Microsoft announces the availability of Data Explorer for Excel 2013 that enhances the Self Service BI using Excel by simplifying data discovery and access to a broad range of data sources including Private or Public data. “"Data Explorer" provides an intuitive and consistent experience for discovering, combining, and refining data across a wide variety of sources including relational, structured and semi-structured, OData, Web, Hadoop, Azure Marketplace, and more. Data Explorer also provides you with the ability to search for public data from sources such as Wikipedia.”
Get Data from the Web:
Online Search lets you Search, Preview and Import Data into Excel.
Here is a preview of the List of States and School Superintendent
If you have a Web Page that contains a table of information, you can get directly from that web page. Below, I am importing data from the wikipedia for a list of countries by population.
You are presented with the Query Panel Window as seen below:
With the data Explorer, you can import data from other files such as Excel, CSV, XML, Text and from a folder. I like the new import files from a folder.
With Data Explorer, you can import data from databases such as SQL Server, SQL Database on Windows Azure, Access, Oracle, IBM DB2 or MYSQL.
With Data Explorer, you can import data from non-traditional data sources such as SharePoint List, OData Feed, Hadoop (HDFS), Windows Azure Marketplace, Active Directory and Facebook!
Let’s try importing some data from Facebook into Excel.
Here it is, my facebook posts right within Excel
You can also manage Credentials from right within Data Explorer, which was my most desired feature in PowerPivot. I remember tweeting about this many times in frustration of having to repeat providing credentials every time I connect to a data source. Thank you Microsoft Data Explorer team for implementing this!
In summary, Excel 2013 brings more than ever self-service BI capabilities to end users. From the Forrester Research Report from Q2 2012 - “We maintain that in an ideal BI environment, 80% of all BI requirements should be carried out by the business users themselves.”
If you are looking to quickly build out a self-service BI solution that tells the story of your data, you can now use Excel to rapidly mash-up, explore, analyze and visualize any data ranging from a few rows to hundreds of millions of rows.
Excel 2013 comes built in with the all new xVelocity in-memory analytics engine that let’s you analyze data ranging from a few rows to hundreds of millions of rows instantly on your desktop using Excel data models.
What about data visualizations? PowerView provides stunning data visualization where in you can discover new insights with a highly interactive and familiar data exploration, visualization, and presentation experience right within Excel.
Use Excel 2013 Quick Analysis to preview and apply conditional formatting, suggest and create charts, PivotTables, and tables; and using Quick Explore to easily navigate multidimensional and tabular data models.
With PowerPivot you can access, mash-up and analyze data from virtually any source and rapidly create compelling analytical models with PowerPivot. I do see some overlapping features between Data Explorer and PowerPivot as far as data acquisition is concerned, but I consider it as a good thing.
Being a data geek that I am, I feel satisfied with what Excel 2013 has to offer to the large Self Service BI community out there and specifically happy with where Data Explorer is headed.
You can download Data Explorer from the below location: