These updates align with the growing demands of customers and the competitive landscape in the data management and analytics sector.Snowflake Added to Migration Assessment Tool: This update simplifies the process for customers planning to migrate from Snowflake to BigQuery. It is a significant enhancement for those considering or already in the process of transitioning their data infrastructure, making BigQuery a more attractive option for potential migrations.Column-Level Descriptions in Views: BigQuery now supports column-level descriptions in views, improving its integration with data catalog tools. This feature is particularly beneficial for end users, as business-friendly column descriptions can now be exposed through front-end BI tools, providing clear guidance on data usage.Storage Write API with Change Data Capture (CDC): The inclusion of CDC in the Storage Write API offers a low-latency method for synchronizing record changes across multiple systems. This reduces the need for custom CDC logic, thereby lowering development overhead and simplifying system integrations with the warehouse.Preview of Native Integration with Looker Studio: The native integration with Looker Studio, which is currently in preview, expands the use cases for Looker Studio, especially since it is a free tool. This update facilitates ad-hoc data analysis and monitoring of BigQuery instances directly from the GCP console, enhancing user experience and operational efficiency.Q4 2023 Other NewsData Transfer from Azure Blob Storage: The BigQuery Data Transfer Service now includes the capability to transfer data from Azure Blob Storage, broadening its data integration capabilities.New ML and AI Features: The latest release notes highlight numerous new machine learning and artificial intelligence features at various stages of launch, showcasing BigQuery’s ongoing commitment to advancing its analytical capabilities. See Q3 2023 Updates for BigQueryQ3 2023 Product Release UpdatesWe have highlighted several of the latest and improved features in BigQuery (either generally available or in preview), with a focus on those we deem to be particularly impactful for our customer base.Duet AI: Duet AI, available in Google Cloud, assists in completing, generating, and explaining SQL queries. This enhances the developer experience and potentially attracts a user base that values AI integrations in their tools.BigQuery DataFrames: The new Python API, BigQuery DataFrames, allows data analysis and machine learning with partial scikit-learn and pandas compatibility. This feature aims to cater to data scientists and advanced developers by offering an integrated environment within BigQuery.Multi-Region, Data Movement, and Federation Enhancements: BigQuery’s new features for data replication, transfer, and federation across different regions and platforms address the needs of businesses with expansive operations and data across multiple regions.Data Warehouse Migration Guide Updates: BigQuery has updated migration guides for several platforms including Teradata, Hive, Netezza, and Oracle. These guides assist organizations looking to transition their operations to BigQuery from other platforms.Billing Flexibility Update BigQuery’s ‘Physical Bytes Storage Billing’ offers a potential cost-saving solution for clients with large data volumes.SQL Enhancements Enhanced SQL capabilities, especially expanded functions for JSON manipulation, aim to provide more tools and functionalities for developers. See Q2 2023 Updates for BigQueryQ2 2023 Product Release UpdatesThe BigQuery partitioning and clustering recommender is now in preview, with the potential to revolutionize cost management. It uses a table’s workload data from the past 30 days to recommend cost-saving actions, which can be accessed directly via the BigQuery UI or the recommender API. This feature can significantly reduce the time and effort spent on manual optimization, directly impacting the monthly GCP bill of our customers.Primary and foreign key table constraints have been made generally available, enabling better query optimization and documentation. These non-enforced constraints can be managed through the BigQuery API and viewed in the BigQuery console. This update is set to make BigQuery more compatible with other database systems and provide customers with enhanced understanding and control over their data relationships.While we’re excited about the potential of Dataform, there are still some limitations to be aware of. A key enhancement is needed to allow for compatibility between the regions of Dataform instances and dataset regions. Misalignments of regions between dataset and Dataform can impede the efficiency of Dataform ELT architecture design. This improved clarification can help customers avoid unexpected issues and resource waste in the project planning stage.Q2 2023 Other NewsGoogle Next conference is scheduled for August 29-31 in San Francisco. We encourage customers interested in the latest in cloud technology and services to attend.For a more comprehensive view of updates and changes, customers can refer to the BigQuery Release Notes. Regular consultation of these notes can help customers stay up to date and make the most of their BigQuery experience.LookerQ4 2023 Product Release UpdatesIn this section, we’re spotlighting two new and updated functionalities in Looker (either generally available or in preview), pinpointing those we believe hold substantial value for our clientele. These updates are not just about adding new features but also about improving Looker’s integration and usability in the wider business intelligence