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Book Description

15 Jun 2014

Microsoft’s revolutionary Power Pivot is a tool that allows users to create and transform data into reports and dashboards in new and much more powerful ways using the most-used analytical tool in the world: Excel.

This book, written by a member of Microsoft’s Power Pivot team, provides a practical step by step guide on creating a financial dashboard. The book covers in detail how to combine and shape the relevant data, build the dashboard in Excel, providing layout and design tips and tricks, prepare the model to work with fiscal dates, and show values used in many financial reports, including year-to-date, variance-to-target, percentage-of-total, and running totals reports.

Accessibly written, this book offers readers a practical, real-world scenario and can be used as a day-to-day reference. Though the guide focuses on Power Pivot for Excel 2010, a chapter that discusses Power View-compatible with Excel 2013- and Power BI is also included.

Frequently Bought Together

DASHBOARDING & REPORTING/POWER PIVOT/EXC + PowerPivot Alchemy + DAX Formulas for PowerPivot: A Simple Guide to the Excel Revolution
Price For All Three: 67.49

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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quick read for a technical book, Narrative format reads like a story 26 Jun 2014
By C. Akina - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I already own Bill Jelen's book, PowerPivot Alchemy: Patterns and Techniques for Excel, as well as Rob Collie's book, DAX Formulas for PowerPivot: A Simple Guide to the Excel Revolution, so I preordered this one on May 1st.

Apparently I forgot that I preordered it on May 1st because I received two copies of this book earlier this week and the second invoice says I placed another order on May 4th for the same book. Cool! Alzheimers kicking in before age 30, this is going to be fun! Oh well, double the nerdyness - my wife is so proud.

Reading through the introductory portions of the book, you get a sense that Kasper is drinking the Power Pivot kool-aid. I'm not doggin' on Kasper at all. It's that the capabilities of Excel are so boundless and exhaustive that most of Excel's user base wouldn't have a clue that excel can do this kind of reporting. I imagine that the average excel user wouldn't realize that the columns and rows they use to make their company picnic assignment list is the same tool that can provide C-Level execs with the actionable insights that keep the entire company solvent. (Yes Karen, I put you down as bringing paper plates and napkins, you frugal nut!)

It's actually pretty cool to be reminded of the opportunities that exist out there for us rare breed of Excel Power Users. Even for those who are not yet-excel power users I would say that this book bridges the gap between (1) the HOW-to info that you expect from a technical book about building reports off of large data sets and (2) the "WHY-to" info that you REALLY REALLY NEED because the nerdyness doesn't matter if the resulting work doesn't convey useful information.

(1) Yes - the book shows you the DAX formulas that soon become your best friends in your quest to manage/manipulate and massage your raw data into USEFUL relational tables.

(1) Yes - the book has longevity in mind, meaning that Kasper teaches you to setup these reports and dashboards in a way that refreshing your data feeds/imports/cubes/etc. in the future won't be fraught with tedious data cleanup. He does this so you can achieve that magical level of automation you've been bragging about to your coworkers--they're tired of hearing you yap on about efficiency/effectiveness gains and can't decide whether they would prefer your spiel about how 'cool' your Pivot Tables are with their calculated fields and junk... so just setup the report correctly the first time and enjoy the rest of the day off would ya?

(2) No - your pretty reports aren't just pretty, they have to be useful. Built into this book's core is the understanding that the end-users of the dashboards and reports aren't going to be very technically minded. Kasper will educate you as to the ways you can allow the decision makers who use your reports and dashboards to customize what they see in front of them so they can leave you alone and stop asking you to show them 40 angles of the data. You can create your dashboards with those whiny managers in mind, all in the interest of making your reports and dashboards easier to use, more relevant to those decision makers and more reason not to fire you even though you secretly want out anyway.

So then, if it's true that your job is to create dashboards and reports from large data sets and you want to do it in a way that makes you an automation hero, buy this book. As far as comparisons go... and well, as an ADHD guy, I liked Bill Jelen's book, PowerPivot Alchemy, more because the possibility of applying the bag of tricks I've picked up from that book was just more stimulating. (not a small theme in my life)

Why buy this book? Pick up on best practices for report building and formulating DAX expressions that stand the test of time (refreshed data). This is also a better choice for noobs than Rob Collie's 'DAX formulas for PowerPivot' because of this book's narrative style and also because of it having less technical explanations (you know... the kind that requires you to read slowly over the same paragraph multiple times with intentional focus before you realize you're starting to fall asleep? no? just me?)

Why not buy this book? you bought an iPhone. -or- You like the mindless work of building the same reports and set of financials week after week. after all, it's "job security" right?

