Preface: Breaking the Consulting “Rulebook”
This may seem bold: Starting about six months ago, whenever I find myself in a room with spreadsheet/business/database people, one of the first things I tell them is that Power Pivot won’t just change their work, it will change their LIVES. That’s right – I tell them, with a straight face, that this business technology will actually make them happier.
That violates one of the unwritten rules of consulting, which is to underpromise and overdeliver – set expectations low enough that no one ever has reason to complain or be disappointed.
I understand why it’s traditionally a good practice to “set the bar low.” I get it. I truly do.
“Consumer with Choices” vs. “Empowered Producer” is a BIG Difference
But Power Pivot is different. Yes, in the truly breakthrough, transformational sense – you knew I was going to say that. But different in another critical sense as well – it requires (and incents!) the analyst types on the Business side to participate to a degree unlike with any other BI tool.
No matter how they are marketed, every other BI tool I have ever seen treats the business user as a glorified Consumer. Yes, Business Objects and Cognos for sure, but I’m also looking at you, Tableau and Qlikview and Spotfire.
Power Pivot transcends that Consumer role and “deputizes” a subset of the Business users as Producers. Producers of reports and dashboards, yes, just like with those other tools. But even more importantly: these Power Pivot-equipped business users become producers of models. And models are crucial! Because if you don’t have good models, you simply don’t have your numbers.
That Model Producer role is where the difference occurs. It’s where you find the revolutionary benefits I am constantly observing and talking about. It’s also where the happy occurs, too.
Future and “In Training” Model Producers, Do I Have Your Attention?
The trick is that most Model-Producers-to-Be are skeptics, of necessity. The “Excel Pro’’ gets lied to perhaps more than any other professional demographic. Lies like ‘’I need a report from you but it will only take you five minutes” and “this BI tool we just bought will remove the need for your long hours in Excel” – the Excel Pro is fed a steady diet thereof.
And while *I* know that This Time It’s Different, and that they truly stand on the cusp of an amazing professional transformation, they do not. So when I am facing a group of these folks, typically early in the morning, I need to wake them up. I owe it to them to wake them up.
So I hit them with a statement Far Outside of Normal – a statement I happen to know to be true. They start to pay attention. Cautiously of course, but I only need the door to be open a crack.
Coming Next Week: Tales From the Inbox
Everything I said above is absolutely true, but the “trigger” for writing all of it is elsewhere: in my email inbox.
So stay tuned for some inspiring stories.