Tag Archives: Power BI

How to use Power BI free of cost

I have noticed that most customers are reluctant to pay the 9$ license cost for Power BI. Here is how you can use Power BI free of cost. I am a strong proponent of purchasing licensed software. This articles is not meant to show you how to cheat on the licensing cost. In fact, I will show you how to get tangible value by using Power BI free version so that you can easily justify the cost of the license with a strong and compelling business justification.

Power BI free of cost poster showing the logo and a skydiver

The idea is simple. Use Power BI just like we use Excel. Create Power BI Reports, save PBIX files on OneDrive / Teams. Share the reports with each other as links or attachments – exactly the way we do with Excel files. All users must have Power BI Desktop free version. This process does not cost any money. Power BI free version offers all the features and connectors with no time limit or restrictions.

Then the next question is – if this works for free, why pay Microsoft that 9$ per user per month license for Power BI Pro? Good question. Sharing PBIX files may seem satisfy your needs – but it has many disadvantages. Read on to find out more…

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Ignite Session Viewer using Power BI

At Microsoft Ignite 2019, more than 1500 sessions were conducted in a matter of just 5 days. I created a Power BI Dashboard – Ignite Session Viewer to help you find, view and download all the videos and presentations.

Open the Ignite Session Viewer in any browser by using this link.

Ignite Session Viewer

You can filter by Level, Topic, Format, Type and Duration. The table on the right side shows individual sessions.

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Transforming Shadow Analytics

This content is relevant only if you are a CIO (or IT decision maker). Here is the video of the session I conducted at CIO Power List event on 4th May, 2018, at Conrad, Pune. Shadow Analytics has been around ever since “shadows” – also called end users – are around. Everyone knows about. Some people tried to eliminate it. Nobody succeeded.

This 30 minute video explains how to use Shadow Analytics as an opportunity to empower rather than restrict users and improve effective utilization of data.

Demos Included

The demos included in this Shadow Analytics video are:
Flash Fill, Insights, Explain the increase and Q&A.

Insights option in Insert menu of Excel

What is Shadow Analytics?

It is all kinds of data capture, clean-up, manipulation and report generation performed by end users without IT intervention.

If you generate a report from a business system (which is built or managed by IT), it is alright. But if you copy paste data from multiple such reports into Excel and then generate a new report, it becomes “Shadow Analytics”.

As you can imagine, it is difficult to eliminate it. Irrespective of how much time and effort you have spent on creating the most flexible ad-hoc reporting systems, it is impossible to provide every possible variation that users want. Therefore, Shadow Analytics has always been there and is likely to survive in the foreseeable future.

Problems associated with Shadow Analytics

Primarily two problems. It is extremely error prone and time consuming. There are lots of related problems. The root cause is that data is handled in a casual manner without regard for its recency and in a completely undocumented manner.

This can lead to wrong decisions, delayed decisions, increased operational risk and enormous wastage of precious time.

Summary

It is impossible to handle and correct the data sources and deliver data to users in a manner which is so easy that they stop doing the manual capture and clean-up altogether.

Once clean, accurate and updated data is available as input, creating reports can be done by end users in a more informed and productive manner.

Left hug Computer Right hug

How to conduct a Power BI Pilot

Power BI is becoming popular. Therefore, many companies are interested in considering a Power BI Pilot project as a proof of concept. While interacting with customers, I have noticed that many such pilots fail. The failure is NOT due to the capabilities of the product, but due to other factors which are controllable. In this article, I have listed a process which prevents common errors and improves the credibility of the outcome.

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Excel Data Model : Simplifying usage

Excel Data Model is a database that is built-in to Excel. It has been around since 2010. Using it increases the capacity of Excel to handle millions of rows, it reduces file size significantly and eliminates VLOOKUP for code to description mapping. These new options in Excel 2016 and above simplify the usage of Excel Data Model and improve performance for large data operations. Go to File – Options – Data tab.

Excel Data Model usage options

Options in section 1 and section 2 are already covered in my previous blog articles. Section 3 helps us incorporate Data Model more easily into day-to-day Excel data management activities.

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