Welcome to an experimental new feature here at PowerPivotPro, where members of the team discuss various topics related to Power BI, Power Pivot, and Analytics/BI in general. These conversations take place during the week on a Slack channel, and are then lightly edited for publishing on Friday.
This Week’s Topic: Managing Pace of Change in the Power BI Era
In our second installment of our weekly Coffee Talk leading up to the Microsoft Data Insights Summit in June we will be discussing the current pace of change, and what decisions organizations can make to ensure they are balancing their new investments in Power BI with their existing investments in Excel based BI.
But first, let me introduce the team members we brought in for this week’s Coffee Talk, and their role within the PowerPivotPro team:
Channel created April 4th. This is the very beginning of #coffeetalk_apr14 channel. Purpose: Weekly roundtable of what went on in the company, on the blog, in the wider community that we think is worth talking about!
Staying up to date can be difficult, at least it is for me. Microsoft has awesome pages talking about the amazing new things coming out each cycle!
To answer your second question: All of these tools are specifically designed to interface smoothly with each other. When I first learned how to use each one, I’d log in and be amazed at the ease with which I hit the ground running with my existing data from other solutions.
That said, DAX is the backbone of Excel and PBI, so for learning DAX and making a couple of clicks/sign-ins, look at all of the awesome functionality we receive!!
I often get the question or reactions from people that think that Power BI is replacing Excel. I try to describe Excel/PowerBI as a Venn diagram with each other. There’s significant overlap of reporting needs that can be done in either universe but there’s also a very large and distinct section of reporting that can only be done with one of the two tools. Rob actually has a great Venn diagram visual explaining some of this, and that I show to clients occasionally. The entire post is great actually when it comes to discussing “Power BI”
It’s a beautiful symbiosis between the two of them, complimentary rather than oppositional.
I will say that *learning* DAX, Power Query, etc… is best done in Excel first, then knowledge transferred over to the PBI universe.
My typical elevator pitch of the two at a very high level. “Power BI is best for visualizations and telling a story. Excel is best for tables and detail reports.”
To the general public reading this, I need to confess that I _really_ like Venn diagrams
Yes Excel and Power BI are *slowly* starting to come together better. I remember at the Data Insights Summit last year Kellan and I playing around with the “Analyze in Excel” feature which was totally new at the time – pretty relentless pace since then.
Last week we spent a lot of time discussing / looking ahead on new features and yeah the pace is relentless. I will be the first to admit that I’m not totally up to speed with this Power BI / Power Apps / Flow stack. I’ve got the first piece down, sure. When I think about our business over the next year I hope we stay focused on bridging the gap between reporting and the actions people are taking to improve their business. To the extent that this new stack helps achieve that goal then count me in.
As far as keeping up to date – there are two stories here, a surface and a depth. Twitter is my surface story. That’s where news happens. In many ways I know everything that’s going on. As far as depth, I can’t get too far in building a process in Microsoft Flow. It gets too technical too quickly for me. I’m wondering if many people feel that same way about Power BI.
@djharshany I’ve found Pocket (https://getpocket.com/) really useful for saving items for later. I’m on a schedule as well – I save a lot of articles and then pour through them when I’m on an airplane or waiting in line somewhere. #productivityhack
I think this furious pace of technological development has made me much more aware 1) of the amount of noise out in the world that I’m safe ignoring and 2) of how we need to stay vigilant in producing content that cuts through the noise.
Going off Austin’s second point, I think that staying vigilant of what we create to cut through the noise ties into something we talked about last week: the difference between GUI created DAX/visuals and expert guided development.
As the BI field becomes filled with solutions and loads of new people using them, the difference between the two becomes more important than ever. Many Excel people aren’t aware that they already have most of the tools in their back pocket to build amazing reporting that will rise above the rest and that we are here to help them get there!
So I’m not sure if this is purely coincidence or related. But our wonderful colleague Matt Allington just posted a blog titled “Which To Use: Excel or Power BI”
After giving it a thorough read it does a great job of breaking out the pros/cons of using Excel, Power BI Desktop, or https://PowerBI.com as the reporting tools to use. It even mentions a fourth option, SSAS Tabular as a data modeling option outside of the above three.