ecosystem.Updates to ‘Get Embed URL’ in Dashboards and Looks: Looker now enables users to generate a signed URL directly from its UI, a significant improvement over the previous need to use the API or manual code. This update is a step forward in streamlining embedded app development. Although it won’t alter production deployments of an embedded app, it simplifies the testing and development process for Looker’s users. For businesses focusing on embedded applications, this means a faster, more efficient development cycle, particularly beneficial for those in the early stages of embedding or considering it.Open SQL Interface Enters Public Preview: This new feature allows external applications, like Tableau, that use JDBC to connect to data, to access Looker models and explores. It represents a strategic move for Looker, extending the reach of its logic across multiple tools. For customers using multiple BI tools, this enhances Looker’s value, as it facilitates the integration of Looker’s LookML with other platforms. The Open SQL Interface positions Looker as a more versatile tool in environments where a single source of truth for logic across various BI tools is crucial. This update is particularly significant for new customers who are integrating Looker into their existing BI toolkit and for existing customers who might now see increased utility in retaining Looker within their broader BI strategy.Q4 2023 Other NewsUpcoming Webinar on the 2024 Roadmap: Looker is hosting a webinar to discuss its 2024 roadmap, which can be accessed here: Looker Roadmap for 2024 Webinar. This event is an excellent opportunity for customers to gain insights into future developments and strategic directions for Looker. See Q3 2023 Updates for LookerQ3 2023 Product Release UpdatesIn this section, we’re spotlighting a handful of new and updated functionalities in Looker (either generally available or in preview), pinpointing those we believe hold substantial value for our clientele.AND/OR Filters Available in Explores: Looker’s major overhaul this quarter introduced flexibility in querying with the new filter dropdown in Explores. Users can now seamlessly create ‘OR’ conditions without the need for custom filter expression logic. This enhancement not only streamlines the Explore experience but also reflects Looker’s commitment to addressing long-standing user feedback. The immediate impact? Customers can now leverage complex filter logic directly through UI controls, ensuring uninterrupted Looker content development, even for those niche use cases requiring AND/OR filters.Granular Admin Access: Looker has expanded permissions, enabling users to manage specific parts of the platform traditionally reserved for Admins. This strategic move not only aligns Looker with standard security practices but also makes it adept at handling enterprise-level user volumes. By decentralizing responsibilities, larger Looker instances can distribute tasks like user group assignments, preventing the bottleneck of few individuals addressing all requests. The long-term vision? Further refinement of these roles in upcoming quarters.Q3 2023 Other NewsGoogle’s “Next” conference took place this quarter, offering invaluable insights in regard to both Looker and other Google Data products. Missed it? Catch the recordings while they last at https://cloud.withgoogle.com/next. See Q2 2023 Updates for LookerQ2 2023 Product Release UpdatesThis quarter, Looker phased out legacy dashboards and YAML projects, in line with customers’ transition over the past few years. The change allows Looker to redirect its resources away from maintaining these legacy features, and instead, focus on advancing the product.The Looker to Power BI Connector has now reached general availability, marking the first non-Google BI connector to achieve this status. This development represents Looker’s progress toward expanding the use of its modeling language — LookML — in other tools. Users can now explore modeled data through Power BI, enhancing the potential utility of Looker’s offering. This advancement is particularly beneficial for customers who use both Looker and Power BI, enabling them to optimize the strengths of both platforms. Users with other BI tools should stay tuned for potential integration of Looker’s features in their preferred tools.QlikQ4 2023 Product Release UpdatesQlik Cloud has recently introduced two significant updates, each designed to enhance functionality and user experience in the cloud analytics domain. These updates not only improve the capabilities of Qlik Cloud but also respond to specific customer needs and market competition.Qlik Cloud Tabular Reporting: This update introduces a cloud-based version of Qlik Nprinting, allowing users to generate and disseminate Qlik reports in preformatted Excel files. This feature — which can be shared via SharePoint or email — is a strategic enhancement that brings the SaaS offering closer in functionality to the on-premise Qlik Nprinting. It addresses a gap that previously existed for customers heavily reliant on Nprinting, enabling them to reconsider adopting Qlik Cloud. The introduction of Tabular Reporting is particularly beneficial for organizations that are still dependent on Excel for reporting. It facilitates automated report generation, catering to less technical parts of the business and thereby broadening the user base within organizations.Qlik Scripts: This feature enables the creation of purpose-built ETL scripts in Qlik Cloud, enhancing functionality for output QVDs and Qlik transformations. Qlik Scripts distinguishes itself by allowing developers to separate user-facing