Over the last few months, I have been watching the excitement build around a great new tool called PowerPivot. The promise of PowerPivot is very exciting; it could be just the spark that your business needs to get some critical insight. A tool that can do so many powerful things right, inside many business users’ favorite tool Excel – who wouldn’t love it? On the other hand, it could unleash a new level of confusion into an already muddy environment. So the one question that looms for businesses right now – “Is this tool right for me?”
PowerPivot promises simplicity, and for the most part, it delivers extremely well. Users can now create these exciting new Excel spreadsheets showing off their favorite analysis. With a SharePoint server, they can publish these new masterpieces to everyone else in the organization as well. But be careful, the last thing your business needs is more chaos and confusion. Be patient in your implementation, but don’t avoid PowerPivot fearing loss of control. Take time to decide who will be producers and who will be the consumers.
Does your company already have a data culture and an information strategy? For a company that thrives on innovation, assessment and exploration of data, PowerPivot might be a great fit. Conversely, a business that has very tight controls and security might want to be more rigid with the implementation only allowing selected users access to PowerPivot, and then allow them to publish the final data analysis securely. For any organization implementing a BI strategy, you must ask the fundamental question: What is the goal and does PowerPivot fit those goals?
Understanding how PowerPivot fits into the data management lifecycle is critical. PowerPivot is a great tool, but it is not the right answer to every BI solution. First, you need to make sure that you are using the right data in your PowerPivot. Next, you need to understand when your shiny new PowerPivot is ready to share and how best to publish it. And finally, when is PowerPivot no longer the right fit?
I hope over the next few months to help you with some of these issues right here, so stay tuned. At the same time, I hope that you realize that just giving your employees a new tool – like PowerPivot – isn’t the solution. Instead, you should realize that you need a seasoned guide through your BI experience. I believe that we have acquired a tremendous level of talent here at ProActive that has just the right mix of skills needed to help you extract, assess, analyze and publish your data. We want to help you build, and manage, a solution that fits your needs.