Tuesday, 18 November 2008

PerformancePoint Planning - Enable/Disable Spreading

Contrary to the incorrect instructions on Office Online, to enable and disable spreading on a matrix you must do the following:

From the Advanced group on the PPS ribbon, you select Options and the SpreadingType drop-down allows you to enable/disable spreading.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Using SAP as a Data Source

I was recently asked a question which I thought might be of value to everyone.

Can you please let me know...
1. Is share Point and Performance Point can be used in SAP BI or is it strictly Integrated with MircoSoft Technologies!!

So my response was...

I’m assuming you mean “can you use SAP as a data source?”

Firstly, SharePoint isn’t a BI technology as such. It’s a collaboration, portal & document management tool. However it does have the ability to create lists and simple KPIs which you could use SAP data as a source for if you wanted to.

That said, I’m sure your SAP operations team would never allow you to link directly to SAP – you would need to extract into a database first.

Secondly, you can certainly use SAP as a data source for both PerformancePoint modules - Planning and Monitoring & Analyzing. However you would never link directly to the system from PerformancePoint. You would almost always extract from your transactional system into a datawarehouse and that would be your data source (there may be exceptions from time to time but generally it's is wise to separate your reporting engine and your transactional engine. There are numerous gains in doing so - security, performance, aggregation, modelling).

The other key consideration is licensing. SAP is pretty strict about licensing when it comes to extracting data so you would need to take that into consideration also.

Hope that answers your question!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

PerformancePoint Planning - Impersonate a Contributor during Form Development

It was be absolutely invaluable to have the ability to impersonate a 'contributor' during form development.

Currently, when developing a form, I have 2 sesssions of Excel open - one as me and one as a contributor. This means I need to create a cycle and an assignment also and republish every time I make a change to the form I'm working on. Merely to validate that I am getting 'yellow cells' as expected (which is by no means a sure thang!).

A feature, similar to Analysis Services where I can impersonate a particular user/role would eliminate the need for all that extra effort - republishing, regenerating etc.

If you too would value this functionality, please vote for it at https://connect.microsoft.com/feedback/ViewFeedback.aspx?FeedbackID=380070&SiteID=181

PerformancePoint Planning - Object Names

Just a quick FYI....

In PerformancePoint Planning, objects are named as follows:

  • Cubes: ApplicationLabel_ModelSiteLabel
  • Databases: As specified in PAC during create
  • Application Label must be unique and cannot be changed
  • When connecting to an application, the Application Name is displayed

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Microsoft Azure.... the blue loo

Microsoft announced it's Azure service last week. In their words Azure is a tool that allows you to "Build new applications in the cloud - or use interoperable services that run on Microsoft infrastructure to extend and enhance your existing applications". From our, the BI developers', perspective Azure is hosting not just data but also Visual Studio solutions ie developing and deployment within the cloud.

Not that it's limited to Microsoft tools and environments of course.

So I immediately joined the CTP for SQL Services. I've downloaded the SQL Data Services SDK and have been placed on a waitlist for access to the cloud.

From what I can tell so far, you can use REST or SOAP for CRUD operations and LINQ for queries. Interestingly, there is no 'schema' as such - new properties can be added to entities as required - no need to add a new 'column'. What that means in practical terms I'm yet to find out. I suppose it will become apparent once I can access the cloud.

More info will follow shortly.