applications from data transformation processes, thereby streamlining the development environment. This functionality is crucial for developers focused on building ETL code, as it provides a more efficient way to iterate and sample data outputs, reducing development time. The introduction of Qlik Scripts is a response to the need for faster, simpler data transformation workflows, which is essential for quick app development and operational efficiency. See Q3 2023 Updates for QlikQ3 2023 Product Release UpdatesBelow is a selection of the most significant new and enhanced features within Qlik (now either generally available or in preview) that stand out in terms of their potential benefits to our users.AI & Natural Language Improvements: Qlik has unveiled several updates to its natural language insights capabilities, positioning the company as a key player of data literacy tools in the competitive landscape. These enhancements, like the improved NL Insights object and the Insight Advisor Expression Generation, allow users to gain high-level insights automatically and in plain language, reducing barriers for self-service users and accelerating development. As a direct impact on customers, these features will not only enhance their overall user experience but also empower them to extract meaningful takeaways from their data more efficiently.Advanced Scripting Features: With the introduction of features like Window Functions and Tenant Attribute Function, Qlik is aligning its offerings more closely with the demands of advanced developers, many of whom come from a SQL background. This competitive edge allows for more efficient development processes and less code complexity. For Qlik’s users, these functionalities mean reduced complexity in data handling, more flexibility in application management across different spaces, and a smoother workflow for data processing tasks.Continued Improvements to Qlik Data Integration & Catalog: Qlik continues to be a key player in the realm of data integration, with updates such as the Business Glossary Improvements and Qlik Cloud Data Integration connectors. These updates, especially the direct inclusion of governed data KPIs and definitions into applications, bolster Qlik’s stance as a comprehensive data management solution provider. For customers, this translates to increased data awareness, a broader range of connectivity options, and overall improved data management workflows.Q3 2023 Other NewsChanges to Qlik Cloud’s Pricing Model: Qlik will now use a capacity model which will change how Qlik Cloud plans may be structured. For more information, please referencing the updated Qlik Cloud pricing plans: https://www.qlik.com/us/pricing See Q2 2023 Updates for QlikQ2 2023 Product Release UpdatesCo-development and Version Control: Qlik has updated its user collaboration process by allowing co-development and version control in applications. This enhancement enables multiple users to concurrently edit the data load editor in an application, regardless of ownership, thus significantly improving team collaboration. Changes are saved as version history, allowing users to revert to earlier versions if required. This advancement streamlines the application development process and reduces the workload for individual developers, thereby driving efficiency in app development and management.Business Glossary Connected with Master Measures: With a focus on improving data governance and organization capabilities, Qlik has integrated the in-app organizing mechanism (master dimensions and measures) with the platform-wide organizing mechanism (the business glossary). This step further simplifies data management, promoting better data literacy and trust in the data being presented. This improvement is particularly significant in the current climate of increased demand for robust data governance services.Additional Connectors: In its ongoing commitment to maintaining an open ecosystem, Qlik has introduced several new connectors, including Open AI and Google Analytics 4. The addition of these connectors not only expands the potential Qlik user base but also underscores Qlik’s dedication to integrating a wide range of data sources, making data integration more seamless for the users.Stylistic Updates: Qlik has also made the following stylistic updates in Q2:Legend Styling: New styling options are available for font family, size, and color for titles and labels.Hide or Show Measures in Bar Chart based on conditions: App developers can now hide or show a toggle switch in charts based on a calculation condition. This gives them more control and customization over their bar charts.Chart Animation: App developers can now turn on animations for bullet and line charts. Animations are a gradual transition between an old view to a new view after the data has been changed (upon the change of a selection for example).Styling for Buttons: Developers can change the font, labels, and layout of button objects.Personalized Straight Tables: The new straight table significantly boosts self service capabilities through chart exploration. Users can add, remove, and reorder columns and then download, subscribe or bookmark their new self-serviced layout.Q2 2023 Other NewsQlik’s acquisition of Talend has been officially confirmed. This strategic move is set to enhance Qlik’s capabilities in data integration and integrity, thereby providing customers with more comprehensive solutions for their data needs.TableauQ4 2023 Product Release UpdatesHere, we’ve outlined one of the most crucial new and updated features within Tableau, emphasizing what we think is poised to make a