Beginning Power BI with Excel 2013: Self-Service Business Intelligence Using Power Pivot, Power View, Power Query, and Power Map

Beginning Power BI with Excel 2013: Self-Service Business Intelligence Using Power Pivot, Power View, Power Query, and Power Map - Dan Clark

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Self-service business intelligence (BI) is all the rage. You have heard the hype, seen the sales demos, and are ready to give it a try. Now what? If you are like me, you have probably already checked out a few web sites for examples, given them a try, and learned a thing or two. But you are still left wondering how all these tools fit together and how you go about creating a complete solution, right? If so, this book is for you. It takes you step by step through the process of analyzing data using the various tools that are at the core of Microsoft’s self-service BI offering.


At the center of Microsoft’s self-service BI offering is Power Pivot. I will show you how to create robust, scalable data models using Power Pivot; these will serve as the foundation of your data analysis. Since Power Pivot is the core tool you will use to create self-service BI solutions, it is covered extensively in this book. Next up is Power View. I will show you how to use Power View to easily build interactive visualizations that allow you to explore your data to discover trends and gain insight. In addition, I will show you how Power Pivot allows you to create a data model that will take full advantage of the features available in Power View.


Two other tools that are becoming increasingly important to have in your BI arsenal are Power Query and Power Map. Quite often, you will need to take your raw data and transform it in some way before you load it into the data model. You may need to filter, aggregate, or clean the raw data. I will show you how Power Query allows you to easily transform and refine data before incorporating it into your data model. While analyzing data, you may also be required to incorporate locational awareness with visualizations into a map. Power Map uses Microsoft’s Bing mapping engine to easily incorporate data on an interactive map. I will show you how to use Power Map to create interesting visualizations of your data.


One additional topic that I have included is Excel’s table analysis tools. These tools allow you to run some interesting data analysis including analyzing key influencers, identifying data groupings, and forecasting future trends. Although these tools are not part of Microsoft’s self-service BI tool set, I think they are worth covering. They will get you thinking about the value of predictive analytics when you are analyzing your data.


I strongly believe one of the most important aspects of learning is doing. You can’t learn how to ride a bike without jumping on a bike, and you can’t learn to use the BI tools without actually interacting with them. Any successful training program includes both theory and hands-on activities. For this reason, I have included a hands-on activity at the end of every chapter designed to solidify the concepts covered in the chapter. I encourage you to work through these activities diligently. It is well worth the effort.


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