Power BI & Excel: Visualization and Analysis Power with Integration
Read on to learn why users should take advantage of this integration and how it saves your end-users time and increases business efficiency.
Power BI Versus Excel
Power BI is a software that allows for data manipulation and visualization. Power BI enables large volumes of data to be synthesized and visualized in ways that are easy to understand. Real-time flexibility is provided through filtering and dynamic views to instantly alter charts/tables to see the representative data at any given time (e.g., business units or product-level data). Power BI can connect to over 140 data sources such as Dynamics 365, Azure SQL Database, Salesforce, Excel, SharePoint, and is widely used to transform and clean data into data models.
It can be challenging to know when to use Power BI or Excel for data visualization. Power BI can transform and understand large volumes of data that are sometimes too large for Excel. Excel is the preferred platform for ad-hoc, quick computations with smaller data sets. Excel is best for displaying information in Pivot tables, and data exploration and analysis. Power BI is better for visualizations and real-time flexibility. View this graphic to help further explain which tool should be chosen when creating a data model:
Access Power BI Data from Excel
Recently, Microsoft further integrated Excel and Power BI by introducing two new ways to access Power BI data from within Excel: Excel Data Types and through PivotTables connected to Power BI. Using Data Types, users can quickly find details from featured tables in Power BI datasets within Excel’s Data Types Gallery. Data Types allow users to classify and organize data in any way they want within the Excel grid. This allows the use of formulas, building reports, and data analyzation in a familiar and similar way. PivotTables will now be able to connect to datasets stored in Power BI to be created in Excel.
Microsoft began to roll this out at the end of June, and it is expected to be complete by the end of August. With the click of a button, users can now discover Power BI datasets without having to leave Excel. By using Power BI certified and promoted dataset capabilities, organizations enable more users to find and use relevant and refreshable data to make better decisions. This integration is great for users who prefer to use Excel as their authoring tool. This allows them to build datasets, massage the data in Excel, and still use Power BI to produce the interactive reports. Additionally, it enables users to build PivotTables and attach them to Power BI datasets.
Benefits of a Power BI and Excel Integration
The accessibility of Power BI datasets without leaving Excel saves time and effort for end-users to work efficiently in a platform they know well. Another new capability is a live connection with the underlying dataset in Power BI to the PivotTables in Excel. This means that updates within the source are now published to any reports that are connected to it. Users can find and use relevant data from this live connection to make better and more informed decisions. Use Excel to do more by building datasets in a comfortable application while still using Power BI to produce interactive reports.
Sensitivity labels from the Microsoft Information Protection framework, available in both Power BI and Office Apps, lets organizations classify and protect corporate data while ensuring user productivity and collaboration are not hindered. Sensitivity labels that are applied to the file when a PivotTable is created will be applied to the corresponding data. Sensitivity labels of Power BI datasets are automatically applied to an Excel file when datasets are connected between the two platforms.
Licensing and Recommendations
With this update, organizations will see a new Microsoft Excel Advanced Analytics service plan in the Office 365 Admin portal. By default, the new Excel capabilities will be turned on for all users with a Microsoft 365 E5, Microsoft 365 A5, Office 365 E5, or Office 365 A5 license.
All user-based, commercial license subscriptions from Microsoft are based on Azure Active Directory identities. To use the Power BI service, you must sign in with an identity that Azure Active Directory supports for commercial licenses. You can add Power BI to any Microsoft subscription that uses Azure Active Directory for identity services. Some subscriptions, such as Office 365 E5 and/or Microsoft 365 E5, include a Power BI Pro license, so no separate sign-up for Power BI is needed.
In light of this integration, we recommend providing training and documentation of processes for your organization. Furthermore, we recommend upgrading your license if your organization does not have E5/A5 licensing and would like to take advantage of these new capabilities. Empower your employees by giving them the tools they need to succeed!
How Interlink Can Help
Contact Interlink today to discuss which licensing or training plan is best for your specific environment. We know what works best for various environments and situations and can discuss how to best empower your end users and organization with the tools they need to work productively and efficiently!
Interested in learning more? View our similar blog: Power BI Licensing Options – What fits your needs best?.