Creating Real World PowerPivot Models Recording and Q&A

Thanks everyone for attending my free webinar on Creating Real World PowerPivot Models on June, 18, 2013.  If you were not able join for the live event you can now watch the recording here.

In this webinar we built out a live solution with the Pragmatic Works Marketing Director, Rachel, to prove PowerPivot is a very capable End User tool.  Using the marketing data she collects we built a Self-Service BI solution entirely in PowerPivot and finished with a quick Power View map report with Excel 2013.

This was part of an ongoing webinar series by Pragmatic Works offers every Tuesday and Thursday at 11:00 AM EST.

I’ve started to write follow up posts to these webinars because we always get great questions but there’s no way I could answer them all during the time allotted.  Here’s some of the questions I wasn’t able to get to and answers for them.

Q: Is it possible to add a table once you’ve already completed the first import?

Yes, fortunately it’s very easy to add new tables as requirements change into PowerPivot.  This is done the same way we demonstrated the initial import.

Q: If I create a hierarchy in the Date Dim, can it be re-used in my next project?

The only thing that is close to this is you can use one PowerPivot workbook as the data source in another PowerPivot workbook but unfortunately any hierarchies that are created will not carry over to the new model.  They would have to be recreated but luckily that is a very quick process with PowerPivot.

Q: I love it.  We have lots of SQL views we have created for reporting.  Do we really want the information consumer to define this or should we be using our views as our PowerPivot definition?

The information consumer or really a Power User would be the one to define all of what we showed during the webinar.  I say Power User because it requires a little bit of knowledge about table relationships.  Once that Power User defines the model he/she can share it will the information consumers for simply reporting on with either Excel PivotTables or Power View.

Q: How is the PowerPivot model you just created different from building a Tabular Model in SQL 2012 SSAS?

The way they are designed is very similar.  In fact, when you create a new Tabular model you can import the design from a PowerPivot workbook.  The big differences have to do with scalability.  PowerPivot relies on the resource of your machine or desktop to pull in and process data.  Tabular uses the resources of a server instance which hopefully is a beefier machine then your laptop.  Scalability of PowerPivot can also be done with PowerPivot for SharePoint.  Tabular also give you the ability to create partitions to help performance, apply row level security and query down to the underlying data source using DirectQuery.

Q: Is Power View possible on SharePoint 2010 and SQL Server 2012 and Office 2013 ?

Yes, there’s two ways you can do Power View now.  The easiest way is Excel 2013, which has Power View built into it and doesn’t require any additional install.  The other way to do Power View is SharePoint 2010 SP1 or higher (SharePoint 2013) and SQL Server 2012.

Again, thanks for joining me for the webinar and hope to see you in a future one!

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