With a recent announcement from the folks at Pyramid Analytics of a strategic alliance with Microsoft, and the recent release of Microsoft’s PowerBI Desktop into a data hungry environment, the market for Self Service BI just became much more interesting.
First, what is PowerBI and how is it typically used?
PowerBI is Microsoft’s cloud-based Business Intelligence solution that initially began as an advanced feature within Microsoft Excel, allowing users to better manipulate data. It’s now grown into a feature-rich solution that lets users gather data from multiple sources, create data models to explore and frame their data, and share their findings with others.
Second, what is BI Office?
Pyramid Analytics (PA) provides a suite of web based tools (BI Office) that sit on top of Microsoft’s Analysis Server (SSAS). With these tools, users can push the bounds of their cube reporting by providing a drag and drop environment without having to write in-depth and complex MDX queries. This lets the user focus on the data and not the syntax needed to create the proper query. BI Office includes 3 primary integrated verticals:
- bioXL – used for data discovery
- bioPoint – used for the creation of interactive dashboards
- bioWriter – used for the creation\publication of reports
As these verticals are well integrated, the work flow is seamless: from exploring user data to publishing professional looking reports.
How Power BI and Pyramid Analytics Integrate
With the introduction of the PowerBI Desktop, the prototypical user will usually begin data exploration with an application they are familiar with: Microsoft Excel. Through Excel the user can fetch data from multiple sources and ultimately shape datasets to tell a story or answer pressing business questions. The ease at which this can be done makes for a great platform for asking questions and exploring data.
So with data so easy to source, explore and share, where does BI Office fit in?
The key pillar of the Power BI Desktop solution is its cloud-based focus. By structuring Power BI as a cloud solution, users who manage Power BI features can become more efficient in the cloud, allowing collegues to view the data, reports, and dashboards with virtually any platform without downloading an application. This is the power of a cloud-based Self Service BI solution. For some, this is the best solution possible, for others it’s prohibitive with their compliance policies and security features.
This is where BI Office steps in and fills a very important gap. Pyramid Analytic’s BI Office connects directly to the PowerBI Desktop application and provides an alternate solution to the cloud-based solution native to PowerBI. Through BI Office, users can create on-premise solutions controlled by the client. This means users can setup an environment that complies with any rules and regulations necessary to keep their organizations within compliance. Further, BI Office has scalability features that make it a more robust enterprise solution, if users decide to go this route.
I encourage you to begin exploring your data using the PowerBI Desktop application – provided you are complying with your organization’s security policies. As your reports gains traction and credence by becoming an “enterprise-type report”, it becomes an object that IT can manage and build upon using BI Office tools on-premise.
PowerBI related links –
BI Office related links –