meaningful difference for our users.Conversational Data Analysis with Beta Version of Tableau Pulse: This update allows business users to gradually reveal insights in the context of a metric they want to analyze. Unlike traditional data analysis methods, Pulse’s conversational interface is user-friendly and intuitive. It aligns with the natural way users think about and interact with data. Customers can request access to the beta trial and can experience the new way of receiving insights – automated, in context of metrics they care about, and in the flow of work apps they use daily (i.e. Slack or email). Customers can have quicker access to business insights using Pulse’s guided conversation approach. See Q3 2023 Updates for TableauQ3 2023 Product Release UpdatesHere, we’ve outlined some of the most crucial new and updated features within Tableau (either generally available or in preview), emphasizing those we think are poised to make a meaningful difference for our users.Change in Product Release Cadence: Tableau has transitioned from 4 to 3 annual updates, allowing for robust development and more thorough testing. This strategic shift aims to present users with more refined features, ensuring a smoother experience with fewer potential issues.Dynamic Axis Ranges: An enhancement that allows visualizations to utilize parameter values for setting axis ranges, this feature is an extension of the Dynamic Axis Titles, aiming to offer data consumers more control. The result is clearer, more tailored insights, enhancing user customization and precision in data visualization.Custom Data Labels: This feature enables Creators and Explorers to set custom labels for data assets, underlining their commitment to deeper data comprehension. Users will benefit from better categorization, streamlining analysis, and ensuring accurate interpretations.Q3 2023 Other NewsTableau Pulse: Debuted at Tableau Conference, Tableau Pulse is a suite of capabilities that bring trusted generative AI to the entire Tableau platform to simplify and democratize data analysis and insight consumption at scale. This highly anticipated product is scheduled to be released in December 2023. See Q2 2023 Updates for TableauQ2 2023 Product Release UpdatesGoogle Analytics 4 Support: The inclusion of Google Analytics GA4 Connector in Tableau Exchange empowers users to connect directly to event data in a GA4 property. This direct link is set to boost the competitive edge of organizations that utilize both Google Analytics and Tableau.Tableau Prep Enhancements: With the support for no-code, multi-row table calculations, Tableau Prep has been upgraded to become an even stronger contender against other ETL tools in the market. This makes it easier than ever for users to perform calculations during the data cleansing and preparation stage, streamlining report development.Lineage Updates: Enhancements to Tableau’s Lineage page, a metadata management tool, allow users to filter and sort fields of interest. This is a pivotal first step toward more valuable upgrades in the features included in Tableau’s Data Management add-on, providing better visibility into organizational metadata.Total Shares Metric: Tableau has introduced a “Total Shares” metric in the Usage tab, facilitating a clearer understanding of user engagement with visualizations (vizzes). This metric helps developers and analysts create more targeted content for their audience.Power BIQ4 2023 Product Release UpdatesPower BI has rolled out several major updates this quarter, each designed to enhance user experience and data interaction capabilities. These updates position Power BI as a more versatile and user-friendly tool in the competitive business intelligence (BI) landscape.New UI Visuals and Enhancements: Power BI’s addition of a new button slicer feature, Card visual, and Reference Labels significantly enhances the platform’s visualization capabilities. These updates make the user interface more customizable and visually appealing, allowing for more creative and impactful BI solutions. The Card visual simplifies the development of a KPI bar, and the custom data label enhancements provide more depth to data analysis. These features align Power BI with capabilities seen in other BI tools and demonstrate a commitment to improving the user experience based on community feedback.Q&A and Narrative Visuals with Copilot: The integration of Microsoft Copilot into Power BI represents a major advancement in AI-driven data analysis. Copilot can create narrative-based visuals and descriptive text, simplifying the process of generating meaningful insights with minimal user input. This feature is a significant step towards self-service reporting, enabling users to construct impactful reports quickly and efficiently.Data Alerts Via Data Activator: The new Data Alerts feature in Power BI allows for customizable alerts on individual visuals and reports. Users can set alerts based on specific KPIs with various parameters and thresholds, providing actionable insights and driving user engagement with the data. This update enhances the original alert system in Power BI, offering more tailored and effective monitoring of data.Q4 2023 Other NewsOneDrive and SharePoint Integration: Enhanced integration with OneDrive and SharePoint makes accessing and using files within Power BI more straightforward, streamlining the data management process.New Power BI Desktop Home Page: The redesigned home page in Power BI Desktop offers an improved user experience with easier access to reporting tools and better organization.Customized Deployment Pipelines: Users can now create up to 10 