Archive - Blog Posts on Business Intelligence

Excel is the Swiss Army Knife of Business Intelligence - I was recently asked by an Industry Excel expert what made Excel such a compelling product for Business Intelligence, Reporting and Analysis.  As many people know, I have worked in IT as well as commercial business roles over the years, so I have seen ‘both sides’ of the story and hence I am qualified to […] Read More
Fill Table with Last Survey Result - I have come across this problem a few times recently. There was no immediately obvious solution that worked at first. I knew what I wanted to do but I couldn’t get it to work – but now I have a solution and I want to share it for the benefit of others. First, let me […] Read More
I’m Speaking at the PASS BA Conference - I’m really excited to be speaking at this year’s PASS Business Analyst Conference in San Jose California.  I will be sharing what I have learnt in my time working as BI Director at The Coca-Cola Company about how to share Power Pivot (and other Excel) Workbooks with people that simply want to consume the data. Part […] Read More
Power Query Issues with Power Pivot - Edit 16 May 2015: I now know the exact cause and cure for this problem.  See this post here PhilC at asked me for advice on the best way to use Power Query with Power Pivot.  If you have come to this post via Google, it is probably because you have had issues and […] Read More
What is Power Pivot and Why You Should Care - I have been meaning to write this post for a long time – today is the day!  The answer to the question “What is Power Pivot?“.  You may also have landed here by searching for “Use this workbook’s Data Model”.  Often the first time people discover Power Pivot is when they see this message in […] Read More
How to Bulk Refresh PowerPivot Workbooks on your PC - There are a number of different ways that you can refresh PowerPivot workbooks automatically on a schedule. The main ones I know of are: Using Power BI Using SharePoint Auto Refresh Using some sort of custom built desktop automation tool The problem with Power BI and SharePoint The problem with Power BI is that you […] Read More
How to access PowerPivot on iPad - One thing I find when working with my customers and meeting PowerPivot users is that a lot of people want to know how to access PowerPivot when they are mobile.  Most frequently people want to access PowerPivot reports on iPad, however in many cases just presenting data for PC users in an ‘easy to consume’ […] Read More
PivotTables for iPad - Microsoft has released an upgrade to its Office Apps for iPad (version 1.1) that now includes – wait for it…. PivotTables for iPad Support!  Wooohoo. But unfortunately there is good news and bad news. First the good news. You can indeed open a workbook that has PivotTables and you can interact with them on screen. Now […] Read More
Chris Webb’s Power Query Book Review - I have been waiting for this book Power Query for Power BI and Excel by Chris Webb for some time and I am pleased to advise it is a great book for a broad range of people with anything from zero to medium skills in Power Query. I fall into the later category and I found […] Read More
PowerPivot Forum Recruitment Drive - Back in early May I realised that there was not much in the way of a dedicated forum for PowerPivot users, especially for the general user.  There are some specialised forums out there for Microsoft Developers but not much for the average user.  As a result I went ahead and set up a new PowerPivot Forum and […] Read More
How much does a BI Project Cost? - This is a very interesting question “How much does a BI Project cost?”, and one that many people want the answer to.  The standard response from IT is “how long is a piece of string?”, and that is a valid response in many senses.  ie how would you know how much it will cost without […] Read More
Matt's curated best self serve BI content
Deep Dive into Power Query M Language - In this session, Matt Masson and Tess Palmer do a great job of showing everyone the depth and power of the Power Query M language that is the backbone of Power Query – it makes my list. Clearly they didn’t expect too many people in the audience to be able to follow them along the […] Read More
Solving Complex Business Problems with DAX – TechEd 2014 - This is a continuation of my series on “best of” from TechEd 2014. This session by Kasper de Jonge makes my best of list. It is quite technical in places and digs in deep. I particularly like when he talks about “evaluation context”. Erik explains that there are 2 types of context (row context and […] Read More
Those that didn't make my list
Self Service BI from TechEd 2014 cont… - This post is a continuation of my last post where I started to provide a curated view of content from TechEd 2014 from the perspective of a Self Service BI professional.  Inevitably if I am to share with you the best of the sessions, there are going to be some that don’t make my list.  […] Read More
A smorgasbord of Microsoft Self Serve BI at TechEd 2014 - Last week in Houston Texas, Microsoft held TechEd 2014 (North America, 12-15 May). I was browsing the videos from this conference and wanted to share the wealth of material that is available for anyone to view. If you just filter on the “Data Platform and Business Intelligence stream“, there are over 40 sessions focussed on […] Read More
PowerPivot Forum
PowerPivot Forum Open for Business - As I spend more and more of my time working full time with PowerPivot and associated Excel products, I have been looking for suitable forums that are focused around PowerPivot. I have not found anything out there that I really like. So I spent some time over the weekend setting up a brand new PowerPivot […] Read More
Excel will save you millions
Why Excel will SAVE you millions - Yesterday I read this post called “Why Excel is costing you millions” by Gayle Ryan.  I have never seen a more misleading and ill informed post about Excel, and I was motivated to provide a response to this article here. Ryan starts out by talking about static reporting, and how that is no longer enough […] Read More