As a data professional, you would invariably end up spending a lot of time on data cleaning & transformation and a lot of times, you might be doing your work in Excel — if so, then check out Power Query if you haven’t already! It will save you a LOT of time and unlock Jedi powers that you didn’t know you had!
if you are using a Mac — and there’s a lot of data scientist and data analyst who are on this platform then you are unfortunately out of luck! So for Mac users out there, I had shared this feedback which has 50 comments & 337 votes (as of 6/16/17) on the official Power BI ideas site; If you are one of the Mac users, then I encourage you to check it out and vote! Microsoft does take it seriously and their roadmap is heavily influenced by ideas site.
Power Query is amazing! It takes the data analysis capabilities of Excel to whole new level! In this post, I am going to share three reasons:
1. it enables repeatable mash-up of data!
Have you every had to do your data analysis tasks repeatedly on the data with same structure? Do you get “new” data every other week and need to go through the same data transformation workflow to get to the data that you need?
What’s the solution? Well, you can look at MACRO’s! Or you can request your IT department to create a Business Intelligence platform. However, what if you need to modify your data mashup workflow then these solutions don’t look great, do they now?
Don’t worry! Power Query is here!
It enables repeatable mashup of data like you might have never seen before! You need to try it to believe.
It’s very easy to input new data to Power Query and it enables you to retrieve final output based on new data using a “refresh” feature.
Each data-mashup is recorded as steps which you can go back and edit if you need to.
2. It’s super-flexible!
Any data mashup performed using Power Query is expressed using its formula language called “M”. You can edit the code if you need to and as you can imagine such a platform enables much-needed flexibility for the analyst’s.
3. It has awesome advance features!
Do you want to Merge data? How about Join? Are you tired with VLOOKUP’s! Don’t worry! it’s super easy with Power Query! Here’s a post: Join Excel Tables in Power Query
How about searching for online & open data sets? Done!
How about connecting to data sources that “Data” section of Excel doesn’t support yet? (Example: Facebook) – DONE! Power Query makes that happen for you.
And That’s not a complete list!
Plus you can unlock the “Power” (pun intended) of Power Query by using it with other tools in Power BI Stack. (Power Pivot, Power View, etc…) OR you can use the your final output from Power Query with other tools too! After all it’s an excel file.
If you haven’t already then check out Power Query! it’s free and works with Excel 2010 and above.
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.
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:
Data on its own is just a bucket of potential. People convert data to opportunities – James #sqlpass#summit14