Notes from Rafal Lukawiecki business analysis sessions

Last week Rafal Lukawiecki visited Estonia and I was lucky enough to find time for two sessions in my pretty tight schedule. All Rafal’s sessions were about Business Intelligence (BI) at Microsoft platform. This posting contains few notes I made for myself. Maybe you can find some interesting facts here too.

  • SharePoint 2010 has very powerful BI features and pretty convenient browser based user interface that should be easy enough for business dudes.
  • ProClarity will be dead soon and during next years all its functionality will be available on SharePoint. This is not a fast move – it takes some years time before it happens.
  • The main change with PerformancePoint Server that is part of SharePoint is that SharePoint does everything including security.
  • Excel has very powerful BI features: deep analysis, advanced filtering, data mining, PowerPivot for Excel 2010. Excel has also support for pivot tables and reports. Also KPI-s are supported and there are tons more cool BI stuff (Data Mining Add-Ins for Excel).
  • Excel slices can quickly filter data from cubes. Data comes from OLAP data source or from PowerPivot. PowerPivot has internal version of SSAS that is not directly accessible by users. Data is packed and indexed and MS has patents for this technology. Rafal shows cool demo how dealing with about 1.3M rows data in spreadsheet took only about 260MB memory. Sorting and filtering was lightning fast.
  • PowerPivot lets users do very powerful data analysis. All this happens inside Excel and users can do their work without help of IT-staff. PowerPivot can also read data from other sources like Access databases.
  • There are information systems that IT-staff is not aware about. These systems are made usually on Excel or Access and they move from user to user over USB memory stick. This was one of the reasons why Access support in PowerPivot was highly demanded by users.
  • For the above Rafal has very good philosophical question: when we lost our users?
  • Some links to check out:

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