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Microsoft BI

For years and years, software vendors have promised end-users they can have the data they want without talking to the IT department they don’t like. Things haven't changed. I recently saw the following business intelligence stats (thanks to @TimoElliott and Logi Analytics). As you can see, people still need IT. But why? Here are a few thoughts: 1. Person + Hammer <> Carpenter If you've ever chased after a three year old who's wielding a hammer, you know that a hammer is a simple tool. Even toddlers know how to use it. They bang away—at everything. But just because you know how to use a hammer doesn’t mean you’re ready to build a house. Or even a porch. So too with data. Sure, software, such as Power BI, is easier to use than earlier BI tools. But just as "Person + Hammer <> Carpenter," so too "Super User + Power BI <> Data Expert." Super...

Power BI, a new part of Microsoft Excel, is being touted as the greatest thing since sliced bread. And it does do a lot of cool stuff. With my dedication to Microsoft BI solutions, you'd think I'd be a huge fan. But I'm not. I will acknowledge, however, that Power BI can be a valuable tool in certain conditions. Let me explain. The promise of Power BI is that end users can create dashboards, visualizations and other cool BI stuff without IT intervention. There's only one problem: Power BI only works well if your data is organized and your users pay attention to data cleansing. And for most folks, this isn't the case. But then I ran into Belinda Allen at the GPUG summit in Reno, NV. Belinda is a Microsoft MVP. We'd met almost a year ago when I spoke at a local user group. We talked, and she mentioned that she'd...