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Today we have a guest author from the SQL Server Analysis Services team, Ashvini Sharma, to tell us about the PowerPivot (née Gemini) feature that you may have heard about recently.
PowerPivot is the recently announced name of technologies this blog previously referred to by its codename, Gemini. This article describes why there is a need for such a tool, and briefly what PowerPivot provides. More information is available on the PowerPivot blog.
PivotTables continue to be indispensible for allowing users to analyze their data flexibly and interactively. If you’re a subscriber of this blog, you’ve already read some of the recent articles on investments the Excel team continues to make around PivotTables for Excel 2010.
However, using a PivotTable that connects to an OLAP data source of course requires such a data source to exist. While a corporation may have many OLAP data sources where a single version of the truth and a unified model for looking at the business is necessary, this is not always the requirement.
For personal or workgroup-oriented solutions, our customers tell us there’re shortcomings in technology available:
Lets take a step back to make a few key observations:
The PowerPivot functionality is delivered by SQL Server’s Analysis Services team in collaboration with the Excel team and is based on our experience delivering the Microsoft Business Intelligence platform over the last decade.
There’re two components of PowerPivot: PowerPivot for Excel 2010 and PowerPivot for SharePoint 2010.
Designed for business users, PowerPivot for Excel 2010 is a data analysis tool that delivers unmatched computational power directly within the application users already know and love — Excel. Leveraging familiar Excel features, users can transform enormous quantities of data from virtually any source with incredible speed into meaningful information to get the answers they need in seconds. PowerPivot for Excel consists of the following components:
PowerPivot for SharePoint 2010 enables end users to effortlessly and securely share their PowerPivot applications with others and work seamlessly in the browser using Excel Services. PowerPivot for SharePoint also helps IT improve their operational efficiencies by tracking PowerPivot usage patterns over time, discovering mission-critical applications, and improving system performance by adding resources. PowerPivot for SharePoint consists of the following components:
We’ll drill into these features in the next few blogs. Stay tuned!
Ash, I'd like to congratulate the team on a job well done. It appears that I might be the one buying the beer when we meet!
A couple of observations:
1)On the issue of solving the problem of cubes being unable to anticipate all possible questions a priori, I don't see PowerPivot (or any other product for that matter) solving the problem completely. The only thing that the business user can do is work with the dimensions and measures in the data warehouse (or data mart). This means that the user is limited to creating aggregations and calculated measures based on these existing dimensions and measures - which might be sufficient in most cases. The point is that if an unanticipated dimension or measure isn't in the data warehouse, then it's back to IT to address the issue.
2) I've noticed that most of the interest for PowerPivot thus far (discussions on Connect) and virtually all of the independent blogs postings are from SSAS folks - even though PowerPivot isn't this group's primary target. It appears as though the SAAS experts have seen a level of value in PowerPivot beyond what Microsoft might have anticipated. I can see where v2 of PowerPivot could be headed.
we seem to forget that multi dims are just symbolic representations of entities whether that is excel or access, or whtvr. It will always be how you describe those entities (and the planned software apps COTS ability to independantly address these description needs [and of course the manipulative needs] that will determine complexity and outcome) provided you trust in complexities to be able to deliver.
You can't get intelligently detailed answers if you don't brush up against the complexities. where the wild things are :)
Part of the CTP/Beta process is to get feedback on how much richness users can add using the current feature set. We look forward to getting your detailed feedback after you’ve had a chance to use the product. Thanks.
Will this be a feature on Access 2010 pivot tables, which I have not been as fond of as Excel's, as well - will I still be able to link into an Access database with this functionality?
Billy: PowerPivot works only within Excel. It can easily link to data in Access databases, however.