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SharePoint Blog

May 20
Power View Overview

With opening day just behind us, what better way to highlight Microsoft’s cool new tool, Power View, than with some baseball stats.

A little background for those of you who are new to Power View. Microsoft has been really focused lately on expanding their Business Intelligence offerings for power users. Power View fits into this category and can be utilized 1 of 2 ways. First, Power View is an add-in for Microsoft’s Excel 2013 Office Professional Plus and Office 365 Professional plus Editions, as well as in the standalone edition of Excel 2013. The second option for Power View is a feature of SQL Server 2012 Reporting Services Add-in which can be used in Microsoft SharePoint 2010 or later.

Power View allows you to do the following:

1.       Intuitively create reports with ease.

a.       The simple interface allows the designer to effortlessly create reports to compare data.

2.       Extremely agile reports with slicing and filtering features.

a.       The viewer can easily drill down into the details of the report without the designer having to think of everything.

3.       Easily export reports to PowerPoint.

a.       The reports can become integrated in PowerPoint while still maintaining their interactive features.

4.       Does not require a large footprint

a.       In a SharePoint Power Pivot library, a designer can create a new Power View report directly in the browser from a dataset already in that library. Otherwise, it is just an add-in for Excel.

 ​However, Power View falls short on the following:

1.       Lacks the ability to completely customize reports.

a.       Unlike SSRS, Power View limits the designer’s ability to really make the reports their own.

2.       Lacks a dashboard feel.

a.       While exporting to PowerPoint is great for giving presentations, Power View really doesn’t transition well sitting in a web part on a page. It doesn’t lend itself to a dashboard feel that would present well to users on a homepage of a site.

Now back to baseball. For the average spectator, all that matters is wins and loses. For the more avid fan, the breakdown of individual performance on a team might hold some appeal.

Below is some general baseball stats over a four year time span that I had in excel.​

I utilized power pivot, which is another feature of excel, to really collect and refine my data. As you can see, the data is broken out in columns similar to above.​

Once I have finished tweaking the data, I can access the fields in Power View:

I start by creating a simple stacked column chart, comparing Hits by Player and Year.​ 

While this chart can give a high level overview of data, it is misleading because some players may not have played for all four years. So to dive into more detail, we can create a second report that looks at the individual player’s stats.​

This report utilizes the tile feature which lets you separate by a particular metric by scrolling through the tiles at the bottom of the report. For example, we have selected Player 8, who we can see has 30 strikeouts and around 25 hits over three years. We could then scroll, and select Player 1 and see that in one year they had around 18 hits and only 13 strikeouts.​

Let’s say for example though, you are a coach studying your data to determine your lineup. You really want to utilize this data to make informed decisions for your team. Take a look at the following graph that compares Hits vs Strikeouts.​

Notice the two data points in blue, these would be great to use for the number two hitter. They have a high number of hits with a low number of strikeouts. Generally, the coach wants the number two hitter to be someone who puts the ball in play. This chart was easily created with the scatter plot feature in power view. I was able to multi-select the two data points in blue, to highlight them for this example.

I also want to point out the ease of creating a slicer. A slicer is a tool that allows you to visualize only the data you are interested in at that very moment. It allows each viewer to really drill down on a detail that is important to them. For example, in the next report I have a table of at-bats and plate appearances for the players. I created a year slicer so that I could look at the data a year at a time to get a better picture.

At the same time the viewer, could filter the same data table by actually selecting a slice in a pie chart as seen in the following example:

Overall, PowerView is a great BI tool for someone trying to create a more interactive report than something they could create similarly in excel.  PowerView is not only great for the report novice, but also fun for the report expert.  Often the best data minded people aren’t the most artistic, these tools provide the data-minds a head start on the artist/visual appeal.​

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