First Look at Pyramid’s On-Premises Power BI Integration

Attendees at SQLBits last week were given a sneak peak at the long-promised on-premises Power BI solution from Pyramid Analytics. Details are still scarce, but here’s a link to the five minute-long video that was shown:

https://pyramidanalytics.wistia.com/medias/jkyyn15yy5

Here’s a screenshot from the video showing a Power BI report, a Reporting Services report and native Pyramid content blended together into a single dashboard:

image

I have also managed to confirm one very important point: at least initially, Pyramid’s solution will only work for Power BI reports that use live connections to on-premises Analysis Services data sources (this is contrary to what I originally understood and what I said to a few people on Twitter last week – sorry). That said if you are using Power BI as a front-end to Analysis Services, and a lot of people are, this looks like it will be pretty cool.

12 thoughts on “First Look at Pyramid’s On-Premises Power BI Integration

    • No, you need SSAS Enterprise Edition for Power BI to connect. This is because Power BI generates DAX queries, and only SSAS Multidimensional Enterprise Edition supports DAX queries.

  1. Unless you really really want easy self-service BI on top of an SSAS cube, you can just as easily wait for SSRS 2016. Mobile support, sharing of content on the portal and after some time you can also publish Power BI Desktop reports.

  2. Hi Chris,
    Do you think that the PowerBI desktop will take off? organisations such as the NHS are still protective on their data so would not like the idea of publishing on azure. And without publishing, one may not be able to move the data or charts across to other environments such as word to make available to non-analyst type of users.
    Another question, is PowerBI competing against or complimenting Tableau or it holds neither of these positions? If it is competing, Tableau would allow us to host on our own server but PowerBi does not. Its good to see it is independent of sharepoint.

    Thank you for any advise or help towards my evaluation between the two BI tools.

    • In my experience, Power BI is already taking off in a big way – just not with organisations that cannot put their data in the cloud (like the NHS). For these organisations you’re right that the lack of an on-premises solution is a big problem, and Power BI can’t really compete here yet.

      To answer your other question, I would say that Power BI does compete with Tableau. However it has different strengths and weaknesses, so whether you think it’s better or worse than Tableau will depend on what kind of BI you want to do exactly. And, of course, how much money you want to spend.

  3. Hi Chris,
    Thanks for your reply. I am assuming you are saying PowerBI is the significantly cheaper option? Is there any cost comparison stats (maybe example) that would show the running cost between powerBI and and Tableau for the duration of a year within a medium size organisation? maybe over multiple years the running cost would be cheaper with Tableau?

    My second question:
    Can organisations such as the NHS benefit effectively from PowerBI given that they will not publish to Azure? I guess it’s too early to ask, has any organisations been shown to benefit from the desktop PowerBI without being able to publish? possibly (I foresee) the end user will become frustrated under that circumstance of not being able to publish and consider move towards other BI Tools such as Tableau (on-premise). I am asking because where possible I would like to stick with Microsoft, but here I am not seeing the option for our organisation.

    Thank you

    • I don’t think there is a direct cost comparison out there, but it should be easy to work out the licence costs for both for your organization. My guess is for small/medium organisations Power BI will work out cheaper.

      To answer your second question, if you can’t publish your data to Azure there is still the option to keep your data on-premises in SSAS and just use PowerBI.com for the reporting layer. But to be honest even in this scenario I’m sure the possibility that some data will be cached in the cloud will be enough to stop organisations like the NHS from using it for sensitive data. If you do use SSAS as your only data source then you could also use this new Pyramid solution for publishing reports on premises, so that could be an option for you.

    • If your organisation has already committed to O365, then PowerBI is already included in the licence. So free, effectively
      I have some numbers on what Tableau costs in the real world, and I’ll try to get them up here later today. It’s significantly > ‘free’

    • Hi Aki, I work for an NHS trust and we’re currently trialling the use of PowerBI Desktop connected to a local instance of SSAS for our dashboards. It’s not perfect (right now files have to sit in SharePoint and be downloaded) but given the price (it’s effectively free given what we have already paid for) compared to Tableau it’s the best choice we have.
      Publishing would be a useful feature but the focus right now is using it as a replacement for PerformancePoint and it’s a lot better than that.

  4. Hi Chris, The video shows an example of Pyramid’s components filtering a PowerBI report but do you know if the reverse is also possible? e.g. can clicking on the PowerBI pie chart in the example pictured above filter the central reporting services list?

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