stages in their deployment pipelines, allowing for more detailed and organized deployment processes.Explore Feature in Power BI Service: This preview feature enables users to quickly explore underlying data in semantic models by auto-generating visuals and KPIs, akin to building a pivot table in Excel.Power BI Service Storytelling Suggested Content: The PowerPoint Storytelling feature in Power BI Service now uses machine learning to suggest content, enhancing the storytelling aspect of data presentation.OneLake Data Hub Connectivity: The general availability of OneLake Data Hub connectivity in Power BI Desktop expands data integration options for users. See Q3 2023 Updates for Power BIQ3 2023 Product Release UpdatesHere are some of the standout new and enhanced features in Power BI (either generally available or in preview), particularly those we have identified as being of significant value to our customers.Report View Layout Switcher (August): Power BI introduced the dynamic capability to transition between Web view and Mobile view within Report View, available at the screen’s bottom left. This enhancement stems from Microsoft’s renewed focus on optimizing Power BI Mobile, catering to on-the-go data consumers. The outcome is dual fold: developers enjoy streamlined report creation for both formats, and end users benefit from tailored viewing experiences, bolstering overall satisfaction with the analytics product.XMLA Write Support for Datasets (August): Direct Lake datasets in Power BI now boast XMLA Write support, heralding a paradigm shift. Such integration facilitates multiple tools and methodologies to liaise with Power BI’s data, paving the way for expansive dataset management within Direct Lake. From deployments and customization to version control and more, developers now wield the flexibility to leverage an array of tools, optimizing dataset functions as per their comfort, provided the chosen method aligns with this feature.Q3 2023 Other NewsSmooth and Leader Lines on Line Charts (July): Aesthetics get a boost with the smoother line rendition on line charts and the addition of leader lines for distinct data label separation.Relationship Validation in Power BI Service (July): Users can now modify data model relationships within the Power BI Service.Dataset Access in Power BI Mobile (July): Mobile users can access Power BI datasets on the move, tapping into dataset metadata, scheduled refreshes, and push notifications.New Dataflow Data Connection and Discovery (August): OneLake Hub unveils a refined method to connect or locate datamarts within Fabric OneLake, introducing Dataflow Gen2.Emplify Metrics New Data Connector (September): “Get Data” tab in Power BI now features Emplify Metrics as a fresh data connector..NET 4.7.2 Framework Now Required (September): Power BI mandates users to transition to the .NET framework version 4.7.2 or above, discontinuing support for preceding versions.Mobile Canvas Interactivity (September): Enhancements in Mobile view allow users to engage with visuals, providing a sneak peek into object interactivity prior to publishing on the Power BI Service. See Q2 2023 Updates for Power BIQ2 2023 Product Release UpdatesMicrosoft Fabric and Power BI Connectivity: Microsoft Fabric is set to replace Azure Synapse as Microsoft’s all-in-one analytics solution, integrating data lakes, warehouses, real-time analytics, business intelligence, and data integration. This release bolsters Microsoft’s competitive position in the analytics market by simplifying the analytics process with an integrated platform. It’s expected to be most impactful initially for early adopters of Microsoft Fabric, but as it continues to develop, it can greatly simplify and enhance the analytics workflow for many organizations.Admin Monitoring: The addition of Admin Monitoring in Power BI Service tenant settings enhances visibility on how reports are being consumed across various workspaces. This new feature strengthens Power BI’s user-oriented approach by enabling more accountable monitoring of report usage, helping identify gaps in reporting, and optimizing reports based on user interaction, leading to more effective reporting and decision-making.Measure-Based Data Labels: This feature allows developers to apply measures to specific labels in visuals, overriding the default data, making data presentation more user-friendly. By enhancing adaptability and user-friendliness, Power BI distinguishes itself further from competitors. The update also enhances report readability and understanding, enabling tracking of unique KPIs in a more meaningful way.Q2 2023 Other NewsDynamic Format Strings in Measures: This feature enables users to dynamically alter measure outputs for a more user-friendly display.Paginated Reports – Filters Available: Paginated Reports now support the application of filters within the canvas.Azure Maps now Generally Available: Azure Maps officially moved out of Preview and became widely available, with plans for future Map visuals integration.Integration with SharePoint and OneDrive: Power BI reports can now be saved, stored, and shared within OneDrive and SharePoint file libraries.Drillthrough Functionality in Paginated Reports: This feature enables detailed data views from summarized data.Query Limits in Power BI Desktop: Power BI now supports setting query limits on reports to prevent overload scenarios.New Card Visual: This new visual supports the use of multiple measures and provides a range of formatting options.OneLake Data Hub for Fabric: This feature allows for the reuse of Microsoft Fabric items and building datasets and reports based on