If there was a hypothetical match, between the legendary MS-Excel and supposedly newcomer Power BI, who would come out trumps?
Excel with over 30 years of industry experience, hardened by many mistakes that Microsoft made (remember Clippy – the annoying office assistant once introduced in MS office suite packages) is industry renowned leader in spreadsheet solutions. Excel has been a trusted companion in making preparing financial statements, financial models – many billions of dollars have been raised from Venture Capitalists using excel spreadsheets.
Excel has also been used for creating video games, art, and other cool stuff which would merit another blog on its own
But is it a fair fight? It’s like pitting Floyd Mayweather against Mike Tyson, not only both are best boxers in their era but also pioneers the way they fought.
I will not keep the suspense till the end of the blog. When Excel Vs. Power BI put on gloves and are up against each other squaring off in a boxing ring. Its similar when an unstoppable force goes against an immovable object.
The result is stalemate.
No one wins.
No one loses.
Business intelligence tools or rather known by its unsexy name Decision Support Systems tools have also been in existence over couple of decades. As the name clearly suggests and wiki succinctly describes , business intelligence tools are strategies and technologies used by enterprises for the data analysis of business information. BI technologies provide historical, current, and predictive views of business operations. Common functions of business intelligence technologies include reporting, analytics, data mining, complex event processing, business performance management, benchmarking, text mining, predictive analytics.
So Business Intelligence tools serve a very particular purpose, while Excel can perform many generalized tasks.
Further Power BI is not a new kid on the block, the very early iteration of Power BI was introduced as disparate tools under Project Crescent & Project Gemini in 2010s. It was later formalized under- PowerPivot, PowerQuery & PowerView and introduced as excel add-ins in circa 2013 as a free downloadable add-in. However, these tools were rechristened and natively implemented in higher tier of MS Office subscriptions in Professional Plus editions. At this point honestly, It appeared that MS office was realized it was sitting on a gold-mine, and wanted these tools needed to be charged as premium, putting out of reach of ordinary mortals and foregoing higher level of adoption to greater margins.
However Microsoft has other plans in mind, when they released all the products under an uniform software in 2015. Behold- Power BI Desktop
Before the pugilist start trading blows, and start throwing haymakers. It makes sense for a official weigh in and to take stack of credentials of the contenders, On the green corner we have MS Excel and in yellow corner we have Power Bi.
Part 2 – Coming Soon