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SQLBI - Marco Russo

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PowerPivot book RTM! And some DAX thoughts…

Yesterday I had a nice time delivering the SQLBI Methodology session at 24 Hours of PASS. A few hours later, I had the news about the official RTM of the PowerPivot book I wrote with Alberto. The complete title is Microsoft® PowerPivot for Excel® 2010: Give Your Data Meaning and we hope it will be a good book for both advanced Excel users (who are the primary target) and any BI developer/analyst who want to learn how to use this tool.

You can read the introduction in the Microsoft Press announcement. As you can see, DAX is a first class citizen in this book. Many users will not require to read more than half of the book (even if they will probably just copy/paste some formula from other chapters), but if you want to make complex models with PowerPivot, than you have a lot of examples and advanced models to investigate and learn how they work. Several times, the better solution is a mix of good model design, data cleansing and DAX expressions.

Now, I know that many people think that PowerPivot doesn’t matter too much. They work on Corporate BI and Self-Service BI is not an option in their company. Well, if you are using SSAS and you want to be ready when the next version of Analysis Services will be ready (maybe next year?), then you have to learn DAX. Learning it today with PowerPivot will put you in pole position when the new SSAS version will be released (and DAX will probably be improved). And if you, like me, have a strong background of MDX… well, remember the days you learned MDX? When you were trying to use a SQL approach hitting the wall of MDX difference? The same will happen with DAX.

Thus, take your time. You will learn the syntax of DAX in a few hours or days. But you will really learn how to use DAX in a few weeks or months. Well, I needed months, really. There were no documentation when I started. Now you have Books On Line, Video, Articles, Blog posts and, also, a brand new book! No more excuses now!

Published Friday, September 17, 2010 11:40 AM by Marco Russo (SQLBI)
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100tsky said:

Marco, thank you for your book!

Is the dvd materials database going to be available as a download for people who have purchased the pdf format from safari?

September 21, 2010 7:38 PM

Marco Russo (SQLBI) said:

Of course - I'll post the URL as soon as the link to the download page will be available - stay tuned!


September 22, 2010 3:50 AM

SQLBI - Marco Russo said:

The sample files of the PowerPivot book are available at this page , where you can download a 260Mb zipped

September 23, 2010 5:55 PM

Marco Russo said:

This is the download page for book samples:

September 23, 2010 5:56 PM

greg kramer said:

my copy is on the way!

no more excuses indeed!...looking forward to having a dog-eared version of the book in a few months

September 24, 2010 9:49 AM

Marco Russo (SQLBI) said:

Thank you Greg - I hope you will appreciate it!

September 24, 2010 11:48 AM

Marco Russo (SQLBI) said:

Thank you Greg - I hope you will appreciate it!

September 24, 2010 11:48 AM

100tsky said:

Thank you Marco!

I do read your book, and in chapter 2, page 2

I spot "Placing Color on the rows, Size on the rows..."

Did you mean ...Placing Color on the rows, Size on the COLUMN...

September 25, 2010 4:04 AM

Marco Russo (SQLBI) said:

Good catch and congratulations! "column" is the right word there.

You got the first mistake in the book, I know we don't have a prize for that but if you will be around at some conference where I will make a speech, say hello and let me offer you a drink! :)


September 25, 2010 5:02 AM

fabio.annovazzi said:


I have the impression people talk about powerpivot as the "self service" business intelligence tool thinking of a structured corporate environment, with a strong IT, to fill the void that the "official" BI cannot fill.

Companies that already have Sharepoint, have resources, and have a well structured and "clean" data.

My question is: is Powerpivot also a good option for small (20-50M€) SMEs that have weak and not structured IT systems, and a very weak business intelligence in place?

There (and in Italy I can think of tons of examples) it could really be a game changer. But does it make sense? Can Powerpivot "sit" on top of a somewhat shaky database?

I ask because I am trying to set it up in such a reality ;)


Fabio Annovazzi (fabio.annovazzi (at)

October 2, 2010 9:36 AM

Marco Russo said:


my personal opinion is that PowerPivot is good for personal use in such a scenario (so we are talking of just PowerPivot for Excel).

But I don't see these companies adopting SharePoint just to publish their report. Third party tools, by now, are the preferred choice to publish report in an intranet of these companies that don't have SharePoint.

I'm waiting to see if in November Microsoft will announce some change in this strategy at PASS Summit 2010 in Seattle.


October 2, 2010 10:51 AM

Elena said:

Salve! mi piacerebbe tradurre il tuo libro in italiano, ci ha già pensato qualcun'altro?

December 6, 2010 1:15 PM

Marco Russo (SQLBI) said:

@Elena - rispondo in inglese per consentire a tutti di leggere

Elena asked me if someone is already translating the book (in this case, in Italian). I'd like to inform you that translation rights have to be discussed with the publisher (Microsoft Press) and I can put you in touch if you're interested into.

In case you are interested, you can contact me directly at marco (dot) russo (at)

December 6, 2010 3:50 PM

Elena said:

Thank you Marco for your kind reply!

December 7, 2010 1:19 PM
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About Marco Russo (SQLBI)

Marco Russo is a consultant, writer and trainer specialized in Business Intelligence with Microsoft technologies. He runs the SQLBI.COM website, which is dedicated to distribute resources useful for BI developers, like Integration Services components, Analysis Services models, tools, technical information and so on. Marco is certified as MCT, MCDBA, MCSD.NET, MCSA, MCSE+I.

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