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Microsoft Excel Power Query for self-service BI professionals.

The 3 Big Lies of Data. (And Power Pivot vs. Power View, Power Query, Q&A, etc.)

How Power Pivot, Power View, and the Other Power BI Tools Relate to Each Other

Power Pivot is the Engine that Turns Data Into Information!
But We Can’t Understand This Properly Without Examining the Three Big Lies of Data

Goal:  Answer Four Frequently-Asked Questions

So many things to say this week. Let’s jump in.  Here are the questions I ultimately aim to answer, which are questions I get basically everywhere I go:

  1. How do all of the Power BI Components relate to each other?  Power Pivot, Power Query, Power View, Power Map, Q and A, etc. = Power Confusion for some folks.  I get it.
  2. Has Power Pivot become less important, now that we have all of these other new “Power *” tools?
  3. Which tool should I learn first in the Power BI family?
  4. Should I consider abandoning this stuff altogether in favor of <hot new technology X>?  Tableau, Hadoop, R, etc.

In order to answer these, first we must confront some insidious lies that we are told every day.

Examining:  The Three Big Lies of Data

We want data tools vendors to lie to usThe world of data, today, is clouded by Three Big Lies.  These lies originate with all of the tools vendors – Oracle, IBM, Tableau, etc., and yes, Microsoft too is very much playing along.

Even though the Vendors are the Purveyors of these lies, they are NOT “at fault” for them.  Because the world actually WANTS to be told these lies.  BADLY wants to be told them, in fact.  And because the audience is so receptive to these lies, the vendors naturally learn to tell them, and tell them well.

Vendors who DON’T learn to tell these lies?  Well, those vendors don’t win many customers.  And then those vendors disappear.

So while the lies COME from the vendors, the PROBLEM, really, is with US – the people who BUY the tools.

Read the Rest

Get Your Name Printed in Power Pivot Alchemy :)

 

***UPDATE:  Pre-order window moved to Tuesday April 1st, and moved from Amazon to MrExcel.com:

0) Add the pre-order window to your calendar

1a) MrExcel.com Physical Book Page (USA Orders Only!)

1b) MrExcel.com eBook Page (All Countries)

***BONUS:  In addition to getting your name printed in the book, ALL pre-orders from MrExcel.com will include IMMEDIATE access to the “rough cuts” version of Alchemy in PDF form.  Think of this as the 99% complete version of the book, a “final beta” of sorts.  You can start reading next week, and then receive the final version when it’s ready in a few weeks.  (Immediate access to the PDF is included with pre-orders of the physical book OR eBook).

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About 160 People Got Their Names Printed in the First Book, and Seemed to Really Enjoy It.
Time to Do That Again for My Long-Delayed New Book, Alchemy.

The long tug of war draws to a close…

Yes folks, it’s basically done.  For over a year now, Bill and I have taken turns playing the roles of “Busy Guy Who Keeps Putting it Off” and “Impatient Guy Who Wonders Why the Other Guy Keeps Dragging His Feet.”

For the record, it looks like the game is ending with me holding the hot potato.  Bill will forever remind me that I was the last hold up, I know this.

Order Tuesday April 1st Between
12 and 1 PM US Eastern Time

Pre-order the book on MrExcel.com during that 1-hour window and we will include your name in the book before it goes to the printer!  (Yes we still have a narrow window for changes).

0) Add the pre-order window to your calendar

1a) MrExcel.com Physical Book Page (USA Orders Only!)

1b) MrExcel.com eBook Page (All Countries)

(No Need to Send Screenshots Since We’ll Have Your Name on the Order)

Read the Rest

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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“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?

Read the Rest