Power BI, Excel

Is Power BI the new Excel?

According to various sources on the Internet, around 90% of all companies use Excel for a wide variety of tasks; from ad hoc calculations and tabular evaluations to sophisticated financial and other key figure reports. Almost all of us have already gained experience with Excel as a user or “programmer”. Excel know-how can be found in almost all job applications today. Power BI has been available for some time now and the Power BI community is growing rapidly (over 7 million users worldwide).


Does Power BI really have the potential to replace Excel?

Before we take a closer look at this question in the following blog, this much in advance: Power BI and Excel are complementary and complement each other perfectly in many respects. Excel remains the tool for classic spreadsheets for ad hoc calculations and compilations such as budget planning. In our view, Power BI will become the new standard for data visualizations and analyses, the creation of customized dashboards and standardized reports that are distributed and used throughout the company.


Power BI

Why is Power BI so successful?

The main reason is that Power BI belongs to a new generation of self-service business intelligence (BI) tools that bridge the gap between Excel and the classic (expensive) enterprise business intelligence tools. The combination of ease of use (Office interface), a large portfolio of interactive visuals, simple programming language for extensions, graphical data modeling, AI-powered analytics and cloud-based services is unique in the market and thus enables new application scenarios. Another reason is the dynamic further development (monthly update) and the worldwide Power BI community, which strongly influences the further development and provides countless templates and examples.


What are the biggest differences between Excel and Power BI?

In the following chart, we compare Microsoft Excel and Power BI in the most important categories:


Category Excel Power BI 
  • In essence, a traditional spreadsheet program that has been continuously expanded
  • Advanced, sophisticated BI tool with a comprehensive portfolio of data visualization and analysis capabilities 
Visualization & Dashboards 
  • Many sophisticated charts – but these are not linked to the data model
  • Limited dashboard functionality
  • Ideal for alerts, KPI’s and visualizations including visual data analysis
  • Comprehensive dashboard functionality including automatic updating
  • Excel reports are simple and normal table reports enhanced with charts 
  • Ideal for ad hoc analyses
  • Comprehensive reporting tool with automated updating and report distribution
  • Ideal for regular reporting
Data modeling 
  • Focuses on structured and simple data models
  • It is difficult to create relations between different tables
  • Does not support advanced cross-filtering
  • Graphically supported data modeling, even for complex data models
  • It is very easy to create relations between different tables
  • Advanced cross-filtering between charts
Data distribution 
  • Less flexible – mostly via email
  • Very flexible – via cloud service
  • Flexible and role-specific
  • Specific views for mobile devices
  • Seamless access and security concept
  • Calculation of tables, graphics and filters is slow
  • Fast processing of tables, graphics and filters
Programming language 
  • MDX for data queries
  • DAX for data processing, calculations
  • Power Query for easy cleansing and transformation of data from all data sources

Why should you evaluate Power BI?

Excel has many strengths and will continue to be the everyday spreadsheet tool. But if you also use Excel for regular evaluations or for your enterprise reporting, then you should definitely consider Power BI. With the extensive possibilities in data visualization, data analysis and report distribution via the cloud-based Power BI service, you can take your reporting to a new level and make this available to all employees at the appropriate level. redIT has a group of Power BI experts who will be happy to support you in your evaluation. Contact us at any time!


If you are already convinced of Power BI and want to start immediately, we offer various workshops and training courses:

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