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Power Update Adds Email Notifications, Macro Support, and 100% Free Version

Post by Rob Collie

Power Update Now Emails PDFs or Full Power Pivot / Power BI Workbooks to Email Recipients

Autorefreshes Your Power Pivot Workbook as Frequently as Desired, Auto-Publishes to Any Location, and Now Sends Email Notifications of Success/Failures – With Attachments!

Our Gift to the Community:  New, Improved, and Free

The team has added several new features in the latest version of Power Update.  One of them (email notifications that optionally attach the updated workbook or PDF-ified version of the workook), is pictured above.

But the biggest new “feature” is that there’s now a 100% free version.  Go ahead and download it from the link below, and start using it today.

It will work forever – no trial expiration – and will never require payment.

GET THE FREE VERSION HERE

(Alternate Location Here in case DropBox is blocked)

It will be installed and working in less than five minutes.  Have fun, and if you have any troubles, report those on the Power Update Forum.

“Why Free?  What’s the Catch?”

Simply put, we want everyone to have it.  Everyone.  It’s a game changer.  It will lead to more Power Pivot / Power BI adoption and overall goodness, which is very much something we want.

The only limitation in the free version is that it will only schedule one workbook. Every last feature is available – email, PDF attachments, publish to SharePoint and even SSAS Tabular.

So if you’ve only got one important workbook, you can use the free version forever.  A lot of people will run that way, and we’re ok with that.  If you someday end up with more than one workbook that needs refresh, you can opt to purchase the full version, which can schedule as many workbooks as you want.

“Wait, Can’t I Cheat That With Multiple Computers?”

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Tales from the Trenches: My personal experience with Power Update (by Tim Rodman)

Guest Post by Tim Rodman, currently blogging about reporting in Acumatica ERP @ [link removed due to 404] www.AcumaticaReports.com

***Update #1:  a Free Version of Power Update is now available.  More info here.

***Update #2:  There is now a forum for Power Update questions, located here.

Intro from Rob: I’m what you might call a “gift horse optimist” – strongly positive outlook, but when the hoped-for thing finally arrives, I find myself closely inspecting it, testing it, before I trust it enough to advocate it to others.  I went through this same process with Power Pivot itself – I “saw” its gamechanging power in 2010, but it was a full eighteen months before I finally dropped all disclaimers and just started calling it far better – period – than anything we’ve had before.”

Similarly, I’ve long known that Power Update would be a MAJOR win for us in the Power Pivot and Power BI communities.  But I am willing to advocate it now only because I’ve watched others – like Scott, and Tim below – use it successfully, in production environments, in recent months.  (Also see my post last week “introducing” Power Update in case you missed it).

Take it away, Tim…

I first found out about Power Update two months ago via a LinkedIn post by Christian Floyd.

It took me a while to realize that he wasn’t talking about a theoretical future idea, but an actual product, something that exists today. Click the picture below to see the entirety of my foolishness. It wasn’t until I talked to him directly that I realized what Power Update really was and I was immediately interested.

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He got me a beta version of Power Update and I began testing it at the company I work for: a manufacturing company in Cleveland, OH called The Robbins Company.

Our Background

We started using Power Pivot at The Robbins Company back in 2013 and I wrote about our experience on this blog (click here).

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Introducing Power Update!

Post by Rob Collie

***Update:  check out Scott Senkeresty’s review of Power Update over on Tiny Lizard.

***Update #2:  a Free Version of Power Update is now available.  More info here.

***Update #3:  There is now a forum for Power Update questions, located here.

Power Update: Refresh any Power Pivot / Power BI Workbook, from Any Data Souce, and Publish to Any Location (SharePoint or Otherwise)

A brand-new software utility designed from the ground up as
a “Companion” to  Power Pivot, Power Query, and the entire Power BI stack.

Definitely Click on the Image for Larger Version – Surprises Lurk Therein

Do Any of These Sound Familiar?

Common Problems with Power Pivot and Power BI Scheduled Refresh

Power Update Helps With ALL of These (And a Few More, Too)

“What IS It?”

OK, a few things:

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Creating dynamic lookup-tables with unique values using Power Query instead of a database

Guest post by Lars Schreiber

Hello PowerPivot Community,

I’m quite sure most of you know a scenario comparable to the one in the following figure:

Bringing two fact-tables with different date-columns together using a 'unique-months'-dimension

Two scenarios (in two tables) – in this case actuals and budget – have to be put together to do some math on them. The only problem you have is the different level of planning regarding the time dimension. While the actual figures are on daily basis, the budget was planned on monthly basis. As you could learn on this website many times before (e.g. here) you need another lookup-table with a unique list of months to bring both tables (actual & budget) together. And this is where Power Query can help you a lot.

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What Excel users could learn from Masterchef or why preparation is so important!

 
Intro from Rob:  In the car today I realized two things.  One, I have been a terrible host.  Multiple guest posts got stuck in the pipeline while I focused on PowerPivotPro School.  Much effort went into these articles and I apologize to all of you who have been waiting patiently to see them shared.  My original post idea for today will wait.

Today we start with Anne Walsh, who you will see employs a very different “lens” than the one typically used by yours truly.  Except for her movie and pop culture tie-ins – those are quite consistent!

