A cheeky wee demo of SQL Server’s PowerPivot Excel Plugin, this introduction video quickly goes through how easy it is to connect to a data-source using PowerPivot, build the relationships between different tables, write a simple DAX query, and eventually use your newly created “mini” model in a Pivot Table with some vertical and horizontal sliders.
PowerPivot for Excel has made some tremendous stride with the much awaited SQL Server 2012 (project name Denali), and with the introduction of the familiar DAX query language, Excel has always been the heart of data analysis, and PowerPivot is one of many plugins that Microsoft created in an attempt to leverage this platform as THE analysis tool for slicing and dicing data, as well as an invaluable data-mining tool if coupled with SQL Server’s Analysis Service.
PowerPivot 2012 is part of Microsoft’s new BI effort that aims to bridge the gap between data-warehousing and data analysis, providing data exploration tools for data analysts and power users, which allows them to build adhoc and bespoke analysis models, without any intervention from developers or DBAs. Essentially this is self service BI for power users.
This is a great leap in terms of data analysis, especially in a fast paced ever changing business environment, for example online marketing, were you are dealing with humongous amount data, from a very large number of data-sources that are changing all the time. Keeping up with new (or dropped) data-sources is a mission of its own. This suite of self-service BI lifts some of the weight from IT, and allows users to experiment with data, and see which data model work and which doesn’t.
This also makes sense when coupled with an efficient feedback strategy from analysts using the tools, so for example when analysts experiment and explore the data using adhoc data models, and they find one that works or displays a very interesting market perspective, with PowerPivot models, Dev team could collaborate in the design of the successful model and formalize it into a proper cube.