While companies use a variety of different business intelligence (BI) tools and technologies, almost everyone still uses Excel to analyze large sets of data to plug into those BI tools. But with new Microsoft Power BI standard add-ins like Power Query, Power Pivot, and Power Map, Excel has taken on the function of both a data analysis tool and a powerful business intelligence application, and it might be on the verge of becoming... (wait for it) the next KILLER APP!
Actually, I'm not sure how much I like the term "killer app". For some reason it reminds me of the killer rabbit from Monty Python and the Holy Grail...
Regardless of its unfortunate connotations, the term "killer app" refers to one that completely dominates the market and changes the playing field for its niche of the software industry. Excel was this type of app when it debuted in 1985, leaping at the throats of its competitors such as VisiCalc, Lotus 1-2-3, and Quattro Pro, just like our furry friend seen above.
Now, with the set of tools Power BI boasts, Microsoft could do the same to the business intelligence and data discovery software market. Power BI meets almost all common data discovery tool requirements, so if you already need Excel to crunch your data (like the vast majority of businesses do), I would ask, as Jen Underwood of SQLMag.com does, "If Excel can meet most data discovery requirements, why would you buy another stand-alone tool?"
Like Jen, we too are very excited about Excel and Power BI's unique ability to combine the functions of data analysis and data discovery in one tool. When you add onto that the fact that Microsoft is constantly improving Excel's business intelligence capabilities and releasing new features monthly, Power BI very well could be the next killer app!
So I would recommend getting this killer rabbit of an app on the side of your business, unless you have managed to get ahold of a technological version of the Holy Hand Grenade.
Fort Collins Micro-Brew Recommendation of the Day:
ABV: 4.8% IBU: 14
New Belgium's Sunshine Wheat: This is a great beer for a picnic in the mountains or a warm summer night on the porch. It offers a crisp, refreshing taste with hints of coriander and orange peel and, fading into a savory aftertaste of apple and honey. Whether you're going fishing or just staying at home for the night, you can't go wrong with Sunshine Wheat... Unless, of course, you are gluten-intolerant, in which case, this would be a bad choice. But we aren't in Southern California, so there shouldn't be too many people around here treating Celiac disease like a fad diet.