Power Pivot Consultancy

Excel is now an integral part of Microsoft's BI stack (aka Power BI), with the same columnar reporting engine embedded in Excel, SharePoint Excel Services, Office 365 and SQL Server.

No longer do businesses need to invest up-front in expensive DW/BI initiatives; Excel's self-service BI capability offers a more organic and cost-effective path; allowing for traditional "pass-the-parcel" Excel-based reporting to migrate to a SharePoint, O365 Cloud or SQL Server deployment if (and only if) needs justify.

A side effect of this new way of doing BI is that every business with Office 2010/2013 now has a "free, poor man's" BI platform.

I have a long background (~50% of my 35 year IT career) in the design & delivery of traditional BI (ROLAP & MOLAP) reporting solutions. PowerPivot (Power BI's Excel component) is essentially a 3rd way of producing OLAP cubes, heavily influenced by the dimensional modelling technique commonly known as the star-schema, but with the presentational simplicity of the Excel's PivotTable and an Excel-like formula language (DAX) bolted on. PowerPivot models built with an understanding of the usefulness of the star-schema approach will allow simpler data analytics. But, where the model is less than "perfect", the DAX formula language can usually extract results for nearly any dataset (resulting DAX will be more complex, but the reduction in data cleansing steps, saving time and money, will often make up for this extra complexity).

Even if the development of an ideal BI focused data model, such as a star schema, is not on the agenda, before most production data can be reported on, it usually must first be "shaped" in some form or another. The technical term for this is ETL (Extract, Transform & Load), the skill-set and tools associated with the movement of datasets. It's the unglamorous, but essential backbone, to a whole range of IT deliverables: Data Warehousing, BI (Business Intelligence), Planning & Forecasting, New System Commissioning, Systems Integration.

I've both the skills and the tools to build a rock-solid Excel-based ETL back-end for your Power BI project. This can be as simple as a "good enough" data shaping automation for a single PowerPivot cube or a sophisticated 'micro-Data Warehouse' which would act as a foundation for a more long-term self-service BI strategy.

I can also automate the work-flows and non-ETL repetitive tasks associated with such projects. Tasks such as: generating questionnaires, marshalling and recording the resulting replies, generating non-PowerPivot workbook reports/pivots.

If you need help with Power Pivot data model design, DAX, or general automation, contact me here.