PowerPivot is a powerful, low-cost solution for collecting and analyzing data.
Microsoft continues to stand out as a leader with both, a completeness of vision and a high ability to execute. What is PowerPivot?
It’s a data modeler that is a built in extension for Excel2013 and above. It allows you to import millions of records from multiple data sources, model the data with logic and calculations and present them using Excel. All of this is done at the desktop, In addition it can be shared via Sharepoint or Power BI. See graphic below.
Where Does the Power Come From?
The major benefits and the power added to the standard Pivot Table and VLookup functionality in standard Excel are as follows:
- Instant linking and splicing of data sets (entire tables in seconds)
- Smart, reusable, advanced formulas
- Virtually limitless data
- Front end is Excel – familiar with many users already
- Dashboards, visualizations can be created via Excel
Microsoft’s BI solutions can work for a wide range of customers, so if you’re a small to mid-size company who’s just getting started with BI, it may be a good starting point. But it must be noted, BI isn’t just about software capabilities, it also requires insight capability; knowing the right business question to ask and then finding the data that helps answer the question. The software by itself is never the complete solution and developing people with these capabilities takes time. Read our blog post Building A Winning Organization Through Data-Driven Decision Making to learn how to get it done.
A first step in any BI initiative is to gather the data you need and present it so it can be more productive in the analysis portion.
This is where PowerPivot excels as a low cost and agile solution. Other BI solutions have cost ranges into the thousands of dollars per user, with implementation time measured in months or even years. However, if your company has been using Excel2013 or above, PowerPivot is already in your application suite. Additionally, many of your users will be familiar with the UI for PowerPivot as they have already been using Excel.
With two primary issues identified; the inability to access required data in a productive manner and the time investment sometimes being too burdensome to even bother, we are proposing this solution. If you are using Excel2013 already, PowerPivot is readily available. Data for these solutions automatically refresh before the analyst starts working so now, instead of wasting an hour or more to get the needed information, your team can kick off the analysis at the beginning of each day.
Your initial successes will allow your team to build further data models to manage G/L, to manage inventory, etc.. As they learn the right questions they need to ask and determine the right data to help answer the questions, the PowerPivot Models and Excel front end can be adjusted accordingly with minimal time or effort.