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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Microsoft PowerPivot - On the way, and use with AX


So one of the hot topics I have talked about, over the past year is BI. This makes sense, since, with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009, BI had a huge boost in what was offered out of the box, and platform and tools for creating BI.

As part of this coverage, I have been talking to you about Microsoft 'Project Gemini', how this will relate to Dynamics AX, and how it fits into Microsoft's vision of 'BI for the masses'.

Below is a list, in order of release, starting with the post I did in May of this year about Project Gemini.:

So, now we know the actual product name for Project Gemini is PowerPivot, or Microsoft PowerPivot.

MSDN, has a great resource covering PowerPivot, which can be found here.:
PowerPivot Overview (SQL Server 2008 R2)

So what is PowerPivot, from it's base offering? MSDN puts it as.:
"PowerPivot refers to a collection of applications and services that provide an end-to-end approach for creating data-driven, user-managed business intelligence solutions in Excel workbooks.

PowerPivot integrates with Excel and SharePoint. In an Excel environment, PowerPivot for Excel provides a familiar authoring and analytical experience on the workstation. In a SharePoint farm, PowerPivot for SharePoint is the set of server-side applications, services, and features that support team collaboration on business intelligence data. SharePoint provides the platform for collaborating and sharing business intelligence across the team and larger organization. Workbook authors and owners publish and manage the business intelligence that they develop to their SharePoint sites."

So with PowerPivot, the push for BI to the Masses is actually taking shape. It's all about User Managed BI. And Excel is the UI for that BI.

Now we have all known for years, and have seen it more and more with every release of Dynamics AX, that Office is a part, and sometimes the User Interface for Dynamics AX. This will become even more true as the Dynamics AX Road Map becomes reality, and the technologies for BI, like PowerPivot are made use of with Dynamics AX.

So how will PowerPivot be used with Dynamics AX? Think Role Centers, and the dashboards that everyone loves. So web parts, that are created and make use of Excel services (enter MOSS), that are generated, published and collabarted on by end users, present in and made use of in Role Centers and EP for Dynamics AX reporting and analysis.

Look at how this works, from Querying PowerPivot Data in SharePoint.:

So that Analysis Services at the bottom of the above image, well those are the Same Analysis Services that attach to Dynamics AX transactional data, along with other possible transactional data, for anaylsis work to be performed on.

And the delivery, SharePoint! That means Dynamics AX Enterprise Portal, Role Center Web Parts, and Published PowerPivot workbooks, and Excel parts that live on your Exdecutives Dashboard for reporting and company wide information and drill down knowledge.

So can you see this taking shape, BI for the masses, and Dynamics AX? Notice the required technologies.: SQL Server 2008 R2, and SharePoint Server 2010.

Now, go back a few post, and check out the RoadMap and "Wave 14" for next year. All of these technologies, combined as a platform that Microsoft Dynamics AX is a part of, to enable customers and their business to be Dynamic, and be successful.

There is no other platform that is coming close to offering such abilities! This is very exciting, and should be for business users, and IT shops. This means more controlled and secure power in users hands, while allow control of Master Data or one version of the truth, platform wide.

That's all for now! Check back soon as more to come!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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