The 2nd realization was triggered by Anne’s references to Ratatouille.  Remember the line “anyone can cook?”  And how that rankled the elitist chefs?  There’s a strong parallel there in my belief that “anyone can business intelligence.”  As long as they savvy Excel, that is 🙂  Onwards…

What Excel users could learn from Masterchef or why preparation is so important!

By Anne Walsh

colette_ratatouille

 

 

Colette: [Linguini is making a mess at the kitchen] What is this? Keep – your station – clear! When the meal rush comes, what will happen? Messy stations slow things down. Food doesn’t go, orders pile up, disaster! I’ll make this easier to remember: keep your station clear, or I WILL KILL YOU! (Taken from Ratatouille)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0382932/quotes?item=qt0465201

 

Fruit stall | store in Tai O, a fishing town located at western side of Lantau Island in Hong Kong.

Taken by Denis Won

 

Before we begin, let me point out that while I respect Colette’s fierce commitment in Ratatouille, I am not espousing her approach to her co-workers!  But if you have ever had to start doing something that required a well organised list only to find that it was actually all over the place – you may have some empathy for her..

In this side of the world, (Europe), we have a programme called Masterchef (UK and Ireland)  in which amateur cooks are asked to prepare dishes which are then evaluated by two master chefs.

However I always notice that a key part is glossed over. The chefs work in an environment with great well prepared ingredients and top notch equipment. You don’t see them running out because someone forgot the vanilla essence…

Alas in the Excel world, we start well before that. We usually don’t have any minions to get our saucepans, knives and source perfectly shaped tomatoes. Usually we have to assemble our lists (often with blemishes and long gone sell by dates) so this is where I want to start. We have to go to the market to get the ingredients, and prep them.

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“Introducing” Data Explorer

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In My Opinion, There Aren’t Many Things More Exciting Than a New Ribbon Tab Full of Goodies
(And One That I Can Add to Excel 2010 or 2013 – I Hear That’s Important for Some Reason)

Maybe There’s a Future in this “Numbers” Thing…

It does seem like Microsoft has figured out that data is a big deal.  Every time I turn around, I am hearing of a new software development team joining Microsoft’s efforts in the Excel/BI/Overall Data Crunching space.

Often, such teams are merely whispers – shadowy rumors on the wind.  Friends disappear from their familiar roles and reappear in places they can’t talk about.

Other times, someone new to me walks up and just hands me a piece of nearly-finished software.

This is one of those latter cases.

Some Highlights

I don’t have time for a full tour today, and honestly I haven’t even explored all of the functionality yet.  So let’s hit some highlights shall we?

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Friday Bonus: Database Pros In Demand

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In a PowerPivot Environment, A Single DB Pro
Can Empower MANY PowerPivot Pros

Short Version:  Job Openings in the UK for SQL Pros

I’ve recently been asked to post about some opportunities for SQL pros in the UK – opportunities in which qualified candidates would be working closely with Excel Pros in a PowerPivot environment.  A situation that closely resembles what it’s like to work as a SQL pro at Pivotstream, or as a SQL pro working at virtually any of my training clients (who end up implementing similar collaborative systems).

Scroll to the end of this post for the details, but first, I want to provide some context – both for interested candidates as well as for all readers.

Better With a Database:  a Recurring Theme

For a long time now, I’ve been saying that you can get a LOT more out of PowerPivot if you pair it with a database.  For reference, see the following posts:

  1. Self Service BI Doesn’t Mean Desktop Standalone BI (one of my most popular all-time posts, at least in certain circles)
  2. Better With a Database Part One
  3. Better With a Database Part Two

The human element, and why “anthony” is becoming a noun

Stated even more clearly, an Excel Pro can achieve much better results when they collaborate with a Database Pro.  (Yes, sometimes they can be the same person, but generally speaking, the skillsets are distinct).

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Cloud Data Approaching Critical Mass: Connection Cloud, SalesForce, PowerPivot, & Webinar on YouTube

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Cloud Data Like SalesForce Available to PowerPivot as if it Were in a Local Database:
My Long Wish for a “Data Highway” Gets Closer Every Day
(Click for the Webinar Featuring Yours Truly on YouTube)

Flashback 2001:  The “Data Highway” Concept

Back at Microsoft in 2001 when I was working on what eventually became Excel 2003, I pitched a vision that I called “Data Highway.”  (OK, not an original name considering the Information Superhighway thing coined by Internet inventor Al Gore, but invention is smart and theft is genius, or something like that.)

The idea behind Data Highway was simple:  all relevant data made available to the most popular tools (cough cough Excel), in a convenient and refreshable format.  No manual gruntwork required to “fetch” data in other words – saving your brain for actual thinking.

imageThere were three elements to the pitch:

  1. A common internet protocol for exchanging data.
  2. “Teaching” Excel, Access, and other tools to consume any data source exposed via that protocol.
  3. A marketplace for data where providers like Dun and Bradstreet could sell data to be piped straight into Excel.

Well the protocol flopped and our VP killed the marketplace idea before it got off the ground.  Having good ideas isn’t enough – you can’t be too early, and you also need to execute better than we did.

Fast Forward to Today

Here we are at the end of 2012, and we have all three elements available in different (but robust and real) forms:

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