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Microsoft Business Intelligence Tools for Excel Analysts by Bernard Wehbe, Jared Decker, Michael Alexander

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Introduction

Over the last few years, the concept of self-service business intelligence (BI) has taken over the corporate world. Self-service BI is a form of business intelligence in which end-users can independently generate their own reports, run their own queries, and conduct their own analyses, without the need to engage the IT department.

The demand for self-service BI is a direct result of several factors:

  • More power users: Organizations are realizing that no single enterprise reporting system or BI tool can accommodate all of their users. Pre-defined reports and high-level dashboards may be sufficient for some casual users, but a large portion of today’s users are savvy enough to be considered power users. Power users have a greater understanding data analysis and prefer to perform their own analysis, often within Excel.
  • Changing analytical needs: In the past, business intelligence primarily consisted of IT-managed dashboards showing historic data on an agreed upon set of key performance metric. Managers today are demanding more dynamic predictive analysis, the ability to iteratively perform data discovery, and the freedom to take the hard left and right turns on data presentation. These managers often turn to Excel to provide the needed analytics and visualization tools.
  • Speed of BI: Users are increasingly dissatisfied with the inability of IT to quickly deliver new reporting and metrics. Most traditional BI implementations fail specifically because the need for changes ...

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