Keeping the Power on-premise

Microsoft PowerBI generates a lot of interest, as we see customers lining up to give it a try. The combination of superb visualisation, self-service approach and an attractive price-tag make PowerBI a worthy candidate for analytics. However, for some customers, the enthusiasm is soon replaced with disappointment when they learn that PowerBI is a cloud-based tool. There are some very good reasons organisations might not be able to take their BI implementations to the cloud (and there are some not-so-good reasons, naturally), and if that’s the case, PowerBI becomes less relevant.
This situation has now changed thanks to an interesting collaboration between Microsoft and Pyramid Analytics, maker of the BI Office BI suite. Through this collaboration it is now possible to publish PowerBI dashboards to an on-premise installation of Pyramid Analytics BI Office.
A few words on BI Office: It’s a relatively young product which has been doing very well in professional surveys such as Gartner’s magic quadrant and BARC. In its essence, BI Office is a suite of tools using a strong and reliable MDX engine to query Microsoft Analysis Services data sources, either tabular or MOLAP. The product leverages Analysis Services as a semantic layer (Including the ability to model data sources from within BI Office and publish them to a tabular instance of SSAS), and uses patented, familiar, MS-Office-like front end to allow analysts and end users to query their data easily and effectively.


This video shows how the integration of PowerBI to BI Office works. It’s quite simple, just publish and use. However, do note that at the moment, only Power BI content that uses data connected “live” to SQL Server Analysis Services can be published to BI Office. So this is useful for organisations using PowerBI over SSAS already, or starting from scratch and will be interested in using SSAS as a logical layer.
There are, obviously, some down sides to this approach. If you’re looking at PowerBI because of the attractive price-tag, adding in a Pyramid Analytics BI Office server and licenses might make the whole deal a little less attractive, for one. It also adds an extra tool to the already-overcrowded Microsoft solution: On top of SSRS, Datazen, PowerBI, Excel Services, and Power View, now there’s yet another front end tool to choose (BI Office), and this is a third-party software with a different interface. That’s another interface to teach to users, another repository to manage, another area in which to manage security, and so on. Tailoring the right solution for a Microsoft-based implementation becomes more complicated.

Contact Altis if you would like to learn more about how you could take advantage of either Microsoft’s BI offerings or Pyramid Analytics BI Office.


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