Thursday, May 29, 2014

FAQ: What is Powerview

Official Answer to this question is – An interactive data exploration, visualization and presentation experience . It is one of the core component of MS Managed Self-service BI initiative. Power View, formerly known as “Project Crescent,” is an end-user focused tool ie UI that provides easy to use ad-hoc reporting and data exploration for users ranging from analysts to information workers. Reports can be created from data in PowerPivot workbooks or tabular and multidimensional (SQL Server 2014+)   BI Semantic Models deployed to SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services. Running in a browser, powered by SharePoint Server 2010+, Power View enables users to present their insights through highly interactive visual presentations.

Powerview was first introduced in SQL Server 2012 and in Office 2013 release Powerview was integrated to Excel ( Powerview is not integrated with prior version of Excels).  As Powerview is one of the core components in Microsoft Self-service BI initiative, it helps business analysts or business users (non-IT crowd) to build various types of BI reports without much support from IT.  (Reportbuilder was the first step towards the adhoc reporting capability in SQL Server reporting service but it had lot of limitations. )

Powerview is a Metadata driven reporting solution. it connects to Analysis Services BI Semantic Model.  What it means is, Powerview directly does not connect to raw data/data warehouse, it connects to BI Semantic model and model intern connects to raw data(please note that even Powerpivot has its own BI Semantic model). BI Semantic model provides analysts or users a universe from where they can create reports.

Powerview can connect to a local BI Semantic model builtin which Office 2013.  When you use powerview in this mode, it has analysis service engine build into excel.   

Thursday, April 17, 2014

FAQ : Why we need BI Semantic Model?

The Semantic Model helps us in various ways. The major benefits of Semantic model are as follows : -

Single Source of Truth : By providing a BI Semantic layer with user friendly definition, Relation , business logic and data access methods,  all those who consume the data will have consistent and correct data.

Readability :  Often the object names may not be user friendly because of various reasons like Product limitation, legacy database as data source or the technical terminology in the physical data model.  In BI Semantic model we can provide more meaningful object names. We can also define the relations even if it is not available in the data warehouse and there by provide more readability.

Layer of Abstraction : BI Semantic Model provides a layer of abstraction since the users access the BI Semantic Layer not the raw data(data warehouse)

Self Service/Personal BI  :  Once the Semantic Layer is defined and published, the data consumer can function independently without support from IT.  This provides a capability of Self-service BI and Personal BI.

FAQ :What is BI Semantic Model in MSBI?

Wiki page says A semantic layer is a business representation of corporate data that helps end users access data autonomously using common business terms”. BI Semantic Model in MSBI  is a layer between Data warehouse and reporting tools/Users. BI Semantic Model maps the data structure/schema of data warehouse or any data source in more business oriented terms with all the possible relations defined and business logic implemented which can be easily understood by both the business users and the IT Professional.  In general, we do not provide direct data warehouse (Raw data) access to the data consumers. Data Consumer will be accessing the BI Semantic Model , BI Semantic Model will be in turn connecting to the data warehouse or data source and in that way it gives a layer of abstraction. BI Semantic Model can address all the BI requirement be it Reporting, analytical, scorecard & dashboard , Personal/Self Service BI and custom application.  In larger organizations each department may have their own BI Semantic layer as “Single source of truth” so that the users can consistently consume the correct data.

 BI Semantic Model in SQL Server has three major elements. Data Model, Business logic  and Data Access.  There are three different approach to create BI Semantic Model in SQL Server. PowerPivot Workbook, Tabular Model and Multidimensional Model
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