How to take full advantage of Power BI in Excel 2013

Monday 14 October 2013

The launch of Power BI features in Excel 2013 gives users an added range of options for data analysis and gaining business intelligence (BI). Power Query, Power Pivot, Power View, and Power Map work seamlessly together, making it much simpler to discover and visualise data. And for small businesses looking to take advantage of self-service intelligence solutions, this is a major stride forwards.

Power Query

With Power Query, users can search the entire cloud for data - both public and private. With access to multiple data sources, users can filter, shape, merge, and append the information, without the need to physically bring it in to Excel.

Once your query is shaped and filtered how you want it, you can download it into a worksheet in Excel, into the Data Model, or both. When you have the dataset you need, shaped and formed and properly merged, you can save the query that created it, and share it with other users.

Power Pivot

Power Pivot enables users to create their own data models from various sources, structured to meet individual needs. You can customise, extend with calculations and hierarchies, and manage the powerful Data Model that is part of Excel.

The solution works seamlessly and automatically with Power Query, and with other features of Power BI, allowing you to manage and extend your own custom database in the familiar environment of Excel. The entire Data Model in Power Pivot – including tables, columns, calculations and hierarchies - exist as report-ready elements in Power View.

Power View

Power View allows users to create engaging, interactive, and insightful visualisations with just a few clicks of their mouse. The tool brings the Data Model alive, turning queries into visual analysis and answers. Data can be presented in a variety of different forms, with the reports easily shareable and open for interactive analysis.

Power Map

A relatively new addition to Excel - Power Map is a geocentric and temporal mapping feature of Power BI. It brings location data into powerful, engaging 3D map visualisations. This allows users to create location-based reports, visualised over a time continuum, that tour the available data.

Using the features together

Power BI offers a collection of services which are designed to make self-service BI intuitive and collaborative. The solution combines the power and familiarity of Excel with collaboration and cloud-based functionality. This vastly increases users' capacity to gather, manage and draw insights from data, ensuring they can make the most of business intelligence.

The various feature of BI can add value independently, but the real value is in integration. When used in conjunction with one another - rather than in silo - the services become more than the sum of their parts. They are designed to work seamlessly together in Excel 2013, supporting users as they look to find data, process it and create visualisations which add value to the decision making process.

Posted by Alex Boardman