Pyramid Analytics, XLCubed & Panorama Necto

I’m always curious to see what’s new in the world of SSAS client tools, and quite frequently get demos of the latest client tools. Here’s a brief summary of three client tools I’ve looked at recently…

First of all, bioXL from Pyramid Analytics. It’s a very nice looking Silverlight cube browser with several very interesting features. However the main reason it’s worth looking at is that if you’re lumbered with a large Proclarity installation and no obvious way of migrating, it that it could be the answer to your prayers. It’s designed with existing Proclarity customers in mind: it’s almost completely backwards compatible with existing content stored in PAS, and equally importantly the UI follows the Proclarity look and feel very closely, so existing Proclarity users will feel very comfortable. In fact, looking at it you’d almost believe you were in a parallel universe where Microsoft hadn’t made that crazy decision to kill of Proclarity, and had instead rebuilt it in Silverlight.

Next up, XLCubed. Now I’ve blogged about them here before and Marco is also a fan, so I won’t say much, but I remain a big fan; version 6 has just been released and they’re working on mapping too. I think it’s one of the best tools on the market for the sophisticated SSAS user, both for Excel-based analysis and also for creating web dashboards.

Thirdly, Panorama Necto (see here as well), which aims to bring the benefits of social media to BI. The thinking here is that adoption of BI tools has stalled because the tools themselves are too difficult to use, and also that it’s too difficult to share and discuss the information found using these tools with a wider audience. Once you get past the fact that someone at Panorama really, really needs to read up on dashboard design (3D charts! Gauges! Arghhh, call Stephen Few!) before doing any more demos, I think they’re on to something. It’s still early days but I’ll be keeping an eye on how their functionality develops and integrates with different media.

5 responses

    • Yes, you’re correct. If you limit yourself to MS tools, though, you’re missing out on a lot of great technology – and MS have never done a good job with their SSAS client tools (except maybe Excel 2010).

  1. It depends. Some of the MS tools are effectively free, such as Excel, but some aren’t – anything Sharepoint based can be pretty expensive. But a client tool is an essential part of any BI platform: if your users can’t get the data they want through the tool they’ve got, it won’t matter if you’ve got the best-designed cube in the world.

  2. Hi Chris,

    We are currently using ProClarity and planning to move to Performance Point Services (PPS), but the inability to create customer measures in PPS is proving to be the main hurdle in this move. Is there any work around for this? It will not be possible to build every possible customer measures in the cubes and our clients would not like to loose control to create customer measures, which they have been doing in ProClarity so easily.


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