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"a prior vendor failed to develop
the application, which (Practical) delivered." - Franklin Park
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much simpler, more intuitive use interface" - Royal Administration Services
"Sometimes it's the things you don't ask for
that are important" - Royal Administration Services
"PCA turned our raw data and algorithms into easy to use
and understand features and reports." - CareScout
"The quality and professionalism ... has been
so outstanding that we want to send you a letter of thanks." - USALCO
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Microsoft and Business Intelligence
Practical Computer Applications (PCA) provides expertise and consulting services for clients who want to develop or improve their Business Intelligence applications using Microsoft offerings.
PowerPivot and SSAS (SQL Server Analysis Services) are current Microsoft offering for the BI market. Microsoft currently does not have a “BI product” (like they had before in the form of acquired ProClarity or short-lived PerformancePoint Server). Instead Microsoft gives people the reason to upgrade to Office 2010 and promotes an idea of “self-service BI”. Microsoft has now a “BI-stack” based on multiple technologies, tools (like Excel 2010 and SQL Server Analysis Services) and components (some of them are brilliant like PowerPivot). In order for users to get something based on Microsoft “BI-stack” comparable with Qlikview-based or Spotfire-based applications they need an expert consultant like PCA.
PowerPivot is Microsoft’s 3rd attempt to commoditize the BI and Data Visualization market space. For ProClarity there have been no new releases since 2006. 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 a 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 end experiences such as Excel, Reporting Services and SharePoint Insights”.
According to Microsoft, “The BI Semantic Model can be authored by BI professionals in the Visual Studio 2010 environment (when it will able to replace the Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) part of Visual Studio 2008)”. When a business user 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. And I quote Microsoft again: “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 PCA is ready to provide expertise and consulting services for clients who decided to use PowerPivot. 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).
Call us at 877-843-3405 or use our form to see how we can help you with your Business Intelligence applications.
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