Avi Singh

Avi Singh has personally experienced the transformation and empowerment that Power BI can bring - going from an Excel user to building large scale Power BI solutions. His mission now is to share the knowledge about Power Pivot and Power BI. He is based out of Seattle, WA.

Power BI Desktop (Designer) vs. Excel: Rematch

By Avi Singh [Twitter]

In our last webinar the #1 question and confusion seemed to be around Excel versus Power BI Desktop (formerly called Power BI Designer). The thing is, both tools are really part of an ecosystem. And the biggest confusion was around understanding how these tools fit into the overall landscape.

Here is the picture we would build to, but do read through so you understand how we arrived here and also find out how you control the future direction of Power BI (seriously, you do!).


Excel versus Power BI Desktop
Note: Things change fast in the Power BI world, so this picture may change as well

Standalone Tool for End-to-End BI

Rob did an excellent head to head comparison of Power BI Designer versus Excel. Just read that, but I’ll add some commentary.

If you were to use a single tool for BI – getting data, building a data model and building charts/reports – we have firmly established that Excel is the world’s best data tool, period Smileand that is primarily due to it’s internal network effect and that it is easy to adopt.

Excel is the World’s Best Data Tool, Period

Power BI Desktop is a very slick tool, with all different facets meshed together beautifully without any seams showing. Unlike Excel, where due to the “Add-In” nature Power* tools always feel a little clunky, not to mention cases where they go totally awry. But in spite of all that, it is hard, no impossible, to build a tool that can supersede Excel, or replace Excel.

However that is not quite a fair comparison. Because Power BI Desktop is primarily built for PowerBI.com.

Power BI Desktop for PowerBI.com

Power BI Desktop is primarily an accompaniment to PowerBI.com. It is essentially an “authoring tool” for PowerBI.com. Its true purpose is to build something that gets published to PowerBI.com.


The last step in Power BI Desktop is to publish it to PowerBI.com

You would almost never use Power BI Desktop standalone. Well you may, but understand that it is not really built for that purpose.

With these two combined – Power BI Desktop and PowerBI.com – they outshine Excel in the BI department. With the fluid development environment of Power BI desktop for authors…and the rich, easy to share, mobile ready visualization platform of PowerBI.com.

However that is not a fair comparison either, since Excel models can be published as well.

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Webinar Recording And Online Class Aug 3-4

Webinar Recording and Online Class Aug 3-4

By Avi Singh [Twitter]

Friends, it was a joy again to host our free webinar Excel to Power BI. As usual, we spent close to two hours with a lengthy Q&A session after the presentation. You can find the the recording at the end of this post.

Remember, the Power Pivot Data Model is the engine that powers all the pretty visualizations that you see in all Power BI Demos. With a poor data model all you get is poor results; garbage in => garbage out. So join us for our next online class on Aug 3-4 and jumpstart your journey to Power Pivot/Power BI awesomeness!


Power Pivot is the center of the Power BI universe

Enjoy the webinar recording using links below.

Excel to Power BI: Webinar Recording

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RANKX With Ascending Order To Show Lowest Quotes By Vendors

RANKX with Ascending Order to Show Lowest Quotes by Vendors

By Avi Singh [Twitter]

This post is based on a query that I got in our monthly Q&A session held for our Online Class attendees.

Input = Multiple quotes for different Products from different Vendors
Desired Output = For each Product show the top three quotes, both price and the Vendor name


Go from a list of Price Quotes to showing the lowest Vendor Quotes for each Product

A bit more on the Q&A session before we dive in. All our Online Class attendees are invited to a monthly Q&A session, in order to support them in their Power BI journey. Often what you learn in class, you would only apply sometime later. With the Q&A session, if you run into issues or have any questions, you have the opportunity to bring it up and discuss with your instructor. You can sign up for our upcoming Online Live Class on August 3-4.

Step 1: Structuring the Tables

We would clean things up and import the data into separate data and lookup tables. This may seem superfluous for the sample data set, but a real data set could have a lot more rows in the data table and a lot more columns (attributes) for the lookup table. Hence separating the data table and lookup tables is always a good approach.


Our Vendor Quote data loaded as separate Data and Lookup Tables

Step 2: Brainstorm Approach to Writing Measure

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