Earlier this week we explained how Excel the world's most widely used and familiar data analysis tool works with the new Power BI and Power BI Desktop to provide business analysts with a powerful portfolio of analytic tools unique in the industry. Today we unbox Excel 2016s new and improved business analytics features, so you can take full advantage of each capability as it applies to your unique business needs. Excel 2016 improvements have been designed with the analyst's journey in mind, from gathering to consuming data.
Faster and easier ways to get data
Before analysis can begin, you must be able to bring in the data relevant to the business question you are trying to answer. Excel 2016 now comes with built-in functionality that brings ease and speed to getting and transforming your data allowing you to find and bring all the data you need into one place. These new capabilities, previously only available as a separate add-in called Power Query, can be found natively within Excel 2016. Access them from the “Get & Transform" section on the Data tab.
Use these capabilities to connect to data from a wide range of sources like tables in public websites, corporate data in databases and cubes, cloud-based sources like Azure, unstructured data like Hadoop and services like Salesforce then bring the data into your workbooks data model or display them as tables within a worksheet.
The Query Editor, which opens when creating a new query or opening an existing one under Get & Transform, provides intuitive data shaping and transformation options, enabling you to prepare a data set with only the information you want to see and in the way you want to see it. Each step you take to transform the data can be repeated and rearranged to help you work faster and more efficiently. When you refresh the data connections, every step you took to transform the data is preserved. And once you have the information prepared, you can share your queries easily with others.
Additional features available under the Get & Transform section includes accessing recent sources you've used in previous queries and options to combine queries together. With a premium version* of Excel 2016 and a Power BI license, you can also use search to discover corporate data available to you across your company that is shared in a corporate catalog or even share your own queries with others.
Integrating the Power Query technology also provides benefits for programmability. With these features integrated into native Excel, you can use VBA and the Object Model to program a related query and transform actions. And if you need more than the predefined actions provided, you can use the powerful query language (M) to create additional actions and capabilities.