Although Microsoft Excel isn’t likely to vanish into thin air any time soon, Power BI Desktop has the potential to overtake it in popularity as it continues to flourish and become more feature-rich. Most of Excel’s latest improvements have only become available if you have a separately installed Office ProPlus license or are an Office 365 E3 tenant.
So what’s so great about Excel? Excel formulas and pivot tables are close to being the number one programming language around for anything from simple to relatively complex data organization, and tools such as Power Pivot, Power Map, Power View and Power Query are also very powerful to:
- Transform data
- explore and filter data
- build key performance indicators (KPIs)
- Creates visualizations
Although Excel is a robust platform to use in order to build the data model you’re going to analyze, the tools to actually conduct that analysis isn’t part of Excel’s interface, meaning you may end up opening up multiple application instances because you need to use different tools, which has a tendency to reduce the quality of the end user experience.
Power BI Desktop is touted as Microsoft’s shiny new data analysis and reporting tool that can do it all – bringing ease of use, and an impressive list of data source integrations. Power BI is indeed a very powerful platform and full of features that can reap immense benefits if utilized properly.
But does Power BI live up to its name?
It does bring some compelling functionality for interactive designers in particular, including:
Power BI has the option to import Power Query queries, Power Pivot models and Power View worksheets in addition to having other data import/export options. You can import data from various databases and file formats and its most recent update allows Power BI to integrate with Azure services including ExpressRoute.
With Power BI, you can connect with on-premises data and through cloud services. The subscription version of Power BI allows for an unlimited amount of storage and adds connections to your data.
Shape & Combine Data:
Once you connect and import the necessary data, you can adjust and shape the data to fit your needs by renaming columns, tables, changing text to numbers and editing rows in Power BI’s Query Editor. Combining data from several data sources enables users to create unique reports and analysis that will only enhance your BI strategy.