Breif description of PowerPivot
At first look your Excel workbooks appears to be 'ordinary'. However if you look in the UI tools avaliable you will see that there are a number of extra tools avaliable.
The most important aspect of PowerPivot is that you can store 2-3 orders of magnitude more rows of data than an ordinary spreadsheet can store. That means you can store 100’s millions of rows vs. 1 million rows.
PowerPivot tables (spreadsheets) can be joined across related columns. Almost like a foeign key in relational databases. You, the user can define data models combining multiple data sources.
PowerPivot Can be used as data sources for Excel Pivot Tables and Pivot Charts
Limitations and Restrictions of PowerPivot
Even though Mircosoft's Excel has many features and functions which we are all familiar with and have used for many years Excel lacks true enterprise management features. Power Pivot allows users to combine data that has not been managed in the corporate Data Warehouse however neither PowerPivot nor Excel fully leverage analysis services and neither have any explicit Dashboarding capability.
Pyramid Analytics, in its latest upgrade of our BI Cloud tool, bioXL has implemented an amazing feature to upload your ordinary Excel/PowerPivot spread sheet into our online dynamic dashboarding tools, which you can then interrogate and develope reports.
The promise of combining PowerPivot and SQL 2012 was wonderful thing for the proponents of self service BI. Upload any type of dataset, from any datasource, into PowerPivot, automatically build a cube structure on the fly, and hey presto, the power of OLAP analytics in minutes. A 6-month IT project executed in minutes. And no need to purchase expensive 3rd party data visualization tools to manage those data mash ups.
Then came the downer. Everytime someone wanted to analyze data in these cubes, they needed to be downloaded from SharePoint to the users’ instance of Excel, and if any changes were made to the cube or the data, the whole PP cube would need to be uploaded again. Great for small datasets, but totally impractical for larger cubes – not to mention the security threat of the entire cube walking out the door one day. Not a good idea for sensitive corporate data. No wonder IT folks frowned on 'self-service BI'.
Today Pyramid Analytics offers a solution that will appeal to both the IT department and the business user. All the advantages and flexibility of PowerPivot, within a ‘enterprise framework’ that your IT department will appreciate.
Find out more –
Back in 2002 I was working with ProClarity Corporation, helping them bring their front end Analysis Services tools to the UK market. We had a great time and the product and company were really successful. So much so that in 2006 Microsoft acquired them.
Unfortunately, Microsoft’s roadmap and strategy for BI did not include continuing to develop the ProClarity product and in 2007 they announced “End of Life”, meaning five years of active support, then five years of passive support. The active support period ended in July 2012, so that from now on, any patches or upgrades applied to the hosting operating system or other subsystems that ProClarity depends upon that cause ProClarity to stop working will not be addressed.
Doubly unfortunately, Microsoft provided no upgrade path for ProClarity implementations. Yes, they offered ProClarity users an equivalent number of PerformancePoint Server licenses, but there wasn’t any way to take existing ProClarity implementations and migrate them.
Thankfully, for those organisations still enjoying the benefits of ProClarity, there is now a solution to this quandary. Pyramid Analytics provides a seamless upgrade to existing ProClarity implementations, both in terms of migrating the ProClarity analytic views and continuing the user experience of Analysis Services cube browsing that ProClarity innovated and which users love.
A couple of months ago I installed Pyramid Analytics at a City of London based insurance company who were existing ProClarity Analytics Server user. I arrived there about 9.30am and by 10.15am their ProClarity users were up and running with Pyramid Analytics, using their old ProClarity views and reports seamlessly and very much at home in the Pyramid Analytics environment.
Check out this paper for more detailed understanding of how this works and if you are an existing ProClarity user looking for how to migrate and alleviate risk, put Pyramid Analytics to the test!
ProClarity Analytic View.
The same view rendered by Pyramid Analytics dynamically from the ProClarity Content Store (note how multiple views can be open simultaneously in Pyramid Analytics!).