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OLAP Browser Feature on Connect

January 5th, 2010

As there has been a considerable stir around a few blogs (including mine) lately in regards to the lack of a good OLAP browser/client in the Microsoft BI space, I just created a feature suggestion on Microsoft Connect. Please support me with some more ideas about how Microsoft can fill this apparent gap in the current BI stack. The link is here:

https://connect.microsoft.com/SQLServer/feedback/ViewFeedback.aspx?FeedbackID=523128

Other posts about this issue:

http://richardlees.blogspot.com/2009/09/which-cube-browser-for-microsoft-olap.html
http://richardlees.blogspot.com/2009/10/whats-preventing-excel-from-being.html
http://cwebbbi.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!7B84B0F2C239489A!5100.entry
http://sqlblog.com/blogs/marco_russo/archive/2010/01/05/microsoft-doesn-t-play-the-traditional-bi-client-game.aspx
http://www.bp-msbi.com/2009/09/on-search-for-perfect-olap-browser.html

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  1. Ozziemedes
    | #1

    Hi Boyan,

    Isn't this part of the niche PowerPivot is supposed to fill?

    Ozziemedes

  2. Boyan Penev
    | #2

    Well, PowerPivot is like a powerful Excel PivotTable and it does not overcome the limtitations, which exist around Excel (non-Intranet scenarios, relatively poor SharePoint/PerformancePoint integration – when it comes to ad-hoc analysis).

  3. Kory Skistad
    | #3

    I have been using Analysis Services since SQL 7 (OLAP Services) and have downloaded and evaluated every product that has generated any buzz when I hear about it. Some impressed me, but most were disappointments. The ones that had the most bells & whistles had poor design and usability, and the ones that had the easiest or most intuitive and clean interfaces lacked the most features.

    Working with business users over the years, I was very disappointed at how these tools didnt do much to meet their needs; even if the features were there it wasnt easy to use or hidden somewhere in a complex interface.

    One tool does stand out for me- Tableau. It has interface intelligence, having very useful and clean visualizations, offers a ton of cross-platform support for data sources (including Analysis Services) and supports almost every feature my business users have asked for over the years. When I did any demonstrations of Analysis Services, I used to use ProClarity and PerformancePoint. But it took me hours to do what it takes only minutes in Tableau, and looks much better and has more interactivity.
    The only downside of Tableau on Analysis Services is lack of support for Actions, Member Properties, and direct MDX. But because they support many other data sources and are not dedicated to Microsoft technology, I give them a ton of credit for the features they do provide. And maybe if we bug them enough, those features may show up in another version.

  4. Dirk
    | #4

    Have you ever tried Datawarehouse Explorer? It's ligthweight, userfriendly and affordable! Chris Webb reviewed it a few months ago.
    A fully functional version can be downloaded from http://www.dwexplorer.com

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