them.Power BI Developer Mode: This new mode provides a new project collaboration tool for users that keeps files organized for easy access and version control.On-Object Interaction Update: This update allows for permanent embedding of panes on the right side of the screen.SigmaQ4 2023 Product Release UpdatesSigma Computing has released significant updates this quarter, focusing on enhancing the user experience in data analysis and table interaction. These updates are designed to streamline workflows and improve data management, reinforcing Sigma’s position in the competitive analytics space.Period-over-Period Workflow: Sigma’s new period-over-period workflow feature allows users to perform quick period-over-period analysis using a user-friendly prompt. This update significantly reduces the workload on data teams, who previously had to build out various time frames for analysts. The ease of use of this feature and the elimination of the need for technical knowledge in performing such analyses are particularly advantageous for users. It simplifies complex analyses, reduces the number of columns needed in datasets, and ultimately improves performance by streamlining the analysis process.Input Table Improvements: Sigma continues to enhance its input table features, with this quarter’s updates including conditional formatting, hyperlink support, and Excel-like autofill. These improvements make Sigma’s input tables more powerful and efficient for data teams, simplifying the setup time for analysts to upload or change data written to the data warehouse. The enhancements in input tables, especially the autofill feature, allow analysts to input data more quickly and consistently, enhancing the overall data management and input process.Q4 2023 Other NewsSigma’s Community Page: Sigma’s community page is a valuable resource for users to ask and answer questions, learn about upcoming events, and gather ideas for their organizations. It can be accessed at Sigma Community.Weekly Challenges on Workout-Wednesday: For users looking to improve their Sigma skills and learn new features, Sigma has started weekly challenges available at Sigma Challenges on Workout-Wednesday. These challenges offer a hands-on approach to mastering Sigma Computing’s capabilities. See Q3 2023 Updates for SigmaQ3 2023 Product Release UpdatesHere are a few highlights of new and updated features in Sigma (either generally available or in preview) that we think are impactful to our customers. Column Level Security: Sigma introduced column level security to control access to specific columns within datasets, ensuring the confidentiality of sensitive data. By granting access based on user teams or account attributes, Sigma enhances data security, even in embedded reports or when shared with external parties. This strategic implementation brings Sigma at par with leading BI tools, ensuring Admins have comprehensive control over data visibility. For BI analysts and managers, this means efficiency — instead of creating multiple similar datasets, one can be repurposed with specific column access. Stay informed on this feature here.Input Tables now supports Databricks: Sigma extended its Input Table feature — previously exclusive to Snowflake connections — to Databricks. Launched earlier this year, Input Tables allows users to generate tables by entering values directly into Sigma’s UI, interacting seamlessly with other data in a Sigma workbook. This expansion is pivotal; while Input Table capabilities are rare among BI tools, this Databricks integration caters to a broader organizational base, enabling features like scenario planning and forecasting. Dive deeper here.Q3 2023 Other NewsStay engaged with Sigma’s upcoming in-person events, the “Data Cloud World Tour”: Get all the details here. See Q2 2023 Updates for SigmaQ2 2023 Product Release UpdatesConnection to MySQL: This new data connector adds MySQL to Sigma’s repertoire of compatible data sources, reinforcing Sigma’s competitive standing in the BI market. By supporting connections to major relational database systems such as PostgreSQL and MySQL, Sigma is now more accessible to organizations that rely on these databases. For clients not yet utilizing a cloud-based platform, this enhancement opens the possibility of adopting Sigma as their BI tool of choice.Map – Geography release: This update replaces the Map – GeoJSON visualization with the more versatile Map – Geography, allowing Sigma to visualize any column formatted as geography WKT. This enhancement, coupled with the new “Geography()” function, brings Sigma’s mapping capabilities more in line with major BI platforms that have added WKT and GIS functions. For clients who have been facing challenges with GIS calculations on disparate software programs, this update facilitates GIS analysis within Sigma itself, improving ease and accessibility of GIS analysis.Q2 2023 Other NewsWurl and Sigma Webinar to be held on July 26, 2023: This upcoming webinar will delve into how Wurl is unlocking insights and monetizing data, the latest features and innovations within Sigma Computing, and the exciting possibilities brought about by input tables, application embedding, and the integration of data science and Snowpark with Streamlit. The webinar presents an excellent opportunity for Sigma users and prospective users to learn more about the potential Sigma offers for their organizations. Want to learn more? Talk to one of our experts.Thank you. Check your email for details on your request.These updates are current as of Q3 2023. Keep an eye out for quarterly updates on technologies within the data and analytics space.