Panorama now integrates with PowerPivot and SharePoint 2010

March 15, 2010

A while ago, I saw Panorama was advertising a webcast detailing how Panorama gives a complete solution for the entire Microsoft BI platform, including PowerPivot. I have to admit, just seeing Panorama and PowerPivot in the same sentence seemed odd to me, as PowerPivot seemed like a completely full solution for its purpose. I didn’t see what Panorama had to add to the equation. And so I began asking Panorama a few questions…


So where does Panorama offer any added value?


Well, if your organization is considering using SharePoint 2010 Enterprise Edition along with PowerPivot. If you are going to deploy your PowerPivot workbooks to SharePoint 2010, and you’d like to look at them on the SharePoint platform (and not download it to your desktop), then you’ll probably be using Excel Services . This would probably be the case if your organization hasn’t moved completely to Office 2010. For instance, your organization may decide to integrate Office 2010 on the IT department workers desktops first and only later move the rest of the organization to Office 2010. Actually, something similar happened in the municipality with Office 2007 and so, I know that can and will happen…


In any case, if your user will be looking at the workbook through Excel Services, then he’s going to get a very thin client, which does not have all the capabilities of Excel on the desktop. This means you may be able to use the slicers and dicers defined for you in the workbook, but not add new ones. You will not be able to add formulas and exceptions. You will have a viewer to use, but not to contribute to, unless you open the Excel workbook on your PC.


Even more so, one of the drawbacks of PowerPivot on SharePoint is that you can only define security on the file level.  You cannot, for instance, define that a worker will be able to see information on a certain department in the organization mentioned in the workbook. You can only grant your user to the whole organizational data in the workbook. Role security and visual totals are actually possible in SSAS.


So how does Panorama help you out on those things?


First of all, once a workbook is deployed to SharePoint, Panorama can connect to it, just as it can to any other SSAS cube. You can use the Panorama SharePoint webpart to create a view on the PowerPivot cube. The view can include a graph or a pivot with any slicers and dicers your users would like to add or remove, along with exceptions and formulas on the data etc.


In terms of security, through Panorama, you’ll be able to define slicer security on the data, and enable the users to use the view with the slicer security, without having rights to view the workbook (with all the data) which was published to SharePoint.
Basically, you’ll be able to do all that through Panorama and SharePoint 2010, without upgrading all of your organization to Office 2010 (and if your organization is currently on Office 2003, then that makes for quite a move).


I would also add that the UDC (Universal Data Connector) will also connect to PowerPivot published to SharePoint. So now, if you’d like, you can create a Panorama dashboard which incorporates data from SAP BW, SSAS, PowerPivot and a relational data source which can all connect through a joint slicer, (for instance, time).


What’s more is that Panorama can also connect to Google Apps. Though I understood it is not scheduled for the first release, I can’t help but think of a PowerPivot workbook which was published to SharePoint and then viewed through Panorama in a Google Apps. Probably not what Microsoft had in mind…


So, if your organization is considering SharePoint 2010, but not necessarily Office 2010 (and PowerPivot) for everyone, you may be interested in looking more into Panorama’s offer to connect all of your data sources. In that case, you can contact Panorama support for further information.

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3 comments

  1. Siddharth MehtaMarch 19, 2010 ב 3:12

    I feel that the first point for considering Panorama against upgrading to Office 2010 would be cost of enterprise wide licenses. Office 2010 also comes with Web Apps, which increases collabration to an complete new level.

    Sharepoint BDC can probably serve most of what Panorama offers specially in counter to its UDC. Do you have the same views ?

    Reply
  2. Ella MaschiachMarch 22, 2010 ב 15:02

    Hi Siddharta,

    First of all, thank you for your input.

    Secondly, I don’t think the consideration is Panorama so you can save the cost of enterprise wide license. The issue is beyond money. I think the move from Office 2003 to Office 2010 can be quite demanding for users who are not technology oriented. I can tell you I already have more than a few users who saw Excel 2007 and 2010 videos and are very worried and intimidated from just thinking about the move. In an organization of over 7000 people, it may be a very slow process of integration and hours of guidance and implementation before everybody gets used to a new UI.

    As that is the case, perhaps an organization that already has Panorama, or needs a cube viewer for several platforms, may consider Panorama even if it’s only the first point and not row level security that bothers it. Office 2010 may have web apps to increase collaboration, but think of hours of guidance an organization may need just to teach it’s workers how to use Office 2010 just on their desktop. Only after that can you consider teaching your users of using the web apps.

    I have to stress that this is not to say Office 2010 doesn’t have a better UI or isn’t more “smart” and impressive. But it can be a leap to do in a big organization.

    I cannot compare Panorama’s UDC to the abilities of SharePoint BDC. Panorama’s UDC enables you to create a model in – memory on one data source. You may be able to compare SharePoint’s PerformancePoint abilities to that of Panorama’s Dashboard and it’s hard to say in that case which is better.

    Last but not least, I read you post on the matter and I liked what you said about “Keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer” (or as you said, partners rather than enemies). In Panorama’s case, I think that means keeping both Microsoft and Google close.

    All the best,

    Ella

    Reply
  3. NaviMarch 25, 2010 ב 10:19

    Hi Ella, Hi Siddharta –

    I read both your posts and I found them very interesting. I wanted to share with you some notes from the ‘CEO Desk’.

    We, at Panorama are committed to our customers’ success and driving innovation in the Business Intelligence market.
    The way we choose our partners strategically is based on the strengths of their platform and not how famous their brand name is…

    I personally worked very closely with the Microsoft teams in Redmond for the last year to ensure the amazing things they develop feed our customers’ needs and ensure an ‘out of the box’ thinking. (http://blogs.msdn.com/bi/archive/2009/07/15/bringing-panorama-back-into-the-big-tent.aspx)

    The work we did on our newest product, ‘NovaView for Office 2010’ (which include ‘NovaView for PowerPivot’), was focused on helping our customers use PowerPivot (in orchestra with Analysis Services) in a Corporate BI environment and for corporate use (and not only as personal/team productivity tool). So, from my perspective it is not about products, but about usage cases and helping users gain their self-service BI directly from the browser. I believe that with our latest products (which includes, NV for PowerPivot, UDC-Unviersal Data connector, and Flash Analytics) we bridge the gap between end users to data… taking the burden out of the need to model data…

    Recently I saw many different BI companies claiming their provide SelfService BI for end users…. While the usage scenario is based on a super-analyst creating views for end users… funny right? Is that self-service? It is like saying you can just pick up the phone yourself and call someone… but… ah…wait… we forgot to tell you, you need to go through an phone operator first to ask for a line, and then ask them to connect you… I thought that those days are behind us… seems that I was wrong.

    Navi

    Reply