...."Hello poverty", ought to be your family motto. Pick up this book, open your mind to the possibilities and go create some value.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Power Pivot Alchemy" & "Dashboarding and Reporting with Power Pivot and Excel" - good companion books 1 July 2014
By Paul Turley - Published on Amazon.com
(review from my blog: SqlServerBiBlog.com)
There are two relatively new books on the market from Holy Macro! Books. The first thing that I'll point out is that this small publishing company is actually owned by one of the authors, which should tell you something about the ambition and caliber of the guys who are writing them. I have several Power Pivot, DAX and dashboard design books on my shelves. I'm very impressed with both of these books and they've made a valuable addition to my library. Rather than a cursory introduction or restatement of product documentation, they both address real business problems and are based on a body of customer problems and field experience. Now, I have to admit that I'm a little biased. I know Rob Collie and Kasper de Jonge quite well from conferences and community involvement. I've also met Bill a few times and know of his reputation in the industry as a tried and true Excel guru. Rob started his career at Microsoft on the Excel product team and the group that developed the Power Pivot technology. He's now a consultant and trainer, a Microsoft MVP and an active member of the online community. Kasper's background is the polar opposite of Rob's; he started in the industry, doing consulting and project work and now works for Microsoft on the SQL Server Analysis team responsible for the ongoing development of this technology. I didn't realize this until reading their bios on the Rob's PowerPivotPro site but Kasper actually filled the position at Microsoft vacated by Rob and from my perspective, that was a good transition and a continued partnership of experts who continue to give back to the community. Kasper is also well-known in the industry for his online present, conference presentations and ongoing support of the MVP and professional community. As far as I'm concerned, these two books could be bound together into a single volume that would be a comprehensive guide to Power Pivot design, problem solving and best practices.

In the past two years, I've spent a great deal of my consulting time developing SSAS Tabular models for clients. I've also done a bit of work in Power Pivot but not nearly as much as the IT-centered version of the xVelocity in-memory aggregation engine from Microsoft. So, why am I reviewing books about Power Pivot and not SSAS Tabular? That's simple: SSAS Tabular is the IT Pro extension of the Power Pivot foundation. Last year, I reviewed Rob Collie's book "DAX Formulas for PowerPivot: A Simple Guide to the Excel Revolution" and it just blew me away. As a learning tool, I found the book to be golden for getting my head around all the basics of DAX even though the focus was on applying it to Power Pivot in Excel rather that Analysis Services. This book is in the same relaxed, conversational voice that he is known for.

I have to admit that at first DAX was a big brick wall for me. I've taught myself a lot of different languages and tools in my career just by being stubborn and persistent. When I started using DAX I got the basics but more challenging problems were just insurmountable. I hounded the known experts; Marco, Alberto, Chris, Darren, Rob and others who were gracious and patient but it took time for that light to turn on and to finally "get it", or at least to get most of the important concepts. If you're like me, you'll work on a problem obsessively, lose sleep, try to approach it from different angles and keep hacking at it until the answer comes. Something I've learned the hard way about DAX is that it's just not something you figure out on your own unless you've seen the solution demonstrated or solved similar problems before.

Three weeks ago, I started reading "Power Pivot Alchemy" which is also a book centered on using the Power Pivot Excel add-in. This time, Rob teamed with Bill Jelen (aka "MrExcel") who is very well-known in the Excel community for his teaching tools and books on just about every facet of Excel. Rob and Bill are a good team which comes through the pages as two very experienced experts giving very qualified advice about solving pertinent problems rather than a typical "how to" or reference book. The book is written in the same casual voice with a lot of personality and humor leading the narrative. This is an excellent book for the moderate to advanced skilled Excel Analyst who needs to create advanced formulas and pivot tables with strong emphasis on best practices and targeted solutions.

I recently picked up Kasper's book on dashboarding and reporting, and I'm finding it to provide very targeted guidance about the best ways to design models, write formulas and reporting and create dashboarding solutions with all of the new integrated features in Excel and Power BI. I think that Microsoft has generally done a good job of talking to their users and building products that solve real problems but there is a bit of Kool Aid drinking that goes on in Redmond. This is especially true among the vast majority of Microsoft employees who spend all of their time on campus writing code and imagining how customers might use their products. In this book, the author demonstrates a perspective based on his community involvement and direct support of Microsoft and partner customers. I know this because Kasper and I have actually worked together to solve some specific customer problems and his assistance as an advocate from the product team has been invaluable.

Someone recently mentioned that I've only given positive book reviews on my blog. I suppose I'm not much of a critic and frankly I just don't have time to review bad books - and I've read - or started to read - several. Occasionally someone I know or work with in the community will ask me to review a book and if I'm not impressed, I'll respectfully decline. The only thing even remotely critical I can say about the format of these books is that some of the graphics seem a bit oversized. It makes me feel like I'm reading the large print edition of the book. Granted, this is a very visual topic and I'd rather have oversized graphics than not enough.

I'm giving both of these books four-and-a-half stars out of five.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother 3 July 2014
By R. Cannaday - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Was not impressed, thought I would learn allot more on Power Pivots especially as it pertained to Finance. Instead the book looked like something I got from Kinko's, and the materials was well short of what I was expecting.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 10 Aug 2014
By Scott D. Souders - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great book
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