Live tweeted #sqlpass’s Business Analytics VC webinar: 13 Excel Tips!


I was live tweeting during our monthly PASS Business Analytics VC meeting, Here are the tweets to learn about 13 Excel Tips!

Thanks everyone who attended, I hope it was helpful!

Here are some ways to follow the Virtual Chapter:

News from PASS Summit’14 for Business Analytics Professionals: #sqlpass #summit14


This post is a quick summary for all Business Analytics related updates that I saw at PASS Summit’14:

1. Theme of the Keynote(s)/Session(s) seemed to be around educating the community about the benefits of the NEW(er) tools. I saw demos/material for cloud-based tools like SQL databases, Azure stream analytics, Azure DocumentDB, AzureHDInsight & Azure Machine learning. The core message was pretty clear: A data professional does two things – 1) Guards data OR 2) helps to generate Insights from Data – And they will need to keep up-to-date on the new tools to future-proof their career.

Read more about this here:

2. Coming soon: Power BI will be able to connect to on-premise SSAS data sources (multi-dim & tabular).

3. Coming soon: A better experience to create Power BI dashboards.

Read more about Power BI updates here:

4. Azure Machine Learning adds a free-tier! You won’t need a credit-card/subscription to sign up for this.

5. I also saw sessions proposing new way of thinking about an architecture for “Self Service BI” and “Big Data” which might be worth following because since these are newer tools, it’s definitely worth considering an architecture that’s designed to make the most of the investments in these new tools. That’s it & I’ll leave you with a quote from James Phillips from Day 1’s keynote:

How to get descriptive statistics in Excel?



you are analyzing a dataset and before modeling/analyzing you need to generate descriptive statistics on a field. you have the data loaded in Excel and wondered if there’s a way to do that in Excel.


There’s an out of the box solution that will support your needs to generate descriptive statistics on a field. Here are the steps:

Note: for the purpose of this blog post, I am using Excel 2013 but data analysis toolpak is available in Excel 2007+.

1. Active “Data Analysis” toolpak.

Follow this steps:  File > Options > Add-ins > Manage: Excel Addins > “GO”

excel data analysis toolpak

2. make sure to check the “analysis toolpak” checkbox.

3. Now you should see a “data analysis” option under the “Data” pane:

Excel Data Analysis Descriptive Statistics

4. Now click on “Data Analysis” and select one of the following options:

Anova, Correlation, Covariance, Descriptive Statistics, Exponential Smoothing, F-Test Two-Sample for Variances, Fourier Analysis, Histogram, Moving Average, Random Number Generation, Rank and Percentile, Regression, Sampling, t-Test, z-Test.

in this case, let’s go with descriptive statistics but you can see that you can perform other tasks as well.

5. Once you click on the descriptive statistics, a dialog box will show up and you will have to enter some data like your input range to generate descriptive statistics. Once you have filled the data needed, click on OK and it should generate descriptive statistics for you in EXCEL!

I hope that helps!


In this post, we saw how to generate descriptive statistics in Microsoft Excel.

Author: Paras Doshi

Cost Driver’s Dashboard for a Supply Chain Executive:

Supply Chain Cost Drivers Profitability Dashboard


Profitability equals revenue minus costs – To that end, A supply chain executive is mostly focused on optimizing cost elements to drive profitability. Here’s a mock up of a dashboard created for an executive to help him keep an eye on the overall health while making sure he gets alerted for key cost categories.

The Dashboard was created using profitability data-set & also had drill down capabilities to analyze numbers for cost buckets like Raw materials, manufacturing & logistics.


Supply Chain Cost Drivers Profitability Dashboard

Power Pivot: How to get Month Name from a date field?



How do you get a Month Name from a date field in Power Pivot?


here’s a code snippet that should help:

[code language=”SQL”]

This should give you month names (Jan, Feb, …) instead of integers that are returned by the MONTH function.

couple of notes:

1. date field needs to be used to get the month name

2. MMM needs to be in uppercase.

I hope this helps.

Back to basics: continuous Vs. Discrete variables and their importance in Data Visualization.


Take a look at the following chart, do you see any issues with it?

month trend chart line chart string to date

Notice that the month values are shown as “distinct” values instead of shown as a “continuous” values and it misleads the person looking at the chart.  Agree? Great! You already know based on your instincts what continuous and discrete values are, it’s just that we will need to label what you already know.

In the example used above, the “Date & Time” shown as a “Sales Date” is a continuous value since you can’t never say the “Exact” time that the event occurred…1/1/2008 22 hours, 15 minutes, 7 seconds, 5 milliseconds…and it goes on…it’s continuous.

But let’s say you wanted to see Number of Units Sold Vs Product Name. now that’s countable, isn’t it? You can say that we sold 150 units of Product X and 250 units of product Y. In this case, Units sold becomes discrete value.

The chart shown above was treating Sales Date as discrete values and hence causing confusion…let’s fix it since now you the difference between continuous and discrete variables:

Statistics Discrete Continuos Variable Data Visualization


To develop effective data visualizations, it’s important to understand the data types of your data. In this post, you saw the difference between continuous and discrete variables and their importance in data visualization.

How to train your users to create their own Business Intelligence reports? #4 of 5: Sample Training Content


In part #1, I wrote about why is it important to enable business users to create their own BI reports.

In part #2, I wrote about three pre-training preparations – 1. Data 2. Tool 3. Understanding Culture.

In part #3, I wrote about 1. User Experience 2. Trainer 3. Training Content.

In this post, I am going share sample training content that uses Excel 2010. Before I share sample content, here are some tips

1. use YOUR data!

2. Show them the end goal & then walk through the steps to get there


Here’s a sample training content for a 4 hour-long excel training session (divided into basics & advanced) including hands on lab time.

Here you go:


Excel analysis services business intelligence dashboardBASIC-I

  1. Open the Template
  2. Explore the Field List
  3. Explain the concept of “dimensions” & “measures”
  4. Create a Simple Pivot Table – Row Labels & Measures
  5. Add column labels & report filters

Excel Pivot Table SSAS Step 1


  1. Sorting
  2. Turning off grant totals
  3. Creating a hierarchy
  4. Changing the Pivot Table Design

Excel analysis services business intelligence dashboard step 2



  1. Remove fields from Pivot Table
  2. Add more than one pivot table
  3. Add slicer
  4. Connect slicer with every pivot table

Excel analysis services business intelligence dashboard step 3


  1. Add Pivot Chart
  2. Add one more slicer
  3. Add hierarchy structure to pivot tables
  4. Add conditional formatting
  5. Format chart

Excel analysis services business intelligence dashboard step 4


In this post, I shared a sample training content that uses Excel 2010.