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Microsoft Business Intelligence

Consulting services for clients designing/building an Excel Dashboard and improve the MBI applications.

Microsoft BI – Excel Dashboard

Practical Computer Applications (PCApps) provides training and consulting services for clients designing/building an Excel Dashboard and who want to develop or improve their Microsoft Business Intelligence applications using Microsoft PowerPivot and Microsoft PowerView.

Call us at 877-843-3405  or Contact us to see how we can help you with your Microsoft Business Intelligence applications including building Excel Dashboards.

PowerPivot and SSAS (SQL Server Analysis Services) are current Microsoft offerings for the BI market. Microsoft currently does not have a “BI product”. Instead, Microsoft gives people a reason to upgrade to MS Office 2010 or MS Office 2013 and promotes the idea of “self-service BI”. Microsoft has now a “BI-stack” based on multiple technologies, tools (like Excel 2013 and SQL Server Analysis Services), and components like Microsoft PowerPivot. For users to get MS Excel Dashboards based on Microsoft “BI-stack” comparable with QlikviewTableau, or Spotfire-based applications many companies hire expert BI consultants such as PCApps.

PowerPivot is Microsoft’s 3rd attempt to commoditize the BI and Data Visualization market space. PerformancePoint Server was introduced in November 2007 and discontinued two years later. Currently, Microsoft is focusing on the burgeoning Data Visualization space, specifically aimed at fast-growing competitors such as Qlikview, TIBCO Spotfire, and Tableau. The back-end API of PowerPivot is available only if packaged with SharePoint and SQL Server which means that enterprise users will need consulting services to integrate all these moving parts. PowerPivot has a twin-brother in the form of VertiPaq (in-memory mode) technology on the SQL Server/SSAS side.

In addition to Excel, PowerPivot, SSAS, and SSRS, Microsoft recently published a new roadmap with a new BISM model: “A new Business Intelligence Semantic Model (BISM) in Analysis Services that will power Crescent (upcoming Microsoft Data Visualization technology) as well as other Microsoft BI front ends experiences such as Excel Dashboards, Reporting Services, and SharePoint Insights”.

According to Microsoft, “The BI Semantic Model can be authored by BI professionals in the Visual Studio 2012 environment (when it will able to replace the Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) part of Visual Studio 2008)”. When a BI Developer creates a PowerPivot application, the model that is embedded inside the workbook is also a BI Semantic Model. When the workbook is published to SharePoint, the model is hosted inside an SSAS server and served up to other applications and services such as Excel Services, Reporting Services, etc.  Quoting Microsoft: “Since it is the same BI Semantic Model that is powering PowerPivot for Excel, PowerPivot for SharePoint and Analysis Services, it enables seamless transition of BI applications from Personal BI to Team BI to Organizational (or Professional) BI.“

In any case, it is clear that PowerPivot, SSAS (and probably BISM) are a large part of the future of Microsoft’s BI stack and PCApps is ready to provide training and consulting services for clients who decide to use PowerPivot and PowerView. From certain point of view, the future SSAS is just as a PowerPivot on steroids, e.g. it is more secure and has no 2GB limitation on file size (when using PowerPivot with SharePoint).  Each of these tools works with Excel to build Excel Dashboards.

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