Self-Service BI Synergies with Tableau & Microsoft PowerPivot


Back in March of this year I wrote a blog post here at SQLMAG on 'Microsoft PowerPivot Vs Tableau'. During that time I was working with a enterprise customer who was heavily considering one or the other products for Self-Service BI needs but not both. I believe that is pretty typical of most IT Managers and people in general for the matter. We tend to identify a category that multiple products fit within and then want to know which one is the overall best for our investments. However, in today's post I want to shed a different light on the matter as a follow up to my old blog post.

If you step outside of the single-product mentality mentioned above and look at PowerPivot & Tableau for all each product offers self-service BI users you will see that each has it's unique strengths that can be leveraged to benefit the other. (that was a mouthful!) Like my favorite sandwich (simple is good for more than just software designs), Tableau & PowerPivot actually go together quite well.

With Tableau we have an outstanding suite of self-service BI tools that allow one-click rapid visualizations. Tableau Desktop, in my personal opinion, is pure bliss for desktop analytical warriors. With PowerPivot we have access to a phenomenal underlying engine known as 'Vertipaq'. Vertipaq is what makes PowerPivot crunch large data volumes like Cheerios (I'm on a kid food kick today I guess). And if your going to talk about PowerPivot strengths you cannot omit DAX. DAX is an extremely powerful expression language that literally exposes the bulk of MDX's power to business users.

As of late I have written a new whitepaper for Tableau on this exact topic called 'Self-Service BI Synergies with Microsoft PowerPivot'. The whitepaper can be found at http://www.tableausoftware.com/whitepapers/self-service-bi-synergies-microsoft-powerpivot . The paper's table of contents can be found below. Enjoy!

Introduction................................................................................................ 2

Tableau Software Overview..................................................................... 3

Microsoft PowerPivot Overview............................................................... 5

Tableau & PowerPivot: Better Together.................................................. 6

Tableau Desktop & PowerPivot Data Models.......................................... 7

Tableau Desktop PowerPivot Connections.......................................... 7

Tableau Desktop Rapid Visualizations................................................. 9

Leveraging DAX with Tableau Desktop............................................. 11

Consuming DAX Expressions with Tableau Desktop.................... 11

Extending DAX Expressions with Tableau Desktop...................... 12

Tableau Desktop Quick Filters............................................................. 13

Analytical Collaboration

with Tableau Server & Microsoft SharePoint 2010............................... 14

Configuring Tableau Server’s Security Context................................ 14

Sharing Tableau Visualizations with Tableau Server....................... 15

Integrating Tableau Visualizations into SharePoint 2010................. 16

Conclusion................................................................................................ 18

Related Links............................................................................................ 19

Tableau Software Resources.............................................................. 19

Microsoft PowerPivot Resources........................................................ 19

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Derek Comingore’s, Mark Kromer's, and Jen Underwood's candid look at SQL Server’s Business Intelligence features.

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Mark Kromer

Mark Kromer has been a technical product manager & solution architect in business intelligence, data warheouse and Big Data world for over 20 years for Microsoft, Oracle and AT&T, currently...

Jen Underwood

  Jen Underwood, Microsoft Sr. Program Manager, has almost 20 years of experience in data warehousing, business intelligence, and predictive analytics. She was formerly a Microsoft Business...
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