Archive for March, 2017

Reshaping your data easily – Case study [Pivot tables FTW]

Published on Mar 16, 2017 in Learn Excel, Pivot Tables & Charts
Reshaping your data easily – Case study [Pivot tables FTW]

Late. Jayaram, my uncle is also a teacher. When I was a kid, I used to spend a lot of time with him, learning all sorts of things. He taught me chess, maths and so many life lessons. I remember one such lesson very vividly.  One day, he asked me to do something. I did it in a very long way. After seeing me struggle for several minutes, he chipped in and showed me how to do it easily. He then said, “when someone asks you where your nose is, you don’t twist arm around your head. You just point to your nose directly.”

The idea is that when you have a direct, simple way to do something, you should use it.

Nose and pivot tables… how are they connected?

We are coming to the point. Read on for full case study and solution.

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Figuring out Employee Churn with Power Query [HR Analytics]

Published on Mar 13, 2017 in Power Query
Figuring out Employee Churn with Power Query [HR Analytics]

Let’s say you are the people manager at ACME Inc. You are looking staff list for the months – January and February 2017. You see that we had 4,000 employees in Jan and 4,200 employees in Feb. So what is the churn?

  • Is it just 200?
  • Or is it the sum of people who left and who joined?
  • What if you want to find out how many people moved to new designations / departments or groups?

You see, churn is tricky to figure out.

So why not invite the pros? ie Power Query. 

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Kill NULLs – a Simple macro to save time when importing data from SQL Server

Published on Mar 6, 2017 in VBA Macros
Kill NULLs – a Simple macro to save time when importing data from SQL Server

As part of a my ongoing consulting gig, I often run painfully long queries on SQL Server to fetch data. This data obviously ends up in Excel for further analysis. Now, some of these queries return NULL values in several columns (did I tell you that the queries have a gazillion left joins on them, oh yeah, they do). Although technically NULL is nothing, when you import this data to Excel, we get the text value NULL in the cells. And I don’t need these NULL values messing up all the calculations and pivots.

Of course, we can go ahead and use the isnull() SQL function to deal with them at the query level. But since the queries have 100s of columns and used by various teams for different purposes, changing them causes a lot of pain. So I did what any sensible Excel user would do. Just kill those NULLs mercilessly once they are in Excel.

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